SEO for Dynamic Websites - Make Web Not War 2011


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SEO is an essential part of making sure that your websites are found and fully indexed by Google. In this session, we will examine the technical factors that influence how search engines index a website, and audience members will learn how to optimize both websites and CMS for search engine visibility.

Specifically, this session will address issues such as:

• Proper implementation of various HTML elements,
• Effective use of AJAX and Flash,
• Use of redirections (301 vs 302),
• Proper URL structuring and rewriting,
• Duplicate content and the canonical tag

Published in: Business, Technology, Design
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SEO for Dynamic Websites - Make Web Not War 2011

  1. 1. Technical SEO for Dynamic Websites <ul><li>MWNW, 2011 </li></ul>
  2. 2. SEO FOR DYNAMIC WEBSITES <ul><li>INTRO </li></ul><ul><li>Mohammad Hamad </li></ul><ul><li>Agency Hack with @nvi </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger/Geek @ mohamedhamad </li></ul>
  3. 3. SEO FOR DYNAMIC WEBSITES <ul><li>INTRO </li></ul><ul><li>CT Moore </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing Hack with @nvi </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Editor with @revenews </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger/Geek @gypsybandito </li></ul>
  4. 4. SEO for Dynamic Sites <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Intro / Overview </li></ul><ul><li>SEO – 3 Core Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Information Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Linkjuice 101 </li></ul><ul><li>Coder Cheat Sheets </li></ul><ul><li>Do ’ s & Don ’ ts </li></ul><ul><li>Canonicalization Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Site Speed </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE SEO OPPORTUNITY <ul><li>OVERVIEW </li></ul><ul><li>Search Behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>73% of users don ’ t go past 1 st page of SERPs. </li></ul><ul><li>71% don ’ t go past the first 5 results. </li></ul><ul><li>Only 10% go to the 3 rd result. </li></ul><ul><li>Only 4.5% go to the 5 th result. </li></ul>
  6. 6. THE SEO OPPORTUNITY <ul><li>OVERVIEW </li></ul>Americans spend 138 million hours a month searching. – AdAge, Aug. 2010
  7. 7. THE SEO OPPORTUNITY <ul><li>OVERVIEW </li></ul><ul><li>78% of Canadians online will use search engines to research online and offline purchases </li></ul><ul><li>27% of those who researched product info online purchased online </li></ul><ul><li>45% of those that searched for product information online still purchase via traditional retail </li></ul><ul><li>In 2009, search represented over 41% of overall online revenue , $741 million in Canada </li></ul><ul><li>106 million search engine queries a day in Canada </li></ul><ul><li>77% of all Canadian Internet traffic starts from a search engine </li></ul><ul><li>98% of online users rely on search engines to find websites </li></ul>Source : IAB 2010 & Comscore 2009.
  8. 8. FORECAST : US INTERACTIVE SPEND FROM 2009 – 2014 <ul><li>OVERVIEW </li></ul>Source : Forrester ’ s Interactive Advertising Models, 4/09 and 10/08 (US only) .
  9. 9. SEO SEEN AS MOST EFFECTIVE IN GENERATING CONVERSIONS <ul><li>Search </li></ul>Most effective digital marketing tools for generating conversations Source: © C opyright FORBES 2009
  10. 10. SEO & PPC ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE TACTICS WHEN IT COMES TO RESULT ACHIEVEMENT <ul><li>Search </li></ul>Results vs. expectations for digital marketing compaigns Source: © C opyright FORBES 2009
  11. 11. SEO FOR DEVELOPERS <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Really? Why Bother? </li></ul><ul><li>SEOs often recommend developing more sites / widgets / apps </li></ul><ul><li>SEO needs ongoing web dev monitoring to preserve momentum </li></ul><ul><li>SEO revenues can crash after poorly executed site revamp </li></ul><ul><li>SEO = #1 strategy to grow user-base  more dev work </li></ul><ul><li>SEOs depend on web devs knowlege to create tools & tricks </li></ul><ul><li>SEOs always want the same stuff over and over (easy to please) </li></ul><ul><li>SEOs hate outsourcing to India </li></ul>
  12. 12. SEO “101” <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Removing any hurdle to the crawlers is key for a perfect indexation </li></ul><ul><li>Map your site architecture in accordance with semantic verticals to reach ideal relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>Balance the q uantity, quality, aging & regularity of your linkgraph to maximize popularity </li></ul>INDEXATION + RELEVANCY + POPULARITY
  13. 13. 3 CORE PRINCIPLES OF SEO <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>INDEXATION </li></ul><ul><li>Technical Solution that respects SEO Best Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Site Architecture Mapped to Semantic Verticals </li></ul><ul><li>Archiving that preserves content integration & interlinking forever </li></ul><ul><li>RELEVANCE </li></ul><ul><li>Optimizing Keywords into Silos </li></ul><ul><li>Internal linking strategy that distributes SEO & PageRank value </li></ul><ul><li>POPULARITY </li></ul><ul><li>Quantity / Quality / Age / Frequency of links obtained </li></ul><ul><li>Semantics aspect of backlinks (anchor text) </li></ul><ul><li>Diversification of backlink entry points (hub pages) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Serious Stuff
  15. 15. SITE ARCHITECTURE <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Building Content </li></ul><ul><li>Sites Categories </li></ul><ul><li>Content Siloing </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords & Categories </li></ul><ul><li>Short Tail vs Long Tail Keywords </li></ul>
  16. 16. SITE ARCHITECTURE - CATEGORIES <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>More than half of all traffic comes through search.
  17. 17. SITE ARCHITECTURE – SILOS <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Categories should be defined by keyword themes.
  18. 18. SITE ARCHITECTURE – KEYWORDS <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Shorter tail keyword = more competitive  they need more support from the long tail.
  19. 19. KEYWORDS – SHORT vs LONG TAIL <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Long tail often has 5-10 times the searches of short tail root keyword – i.e. “ laptops ” vs “ buy HP laptop ”
  20. 20. Linkjuice <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Link Basics </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines ‘ crawl ’ sites by following HTML and other links </li></ul><ul><li>They consider the quality and quantity of links pointing to a page = Link Popularity </li></ul><ul><li>Pages Need Link Popularity (or juice) to get indexed and rank </li></ul><ul><li>YOU get to control which pages on your site get indexed , and which ones get linkjuice . </li></ul><ul><li>A page being indexed by search engines is different from that page ’ s ability to accumulate or pass on link juice. </li></ul>
  21. 21. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice Robots.txt (file in root) EG: Disallow: /news/pdf-copies/ Stops pages or directories from appearing in Search Engine indexes Pages ‘ blocked ’ by robots.txt can still accumulate and pass linkjuice Block what you don ’ t want indexed: Session IDs / dupe URLs: Disallow: *partner=* Entire directories : Disallow: /news/pdf-copies/ Internal SERPs: Disallow: *car-search-query=* External affiliate links: Disallow: *GO.cgi* If excluded pages have external links, expect 'URL-only' listings: No title, snippet, size or cache. For no listing at all, allow bots & use Meta noindex
  22. 22. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice On-Page Meta No-Index (<head> of page) EG: <meta name= “ robots ” content= “ noindex ” > Stops the page from appearing in Search Engine indexes entirely. Pages ‘ blocked ’ by robots.txt can still accumulate and pass linkjuice. You may want to use Meta Noindex if: you can ’ t alter your robots.txt, or if robots.txt standard is not flexible enough, or if you don ’ t want URL listings.
  23. 23. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice On-Page Meta No-follow (<head> of page) EG: <meta name= “ robots ” content= “ nofollow ” > Stops spiders from following the links on the page (which may still get indexed via other links) The pages can still accumulate linkjuice (and rank), but can ’ t pass it on You may wish to nofollow an entire page like a list of paid sponsors.
  24. 24. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice Rel=nofollow (in an <a href> link) EG: <a href= “ ” rel= “ nofollow ” > Stops spiders from following a specific link. They don ’ t crawl or discover through nofollow links. Stops Linkjuice from flowing through a specific link. Past controversy on its use within a domain to ‘ sculpt PR flow ’ and if that is still enforced by Google. For pre-established or efforts already in place, consider switching nofollowed links to javascript links to ensure a similar effect.
  25. 25. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice 301 Redirection ( many types of implementation ) EG: redirect /old/page.php /new_page.php [301, permanent] Spiders follow redirect and discover new pages. Search Engines transfer linkjuice from old pages to new pages . If any URLs change, this is the best way to shift linkjuice from old to new. 301s are the only way to transfer linkjuice from one domain to another.
  26. 26. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice Canonicalization tag (<head> of page) EG: <canonical = “ /proper/product/page.php “ > Spiders go to referred page like a 301 redirect . Does not work across domains. Search Engines transfer linkjuice from variation pages to real page . <ul><li>A new approach to both indexation control and linkjuice control </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by The Big Three: Google, Yahoo, MSN </li></ul><ul><li>May be cheaper than redoing your entire site from scratch, for now </li></ul><ul><li>May see faster results than redoing your entire site </li></ul><ul><li>May become a maintenance nightmare </li></ul><ul><li>Can turn out to be as or more complex than doing it right from scratch </li></ul>
  27. 27. LINKJUICE - CHEAT SHEET <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>Tag/Command Indexation Linkjuice Javascript Link EG: <div onclick=&quot;document.location.href=''&quot;> Google tries to crawl and index if URL is easily to access – in onclick or href If crawlable, Google will try to pass linkjuice <ul><li>Before rel=nofollow, many SEOs used uncrawlable JS links for sculpting. This is starting to get popular again. </li></ul><ul><li>May not carry as much weight, and should not be used as main navigation </li></ul>
  28. 28. FREE SEO TOOLS #1 <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Google Webmaster Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Identify Crawl problems (spider data over time!) </li></ul><ul><li>Find duplicate titles and meta descriptions </li></ul><ul><li>Quickly identify 404 issues </li></ul><ul><li>List your pages by internal or external links </li></ul><ul><li>Manage and find errors in sitemaps </li></ul><ul><li>Test your robots.txt file against specific URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Basic domain canonicalization (www to non-www) </li></ul>
  29. 29. FREE SEO TOOLS #2 <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Xenu Link Sleuth </li></ul><ul><li>Find broken links (sort by status) </li></ul><ul><li>Find duplicate title tags (sort by title) </li></ul><ul><li>Find heavy pages (sort by size) </li></ul><ul><li>Find pages too many clicks from home (sort by level) </li></ul><ul><li>Find pages with too few internal links (sort by In links) </li></ul><ul><li>Find images without ALT text (sort by type, scan title field) </li></ul><ul><li>Test non-canonical URLs (from a text file) and view status </li></ul><ul><li>Find outgoing links to broken pages or expired content </li></ul><ul><li>Find bot traps (like open ended calendars) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Free SEO Tools #2 <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul>
  31. 31. DO ’S & DONT’S – 101 <ul><li>SEO </li></ul><ul><li>TOP 5 FACTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links </li></ul><ul><li>External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links) </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains) </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag </li></ul><ul><li>Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains </li></ul>Source : SEOmoz Search Ranking Factors 2009 <ul><li>TOP 5 NEGATIVE FACTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Cloaking with Malicious/Manipulative Intent. </li></ul><ul><li>Link Acquisition from Known Link Brokers/Sellers </li></ul><ul><li>Links from the Page to Web Spam Sites/Pages </li></ul><ul><li>Cloaking by User Agent </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent Server Downtime & Site Inaccessibility </li></ul>
  32. 32. DO ’S & DONT’S – ONSITE <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>SEO To-Do </li></ul><ul><li>Define your IA and determine canonical URLs for hub pages across all major categories, with expansion ability </li></ul><ul><li>Use breadcrumb style navigation – Put all new content in it! </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EG: Home > Kitchen > Major Appliances > Stoves </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Include relevant category-specific navigation at each level </li></ul><ul><li>Make interlinking mandatory! Include in-content links to similar pages around the site, and give links from other pages </li></ul><ul><li>Keep updated HTML and XML sitemaps for all new content </li></ul><ul><li>Learn all the (new) ways to control indexation and linkjuice flow </li></ul>
  33. 33. DO ’S & DONT’S – ONSITE <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>SEO Don ’ ts </li></ul><ul><li>Let the same content appear on more than one URL </li></ul><ul><li>Just throw content up without linking to it, or linking from it </li></ul><ul><li>Spread your linkjuice thin over pages without unique content </li></ul><ul><li>Leave open ended page scripts like calendars </li></ul><ul><li>Archive poorly (or not at all) without respect to your IA </li></ul><ul><li>Return server headers other than 404 for error pages </li></ul><ul><li>Think you can fix linkjuice distribution issues with robots.txt </li></ul>
  34. 34. CANONICALIZATION ISSUES <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Duplicate Content </li></ul><ul><li> VS VS VS </li></ul><ul><li>Category & Product Pages </li></ul><ul><li>… /product.php?category=clothing&sub-category=pants&gender=mens </li></ul><ul><li>… /product.php?gender=mens&category=clothing&sub-category=pants </li></ul><ul><li>… /product.php?category=clothing&sub-category=pants&gender=mens&color=blue </li></ul>
  35. 35. CANONICALIZATION ISSUES <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Quick Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>No Capital letters, special characters, or spaces  use dashes </li></ul><ul><li>Parameters in URLs are fine but only if variable order / useless variables are taken care of – try to also limit to up to 5 parameters </li></ul><ul><li>Use standard HTML tags (<H1>, <ul>, <a>) </li></ul><ul><li>Session ID variables should likely use the canonical tag </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid code-bloating: place visible content higher in the code </li></ul>
  36. 36. ROADBLOCKS 101 <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>In the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox , turn off javascript and Meta Refresh. Visit your homepage again. Ensure you get the same page and not a blank one. </li></ul><ul><li>Leave javascript turned off and click around your site. If navigation is fluid, fine. If you are not able to navigate for your main pages, fix it. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that there is no content that can only be reached after filling a form or xyz signup. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your file doesn ’ t block all visiting spiders. This is the most deadly and most common mistake when a website relaunch occurs. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure you have installed Google and Bing webmaster tools and that both of them run without any major crawling issue. Fix everything! </li></ul>
  37. 37. SITE SPEED <ul><li>CONFOO </li></ul><ul><li>Page speed matters (now). So benchmark yourself against leaders. In a way, that ’ s fun, you can create “ Page speed contests ” now. </li></ul><ul><li>To do so, install Google Page Speed and Yahoo ’ s Yslow. </li></ul><ul><li>Run them on your home page and at least a few random internal pages </li></ul><ul><li>Follow every recommendations for: image optimization, gzip compression, javascript “ minification ” , CSS “ minification ” . </li></ul><ul><li>Once this is done, look at subtler speed improvements they recommend. </li></ul><ul><li>Moving to a stable Cloud environment isn ’ t a bad idea either. </li></ul>
  38. 38. CONTACT COORDINATES <ul><li>OUTRO </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>M h [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Site: </li></ul><ul><li>Blog (EN): </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul><ul><li>@nvi – @gypsybandito – @mohamedhamad </li></ul>