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Max Prin, Head of Technical SEO, Merkle
@maxxeight
What does technical SEO look like in 2017?
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit2
Max Prin, Head of Technical SEO, Merkle
https://technicalseo.com
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit
SEO…
“Content is king”
“Links still matter”
“Technical SEO is more
important than ever”
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit7
Search Engines’ Goal
Serving the
best results
 Most relevant
 Great UX
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit8
How (Some) Search Engines Work?
1. Crawl the Web
2. (Render Pages)
3. Index URLs/Content
4. Rank URLs
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit9
Technical SEO’s Goal
Making sure search engines can access and understand your awesome content, and the
wonderful user experience you provide to your visitors.
Crawling
Can search
engines access
the pages?
Rendering
Can search
engines see the
content/UX?
Indexing
Are
URLs/content
indexed?
Crawling
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit11
Crawling
“Crawling is the entry point for sites
into Google's search results.
Efficient crawling of a website helps
with its indexing in Google Search.”
- Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit12
Crawling
How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?
 Provide clean URLs
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit13
Crawling: provide clean URLs (JavaScript-based websites)
Fragment Identifier: example.com/#url
 Not supported. Ignored. URL = example.com
Hashbang: example.com/#!url
 Google and Bing will request:
example.com/?_escaped_fragment_=url
 The escaped_fragment URL should return an HTML
snapshot
Clean URL: example.com/url
 Using the pushState function of the HTML5 History API
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit14
Crawling
How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?
 Provide clean URLs
 Lead bots to valuable pages
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit15
Crawling: leading bots to valuable pages
Clear/clean site navigation
Internal linking is a powerful
signal:
 Use <a href> elements
 Avoid “mega-mega” menus
Accurate/up-to-date Sitemaps
Sitemaps (XML or HTML) should
only include URLs that:
 Render a 200 OK status code
 Have a self-referencing
canonical tag (or no tag)
Properly handled duplicate
content and low-value pages
Parameterized URLs, sorts and
facet navigation, etc.
 Use canonical/noindex tags
 Non-indexable URLs are crawled
less often
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit16
Crawling: recommendations and tools
Analyze your log files and crawl your site to find out if:
 Search engine bots are not crawling some URLs
 Pages are not properly linked to, internally
 Sitemaps contain non-canonical URLs
 Low-value and duplicate pages are indexable
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit17
Crawling
How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?
 Provide clean URLs
 Lead bots to valuable pages
 Make bots crawl more pages
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit18
Crawling: making bots crawl more pages
Decreased load time = increased crawl rate
 Fast and reliable server (no 5xx errors)
 Content Delivery Network
Rendering = requesting ALL resources
 Reduce the size of resources
(compression, minification, etc.)
 Reduce the number of requests (redirects,
icons, fonts, etc.)
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit19
(Fast site: better user experience)
 Optimize the critical rendering path
(perceived latency)
 Make the content above the fold appear faster
 Use HTTP/2
 Multiplexing, binary headers, header
compression, server push
Better engagement metrics: lower bounce
rate, higher time on site (short vs. long clicks)
https://raventools.com/blog/free-ssl-http2/
Rendering
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit21
Rendering
Google is leveraging a
headless browser to
fully render webpages.
Executing JavaScript/CSS
“Understanding web pages better”
Source Code DOM
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit22
Rendering: mobile-friendliness
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit23
(Mobile-First Index)
Someday, Google will primarily crawl
the web with they mobile user agent
 Make sure ALL of your
valuable content is available
on your mobile site.
http://maxpr.in/merkle-mobile-first
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit24
Rendering: intrusive interstitials
As of January 10, 2017:
Pages with
intrusive
interstitials
may not rank
as high
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit25
Rendering: Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit26
Rendering
How to make sure Google can “understand” your pages?
 Don’t block resources
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit27
Rendering: don’t block resources (robots.txt)
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit28
Rendering: robots.txt testing tool
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit29
Rendering
How to make sure Google can “understand” your pages?
 Don’t block resources
 Load content automatically
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit30
Rendering: load content automatically (vs. based on user interaction)
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit31
Rendering: fetch & render tool
Indexing
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit33
Indexing
Part of the indexing process is to “annotate semantics” in
order to retrieve relevant pages
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit34
Indexing
How to, technically, make your content more relevant?
 Optimize metadata
 Leverage structured data markup
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit35
Indexing: leverage structured data markup
Structured data markup has 2 components:
 Vocabulary: schema.org
 Format:
• Microdata
• JSON-LD
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit36
Indexing: leverage structured data markup
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit37
Indexing: leverage structured data markup
Google supports a ton of markups
that can enhance search results:
- Product, reviews, ratings
- Events, music, movie, recipes, etc.
Rich Snippet = Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit38
Wrap-up
Technical optimization can greatly
improve overall online performance
 Crawling
 More valuable pages indexed
 Unique content → more authority
 Fast side → better engagement metrics
 Rendering
 A great UX (mobile, PWA) understood by
search engines
 Indexing
 More relevance and rich snippets (better
CTR) through structured data markup
Thank you!

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Max Prin - MnSearch Summit 2017 - What does technical SEO look like in 2017?

  • 1. Max Prin, Head of Technical SEO, Merkle @maxxeight What does technical SEO look like in 2017?
  • 2. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit2 Max Prin, Head of Technical SEO, Merkle https://technicalseo.com
  • 3. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit SEO…
  • 6. “Technical SEO is more important than ever”
  • 7. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit7 Search Engines’ Goal Serving the best results  Most relevant  Great UX
  • 8. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit8 How (Some) Search Engines Work? 1. Crawl the Web 2. (Render Pages) 3. Index URLs/Content 4. Rank URLs
  • 9. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit9 Technical SEO’s Goal Making sure search engines can access and understand your awesome content, and the wonderful user experience you provide to your visitors. Crawling Can search engines access the pages? Rendering Can search engines see the content/UX? Indexing Are URLs/content indexed?
  • 11. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit11 Crawling “Crawling is the entry point for sites into Google's search results. Efficient crawling of a website helps with its indexing in Google Search.” - Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google
  • 12. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit12 Crawling How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?  Provide clean URLs
  • 13. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit13 Crawling: provide clean URLs (JavaScript-based websites) Fragment Identifier: example.com/#url  Not supported. Ignored. URL = example.com Hashbang: example.com/#!url  Google and Bing will request: example.com/?_escaped_fragment_=url  The escaped_fragment URL should return an HTML snapshot Clean URL: example.com/url  Using the pushState function of the HTML5 History API
  • 14. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit14 Crawling How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?  Provide clean URLs  Lead bots to valuable pages
  • 15. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit15 Crawling: leading bots to valuable pages Clear/clean site navigation Internal linking is a powerful signal:  Use <a href> elements  Avoid “mega-mega” menus Accurate/up-to-date Sitemaps Sitemaps (XML or HTML) should only include URLs that:  Render a 200 OK status code  Have a self-referencing canonical tag (or no tag) Properly handled duplicate content and low-value pages Parameterized URLs, sorts and facet navigation, etc.  Use canonical/noindex tags  Non-indexable URLs are crawled less often
  • 16. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit16 Crawling: recommendations and tools Analyze your log files and crawl your site to find out if:  Search engine bots are not crawling some URLs  Pages are not properly linked to, internally  Sitemaps contain non-canonical URLs  Low-value and duplicate pages are indexable
  • 17. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit17 Crawling How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?  Provide clean URLs  Lead bots to valuable pages  Make bots crawl more pages
  • 18. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit18 Crawling: making bots crawl more pages Decreased load time = increased crawl rate  Fast and reliable server (no 5xx errors)  Content Delivery Network Rendering = requesting ALL resources  Reduce the size of resources (compression, minification, etc.)  Reduce the number of requests (redirects, icons, fonts, etc.)
  • 19. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit19 (Fast site: better user experience)  Optimize the critical rendering path (perceived latency)  Make the content above the fold appear faster  Use HTTP/2  Multiplexing, binary headers, header compression, server push Better engagement metrics: lower bounce rate, higher time on site (short vs. long clicks) https://raventools.com/blog/free-ssl-http2/
  • 21. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit21 Rendering Google is leveraging a headless browser to fully render webpages. Executing JavaScript/CSS “Understanding web pages better” Source Code DOM
  • 22. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit22 Rendering: mobile-friendliness
  • 23. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit23 (Mobile-First Index) Someday, Google will primarily crawl the web with they mobile user agent  Make sure ALL of your valuable content is available on your mobile site. http://maxpr.in/merkle-mobile-first
  • 24. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit24 Rendering: intrusive interstitials As of January 10, 2017: Pages with intrusive interstitials may not rank as high
  • 25. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit25 Rendering: Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
  • 26. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit26 Rendering How to make sure Google can “understand” your pages?  Don’t block resources
  • 27. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit27 Rendering: don’t block resources (robots.txt)
  • 28. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit28 Rendering: robots.txt testing tool
  • 29. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit29 Rendering How to make sure Google can “understand” your pages?  Don’t block resources  Load content automatically
  • 30. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit30 Rendering: load content automatically (vs. based on user interaction)
  • 31. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit31 Rendering: fetch & render tool
  • 33. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit33 Indexing Part of the indexing process is to “annotate semantics” in order to retrieve relevant pages
  • 34. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit34 Indexing How to, technically, make your content more relevant?  Optimize metadata  Leverage structured data markup
  • 35. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit35 Indexing: leverage structured data markup Structured data markup has 2 components:  Vocabulary: schema.org  Format: • Microdata • JSON-LD
  • 36. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit36 Indexing: leverage structured data markup
  • 37. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit37 Indexing: leverage structured data markup Google supports a ton of markups that can enhance search results: - Product, reviews, ratings - Events, music, movie, recipes, etc. Rich Snippet = Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • 38. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit38 Wrap-up Technical optimization can greatly improve overall online performance  Crawling  More valuable pages indexed  Unique content → more authority  Fast side → better engagement metrics  Rendering  A great UX (mobile, PWA) understood by search engines  Indexing  More relevance and rich snippets (better CTR) through structured data markup

Editor's Notes

  1. Search engines’ work can be boiled down to three core functions: Crawl, Index and Rank. As Google is able to execute JavaScript and fully render webpages, an additional step needs to be considered in the process: rendering, in between crawling and indexing. While technical SEO is only one aspect of SEO, overall online performance can be greatly improved through technical optimization of a website. In this session, we’ll go over some technical recommendations that help search engines’ efficiency: how to optimize crawling, rendering and indexing to eventually improve rankings?
  2. Search engines’ mission: Serving the best results to their users (based on their intent) Relevance (content) + Popularity (links) UX (mobile-friendly, fast)
  3. Your goal when doing technical SEO work is to make sure search engines can access and index your awesome content, and understand the great UX you provide to your visitors. Why is “technical SEO more important than ever”? Because while search engines get smarter and smarter, they’re not moving as fast as web development technologies, and simply not human (machine learning: great, but not the answer to everything). Sometimes, the quality of the content or the UX is not the cause of poor rankings. It’s their lack of visibility. The inability for search engines to understand that they’re there and they’re great.
  4. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2017/01/what-crawl-budget-means-for-googlebot.html - Small websites: not something to really worry about, but…
  5. Fragment identifier: this URL structure is already a concept in the web and relates to deep linking into content on a particular page (“jump links”). Can’t be accessed/crawled/indexed. Hashbang: Used with the “old” AJAX crawling scheme. Not recommended, more complex to implement. Clean URL using History API’s pushState function. Must return a 200 status code when loaded directly
  6. Ranking positive outcome: Unique content -> more authority
  7. HTTP/2: https://www.merkleinc.com/blog/http2-electric-boogaloo-0 Cloudflare: CDN + HTTPS + HTTP/2 for FREE! https://raventools.com/blog/free-ssl-http2/ (Jon Henshaw)
  8. Googlebot is leveraging a headless browser (most likely a version of Chromium) to fully render webpages. “Understanding web pages better”: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/05/understanding-web-pages-better.html Indexing dynamic content Understanding UX: mobile friendliness, intrusive/content-blocking interstitials
  9. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor
  10. https://www.merkleinc.com/thought-leadership/white-papers/digital-marketing-channels/seo/technical/road-mobile-first-our-technical-seo-guide
  11. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/building-indexable-progressive-web-apps.html Usually, PWAs are JavaScript-based website Server-side vs. client-side rendering
  12. Googlebot is able to execute JavaScript/CSS to crawl and index dynamic content as well as “understand web pages better”: mobile-friendliness (mobile-first index coming), intrusive interstitials, PWAs. As advanced as the search engine is, there are a few things to remember and implement.
  13. User-agent: * Disallow: /js/ Disallow: /css/ Disallow: /img/
  14. https://technicalseo.com/seo-tools/robots-txt/
  15. Googlebot is able to execute JavaScript to crawl and index dynamic content. As advanced as the search engine is, there are a few things to remember and implement.
  16. Mega menu – mouseover + ajax Tabs/accordeons – click + ajax Load more/infinite scroll - click/scroll + ajax
  17. https://technicalseo.com/seo-tools/fetch-render/ - DOM Snapshot – dynamic “hidden” content
  18. Paul Haar -> analyze crawled pages: extract links, render contents, annotate semantics… “Indexing” is not only for search engines to add URLs/pages to their indices. While scoring happens right before ranking, search engines index and flag pages based on their content, and more specifically, based on what they understand about the content => understanding what the content is about is the key to relevance.
  19. Leveraging structured data markup, where applicable, in order to create context and improve relevance
  20. Microdata: introduced with HTML5. Attributes and values directly integrated into HTML elements -> can quickly become complicated to implement, especially when the data is not grouped together in the code. JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data): much easier to implement (1 block of script) Bing doesn’t officially support JSON-LD yet It’s easy to forget the golden rule of SDM: do not markup non-visible data
  21. Almost anything and everything can be marked up.
  22. https://developers.google.com/schemas/reference/ Ranking positive outcomes: More relevance better CTR -> better rankings