SEO Basics: the Best Practices for Technical SEO
A Technical SEO audit is not that complicated.
Blah blah blah, 301 redirect, 404 page, crawl optimization, HTML, PHP, java script, website security, https, web hosting, backlinks, old domains, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, on page SEO, off page SEO, yatta yatta yatta…
With an onslaught of geeky terms circling technical SEO, when faced with the jargon gamut – it may bring on some major anxiety. But if we use a real life analogy to explain them, maybe you can find some clarity. Say you hate the mention of any – or all – of the words I listed above, this blog is definitely for you. They’re not as complicated as they sound – they’re misunderstood.
Surprisingly, there isn’t a huge amount you need to learn about the technical side of SEO, unless you are an SEO professional. So this is basically going to be the easiest technical SEO post you’ll ever have to read.
All the things you’ll learn :
Meta & H-tags, URLs and source code optimizations
Off-page optimizations: backlinks and Penguin updates
Domain power & page-rank
Body content optimizations & Panda update
301 redirect, 404 pages and page error
Site-speed & accelerated mobile pages project
404 & 301 redirect
Does it sound complicated enough? Just wait.
Before diving into the analogy, I’ve got a question for you, do you know how many pages Google indexed up until 2014? The answer is 30 trillions pages (repeat: thirty. trilliion)
OK, close your eyes. Imagine you are at a great party. You are a perfect ten ultra babe, and every single dude at this swanky party wants to hang out with you. Yes, you’re that babely.
Let’s say, the 30 trillion dudes are the webpages Google is faced with. You would have to figure out a way to sort out these dudes, at least down to 20 or even 10, otherwise the party would be over before you could possibly find your perfect match. You definitely don’t have time to consider and qualify all of these guys. It would take an actual lifetime. So, you have to decide how much time you can spend on each guy – this is called ‘crawl budget’ in SEO lingo.
(You can check technical SEO terms here)
Fun Fact: if you were to search for “nice guys” on Google.ca, 28,400,000 dudes, aka results, show up. That’s down from 107,000,000 on Oct 7 2015 – based on my previous SEO keyword basic post. Does this mean nice guys are on the decline? Pray for straight single women everywhere.
- 1 1. Meta & H-tags, URLs and source code optimizations
- 2 2. Off-page optimizations: Backlinks and Penguin Update
- 3 3. Domain Power & Page-rank
- 4 4. Body Content Optimizations & Panda Update
- 5 5. 301 redirect, 404 pages and page error
- 6 6. Site-Speed & Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
- 7 7. Internal Linking
- 8 8. Wrap it Up!
What would you do next?
You may want to hear the dude’s elevator pitch or to get a brief summary of his profile to see if said dude is even worthy of your precious time before you get into the meet and greet. Their profile should cover the gist and be well-organized – unlike….
In a scattered profile chucked full of information, it’s a bit overwhelming. You’re a hot babe, you don’t have time to get into the details. Well, technically you could, but you don’t have to. You’ve got 30 trillion profiles to consider. You need the good stuff, the meat, the important stuff. You know, like what kind of car he drives.
In the SEO world, that’s where Meta, H-tags, URLs and source codes come into play. While Google understands your website, even with messy source codes, the search engine would comfortably read your website if you follow the rules. As a website owner, you may think “Why the heck do I have to optimize the Meta & H-tags with Google’s algorithm, Google should look into my great content and services!” You may even throw in a, “How dare you!“ Google doesn’t have time to look at you carefully, just like a total smack in the face babe doesn’t have time to carefully consider all the wanton men who desire her. Remember Google (and the babe) have to deal with 30 trillions pages (dudes).
2. Off-page optimizations: Backlinks and Penguin Update
Is that it? You could narrow them down to between 10 – 20 dudes out of the 30 trillion? Nah, it’s never that easy finding Mr. Right. You also need to know how popular and trustworthy these guys are. Sure, finding a great guy isn’t usually associated with picking the most popular one – but give me a second. It will all make sense pretty soon.
You may want some background information such as just how popular are they really, maybe even a testimonial or a recommendation in order to decipher whether they’re trustworthy. That’s what we SEO specialists call off-page SEO, such as backlinks, social signals, etc. (As for social signals here is a good read about them) You can tell a lot about a website or guy by how many others acknowledge them.
Okay, now let’s see how many you have filtered out…
Wait a minute! What if these guys were just pretending to be a good fit for you? They could be feeding you some cockananny story or buying those testimonials in order to seduce you. Google has a method to filter out those scammers known as Penguin Update, and the Penguin works for Google full-time.
3. Domain Power & Page-rank
Now, how many of dudes do we have here? One billion? One million? A thousand? Gosh, that’s still a long way to go. Why don’t we take a look at their profile and see if actions truly do speak louder than words.
Knowing what kind of experience these guys have been through in terms of work, volunteering, their hobbies and the things they are passionate about is a stellar way to find out who these dudes really are. And if you’ll mesh. If they don’t have any achievements to boast, you may not be so sure about them anymore – and you might as well toss them in the ‘No’ pile. Even if they had great testimonials and recommendations – you might suspect that they weren’t completely honest.
In SEO terms, you have to build up achievements on Google, in other words, put content in place to build trust between Google and your website. You can do that by providing valuable content, and acquiring good backlinks (and social signals). Without any achievements, your website won’t show up in the top rankings. Unless your getting visitors through small searches or you create super detail-oriented, comprehensive and tangible content like this [Note: this guy’s content is always insanely great.] Basically, it is the reason why people say SEO takes a long time.
Okay, so now you can see these dudes’ solid achievements…BUT…there is always a way to cheat.
What if they’re using someone else’s profile? What if they’re paying for it only to grab your attention? That might be cute in real life, but mostly it’s creepy and uncool. It’s a classic case of Catfish. In an SEO strategy, you can buy the credit others built in the past by purchasing their domains.
Geek Tip: In 2014, when I was enjoying backlinking in Japan, I used to use tons of expired domains in order to build a micro-site to garner backlinks. Using a strong domain with backlinks and an established high page rank was effective for backlinking at the time. I am not sure if it still works now, as I haven’t done that since. If you want to test it out, you can find old domains here and here. Why have I stopped doing it? Sooner or later, this practive might be penalized. It shouldn’t be done to a client’s website since I can’t be 100% accountable for that.]
4. Body Content Optimizations & Panda Update
You narrowed those down into 20 prospective bachelor dudes (Wow!), now is the time to look into the profiles more in depth. You can finally spend the appropriate time on each dude. You started off looking into their profiles, but hold on a sec, something happened.
Most of profiles say the same things, like “Netflix and Chill”. You know you don’t want to see 10 – 20 similar profiles, just like Google doesn’t. Google isn’t fan of unoriginal guys, and Google wants to be picky about content, and you want to be picky with the guys you talk to. Google has even hired a panda to deal with these guys, which is known as Panda Update.
You must be unique, as well as popular and trustworthy. How hard could that be? (Has terrible high school flashbacks)
You can learn more about body content sections from my previous SEO keyword targeting post.
5. 301 redirect, 404 pages and page error
You’ve narrowed the dudes down to 10. Awesome. And now you’ve e-mailed one of them. That’s when you get the email notification that reads, “This e-mail no longer exists” Uh, the heck just happened there? As it turns out, the contact information was outdated, and there is no way to get his updated details. “How dare you!?” spills from your mouth again, and you’re understandly ticked off at this guy. He should have directed the emails to his new account at least! But, you know what could be worse? Not getting any notification at all. You might be left waiting by your monitor hoping for an email forever – but considering how hot and babely you are, that’s unlikely.
What if the email notification had the new email address, or showed his Facebook or Whatsapp account as an alternative? You’d feel less rejected and way better about it. That, my friends, is a 404 redirect or 301 redirect.
404 page: An error page that shows the URL you landed on no longer exists
301 Redirect: A redirect when you change the URL or domain to guide Google and the user to the new URL or domain.
You have lots of pages on your website, you may forget when you’ve switched up the URL of one of them. However, that would be so simple if you set up proper 404 pages and 301 redirects – a creative 404 page is asset.
6. Site-Speed & Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
Now, you’re canoodling with 9 hopeful dudes, but there are still some issues. Aren’t there always? Some of these guys don’t respond back you for a while, even though you know the email should have been sent.
When one of these unresponsive dudes gets back to your question a whole month later, would you still be interested? You are such a busy babe and have limited time to spare. You’ve already wittled down from the initial 30 trillion. Waiting back on a reply from a potential suitor is not going to win any favors in your book, and in the time it took him to finally get back to you, you’re on to the next dude. And girl, you deserve better.
That’s what we call “Site Speed Optimizations”, 5 seconds is often too slow. It might sound wild, but a response should land within 2 seconds. Google even aims for under a half second! That’s not solely an SEO issue, it also affects your site performance.
According to some research,
47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less.
75% of the 1,058 people asked would not return to websites that took longer than *four* seconds to load.
The speed of the site negatively impacts a user’s session depth, no matter how small the delay. Slow sites also have a detrimental effect on the number of articles people read
a 2 second delay in load time during a transaction has resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%. This is significantly higher than the baseline abandonment rate of 67%.
As for mobile, Google is trying to be even faster through Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP). You can experience the demo here. As you can see, the speed is lightning quick, like Usain Bolt quick.
7. Internal Linking
Finally, you find a gentleman – FINALLY. He is has been perfect and gentle compared to the others, who suffered from poor planning and being way too laid back. This gentleman, let’s call him Marcus, is showing you something phonomenal that you have never experienced. Marcus definitely goes beyond your expectations and you love it.
In an SEO sense, you should internal link to all your valuable content and guide Google towards it. Otherwise, Google will never know your hidden treasures. In the real life analogy, the other guys might have been equally great, but you will never know if they were. Their loss.
Google is a busy enough girl, she has to deal with 30 trillions dudes every single day (My nightmare). So, it makes sense that Google has a crawl budget for each website. You are trying to hit on a girl who is approached by 30 trillion guys. You’re going to have to work your handsome butt off.
8. Wrap it Up!
Technical SEO sounds intimidating, but it’s not like you have to know a ton about it unless you’re an SEO specialist, like me. I agree that e-commerce websites, local businesses and international businesses can benefit, or even require, a specialized SEO strategy, I think this post covers all the basics. Did you notice something was missing? Get in touch.
I want to emphasize that you don’t want to take on SEO thinking there is an easy way. Some tactics work, some don’t – it changes with the times, and the online environment is always changing. SEO can eat up your time and budget at the end of day, considering the risks and what may unfold for SEO strategies in the future. On top of that, you would like an honest guy if you were the babe in this post.
If you liked this article, please check out The 3 Worst Mistakes That Devastated My Marketing Projects.
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