Diagnosing Technical Issues With Search Engine Optimization

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Information about Diagnosing Technical Issues With Search Engine Optimization
Technology

Published on June 11, 2009

Author: janeandrobot

Source: slideshare.net

Description

If your site is having trouble ranking well in search engines such as Google, you've lost ranking, or you've having trouble with a site move or migration, the trouble could be with the site's technical architecture.

View checklists to help diagnose issues with crawling, indexing, and ranking your site's content.

Tools and Tactics for Diagnosing Technical Search Issues Vanessa Fox

Diagnostic Checklists and Resources • Search Accessibility Checklist • Search Discoverability Checklist • Diagnostic Tools janeandrobot.com

Search Engine Tools Google Webmaster Central http://www.google.com/webmasters Microsoft Live Search Webmaster Center http://webmaster.live.com Yahoo! Site Explorer http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com Google Analytics http://www.google.com/analytics Google Search http://www.google.com Created by NineByBlue.com

Ranking and Diagnostic Tools SEOBook Rank Checker http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker/ Firefox Web Developer Toolbar https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/60 Firefox Firebug http://getfirebug.com/ Firefox Live HTTP Headers https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3829 Google Search http://adlab.msn.com/Keyword-Forecast/default.aspx http://janeandrobot.com/resources Created by NineByBlue.com

How Search Engines Work

Crawling Indexing Ranking Discover links Canonicalization Relevance Check robots rules Context extraction Value Bandwidth considerations Topic association Uniqueness URLs Web-wide value Display

Search Engine Crawlers Haven’t Quite Grown Up Yet

Crawling Indexing Ranking Lack of discovery Duplication Display issues Crawl inefficiency Extraction issues Lack of quality links URL issues (infinite, Lack of exposed Guidelines violations redirects, dynamic) content Non-focused content Inaccessible links Non-optimized media

Step 1: Get the Data Pages crawled Pages indexed Web traffic Key ranking metrics

Crawling Which pages have the search engines crawled? What kind of pages are they? Has the search engine Indexing indexed all of the crawled pages? How’s the search engine Ranking traffic?

Benchmarking Top ten queries that bring search traffic Search results position URL that ranks

Crawl Issues

Crawl Log Example: Apache Log Analyzer 2 Feed All Pages Google’s Crawled 1 /** 2 * @see ApacheLogAnalyzer2Feed All Profile Pages Google’s Crawled 3 */ 1 /** 4 require_once 'ApacheLogAnalyzer2Feed.php'; 5 2 * @see ApacheLogAnalyzer2Feed 6 //3 create a new instance, parse access.log and */ 7 //4 write test.xml'ApacheLogAnalyzer2Feed.php'; require_once 5 8 $tool = new ApacheLogAnalyzer2Feed('access.log', 9 'test.xml'); a new instance, parse access.log and write test.xml 6 // create 10 // $tool = entries matching Googlebot useragent 7 select new ApacheLogAnalyzer2Feed('access.log', 'test.xml'); 11 $tool->addFilter('User-Agent',Googlebot useragent with a regular 8 // select entries matching 'Mozilla/5.0 9 expression pattern 12 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; 13 +http://www.google.com/bot.html)');'regexp:Googlebot'); 10 $tool->addFilter('User-Agent', 14 // run select entries with Request matching a regular expression 11 // 12 // pattern 15 $tool->run(); 12 13 $tool->addFilter('Request', 'regexp:/site/profile.php'); 14 // run 15 $tool->run(); 16 http://code.simonecarletti.com/wiki/apachelog2feed

Communicating with Search Robots

Extractable Link Issues: Flash

Extractable Link Issues: Images

Extractable Link Issues: AJAX

Extractable Link Issues: URL Errors

Extractable Link Issues: URLs That Expire

URL Discovery Checklist  Comprehensive external links  At least one internal link to every page  XML Sitemap referenced in robots.txt with the comprehensive list of canonical URLs  Comprehensive HTML sitemap  Ensure links load without JavaScript, images, or other rich media  Ensure robots.txt and meta robots tag is used correctly http://janeandrobot.com/library/managing-robots-access-to-your-website

URL Structure Checklist Keep number of parameters in dynamic URLs short Don’t use temporary URLs that expire  Ensure redirects are 301 and are short Use dashes rather than underscores when separating words Use keywords in URLs for higher click through and better anchor text

Canonicalization Checklist  Have only URL for each page  Put all unneeded details in cookies, rather than URLs (session IDs, tracking parameters)  Don’t allow infinite parameters  Use 301 redirects for any URL changes  301 redirect www/non-www  Use absolute URLs for internal links  Ensure canonical version is in XML Sitemap  Use rel=canonical attribute for optional parameters  Block print and other versions with robots.txt http://searchengineland.com/canonical-tag-16537 http://janeandrobot.com/library/url-referrer-tracking

Crawl Efficiency Checklist Ensure page load times aren’t slow as to reduce number of pages crawled Ensure server is responsive Return a 304 for unchanged content Use compression Return a 404 for not found content Ensure each page has at least one link Avoid infinite redirects and redirect loops Ensure most important pages are linked from home page No JavaScript redirects or meta refresh redirects (if possible) Reasonable crawl-delay setting (if used at all) Reasonable use of Google Webmaster Tools crawl setting

Indexing Issues

Indexing Example: XML Sitemaps XML Sitemap Pages Indexed From Sitemap <?xml version=quot;1.0quot; encoding=quot;UTF-8quot;?> <urlset xmlns=quot;http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap /0.9quot;> <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc> </url> <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/page1.php</loc> </url> <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/page2.php</loc> </url> </urlset> http://sitemaps.org http://www.google.com/webmasters

Duplicate Content Issues

Partner Content http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22The+Radisson+Edwardian+Vanderbilt+Hotel+stands+am

Indexing Diagnostic Checklist Have the pages ever been indexed? If deindexed, are you sure they are no longer in the index? Is the indexing loss across all engines? What was percentage of loss? Is there a pattern? Check Google Webmaster Tools for errors/blocking Did you change infrastructure/CMS/implement redirects? What’s the linking pattern?

Indexing Checklist: Content Extraction  Ensure content is in text wherever possible  Ensure text isn’t hidden in: JavaScript/AJAX Flash Video Images  Avoid multiple URLs for the same page and very similar pages

Indexing Checklist: Semantic Markup  Use keywords in title tag  Ensure each page has a unique meta description tag  Use keywords in (single) H1 tag  Appropriate use of H2 – H6 tag  Relevant anchor text in a href tags  Put Javascript in .js file (except onclick event functions) and style details in .css  Validate HTML to ensure it renders  Provide focus for each page  Ensure pages provide unique and valuable content beyond boilerplate template and reused content

Optimizing Images  Don’t put text in images  Use descriptive ALT text  Use descriptive filenames  Provide caption and surrounding text  Be cautious about logo images  Consider blocking non-useful images with robots.txt  Don’t provide alternate text using CSS that styles the text off the page (such as -9999) http://janeandrobot.com/post/Effectively-Using-Images.aspx

Ranking Issues

How’s the Search Engine Traffic? Overall Percentage Percentage Non-Branded

Do You Rank For the Right Things? arbor snowboards snowboard Google 1 49 500+ Yahoo 1 80 500+ Live Search 3 128 500+

If ranking loss… Drop For All Keywords Drop For Only Some Keywords Does the site rank for different Do different pages rank highest than queries than before? used to rank before? Did you substantially change the Are the pages that used to rank still site content? indexed? Did you change the underlying site infrastructure? Was there a large change in linking behavior? Could there be a penalty?

Ranking Checklist  Relevance  What is the page about?  Are the pages ranking for the desired query more relevant?  Do the pages use the language of the searcher?  Value  How many relevant links (and how authoritative are they?)  What’s the value of the page? (do more useful pages rank above yours?)  SERP display  Are the title and snippet compelling?  Do Sitelinks appear for navigational queries?  What universal elements appear on the page?  Does the site rank for non-branded queries?

The Webmaster Guidelines Common Definition of Spam On page schemes Keyword stuffing Fake/ stolen content Hidden text Hidden links Cloaking Linking schemes Paid Links Link exchanges Doorway pages Deceptive redirects http://google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

Getting Out of the Penalty Box 1. Check if you’ve been penalized – Live Search: http://webmaster.live.com – Google: http://google.com/webmasters ** maybe ** 2. Review the webmaster guidelines – Google, Live Search, Yahoo 3. Identify the issue 4. Fix it! 5. Request re-evaluation – Google: http://google.com/webmasters – Live Search: http://webmaster.live.com

Traffic Issues

Traffic Drop

Display Issues

Would you click this link?

Does the Result Inspire Clicks?

First step in diagnosis: find the root

Jane and Robot Developer Summit June 12th, 2009 – San Francisco FREE for SMX attendees! janeandrobot.com Twitter.com/janeandrobot Ninebyblue.com Twitter.com/vanessafox

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