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When
Friendly Fire
Strikes!
True Stories from the Inside
Presented by Keith Goode
#Pubcon
X: @keithgoode Mastodon: mastodon.social/@keithgoode
Keith Goode
• Concierge SEO Consultant, Goode Search
• Over 15 years In-House SEO
• Vrbo
• Dell
• IBM
• Cox Automotive Group
• Various startups
• Conference speaker
• Podcast host/guest
• Austin Otaku
• Webcology
• Search Engine Journal
• … and many more
• Certified Scrum Master
• Featured in Majestic’s SEO for 2022
The Enemy
Inside the
Gates
Why Updates Are the Least of
Your Worries
Expectations vs. Reality
SEOs are largely focused on the ever-evolving landscape of search. We
expect challenges associated with:
• Algorithm Changes
• Seasonality
• Market Shifts
• Competitors surging in the SERPs
• AI getting it absolutely wrong (follow @lilyray for examples)
www.goodesearch.com
Friendly Fire
Comes from
Behind
For In-House SEOs, the real
surprises come from:
• Bad deployments
• Bad coding
• Server changes
• Stripped budget and resources
• … and more
Real-World
Friendly Fire
Scenarios
And How to Deal with Them
Developers
Canonical Tags – Story #1
• Early days of canonicals
• Provided guidance:
• Cleanest, renderable URL
is the canonical URL
• The canonical URL should
have a self-referential tag
• Parameterized pages all
had self-referential
canonicals
• Lost ranking across the
board
www.goodesearch.com
Canonical Tags –
Story #2
• CMS powering over 11,000 websites
• Developer read a random forum post about
preventing XSS attacks
• Replaced all punctuation in canonical tag URLs
with their HTML code equivalent
Example: https:/
/www.roundrocktoyota.com&
#47;
• No new content was indexed for weeks
• Google claimed this syntax wasn’t a problem
• Spoiler: It was a problem.
Bad Deployment
• Framework migration on
WordPress
• Noindex,Nofollow robot meta-
tags not switched from staging
to production
• The company’s most important
content channels were down for
several hours until it was fixed.
Executive
Leadership
Budget Denial
• SEOs, like other
departments, send their
budget requests each fiscal
year
• Project work
• Tools, Platforms, and New
Hires
• Estimated revenue
improvements
• Project work, tools,
platforms and new hires are
denied
• Revenue estimates remain
www.goodesearch.com
The Mystery of the
Missing Priority
• Received approval for 5 epics for
the fiscal year
• 6 months passed with no
movement
• Reached out to the Product Lead
for advisement
• The SVP had deprioritized SEO in
February and didn’t tell the SEO
Team
www.goodesearch.com
Working
Together to
Resolve Issues
How to be the Voice of Reason in a Mad World
As SEOs, it may not be our fault when technical issues happen, but it’s our
responsibility to catch them as soon as possible and mitigate them.
www.goodesearch.com
Continual
Monitoring
Some tools offer this
• Content King
• Ahrefs
• Lumar (soon)
But ultimately, you’ll have
to monitor it yourself
www.goodesearch.com
Other Options
• GSC and GSC Emails/Alerts
• Manual SERP checks
• Pre-launch QA/testing
• Post-launch reviews
• Democratize SEO with training sessions
• Integrate with development into the testing cycle
• Show the value of the work associated with SEO
www.goodesearch.com
For Executives
• Continually tell your story
• Affirm the importance of SEO
through effective reporting
• Correct misunderstandings with
evidence
• Loop executives in early in the
process
Connect with Me!
• Website: https://www.goodesearch.com/
• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithlgoode/
• X: https://twitter.com/keithgoode
• Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@keithgoode
• Dot: https://dot.cards/keithgoode
Images in the presentation courtesy of Amblin Entertainment
www.goodesearch.com
Thank You!

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When Friendly Fire Strikes - True Stories - Pubcon Vegas 2024

  • 1. When Friendly Fire Strikes! True Stories from the Inside Presented by Keith Goode #Pubcon
  • 2. X: @keithgoode Mastodon: mastodon.social/@keithgoode Keith Goode • Concierge SEO Consultant, Goode Search • Over 15 years In-House SEO • Vrbo • Dell • IBM • Cox Automotive Group • Various startups • Conference speaker • Podcast host/guest • Austin Otaku • Webcology • Search Engine Journal • … and many more • Certified Scrum Master • Featured in Majestic’s SEO for 2022
  • 3. The Enemy Inside the Gates Why Updates Are the Least of Your Worries
  • 4. Expectations vs. Reality SEOs are largely focused on the ever-evolving landscape of search. We expect challenges associated with: • Algorithm Changes • Seasonality • Market Shifts • Competitors surging in the SERPs • AI getting it absolutely wrong (follow @lilyray for examples) www.goodesearch.com
  • 5. Friendly Fire Comes from Behind For In-House SEOs, the real surprises come from: • Bad deployments • Bad coding • Server changes • Stripped budget and resources • … and more
  • 8. Canonical Tags – Story #1 • Early days of canonicals • Provided guidance: • Cleanest, renderable URL is the canonical URL • The canonical URL should have a self-referential tag • Parameterized pages all had self-referential canonicals • Lost ranking across the board www.goodesearch.com
  • 9. Canonical Tags – Story #2 • CMS powering over 11,000 websites • Developer read a random forum post about preventing XSS attacks • Replaced all punctuation in canonical tag URLs with their HTML code equivalent Example: https:/ /www.roundrocktoyota.com& #47; • No new content was indexed for weeks • Google claimed this syntax wasn’t a problem • Spoiler: It was a problem.
  • 10. Bad Deployment • Framework migration on WordPress • Noindex,Nofollow robot meta- tags not switched from staging to production • The company’s most important content channels were down for several hours until it was fixed.
  • 12. Budget Denial • SEOs, like other departments, send their budget requests each fiscal year • Project work • Tools, Platforms, and New Hires • Estimated revenue improvements • Project work, tools, platforms and new hires are denied • Revenue estimates remain www.goodesearch.com
  • 13. The Mystery of the Missing Priority • Received approval for 5 epics for the fiscal year • 6 months passed with no movement • Reached out to the Product Lead for advisement • The SVP had deprioritized SEO in February and didn’t tell the SEO Team www.goodesearch.com
  • 14. Working Together to Resolve Issues How to be the Voice of Reason in a Mad World
  • 15. As SEOs, it may not be our fault when technical issues happen, but it’s our responsibility to catch them as soon as possible and mitigate them. www.goodesearch.com
  • 16. Continual Monitoring Some tools offer this • Content King • Ahrefs • Lumar (soon) But ultimately, you’ll have to monitor it yourself www.goodesearch.com
  • 17. Other Options • GSC and GSC Emails/Alerts • Manual SERP checks • Pre-launch QA/testing • Post-launch reviews
  • 18. • Democratize SEO with training sessions • Integrate with development into the testing cycle • Show the value of the work associated with SEO www.goodesearch.com
  • 19. For Executives • Continually tell your story • Affirm the importance of SEO through effective reporting • Correct misunderstandings with evidence • Loop executives in early in the process
  • 20. Connect with Me! • Website: https://www.goodesearch.com/ • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithlgoode/ • X: https://twitter.com/keithgoode • Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@keithgoode • Dot: https://dot.cards/keithgoode Images in the presentation courtesy of Amblin Entertainment www.goodesearch.com