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@fighto
REDEFINING
Technical SEO
@fighto
@fighto
@fighto
SEO PILLARS
What is SEO?
SEO
RELEVANCE
AUTHORITY &
TRUST
WEBSITE
INFRASTRUCTURE
(And Search Engine
Accessibility)
@fighto
IN PRACTICE
SEO PILLARS
SEO
CONTENT
STRATEGY
DIGITAL PR &
LINK
BUILDING
“TECHNICAL SEO”
@fighto
Unlearning
© akg-images / Johann Brandstetter
@fighto
Unlearning
@fighto
Unlearning
@fighto
Oversimplification SEO
@fighto
WEBSITE
INFRASTRUCTURE
(And Search Engine
Accessibility)
“TECHNICAL SEO”
@fighto
When most people discuss
technical SEO
CRAWL
INDEX
RANK
@fighto
When most people discuss
technical SEO
CRAWL
INDEX
RENDER
RANK
@fighto
@fighto
Most of the Way There
@fighto
CMS Usage
33%
60%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
% All Websites
% CMS Market
WordPress Joomla Drupal Squarespace Wix Other
Wordpress
Wordpress
https://kinsta.com/wordpress-market-share/
@fighto
Technical SEO?
• Most modern CMSs do the heavy
lifting of technical SEO.
• The barrier of getting technical SEO to
“good enough” in some ways is much
lower than getting content right in
most cases.
@fighto https://searchengineland.com/role-technical-seo-makeup-really-2518351
@fighto
LET’S
REDEFINE
TECHNICAL
SEO
@fighto
https://www.catalystdigital.com/techseoboost/
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO?
WHAT IS
Any sufficiently technical
action undertaken with the
intent to improve search
results.
Russ Jones,
Principle Search Scientist, Moz,
at TechSEO Boost 2017
”
”
@fighto
Types of Technical SEO
CHECKLIST
TECHNICAL SEO
GENERAL TECHNICAL
SEO
BLURRED-
RESPONSIBILITY
TECHNICAL SEO
ADVANCED APPLIED
TECHNICAL SEO
@fighto
Types of Technical SEO
CHECKLIST
TECHNICAL SEO
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO
CHECKLIST
Does the page have a canonical tag?
Is the canonical tag crawlable and
correctly formatted?
Is the canonical tag directed at the desired
URL?
If canonical tag destination is self-
referencing, should it be?
Does the destination URL include a
parameter that it should not?
Are there conflicting signals with the
canonical tag?
Is the destination URL crawlable and
accessible?
YES
YES
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO
CHECKLIST
@fighto
Types of Technical SEO
GENERAL TECHNICAL
SEO
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO
General
Crawling,
Indexing,
Rendering
Insights
Are
Difficult to
Automate
Higher
Skill Work
Examples:
• Finding and correcting
obscure crawler traps
generated by CMS bug
• Designing maximally
crawlable, taxonomically
sound site architecture
• Internal linking analysis
• SSR Design
• Etc.
@fighto
Types of Technical SEO
BLURRED-
RESPONSIBILITY
TECHNICAL SEO
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO
Blurry-Responsibility
Examples:
• Web Performance Optimization
• Internal Site Search Design
• Structured Data
• Advanced Analytics Implementation
• Etc.
UX?
Front End
Web
Development
?
CRO?
@fighto
Types of Technical SEO
ADVANCED APPLIED
TECHNICAL SEO
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO
Advanced, Applied
Examples:
• SEO testing
• Adoption of new technologies that effect search
(potentially may be a blurry-lined item)
• Data science for SEO purposes
• NLP to enhance content development
• Use of ML for search data
• Automation
“All SEO can be technical SEO!”
Defying Traditional
Technical SEO
Examples
https://searchwilderness.com/mozcon-2019/
@fighto
Link Development
@fighto
Expired Domains
What it Does
1. Takes outlink report from
Screaming Frog
2. Distills URLs to Domains
3. Runs Moz Linkscape API against
the list for PA & DA
4. Checks HTTP Status Code
5. Runs WHOIS API to see if
domain is available
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/a86dc340f57c38fc
22d0545ddec1fc9e
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
On-Page SEO
@fighto
Optimize On-Page with Google Entity Extraction
1. Enable Google NLP API
2. Input SERP data, either via CSV,
or rank tracking API
3. Download all ranking pages and
remove boilerplate content
4. Run Google API to isolate
entities, count frequencies, and
determine document salience
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/754ce79565f0bae
a702f8ada9a03c55d
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Content Ideation
@fighto
Reddit for Niche Content Insights
1. Input reddit login credentials
2. Specify output CSV
3. Specify sorting method
4. Specify specific or all subreddits
5. Enter a series of keywords (e.g.,
“how to”, “where can I”, “board
games”, etc.)
6. Analyze
https://searchwilderness.com/reddit-python-code/
@fighto
Search Volume
90500
74000 74000
49500
33100 33100
22200
14800
12100
5400
3600 3600 3600
1900 1300 1300 1000
0
10000
20000
30000
40000
50000
60000
70000
80000
90000
100000
guillermo
del toro
george
romero
alfred
hitchcock
john
carpenter
wes craven eli roth james wan clive barker david
cronenberg
dario
argento
ti west tobe hooper joe dante lucio fulci mario bava don
coscarelli
stuart
gordon
@fighto
Reddit Upvotes
10359
9788
6406
6072
3967
3700
2183
1577
973
733 699
278 272 262 246 241
56
2909
1504
1255
1079 938
1697
993
522
267
512
217 96 95 146 45 54 37
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10000
12000
john
carpenter
george
romero
wes craven guillermo
del toro
clive barker eli roth james wan dario
argento
lucio fulci ti west david
cronenberg
tobe hooper mario bava alfred
hitchcock
stuart
gordon
don
coscarelli
joe dante
Upvotes Comments
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Content Ideation
Continued
@fighto
YouTube Subtitles for Content Ideas
1. Input YouTube Playlist URL
2. Download all auto-generated
subtitles
3. Remove stopwords
4. Do frequency analysis on text
5. Analyze
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/e9a2388a2d527c
00fb66b57d429b9ed0
@fighto
MozCon 2016 YouTube Playlist
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Automation
@fighto
Automatic Wayback Machine 301 Mapping
1. Find all historic URLs from Wayback
Machine API
2. Extract text without boilerplate
content from current website
3. Extract text from Wayback Machine
archives without boilerplate content
4. Compare old and new content with
spaCy’s pre-trained CNN
5. Analyze
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/15c6733e2ff17c73f6
9f0b38eaaded10
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Bulk Meta
Descriptions
@fighto
Semi-Automated Meta Descriptions
1. Input a list of URL into source text
file
2. Specify output file
3. Use various text summarization
methods to create brief descriptions
of the pages
4. Receive CSV
5. Edit descriptions accordingly
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/fe8b0c9cfd57481dfb
8e247aacd06c18
https://searchwilderness.com/tools/pixel-length/
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Keyword Research
@fighto
Persona-Based Keyword Research
1. Create a generic crosstab report in
HitWise AudienceView with default
demographic and psychographic
data
2. Input list of keywords
3. Browser simulate with Selenium
4. Get CSV with data compared to
general online population
5. Create personas for keyword
research
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/15c6733e2ff17c73f6
9f0b38eaaded10
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Dashboard / Reporting
Automation
@fighto
Storing Search Data for Reporting Dashboards
Search Console as Example
1. Download search query data via
API and store in SQL database
2. Incorporate all data sources
together and manipulate them
accordingly
3. Schedule collections
4. Display data with dashboarding
software (Tableau, Google Data
Studio, Power BI, etc.)
https://searchwilderness.com/gwmt-data-
python/#searchanalytics
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
A/B Testing &
Experimenting
for SEO
@fighto
Conducting SEO Experiments
WHY:
• Far too often, SEOs recommend thing
based on the status-quo, best
practices, theory, and pre-conceived
notions.
• Experimentation can produce huge lift.
Often, some of the largest lift.
• Experimentation can help us better
understand how the search engines
work.
H OW:
• Writing testing specs and
documentation
• Follow scientific method
• Measure before, after, and attempt to
isolate anomalies
@fighto
Subject Website Example – Title Tags
Test Group 1: Control –
Title Tags Unchanched
• Amazon.com: Generic
265D Lee Goal White
Butterfly Pink Flowers
Pattern Lace Bamboo
Handheld Folding Fans
For Girls Women, Blue,
One Size: Home &
Kitchen
• Amazon.com: Microfiber
Cleaning Cloths, 5 Pack,
Blue, All-Purpose
Reusable Dust Cloths,
Machine Washable:
Home & Kitchen
Test Group 2: Variant A –
{Product} | {Brand.com}
• Cnlinkco Pastoral Floral
Printed Sleeveless
Vintage Mini Dress:
Clothing | Amazon.com
• 18 X 18 Inch Cotton Linen
Retro Vintage Home
Decorative
Indoor/Outdoor Throw
Cushion Cover / Pillow
Sham | Amazon.com
Test Group 2: Variant B –
{Brand.com} Removed
• Amazon.com: John
Lennon Inspired
Sunglasses Round Hippie
Shades Retro Colored
Lenses (Purple Ice):
Clothing
• Amazon.com: AMTOK
Blackhead Remover Kit
Curved Blackhead
Tweezers Kit Pimple
Comedone Extractor Tool
Set Dermatologist Grade
Kit Treatment for Blemish
, Zit Popper (Tweezers Kit
Rose Gold): Beauty
Test Group 2: Variant C –
{Brand} (.com removed)
• Amazon.com: Apple
Watch Screen Protector
(42mm Series 3/2/1
Compatible)[6-Pack],
DeltaShield BodyArmor
Full Coverage Screen
Protector for Apple Watch
Military-Grade Clear HD
Anti-Bubble Film: Toys &
Games
• Amazon.com: Kate Aspen
LOVE Chrome Bottle
Stopper, Silver/Pink:
Kitchen & Dining
https://codeascraft.com/2016/10/25/seo-title-tag-optimization/
https://gist.github.com/pshapiro/3944b7e05e9b976cb4fc991af22ad584
@fighto
Search Engine Behavior Example –
JavaScript Writing Over Navigation
URL #1 = nonsenselala.html
Unique KW = ‘BagelHammersh’
Pg. 1
Feature A
Hidden Content =
(Nonsense/ “unique” text)
“BlahDehBlehFoo”
Feature B
Hidden Link =
‘FooFeeFoGround’
Pg. 2
URL #2 = madeupwordisfoo.html
Unique Kw = ‘SomethingSumthang’
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEO
STATUS:
@fighto
Common Thread:
Coding is a Fundamental Skill for
Advanced, Applied Technical SEO
@fighto
@fighto
TECHNICAL
SEO
General
Crawling,
Indexing,
Rendering
Insights
Are
Difficult to
Automate
Higher
Skill Work
Examples:
• Finding and correcting
obscure crawler traps
generated by CMS bug
• Designing maximally
crawlable, taxonomically
sound site architecture
• Internal linking analysis
• SSR Design
• Etc.
@fighto
“Invest in Technical SEOs,
Not Technical SEO”
@fighto
@fighto
Hiring Technical SEOs
People adept at utilizing their technical aptitude
and skills to aid, improve, and enhance both
technical and non-technical SEO tasks.
@fighto
How to Hire Techical SEOs
Look for Similar Traits of Good Engineers:
• It’s not all about the code
• Strong ability to problem solve and think critically
• Ability to communicate about and explain complex, technical topics
• Creative
@fighto
How to Train/Learn Coding
• Don’t fixate too much on the language, learn the logic
• If you need to pick a language
Data Analysis Emphasis Web Development Emphasis
@fighto
How to Train/Learn Coding
• Have practical goals to work toward. Don’t learn for the sake of
learning. Apply. Build something.
• Leverage online tutorials, MOOCs, Codecademy, etc.
• Don’t be afraid to look to examples on GitHub, StackOverflow
• You don’t have to do everything yourself if you have the resources
and understand the logic
@fighto
CONTENT > TECHNICAL SEO?
@fighto
CONTENT < TECHNICAL SEO?
@fighto
Redfined
SEO
CONTENT
STRATEGY
DIGITAL PR &
LINK
BUILDING
TECHNICAL SEO
Technical SEO
@fighto
TECHNICAL SEOs
@fighto
CatalystDigital.com | info@CatalystDigital.com
Organic Search | Paid Search | Paid Social Advertising
Ecommerce Marketing & Amazon Advertising
Thank You!

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Redefining Technical SEO, #MozCon 2019 by Paul Shapiro

Editor's Notes

  1. Let’s take a trip back to SEO grade school… To the very beginning when you were learning our craft.
  2. Grab your Ninja Turtles lunch box and recall what you were taught about it in the early days…
  3. If you were like me, you had a picture painted like so. 3 pillars intersecting in the venn diagram of search engininess…
  4. Which in practice, equated to the following sub-disciplines… (often silod)
  5. The problem is that the things we were taught in school weren’t always right, were sometimes oversimplifications, embellishments, collective truths that were in reality collective falsehoods, etc. For instance, an apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head did not cause him to have a eureka moment resulting in the law of gravity. He was observing apples fall in his orchard though.
  6. “i before e except after c” It’s generally true, but there are something like 193 exceptions.
  7. Benjamin franklin’s famous kite experience, not used to discoverer electricity. Electricity was well know for quite some time. This was to test electrical nature of lightning.
  8. I recall an anecdote from college where a friend majoring in engineering told me how everyone is taught V=IR, except the equation falls apart in more complex scenarios, a so called “infinite grid of resistors” Anyway, SEO is no different. It’s complex, and its subject to overs implications among other things.
  9. So let’s evaluate how the common definition of technical SEO in my opinion is somewhat misguided.
  10. Traditionally, technical SEO is about designing well architected websites that enable proper crawling and indexing of its content, so that it may rank.
  11. And of course, with JavaScript heavy websites increasing in popularity steadily over the years, the model comes to include proper rendering of that for bots.
  12. And don’t get me wrong, this is hugely important. If you’re an ecommerce website and product can’t be crawled or isn’t crawled properly, then you’re missing out on sales that you would have gotten from one of the highest converting channels there is.
  13. Websites can get quite complex and expertise in how all of this works is surely necessary.
  14. BUT… you can have the most technically sound website and earn no traffic from organic search, get no sales, because at the end of the day—it’s content that drives that. Content may be more important. (shrug) “GASP”—How can I say that!? this is the technical SEO. I’m getting there.
  15. Furthermore, there are some very easy ways to get your technical seo right. A wordpress installation with the yoast plugin, gets you most of the way there.
  16. In fact, if we look at the adoption of WordPress across the web, we might conjecture that a large portion of websites are already set-up for success.
  17. So, it’s no wonder you see articles like this popping up. I think the underlying idea isn’t entirely wrong, but it was a very poor, offensive analogy and a bit inflammatory. Technical SEO is very important. There’s also WAY MORE to technical SEO than what articles like these are talking about. There’s WAY MORE to it that the definition that you learned in SEO grade school permits.
  18. Let’s redefine technical SEO.
  19. If you aren’t already aware, I founded a conference completely dedicated to technical SEO, TechSEO Boost. It’s coming back for its 3rd year in December. It’s free to attend. Although we have a lottery for tickets. We’re also livestreaming it for free if you can’t make it.
  20. If you aren’t already aware, I founded a conference completely dedicated to technical SEO The first year we had it, I brought Russ Jones in to do a talk about the “state of technical SEO”. It was a brilliant presentation and during it, Russ gave his definition for what technical SEO is: “Any sufficiently technical action undertaken with the intent to improve search results” That certainly widens the playing field for technical SEO doesn’t it?
  21. Let’s dive deeper. As I see it, there are 4 types of technical SEO
  22. Checklist/automated technical SEO
  23. Checklist Technical SEO is where you can simply go through a checklist process, one item at a time and make sure things are as they should be.
  24. You can use a template like the one Annie Cushing sells (I’ve not actually seen it) and a use a tool like Screaming Frog or Botify to get most of the way there.
  25. Essentially it’s the lower skill form of traditional technical SEO and subject to automation. And, I don’t mean to diminish this either. There are tons of websites that get these things wrong and fixing them will most certainly help. But the robots are coming for your job if you rely entirely on this.
  26. General Technical SEO
  27. This concerns itself with the same things as checklist technical seo, has to do with the more traditional definition of crawling, indexing, and rendering— but requires higher skill and are more difficult to automate. These like finding and correcting obscure crawler traps generated by a bug in your CMS’s codebase, developing custom site architecture, internal linking analysis, SSR design, etc.
  28. Blurred-Responsibility Technical SEO …welcome to SEO folks
  29. Oftentimes as SEOs, there are technical (and non-technical) tasks that fall to us, that aren’t necessarily SEO tasks. They can easily fall to UX, CRO, Front End Web Development, Taxonomists, etc. These are tasks involving web performance optimization, internal site search system design, structured data, and analytics implementation All important to a holistic view of SEO, but can also fall to someone else.
  30. Advanced, applied technical seo
  31. Technical tasks that are specifically for SEO purposes, but not necessarily concerning crawling, indexing, and rendering. - SEO testing - Adoption of brand new technologies that effect search (might be a blurry-lined item) - Data science for SEO purposes - NLP to enhance content development - Use of ML to search data - Automation
  32. I’d like you to show particular attention to general technical seo and advanced, applied technical seo. When you consider these facets of tech SEO, the whole “tech SEO is makeup argument surely falls apart”. Tech SEO becomes integral to every aspect of SEO, from content, to link building, and of course, crawling, indexing, and rendering. All SEO can be technical SEO
  33. Now that you’re nice and excited let’s look at some examples and give you fine folks a bunch of free Python scripts…
  34. Applications to link development
  35. Expired domains script. Use to find old domains with great content. Redevelop that content’s purpose, examining the site with the wayback machine, and perform outreach. Explain how it works above
  36. For instance, I scraped a niche forum for my board game blog – boardgamesquad.com - saw an old domain for sale and reached out to the original author asking to use its old content. I could have just written to his highest linked content, but I’m giving this a try first. Technical application to link building.
  37. Applications to on-page SEO
  38. Now, what if we wanted to enhance the relevancy of our new and existing content and expand the breadth of our keywords? We could do something like this, using the Google Natural Language API. Explain how it works above
  39. So this represents scored entities on the term “martin guitars”. We can use these insights to enhance our Martin Guitars page, improving relevancy for that term by encompassing more topics, and rank for more keywords. Technical application of on-page SEO
  40. There are many technical approaches to content ideation, because data mining is so very useful for this purpose
  41. I’m a big redditor, and I think it’s a great source of content ideas. You have a bajillion niche communities, on every subject manner imaginable. Explain how it works above
  42. I feel as SEOs, we tend to over rely on Search Volume. You need more semblance of audience in your decisions. For instance, I used to run a horror movie blog. When I was looking to see which film directors to write about, I first looked at search volume. This data would have you believing that Alfred Hitchcock should be a high priority content piece.
  43. Head over to /r/horror, Dreadit and you see that he’s not discussed all that very much. Search Volume reflected the general populace, which wasn’t my audience. I was much better off writing about George Romero, which was the happy medium Data mining for content ideas. Technical application of on-page SEO.
  44. Let me give another example, since this one is so rich
  45. YouTube is a great repository of content, but it’s all locked up in videos. So you could use a script like the one above to automatically download all the auto generated transcripts and figure out what to write about. Explain above
  46. I ran this on the MozCon 2016 playlist. 2016 was the year of content and friends apparently. Again, Data mining for content ideas. Technical application of on-page SEO.
  47. I love this one. Site migrations can be such a pain, and oftentimes you miss old URLs. You can use the wayback machine API to download a list off all the historic URLs and map it to your current content. Explain above.
  48. I searched google for “law firm redesign” btw. Totally random website that needs some redirects. Anyway, you get a score of how similar one page is to another and then you can create redirects automatically. Great for large websites. Saves a ton of time. Saving time for strategy, with a technical approach to SEO
  49. This is also a sort of automation example, and I wrote about it on Search Engine Land. What if you had to create a lot of unique meta descriptions all at once? That would take a while. Rather than letting Google pick, you could use text summarization to begin the process for you. Explain above.
  50. Ran on my board game website. Some algorithms are definitely better than others depending on the page. I’ll pick the one I eyeball as being the best.
  51. Then plop it into my handy bulk title tag and meta description pixel width checkers and start rewriting them a bit. Semi-automated. A technical solution to an SEO problem that otherwise isn’t techical
  52. I believe in audience driven SEO, and when time permits, creating personas when doing keyword research is a part of that process. You can use a tool like HitWise that meshes panel and clickstream data to categorize audiences and apply it to your keyword research. They have this tool called AudienceView that’s pretty awesome, and will show all sorts of demographic and psychographic data for search terms. The only problem is it doesn’t allow you to quickly do individual keywords. Explain above
  53. So we can start looking at individual keyword audience representations, individually or in aggregate. It can be very powerful. Again, you wouldn’t expect it, but creating something like this to enhance your keyword research is a technical process.
  54. Spending too much time on creating reports? Consider creating dashboards with live data. You’ll still need to explain to the client or stakeholder, but it can do a lot of the heavy lifting. In order to do that, you need to create a data lake. Explain above.
  55. So you can make really informative dashboards The initial creation was technical
  56. I also would like to illuminate a non-coding example. I believe that testing for SEO is of the utmost importance now-a-days.
  57. Explain above
  58. And I include this as an example, because almost all of the other ones implied you need to code, and although I think it’s important, it’s not the only path to advanced, applied technical SEO. Aiding in experimental design and writing test specs is technical and wildly important. Explain above. That being said…
  59. That being said, having some semblance of knowledge is important to many aspects of advanced, applied technical seo. It permits to work more agilely, without engineering resources. Or if you have engineering resources, it aids in your understanding of how to better work with them. I recommend at least learning the basics.
  60. Aw. My twins again. Coding is also becoming basic literacy—it’s being taught in elementary school. My twins will learn to code at a young age. It might seem daunting, but you can really get the basics very easily. And if not, remember your children will have this knowledge, and they’ll eventually enter the workforce…
  61. Also truly proficiency in “general technical SEO” will also lead you down the coding rabbit hole See the following examples I mentioned earlier? Coding would certainly help.
  62. All of this is why I recommend thinking about investing in technical SEOs, rather than technical SEO itself. It’s the skills, the people that are the glue here, your bottleneck
  63. That being said, I don’t want you to stress if no one on your team meet the criteria or you don’t. how do you solve that? Should we just hire software engineers? Data scientists? Analysts? Can my existing SEO staff learn these skills?
  64. Read above.
  65. People who can code and meet the following criteria, you’re set. People who can’t code and meet the following criteria, invest in education.
  66. Okay, to go back to our discussion of the pillars of SEO. I insinuated that content might be even more important than technical SEO. Is it? Na
  67. Nore is technical SEO isn’t more important than content or link building either. It’s all apart of that crazy venn diagram.
  68. And Technical SEO can be at the center, enhancing the other disciplines. Elevate your work that your creative, content strategists are already doing. Elevate the work that your link builders are doing. Start thinking about technical SEO differently
  69. Let the technical SEOs be your glue. They help everyone