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BrightonSEO 2017 - SEO quick wins from a technical check

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Actionable advice to drive more traffic and revenue to your site from carrying out a technical check. These slides look at technical issues such as 301 redirects, robots.txt files and crawl budget, sitemaps, canonical tags and optimisation, which can all be found by using the technical SEO tools, Screaming Frog, Deep Crawl, Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

What can you expect from these slides?
- To learn which key technical issues to look out for.
- To learn how these technical issues impact your SEO.
- To learn how to fix these technical issues for SEO quick wins.

Published in: Marketing
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BrightonSEO 2017 - SEO quick wins from a technical check

  1. 1. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Technical Check??? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  2. 2. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Quick Wins?? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  3. 3. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Your Go-To Tools @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  4. 4. @chloebodard | #brightonseo 301 REDIRECTS ROBOTS.TXT FILE OPTIMISATION SITEMAPS Top Technical SEO Quick Wins CANONICAL TAGS @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  5. 5. +1,010% Organic transactions YOY What Results To Expect? ● Amount of keywords ranking has increased by 90% over last 6 months ● This lead to a massive jump in transactions from organic traffic. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  6. 6. +138% Increase in organic goal completions What Results To Expect? ● Page 1 rankings for local terms. ● Organic traffic is up 49% year on year ● Goal conversion rate increased 60% YoY @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  7. 7. @chloebodard | #brightonseo 301 Redirects @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  8. 8. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● New site? ● Older domains? ● URL structure changes? ● Https migrations? ● Relative links? When Could You Have Issues? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  9. 9. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Missing 301s ● Redirect chains ● Broken 301s ● 302s ● Unnecessary Redirects What To Look For? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  10. 10. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Analyse & Fix the issues. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  11. 11. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  12. 12. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Site migration rushed - resulted in lots of redirect chains/broken redirects Redirect chains and broken redirects fixed 301s Case Study
  13. 13. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Set up 301s from old & 404 pages to new ones ● Prevent redirect chains - URLs should 301 redirect straight to the final version. ● Update all internal links to point to the final destination URL to prevent unnecessary redirects ● Ensure site-wide 301 redirects are set up from non-preferred to preferred versions (www, https & trailing slashes) ● Ensure all redirects are permanent 301s and not temporary 302s UNLESS the move is temporary Redirection Tips @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  14. 14. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Don’t just check and fix the redirects in your web crawl! Look way back… ● Gather backlink URLs via tools such as Majestic ● Gather previous domain URLs ● Gather top landing page URLs from Analytics ● If you’re not sure of the old URLs, check websites like Wayback Machine which store domain website snapshots. ● Gather 404s from Search Console Consider old website versions too @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  15. 15. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Use Screaming Frogs List Mode to crawl your list of URLs. Make sure ‘Always Follow Redirects’ is ticked in Settings. (Configuration > Spider > Advanced) ● Update Redirects which have multiple Redirect Chains ● Create Redirects for key 404s (esp. Backlink or Landing Page 404s) ● Fix broken/incorrect Redirects Crawl your URLs @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  16. 16. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Robots.txt File @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  17. 17. @chloebodard | #brightonseo User-agent: * Disallow: Sitemap: https://www.yourwebsite/sitemap.xml “Make use of the robots.txt file on your web server.” Google Webmaster Guidelines @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  18. 18. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Analyse & Fix the issues. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  19. 19. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Disallowing full site post migration ● Disallowing CSS/JS files ● Disallowing unexpected URLs ● Not disallowing staging site What Issues Could You Have? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  20. 20. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Site Disallow ● Unexpected URLs Disallow ● Disallowing CSS/JS files What To Look For? User-agent: * Disallow: / User-agent: * Disallow: /index.php/ User-agent: * Disallow: */js/ @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  21. 21. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Category page!!!
  22. 22. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Robots sorted Technical actions implemented Robots.txt File Case Study
  23. 23. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Improve your crawl budget. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  24. 24. @chloebodard | #brightonseo What is a Crawl Budget? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  25. 25. @chloebodard | #brightonseo How to optimise your crawl budget? 1. Crawl your website. 2. Excessive URLs for users rather than search engines being crawled? i.e Add to Basket / Wish List / Parameterised URLs Eg: /claim/?action=claim_listing&listing_id=33910 /claim/?action=claim_listing&listing_id=33911 /book-an-appointment/997 /book-an-appointment/223 3. Disallow these via robots.txt (after testing!) @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  26. 26. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Add pages irrelevant to search or that you don’t want crawled! How to Fix It? User-agent: * Disallow: /blog/tag/ Disallow: /whishlist/ @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  27. 27. Option 1: Use the robots.txt tester in Search Console - this requires the robots.txt file to be actually updated. Option 2: Use the custom robots.txt tool in Screaming Frog to test then and there. Check the commands you are adding will work for the URLS you want to block. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo How to test your robots?
  28. 28. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo For more info check out Liam’s blog on How to Improve Your Crawl Budget !
  29. 29. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Optimisation @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  30. 30. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Optimisation Quick Wins? ● Page titles ● H1s ● Meta descriptions for CTR. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  31. 31. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Missing page titles/meta descriptions/ H1s ● Duplicate page titles/meta descriptions/ H1s ● Lack of keyword targeting ● Meta tags improvement potential ● Internal cannibalisation What To Look For? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  32. 32. @chloebodard | #brightonseo How to check? ● Crawl your site ● Look at overview report tab ● Download the SERP Summary report which you can then filter: MISSING, DUPLICATED & LENGTH @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  33. 33. @chloebodard | #brightonseo How to check? ● Main phrase at beginning of Page title? ● Main phrase/ variation in the H1? ● H2s semantically relevant? ● Close rankings for different pages? ● Organic traffic drop to one page & increase for a similar one? KEYWORDS TARGETING INTERNAL CANNIBALISATION ● Use SC Search Analytics report ● Check CTR - is rank high and CTR low? ● Do you have KW ranking on top of page 2? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo METAS OPTIMISATION
  34. 34. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Analyse & Fix the issues. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  35. 35. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Search Console Search Analytics Report
  36. 36. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Page Titles, H1s & Meta descriptions Updated +46% increase in organic traffic since! Optimisation Case Study
  37. 37. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Ensure ALL pages have a unique Page title, meta description and H1s. ○ Targeted keyword should be at the start of the page title & in the H1 ○ Look at top rankers !! ○ Seize improvement opportunities from SC ○ Make meta descriptions engaging & with a CTA. ○ Include KW & semantic variations in H2s ● Ensure page titles & meta descriptions are within recommended length (up to 61-63 characters now) ● Ensure each page targets a different phrase to avoid internal cannibalisation ● Push pages ranking on top of page 2 to page 1 Optimisation Quick Wins @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  38. 38. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Be a Flamingo in a flock of Pigeons.
  39. 39. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Canonical Tags @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  40. 40. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Relative URLS ● 404s and 301s ● Non-preferred domain ● Listing URLs canonicalised to the first page Issues To Look For? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  41. 41. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Tech changes made and canonicals set to non preferred (http) version Canonicals updated to avoid 301s and point to preferred version (https) Canonical Tags Case Study
  42. 42. @chloebodard | #brightonseo How to check? Run a DeepCrawl Canonical Report to highlight: ● canonical errors, ● orphaned canonical URLs ● pages without a valid canonical tag Use Screaming Frog to: ● Identify canonicalised URLs ● Check for errors by exporting the Canonical Errors report @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  43. 43. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Analyse & Fix the issues. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  44. 44. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Use absolute rather than relative URLs ● Make sure your canonical matches your preferred domain (http or https) ● Update canonical tags if you migrate. ● Don’t canonicalise listing URLs to the first page - they are not duplicate content, use rel=”prev” & rel=”next” tags ● Canonical tags should not point to a 404 or 301 redirect ● Add self-referencing canonical tags to non canonicalised pages Implementing Canonical Tags @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  45. 45. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Sitemaps @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  46. 46. @chloebodard | #brightonseo <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc> <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod> <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> <priority>0.8</priority> </url> </urlset A standard sitemap as shown within Sitemaps.org looks like this: ● Does not improve rankings ● Does provide a key list of your important pages to Google. ● There can be lots of hidden issues within your sitemap. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  47. 47. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Errors in your sitemap, such as 404, 301s or canonicalised URLs ● Orphaned URLs that you may / may not want to be indexed ● Missing/inaccurate Last Modified Date ● Missing key pages ● Noindex pages & URLs blocked by robots.txt file Issues To Look For? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  48. 48. @chloebodard | #brightonseo How to check? Use DeepCrawl to analyse your sitemap. Sitemap report will: ● Highlight any orphaned URLs to be linked ● Pages missing from your sitemap to be added ● Errors within its pages to be fixed Use Search console to submit it & check for errors: ● Check for warnings & follow recommendations ● Look at number of URLs submitted vs indexed @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  49. 49. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  50. 50. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Analyse & Fix the issues. @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  51. 51. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Best type of Sitemap is dynamic - automatically updates! ● Check for errors in your sitemap, don’t include 404, 301s or canonicalised URLs ● Beware of orphaned URLs that you may not want to be indexed ● Include an accurate Last Modified Date ● Make sure your key pages are in there & use child sitemaps to separate sections/large list of URLs. ● If multiple types of content, use additional sitemap types (image, video & mobile ) Sitemap.xml Guidelines & Quick Wins @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  52. 52. Choose Yoast for beautiful dynamic sitemaps, but... Default settings include EVERYTHING that isn’t set to noindex! ● URLs you never knew existed like layout & slider sections? Likely to be in the sitemap. ● PPC pages that you’ve created but not linked internally? Likely to be in the sitemap. ● Old pages you’ve used but haven’t redirected? Likely to be in the sitemap ● Test pages you’ve made for fun? Likely to be in the sitemap @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Using Wordpress?
  53. 53. ● Always check your sitemap settings, crawl your sitemap for the list of URLs that you’ll be submitting to Google. ● Any URLs you don’t agree with? Remove via settings or noindex them (will remove them from Yoast). @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Optimising Yoast Sitemaps
  54. 54. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Check out Michelle’s AWESOME Sitemap Guide! @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  55. 55. BRAUMGroup 56 301 Redirects ● Don’t forget about 301s for migrations & preferred version site-wide rules ● Eliminate redirect chains, check for redirects from internal links ● Don’t forget about old domains!! Key Takeaways Top Technical SEO Quick Wins (Part 1) Robots.txt File ● Check & test your robots.txt file ● Optimise your crawl budget Optimisation ● Optimisation should be unique, strategic, user friendly & tailored to competition ● Overuse SC’s search analytics report @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo
  56. 56. BRAUMGroup 57 Canonical Tags ● Use absolute links for canonical tags ● Beware of canonicalising pagination links Key Takeaways Top Technical SEO Quick Wins (Part 2) @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Sitemaps ● Beware of hidden errors within your sitemap(s) ● Ensure all important pages are included in the sitemap, that there are no orphaned pages, nor unwanted pages ● Use Last Modified date to notify Google of page updates
  57. 57. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard | #BrightonSeo Thank You!

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