July 14, 2015 | Sarah Danks
Ian Lurie’s 2015 MnSearch Summit Presentation:
Technical Issues for SEO — Most Important/Most Ignored
Ian was one of the presenter’s at the 2nd annual MnSearch Summit, held in St. Paul at the Rivercentre on June 26, 2015. CEO of Portent, Ian regularly speaks, blogs, Tweets, eats/sleeps/breathes SEO. He connected with fellow SEO nerds in his presentation about technical issues that affect SEO.
So where DO rankings come from?
DFP = Distance From Perfect
You see someone outranking you — obviously they’re spamming.
Wait, they’ve got lots of content. So YOU write lots of content. Wheeeee! You rise in the SERPS to #2…
…and your competitor is #1. @!#%*$
Paid / Earned / Owned
Content — Analytics — Infrastructure
You’re at the content creation stage — hoping to wend your way upwards in the SERPS. But really you need to start with your infrastructure.
Infrastructure drives distance from perfect
The 5 DFP Creators
AKA: busted links.
What’s bad? Broken links on your own site. What’s worse? Broken links from another site.
How to detect debris: don’t trust Google (or Bing). How, then?
Get the log files. Learn grep.
For those of you who aren’t technical — as I’m not:
“grep is a command-line utility for searching plain-text data sets for lines matching a regular expression.”
Beware of lost authority!
Ask nicely — “please could I have my link back?” If they refuse, you’ll have to put the old page back, or 301 redirect the old to the new.
Easiest link building ever? Fixing broken links.
What we see:
What’s really there:
Snapshots / Graceful degradation / Don’t trust Google / Distance from Perfect
#3: DUPLICATION & THIN CONTENT
Lost crawl budget:
If you make Google spend too much time worrying which URL to crawl, Google’s gonna get bored and bounce (see what I did there???).
If you’ve got duplicate content across multiple URLs, but links pointing to each version — how does Google know what’s what?
You’re going to lose page authority by spreading your “link love” too thin:
Detecting Duplication & Thin Content
Screaming Frog shows duplicate content:
And it also shows word count, which can be an indication of thin content:
Fixing Duplicate/Thin Content
So, how do you fix dupe/thin content?
a) JUST FIX IT.
- Good — logical
- Bad — too logical, difficult, too logical
- Good — easy
- Bad — decaying authority, screwed up, redirect chains
- Good — logical
- Bad — resistance, legal issues, brand issues
4) robots.txt disallow / robots tag
- Good — easy, one file
- Bad — fails all the time, gets crawled, burns crawl budget
5) Rel canonical
- Good — easy
- Bad — easy to screw up, burns crawl budget
Did you forget? Don’t trust Google.
Server Response Codes
- 200 = all is well (page crawled + indexed)
- 301 = this page is gone and won’t be back (destination crawled + indexed)
- 302 = this page is gone and will be back (???)
- 404 = this page is gone (page dropped?)
- 500 = this server is gone (site dropped?)
Lost Crawl Budget
- Thin pages
“Fix your @#$ server”
~ Ian Lurie
#5: DIVORCED CONTENT
Fixing Divorced Content
(Take it to counseling?)
1) Scrape and republish…
2) Write your own.
- Good — easy-peasy (lemon-squeezy)
- Bad — not real-time, can be slow, lots of moving parts
3) Reverse Proxy
- Good — flexible, fast, nerd cred
- Bad — difficult, security (if ecom), aneurysms
Bonus round: screwing plagiarists!
Most plagiarism is lazy scraping.
TIP: Replace it on the server with another image
And that’s it!
Want to see the entire presentation? Check out Ian’s full deck here.