150 Tips from Tech SEO Tuesdays

Tips from Tech SEO Tuesday-150

Tech SEO Tuesdays started as a way to share tips and advice with others in the industry. Posted weekly on LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere, the full list of technical SEO advice can be found here! 

I’ve been working in SEO and marketing for 10 years and have dealt with countless website migrations and audits. I’ve certainly encountered my fair share of technical SEO issues, which is why Tech SEO Tuesdays started. There are many tips here that I wish I’d known when I started, as well as others I’ve recently discovered. 

There’s always something new in SEO; that’s the beauty of it. 

If you want more actionable technical SEO tips in your inbox each week, check out my newsletter: Tech SEO Tips.

I’ve been posting these each week for 4 years, so feel free to use the links below to find tips based on when they were published. 

Tech SEO Tuesday Tips by Year

2021 TECH SEO TUESDAYS

Tip 1:

As part of a domain migration, if you’ve previously created a disavow file, this file will need to be added to the Google Search Console property for the new URL too!

Tip 2:

With massive websites it can be difficult to know which pages you should / shouldn’t index. As a rule, don’t try to get everything indexed. Instead, focus on indexing pages that have the potential to provide great search results.

Tip 3:

The htaccess file only affects the folder it’s placed in and the subsequent folders. Where your file is located matters, it is usually on the root but it is possible to have more than one htaccess file.

Tip 4:

SERPs are a great resource to learn what Google thinks our customers want.
Create landing pages that are aligned with the intent of a searcher.

Tip 5:

Effective internal linking is the key to unlocking the full potential of backlinks. Pages that are being linked to externally should have internal links to other valuable / money content.

Tip 6:

A good user experience should be part of your website design and overall strategy as standard, it is not just something to focus on because Google told you so in an impending algorithm update.

Tip 7:

If Lighthouse says you have unused JavaScript, Chrome Dev Tools will give you the % of used vs. unused JavaScript and you can then use this to find the exact lines of JavaScript that are not being used.

This can then be stripped back or removed as needed.

Tip 8:

Schema.org has released their replacement for the much loved Structured Data Testing Tool from Google, which as we all know is being shut down.
 
Check out the replacement here while it’s still in Beta testing: https://validator.schema.org/ 

Tip 9:

Use the new Schema Markup Validator for general structured data debugging and validation.
 
Remember to continue to use Google’s Rich Results Testing Tool to debug how your structured data will appear and validate https://search.google.com/test/rich-results.

Tip 10:

Do not redirect sitemaps and robots files.

Doing so will stop Google from accessing old versions and finding the redirects after the migration, and the old URLs will remain in the index.

Tip 11:

JavaScript websites go through an extra rendering stage as well as indexing. Google is much better at this now than it was in 2017-2018 but there is still often a delay vs rendering HTML sites.

Your page content needs to be present on page load and not hidden behind buttons.

Tip 12:

Google recommends redirecting old image URLs to new image URLs during a migration to help Google discover and index new images quicker.

This is especially true for eCommerce product images and fashion websites etc.

Tip 13:

What are log files?
  • They track HTTP requests and HTTPS responses.
  • They tell us what has happened on site, such as trends, and seasonality.
  • They present SEO metrics so we can make future predictions of SEO data. 
 

Tip 14:

Add appropriate internal linking within your website architecture between complimentary pages to transfer information and understanding and to create a better flowing user journey.

Tip 15:

Awesome content can’t make up for a bad product or a bad service. That will always undermine any authority building.

Tip 16:

Google just confirmed in their official documentation that they now treat 308 redirects in the same way that they treat 301 redirects.

They understand that both status codes mean that a page has “permanently moved to a new location”.

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/301-redirects

Tip 17:

Just because something is ranking high now doesn’t mean it is the best answer to the keyword. It just means nothing better exists, yet.
 
Ask yourself what’s missing in the articles that currently rank, and fill in the gaps.
See what is and what isn’t being answered. 

Tip 18:

It is ok to not know how to fix something as a tech SEO.

Instead, try to focus on quality improvements and improve the page experience for both users and for Google.

Tip 19:

Intrusive interstitials impact ranking, not indexing. 

Your website will still be crawled and indexed if you have lots of interstitials, but it may not rank well. 

Tip 20:

Moving servers is like another migration.

Crawlers have to find the new location of the IP / domain, so it has to be managed carefully.

Tip 21:

Faster sites mean more pages crawled by Google in the same amount of time. Improving load speed has greater benefits than just improving user experience.

Tip 22:

The recent (and still unconfirmed) change to title tags and H1s on Google is causing a lot of fluctuation. The best advice is not to make any drastic changes right now. Google is listening to feedback and an update is likely coming soon.

Check out this brilliant article from Lily Ray for extra reading and insights: https://www.amsivedigital.com/insights/seo/is-google-showing-different-organic-titles-in-august-2021/.

Tip 23:

With all the title tag changes right now, some people are pasting title tags into the H1 – this may only be a temporary fix. Best practice would be to ensure your top keyword is used in H1s for your top-performing pages. Bonus points for including a CTA in the H1 too.

Tip 24:

Word counts aren’t important for SEO and won’t help you to rank, but thoroughly covering a given topic and fulfilling the search intent will.

Tip 25:

The main functionality of your site, such as important pages, should be accessible without javascript. Test this by disabling javascript and click around. If things are broken or parts are missing, this can cause problems for Googlebot!

Tip 26:

Ensure the most important pages are indexed on your website. Use canonical and no-index to guide Google in the right direction and use internal links to provide signals of importance. Don’t mix rel=canonical and no-index together, as this sends conflicting signals to search engines.

Tip 27:

Google is rolling out a new SERP feature called “Things To Know” which is a variation of PPA. Google believe that it will “make it easier than ever to explore new topics”.

🤔 This very much appears to keep the user in the SERP rather than on our websites.

📊 Ultimately all we can do is continue to write helpful and engaging content to encourage people to visit our websites.

Tip 28:

John Mu shared a timely reminder that “having a dedicated page for some seasonal sales events is a good idea for eCommerce sites.” https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/1435853015936811008

Tip 29:

The content on your website should be as unique as possible. While you may not necessarily receive a Google penalty for having duplicate content, it will not help you gain organic traffic.

Tip 30:

Google has published a new document detailing how to control what is displayed in SERPs and introduced a new term for the title of a search result, a “title link”. See here: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/appearance/title-link

Tip 31:

Cheap hosting isn’t the best hosting. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. For larger sites and eCommerce stores, a dedicated server is typically recommended over a shared server. Cheap hosting also leaves your website more at risk of hacking.

Tip 32:

Remember to noindex (or password protect) your dev and staging environments so they aren’t indexed in SERPs which can affect your live site rankings. Also, remember to make it indexable when the site goes live, it’s just embarrassing otherwise!

Tip 33:

When including an important fact, statistic, or statement as part of a paragraph, Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that bolding it does help Google know that it’s important and does help your SEO. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-bolded-text-can-help-your-seo/427044/

Tip 34:

UI and UX is the most effective way to make your SERPs better. Don’t try to be Google, just focus on what you do best.

Tip 35:

If you moved servers, there is a chance this could harm your site speed. Some first steps to check could be:

  • ✅  Check that your CDN was migrated too and works as expected,
  • ✅  Ensure that your caching system is running,
  • ✅  Use Page Speed Insights to find any issues that you can resolve.

Tip 36:

Google wants consistently available resources to display on SERPs. If your results tend to disappear (404 or website downtime), then Google is less likely to serve them.

Tip 37:

When bulk writing meta titles in a spreadsheet, use: =concatenate(H1 + ” | Brand Name”) to help save time. 

You can also use: =proper(concatenate(H1 + ” | Brand Name”) to capitalise your title.

2022 TECH SEO TUESDAYS

Tip 38:

Boost your local SEO rankings by adding sub-locations on location pages e.g. If your location is targeting Manchester, add that you also service Salford, Openshaw, Miles Platting etc.

Bonus: Take this further and use localised content clusters for more localised relevancy.

Tip 39:

As SEO best practice, the above the fold area of a webpage should have at least some content that is unique to that page.

Tip 40:

Ideally, you just want just one h1 on the page and it should be descriptive of the page content for the user. Naturally, your page title and h1 will normally be similar, but not identical.

Tip 41:

By conducting a log file analysis you can understand exactly how Google crawls and interacts with your website.

It allows you to quickly identify crawling and indexation issues and to reveal massive wins e.g. optimising site architecture, improving internal linking etc.

Tip 42:

As confirmed by John Mueller, the site: operator doesn’t just return URLs that Google has indexed.

It also includes URLs that Google just knows about. If indexed pages are what you’re after, the GSC coverage report will be better.

Tip 43:

The Total Blocking Time (TBT) metric measures the total amount of time between First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to Interactive (TTI), where the main thread was blocked for long enough to prevent input responsiveness.

Tip 44:

Robots.ttfb  = Compare the TTFB for your robots.txt file vs the website homepage in the Waterfall in Chrome Dev Tools.

  1. If the robots.txt file is slow = you have hosting issues.
  2. If the homepage is slow, and the robots.txt is good = there are more issues that you need to dig deeper into.

Tip 45:

If you need to exclude URLs with certain parameters such as ‘?price’ within Screaming Frog, you can use: .*\?price.*

Use this in the Exclusion section when setting up your crawl.

Tip 46:

Google ranks pages, not websites.

For your page to be indexed, it should have a separate URL that Google can find and crawl.

Use the HREF attribute to help discover and follow links. Also, use HTML links rather than JavaScript links where possible.

If you must use a JS link, ensure that it does use a HREF attribute.

Tip 47:

Benchmark your competition and find the areas where you are above or below average at. Focusing on these areas is where you will see results.

Tip 48:

x-default is a HREFLANG attribute that signals to algorithms that this page doesn’t have any specific language or locale and this is the default page when no other page is better suited.

Tip 49:

The best way to build trust is to show genuine understanding and concern for your website audience and focus on how you can solve their problems.

Tip 50:

With Google announcing the removal of the URL Parameters Tool in GSC it could be time to check what URLs you have blocked in there and consider adding them to robots.txt.

After all, it is better to have all your rules in one place.

See here for more information: https://searchengineland.com/googles-url-parameters-tool-is-going-away-383220 

Tip 51:

There is a time and a place for pop-ups, and if you are displaying pop-ups to visitors on product pages then you’re likely losing a ton of sales.

Don’t add a barrier in front of customers that are ready to convert.

Tip 52:

Small differences across thousands of pages between your website and that of competitors can make a massive difference in how your website is perceived and how valuable it might be to your audience.

Look for key topics or pages that could be missing, or if you have thin pages that have been indexed.

Tip 53:

Google commonly rewrites titles that are too long and too short, have repeated use of the same keyword, are missing the brand/site name, have a mismatch between titles and H1, use boilerplate titles, or have inaccurate or obsolete titles.

Check out this study from Zyppy for more details: https://zyppy.com/seo/google-title-rewrite-study/

Tip 54:

When working with a new client, it is always helpful to get a list of all subdomains and protocols they use.

This way, you can run checks to ensure there aren’t many unnecessary URLs being indexed, e.g. HTTP, non-www, www etc.

Tip 55:

As SEOs, our goal is to protect our website’s visibility by delivering content in Google’s index. Remember that if Google can’t render content, it can’t be indexed.

Crawling and rendering are two different things that are done separately.;’

Tip 56:

The most common web accessibility issues are:

  • Low contrast text,
  • Missing alt text,
  • Empty links,
  • Missing form input labels,
  • Empty buttons.

Ensure your website addresses these issues to meet accessibility guidelines.

Tip 57:

A lot of people still talk about bounce rate, so here are some facts to consider:

  1. It varies in GA based on the channel and the selected date range,
  2. Just because someone only visited one page doesn’t automatically equal a bad experience,
  3. Users can convert on a landing page and it could still be considered a bounce.
  4. It is not available in GA4.

Tip 58:

The only salesperson that works 24/7 is your website. This is why high-quality copy and content matters and should not be undervalued. It is also why exceptional content is a must-have for your niche website!

Tip 59:

Demonstrate E-A-T by showcasing expertise with robust biographies and links to relevant content, you can also show your authority through awards and accreditations.

Tip 60:

If you care about the security of your website, add a security.txt file.

Here is Google’s version https://www.google.com/.well-known/security.txt.

Read more about the file and how it assists with security vulnerabilities here: https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc9116.

Tip 61:

If you need to exclude URLs with a question mark from your website crawl when using Screaming Frog, you can use:

.\?.*

Enter this in the Exclusion section when setting up your crawl.

Tip 62:

Robots.txt and meta robots tags matter because:

  • 🚦Robots.txt files inform crawlers how they can crawl websites.
  • 🤖 Robots meta tags apply to individual files around how to index regions of your site.
  • 🕹️ Used correctly, both ultimately offer more control over your SEO strategy.

Tip 63:

Understand user intent through Google Search Console by finding queries that contain questions. Enter this custom Regex into the queries filter:

who|what|when|how|why|where|could|can

Tip 64:

We know Google rewrites meta descriptions, but what if they choose something that isn’t relevant?

Use the data-nosnippet HTML attribute inside a <div> to wrap the copy you don’t want to be displayed in the meta description.

Tip 65:

Canonical tags help search engines understand which URL is the “preferred” version of a page or the URL that you would like Google to rank.

However, they are seen more as an indication than a directive, meaning that Google may choose to ignore them.

Tip 66:

Still don’t see the value in alt text? It matters because:

  • It means that blind or partially sighted people can visualise the image.
  • It adds context to images for readers if the website fails to load.
  • It helps search engines to comprehend what the image is about.

Tip 67:

Internal linking is critical for page discovery and effective crawling.

Backlinks rarely target our money pages, and internal linking is how we connect the dots and share equity.

Tip 68:

When planning your internal linking, it is a good exercise to link to each of these types of pages:

  • 🔗 Parent (should have a broader intent while covering the same topic).
  • 🔗 Child (has a longer-tail purpose while still covering the same content).
  • 🔗 Similar (these would be pages on semantically related topics).

Tip 69:

Compare your non-brand traffic with your competitors to assess a website’s capability of attracting new customers who haven’t heard of you before and determine how much of their traffic depends on brand terms.

Tip 70:

If you want to find commercial keywords that users are searching for related to your business in Google Search Console, enter this custom Regex into the queries filter:

.*(best|top|vs|review*).*

Tip 71:

In light of the impending Helpful Content Update, do NOT blindly delete website content after seeing someone’s recommendations online. Regardless of who they are, always perform a content audit and gather all necessary data before making drastic decisions.

  1. Removing content can have severe consequences, so do not make any extreme decisions and always ensure you’re making the right decisions for your website in the long run.
  2. If you need a way to determine if your content measures up to the Helpful Content Update requirements, Aleyda Solis created a beneficial sheet: https://twitter.com/aleyda/status/1560550093941456896.

Tip 72:

Use x-path to monitor out-of-stock products on your eCommerce site, and use crawlers such as Screaming Frog and Sitebulb to extract the content/URLs during your crawls.

e.g. //*[@id=”product-availability”]

Tip 73:

Infinite scroll works well for sites with a discovery-based experience, e.g. the user is browsing, but it can be a burden for users who are searching for a particular item and websites that are goal-oriented. Pagination tends to work better for these sites.

However, there are cases where the reverse is true. See for yourself and always make these sorts of decisions with your users in mind. Test both approaches and see how users engage with your content.

Tip 74:

Separating pages by whether or not a product is in stock can help you determine:

  • How much traffic is going to out-of-stock products,
  • Whether availability and out-of-stock products affect product conversion rates,
  • Get a granular view of what page engagement metrics are affected by stock availability.

Tip 75:

The words you use on your internal links (the anchor text) are hugely important.

You should link to your internal pages with the terms you want to rank for. Doing so can actually be more influential than the content on that page and helps pages to rank.

Tip 76:

Do not block access to your CSS and theme files in the robots.txt.

This is because search engines need to be able to render the page, and blocking access can stop them from doing so and being able to understand the content.

Tip 77:

If you want to understand why a page is not indexed, one of the ways you can do this is by using the Robots Exclusion Checker Chrome Extension.

It allows you to see potential issues like redirects, disallow rules, meta robots, canonicals & more.

Tip 78:

Your site speed can vary from day to day depending on the tools you use to test the speed.

Keep the testing location (city) consistent, conduct tests across multiple templates and calculate the average.

Tip 79:

Need to find transactional keywords that your customers are searching for related to your business in Google Search Console?

Enter this custom Regex into the queries filter:

.*(buy|cheap|price|purchase|order).*

Tip 80:

Are you using the same language as your customers? Speak to them and check the terminology they use in your feedback, reviews, etc.

Ensure the same key phrases are used in your content. Don’t use jargon or terms they don’t use or understand.

Tip 81:

Use free Chrome extensions such as the Ayima Redirect Path and Link Redirect Trace to see what redirects your browser has gone through before landing on the current page.

It’s useful to see the type of redirects used (JS/301/302 etc) and whether any chains are happening.

Tip 82:

There’s more to SEO than just Google, consider search engines such as YouTube, Amazon, eBay and TikTok.

Your customers are using them, so consider if they’re likely to come across you or your competitors on those platforms.

Tip 83:

Making a crawl map visualisation is a brilliant way to get a top-level view of your content structure and identify if you have any problems. I’ve found that the most effective and useful way to do this is in Sitebulb.

Tip 84:

Make sure you’re only specifying hreflang with one method (HTML tags, Sitemaps, HTTP headers) to avoid using conflicting tags, which can cause issues with your international targeting.

Tip 85:

Businesses you compete against on the high street are not necessarily the same ones you’re competing with online, don’t confuse the two and don’t be surprised if they are different.

SEO Tools can help you identify which keywords are overlapping with which sites.

Tip 86:

If you’re migrating a website, try to launch during your quietest period to help mitigate the risk of traffic loss, and NEVER launch on a Friday.

You need your dev team to be on hand should anything go wrong, and they’re less likely to be available on weekends.

Tip 87:

Content length is not a ranking factor. If the query only requires a short answer, don’t waste resources creating an article with thousands of words just for the sake of it. This will likely do more harm than good.

Focus on answering the query, not the length of the post.

Tip 88:

Not every technical issue is a priority. I weigh this up based on the impact they are likely to have on SEO, how important it is to the business, the current level of optimisation and the difficulty of implementing the change.

It is a matrix I use in my audits, and it helps me determine their priority.

2023 TECH SEO TUESDAYS​

Tip 89:

Use the View Rendered Source Chrome extension to compare the rendered and non-rendered source code.

Tip 90:

Keep the number of changes to a minimum during a migration.

This makes it easier to measure the positive or negative impact of the migration and makes it easier for search engines to re-index the site.

There will be opportunities for further changes later down the line.

Tip 91:

Pages that you want to rank well for higher volume terms should be linked “high up” within your site’s hierarchy, such as the main menu or from the homepage.

Evergreen content should not be included solely in a chronological blog, as this will depreciate over time.

Tip 92:

Use the Chrome User Agent Switcher extension to test how your site looks to other user agents, such as Googlebot mobile. It’s great for diagnostics and seeing what is being served to search engines.

Tip 93:

Let’s discuss Semrush’s new Authority Score. I was lucky enough to work with Semrush alongside other industry experts in creating this, and there’s plenty to talk about. 

First off, to calculate a site’s Authority Score, Semrush looks at 3 elements.

  1. Link Power,
  2. Organic Traffic,
  3. Spam Factors

 

This is a level of transparency unmatched by other tools and provides SEOs with more clarity and context behind each score on a scale of 0-100.

If you’ve ever seen a spammy-looking site with a high Domain Rating and wondered how or why, well, wonder no more as Semrush takes all of this and more into account for the new AS.

If a site has high-quality backlinks but little traffic, that will now be reflected in the score.

You may notice the AS for your websites has gone down as part of this rollout. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong; it is just a more accurate representation of where you’re at and gives you a clearer idea of where to focus.

Tip 94:

Automated SEO audits and reports have little-to-no value; you need a knowledgeable SEO to put this into context, help determine priority and work with you to provide and implement resolutions.

A manual, professional audit is always the best option.

Tip 95:

Don’t underestimate the value of image search. This is especially true if you have an eCommerce site.

High numbers of people search in Google Images, so make sure you’re not missing out on traffic and conversions by neglecting your images.

Tip 96:

Just because a page is crawled and discovered by Google, it is not guaranteed that it will be indexed and therefore appear in search results.

Tip 97:

If your e-commerce site has a faceted navigation/filter that has product sub-categories with high search volume, you should ensure the pages are accessible with a standard static URL, so it is more likely to rank.

Tip 98:

Analyse the terms that customers type in your internal search function to find useful keywords and other terminology that you could create or improve existing pages.

Tip 99:

Enabling HSTS on your site means that browsers won’t even try and access the non-https version; you’ll simply see a “307” redirect instead.

Tip 100:

Some amount of ranking fluctuations are normal, and most don’t require action.

However, if you spot drastic trends or changes, these should be investigated.

Tip 101:

It’s nice for a site’s HTML to be error-free, and I do check this in some audits; however, just because a site isn’t fully W3C compliant doesn’t mean it’ll struggle to rank. It’s not a ranking factor, and it won’t affect performance unless it’s fully broken.

Tip 102:

Make sure your 404 page has a Google Analytics tracking code. This is a really effective way to spot what error pages your users are accessing so you can fix them ASAP.

Also, make sure it actually returns a 404 error code to clearly indicate that the user reached a non-existent page.

Tip 103:

Google can favour long-form content for some informational queries, and the more copy there is, the greater the chance you have to optimise the keywords.

However, there is no word threshold that Google has in terms of favouring URLs for rankings, don’t add content for the sake of it. Content needs to be helpful and relevant.

Tip 104:

Duplicate content is never ideal and can create several SEO issues, including cannibalisation, which can dilute your rankings.

Tip 105:

Ensure you’re using experts in your informational content, especially for YMYL sites. Expert content can drive traffic, links, and revenue and also builds E-E-A-T.

Tip 106:

Add scalable internal links to your eCommerce store through Breadcrumbs and make full use of:

  • Related Products,
  • People Also Buy type features,
  • Similar Products,
  • Related categories, 
  • Products by the Same Brand etc.

Tip 107:

Your XML sitemap should not include any links to URLs that 3xx redirect, canonicalised pages, or pages you don’t want to be crawled or indexed.

Only pages with a 200 status and are indexable should be included.

Tip 108:

Build an internal link strategy that works by making sure internal links point to:

  • 🔗 Canonical URLs.
  • 🔗 Pages with 200 status codes.
  • 🔗 HTTPS pages.

Tip 109:

Whenever embedding a YouTube video, include Video schema to help search engines understand the content, provide additional information to search engines and improve your chances of being more visible in SERPs.

Tip 110:

If there are conflicting robots.txt rules of the same length and specificity, Google will choose and apply the least restrictive rule.

Tip 111:

Go to your Screaming Frog Configuration > Robots.txt and choose “Ignore robots.txt but report status” to see everything you are blocking with the file and identify any ‘spider traps’ on the site.

Tip 112:

If your crawl is taking too long and running out of memory because it’s getting stuck in a trap, you can pause the crawl and edit the exclude list to get the crawl back on track. See where it got ‘stuck’ and use this to create a rule.

Note where the crawl got stuck, and if necessary, come back to this later during a tech audit or log file analysis.

Tip 113:

Your website can only have one robots.txt and should contain clear instructions for the user agents you are targeting and the directories you would like them to access or not.

Tip 114:

Submitting your XML sitemap to Google Search Console helps their crawlers find any sitemaps that are associated with your website.

Tip 115:

All pages should have canonical tags. If they are the canonical version, they should be self-referential.

Pages can be self-referential by default, and you can update and override them as needed later.

Tip 116:

❌ Don’t migrate a website without SEO! ❌

Without proper SEO considerations, search engines may struggle to understand changes that take place during a migration, leading to a loss of rankings and overall performance.

Involving SEOs throughout the website migration ensures that the migration is planned and executed correctly at all stages to minimise the negative impact on organic search visibility.

Regardless of whether it’s a CMS change, domain change etc., always involve your SEO teams!

This image is just one example of what can happen if you migrate a website without SEO input.

Don’t make the same mistake! 📉🤦 

Tip 117:

Always test the implementation of your robots.txt to avoid a reduction in organic performance and also to ensure URLs are accessible to Googlebot.

Use the robots.txt testing tool to see if the URL is allowed or blocked.

Tip 118:

As a site grows, technical debt can accumulate, sending conflicting and confusing signals to search engines. Work through your technical debt to improve your content indexability and ranking opportunities.

Tip 119:

Keep your use of trailing slash consistent.

If a non-trailing slash is the default, the trailing slash should redirect to this version and vice versa. If not, the variations can confuse Google as to which version they should serve in SERPs.

Tip 120:

Some technical issues can hinder the chances of ranking. Amazing content can’t rank if it can’t be crawled.

Ensure you have solid technical foundations to give your content the best chance of ranking before exploring links etc.

Tip 121:

The most accurate representation of your search performance may be within Google Search Console. Google Analytics can be less accurate due to various cookies and tracking blocks.

Tip 122:

Use LocalOverrides within Chrome to test the potential impact of local speed changes before implementing them. This can save time, ensure you get it right the first time, and help you win stakeholder buy-in.

Tip 123:

Soft 404s in GSC can strongly correlate with JavaScript and suggest a rendering issue. If Google cannot see the content on the entire web page, it may be more likely to noindex it.

Tip 124:

Do you have an out-of-stock plan?

  1. Don’t return a 404 on out-of-stock products. Instead, state that it’s unavailable and provide alternatives. 
  2. Google treats “out of stock” eCommerce pages as ‘Soft 404s’, meaning they are less likely to appear in SERPs.
  3. If a product is permanently out of stock, remove internal links to the page and redirect the URL to a PLP or a similar PDP.

Tip 125:

Article schema should be used for news articles or investigative-type content.

Other types of blogs should use BlogPosting schema. If you have images in the post, remember to describe them using the image attribute within the schema.

Tip 126:

Keep your use of www or non-www consistent. If non-www is the default, the www should redirect to this version, and vice versa. If not, these variations can confuse search engines regarding which version they should serve in SERPs.

Tip 127:

Server-side rendering generates the full HTML for a page on the server. This avoids multiple round trips as it’s handled before the browser gets a response. Running logic and rendering on the server means you can avoid sending lots of JavaScript to the client-side.

Tip 128:

If you see in GSC that Google is choosing a different canonical than the user, this is an indication that you have duplicate or very similar pages that should be addressed. It suggests that the current canonical setup is not adequate.

Tip 129:

If your SEO agency panics every time a core algorithm update is released, it’s probably time to move to a different SEO agency.

  • 🤞If you are staying within Google Guidelines, chances are you shouldn’t be affected too much.
    • 📉 There are some exceptions to this, of course, such as with the HCU and Oct Core Update.
  • 🔎 During an update, the best course of action is typically to wait until Google has fully rolled out the Changes, assess the impact, and carefully plan any next steps.
    • ⚠ Try not to make any sweeping changes during a Core Update, as this may have a more detrimental impact.

Tip 130:

Returning a 503 HTTP response code tells search engines to ignore the current content and to come back again at a later date.

Here is some useful information from Google:

Tip 131:

Not every page on your website needs to be indexed, and it is rare that any website will have 100% of it’s pages indexed – especially for large sites. 

Tip 132:

All websites should have indexable pages. If there are no valid URLs shown in the Index Coverage report in GSC, double check your robots.txt to ensure it isn’t disallowing the entire site and check for noindex meta tags.

Tip 133:

Dynamic rendering is good for indexable, Javascript-generated content that changes often or content that uses JavaScript features that aren’t supported by crawlers.

The user will receive the standard client-side rendered version of a page and crawlers are given a version where the server renders the Javascript first.

Tip 134:

Your browser remembers if a site uses HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to force https. This means browsers such as Chrome will automatically insert a 307 (temporary) redirect if you try and enter an http URL.

Tip 135:

If your website is small, such as less than 50 pages, chances are a robots.txt file may not be needed. But it is larger, properly utilising a robots.txt file can help to optimise your website for better crawling and content discovery.

Tip 136:

When setting up a crawl of your site with Googlebot as the User Agent, consider making the USA the location of these crawls.

Googlebot normally crawls from US-located IP addresses, so crawling from there can catch edge cases, such as automatic geo-IP redirects, etc.

Tip 137:

A breakdown of robots’ meta tags:

  1. noindex = do not list this page in search results.
  2. nofollow = do not follow links on this page.
  3. nosnippet = do not show a text snippet or video preview for this page in search results.
  4. noarchive = do not show a cached link for this page in search results.
  5. noimageindex = do not index images on this page.
  6. max-image-preview = set the maximum size of an image preview for this page in search results.
  7. max-snippet = set the maximum number of characters that search engines should use in a text snippet for this page in search results.
  8. max-video-preview = set the maximum number of seconds that should be shown in a video snippet for videos on this page in search results.

Tip 138:

It is useful to add a UTM link to any URL in your Google Business Profile, so you can track where the traffic came from in GA.

Set the source/medium as Organic/Local to make it clearer where the traffic came from.

Tip 139:

Your internal site search can reveal what your customers were looking for on your website but couldn’t easily find.

Use this data to organise your structure and navigation better and create new PLPs.

2024 TECH SEO TUESDAYS​

Tip 140:

Although users may not see them differently, trailing slash use can make a big difference to search engines. Know the difference between files and folders and when you should use each one.

Difference between Trailing Slash

Tip 141:

User intent can change over time under particular circumstances, seasonality, important events or trends. Monitor how user intent may change over time and update your content accordingly, as needed.

Tip 142:

Create specific PLPs targeting long-tail keywords to help attract the right target audience, which should lead to higher conversions since they also tend to have lower competition in SERPS.

Tip 143:

When optimising page speed, work on the page templates rather than individual pages. You will be able to make improvements at scale, and it should be easier to get stakeholder buy-in.

Tip 144:

Regular website auditing and monitoring are important so that you can catch any issues that may have arisen from updates to your websites, the CMS, and Google algorithms. The sooner you catch them, the sooner you can take action and improve performance.

Tip 145:

If a product is temporarily out of stock, consider enabling backorders or back-in-stock subscriptions.

You can also add alternative products to give shoppers a similar product even if the product they initially wanted is currently unavailable.

Tip 146:

If a product is permanently out of stock, as long as there is another product that is very similar and is in stock, you can set up a redirect, but make sure you use a 301 and not a 302 redirect.

Tip 147:

Adding a Q&A or Frequently Asked Questions section to PDPs not only adds unique content to the pages but also removes buying friction and increases the likelihood of conversions.

Tip 148:

In an eCommerce store, each category might have distinct filters that are indexable facets. Not all categories need to be created the same. Users search for different products in different ways.

Tip 149:

Does your site have an Image sitemap? Image search is a much less competitive way to gain organic traffic, and image sitemaps help you take advantage of this opportunity.

See this information from Google: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/sitemaps/image-sitemaps 

Tip 150:

The benefits of video content is growing, and we should explore options to embed videos on our pages to:

  • Increase user engagement,
  • Lower exit rates,
  • Increase opportunities for backlinks,
  • Offer mixed content, which search engines prioritise,
  • Creates higher user satisfaction.
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