Live: Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues

Oct 7, 2009 - 8:50 am 2 by
Filed Under SMX East 2009

Below is live coverage of the Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues from the SMX East 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick & Brian Ussery - Beu Blog.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage, please excuse any typos. You can also interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed.

Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues(10/07/2009) 
9:01 Brian Ussery:  
Good morning and welcome to SMX East!

Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues – Site isn’t being indexed fully? Experience a huge drop in rankings or traffic? This session provides a step by step checklist to help developers or others diagnose site issues and ensure they’re following best technical practices in SEO. Programmed by Jane & Robot.

Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land

Adam Audette, President, AudetteMedia, Inc
Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land
Jennifer Sable Lopez, SEO Consultant, SEOmoz
9:01 Brian Ussery:  We'll be starting in just a moment....
9:07 Brian Ussery:  Up frist is Adam.... According to Adam, it's important to look for patterns which takes some experience. Problem solving is crucial and equally is taking the time to perfect the craft.
9:09 Brian Ussery:  Adam says diagnosing technical SEO issues is part art and that those with experience follow their "nose" based on experience.

He says it's part science as well. SEOs use tools to diagnose problems...
9:11 Brian Ussery:  SEO audits should include on page factors such as domanins, links, architecture and other.....

Off page factors include backlinks, social media signals, cache dates and toolbar PR.
9:11 Brian Ussery:  Adam mentions gray bar PR which indicates some problem with a site.
9:12 Brian Ussery:  
The Big 4 Factors

Product pages
9:15 Brian Ussery:  Looking at examples and tools like tools
9:16 Brian Ussery:  
Adam's favorite tool is GOOGLE (can't believe it:)
Web Developer
SEO Book
9:17 Brian Ussery:  
Google's great free tools include site: and inurl:
9:18 Brian Ussery:
9:18 Brian Ussery:  more screen shots of various tools mentioned above....
9:21 Brian Ussery:  Up next Jennifer Lopez from
9:23 Brian Ussery:  
Jennifer says crawlability is the most important part of technical SEO and demonstrates Xenu Link Sleuth.
9:27 Brian Ussery:  
HTTP Status Codes What's the Big Deal

- 200 great
- 404 not found
- 503 Temporary Not found
- 301 Permanent Redirect
- 302 Temporary Redirect

Jennifer mentions her favorite tool, httpfox firefox addon...
9:28 Brian Ussery:  HTTP response issues can also take place and for that reason they're also important....
9:29 Brian Ussery:  Has The Site Been Penalized?

When PR is lower than MozRank it may be penalized according to Jennifer.
9:32 Brian Ussery:  Jennifer's Tools for Quick Wins

- Yahoo Site Explorer (backlinks)
- SEOmoz paid tools

Thanks @jennita :)
9:33 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa takes the stage to talk about common site issues.
9:36 Brian Ussery:  
Here is Vanessa's (of and illustration:
9:39 Brian Ussery:  
Vanessa says ranking reports aren't really actionable due to personalization, geo and other...
9:44 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa suggest checking Google Webmaster Tools for crawl information and also Google's webmaster checklists.
9:47 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa is now going to answer questions about sites
9:49 Brian Ussery:  First site has been parked and redesigned with different content.

*Because this is an adult site, I'm not going to post the URL.
9:51 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa says to query long title element text to help determine penalties. Ranking indicates your site may not be penalized.
9:55 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa uses Yahoo Site Explorer to help parse links for analysis.   Jennifer is using to show hidden div containing links in the site being analyzed.   Vanessa says these links (hidden in div) may not be high value and for that reason that these links may not be penalized.
9:59 Brian Ussery:  Next site is but first the question of the title attribute in images and hyperlinks. Vanessa says as far as she know that title attributes aren't used by engines.
10:00 Brian Ussery:  First issue is canonical proplem with the home page. There seems to be lots of txt stuffed in the lower portion of the page.
10:04 Brian Ussery:  According to Vanessa (and W3C I think) the TITLE element is the most important element in any quality page. Vanessa suggests removing extra text.

Adam suggests moving pages higher in folder structure and static.

Jennifer brings up links pointing to main.htm which is a 404 and should be redirect via 301.
10:07 Brian Ussery:  Up next is a site from Canada

Vanessa points out navigation isn't availble due to cookie issue and session ids.
10:11 Brian Ussery:  Also this site uses Endeca, a technology which creates multiple versions of each URL.
10:11 Brian Ussery:  Up next
10:13 Brian Ussery:  
This site targets keyword terms like Gas grill and gas grill parts....

Vanessa mentions the site's lack of "gas grill" based text.
10:16 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa mentions looking at site content other than template, links and other. Adam suggests CNAME for blog.
10:18 Brian Ussery:  Next question is about pagination for the site but Vanessa mentions canonical issues based on sort order. For pagination, Jennifer suggests using nofollow....



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