SMX Live: Real Answers For Technical SEO Problems

Feb 29, 2012 - 1:40 pm 1 by
Filed Under SMX West 2012

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the Real Answers For Technical SEO Problems panel from the SMX West conference. This coverage is provided by Avi Wilensky of Promedia Corp.

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

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Avi Wilensky: 10:48:21 am
Real Answers For Technical SEO Problems (#smx #22C)
Some technical SEO issues can be really tough to troubleshoot and fix. We’ll dive deep into how to diagnose the root cause of issues and how to get them fixed once and for all.
Moderator: Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@vanessafox)
Q&A Moderator: Michael King, SEO Manager, Publicis Modem (@ipullrank)
Adam Audette, President, RKG (@audette)
Jonathan Hochman, Founder, Hochman Consultants
Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google Inc. (@maileohye)
Avi Wilensky: 10:50:38 am
This is a real all star panel of SEO's
Avi Wilensky: 10:51:20 am
Vanessa wants to start off talking Rick Santorum
Avi Wilensky: 10:51:59 am
No longer ranks as of this morning. Did some research to find out why.
Avi Wilensky: 10:53:10 am
Technical problem or penalty? Penalty doesn't make sense.
Avi Wilensky: 10:53:36 am
Checked meta robots, some weird stuff but not too bad, completely dropped out of the index.
Avi Wilensky: 10:54:29 am
The page that ranked no longer existed.
Avi Wilensky: 10:55:03 am
But Google made an announcement the other day, so apparently its now being classified as an adult site and safe search is blocking it.
Avi Wilensky: 10:57:52 am
Maile Ohye: rel = "alternate" hreflang tag to be discussed
Avi Wilensky: 10:59:02 am
Great to have 2 URLs in Google for your site, but don't want another language showing up as the double listing.
Avi Wilensky: 10:59:59 am
This new tag is a link element in the HTTP head that says where the equivalent translated content exists - need to specify all alternates on each page. Can be on same or different domain.
Avi Wilensky: 11:00:25 am
Benefits - helps consolidates several indexing signals - displays local/targeted URLs to searchers. Other search engines may not honor it.
Avi Wilensky: 11:01:08 am
Rel Canonical is for duplicate content, Rel Hreflang is for different languages
Avi Wilensky: 11:02:40 am
Translated templates: Not for everyone. For sites with UGC like forums - main content will remain the same, but the template will change languages.
Avi Wilensky: 11:03:08 am
Can use both rel canonical and hreflang in tandem
Avi Wilensky: 11:06:18 am
What about regional variations of the same language? UK / US for exampl. What we can do is use the rel alternate hreflang and use canonical together
Avi Wilensky: 11:09:34 am
You can use rel alternate hreflang if its just a translated template. Will explain more.
Avi Wilensky: 11:10:59 am
Another use case - full translations, don't want to use canonical, just href lang.
Avi Wilensky: 11:12:44 am
Best practices: rel canonical carefully. only 1 version will be indexed.
Avi Wilensky: 11:13:06 am
Don't use canonical if not sure how to use it, can do damage.
Avi Wilensky: 11:13:47 am
Best to keep title generic - don't put country in title for example. List all alternates on every page so they can match it up.
Avi Wilensky: 11:14:16 am
Benefits: No benefit to ranking, just consolidates indexing signals. Doesn't mean rankings will translate across different countries.
Avi Wilensky: 11:15:24 am
Helps google better understand the site. My tuned heuristics for crawling and indexing. Keep URLs matching across mobile versions - lets google see the pattern.
Avi Wilensky: 11:15:54 am
Another benefit is it helps discovery of new URLs. May have not known about new language page without it.
Avi Wilensky: 11:16:23 am
Most importantly, it provides a more targeted URL for searchers. Appropriate localized URL.
Avi Wilensky: 11:18:30 am
How to avoid scrapers? Use absolutes vs relative URLs. Use the base-href command and if scrape and don't take it out, links belong to you!
Avi Wilensky: 11:19:04 am
There are services out there to protect your site from bots. Scraped content most likely wont outrank the official site so may be indication that theres other stuff to look at.
Avi Wilensky: 11:19:54 am
Bing - not as good at crawling JS or Flash, aslo does not support cross domain rel canonical
Avi Wilensky: 11:20:31 am
Bing relying more on the XML sitemap
Avi Wilensky: 11:21:41 am
Best practices is to use canonical bc never know when a tracking code will be added, for example. Bing says they dont want a canonical tag to match the url, doesnt make sense to vanessa.
Avi Wilensky: 11:22:44 am
VF sees bing overcrawling or not enough.
Avi Wilensky: 11:25:09 am
Whats the quickest way to remove pages from the index? Add noindex is best bet. Robots won't do it.
Avi Wilensky: 11:28:25 am
Google determines the language, no way to tell Google what language - do it on their own.
Avi Wilensky: 11:30:04 am
Jonathan Hochman is up. 3 ways to get Jiggy with pagination.
Avi Wilensky: 11:30:59 am
Classic method - never canonical to first page and nonindex others.
View all technique - Elegant, hard to get implemented
New Skool method - rel next / prev, assorted other signals
Avi Wilensky: 11:31:35 am
With ecommerce hard to get buy in with "view all" technique. Needs to be fast and have all content.
Avi Wilensky: 11:31:56 am
Classic method - not recommended anymore. Rel next prev working great in his test.
Avi Wilensky: 11:33:41 am converts less but rank better than a product listing page.
Avi Wilensky: 11:34:31 am
Google can take signals that can influence scoring, consolidation, and make display decisions at search time. With rel next prev is that they can chose to display 2,3,4 at search time.
Avi Wilensky: 11:35:33 am
Page 1 = Ranking page, page 2-n annotated with rel next, prev. 2-n annoted with noindex, follow. Self reference canonical tags. pages 2-n contain unique titles, urls, and meta data.
Avi Wilensky: 11:36:01 am
Rel next prev consolidates all scores in series of pages, noindex keeps pages out of index bc typically P1 is where the focus is.
Avi Wilensky: 11:36:45 am
Bing wont be able to follow this, but can use other signals to accomplish the same thing!
Avi Wilensky: 11:37:48 am
What if you use rel, next prev without noindex? Most likely P1 will come up. Rel noidex is taking it far according to Maile.
Avi Wilensky: 11:38:31 am
That was awesome, thanks Adam Audette.
Avi Wilensky: 11:43:27 am
Jonathan Hochman: Speed. Fixing speed issues can get into infrastructure and hard to get buy in to make changes
Avi Wilensky: 11:44:32 am
Recommends - a new free CDN - similar to Akamai. Founded by the project honeypot folks.
Avi Wilensky: 11:45:16 am
Built security into the CDN. Detects if the site is a bot or scraper or hacker, block that stuff. A great value to websites. Expected that it would slow down websites, but found it speeds up by about 40%.
Avi Wilensky: 11:45:54 am
Great protection so that don't get knocked off the net. Great new idea that he wanted to share.
Avi Wilensky: 11:46:36 am
410 vs. 404. Really doesn't matter. Both mean URL doesn't exist.
Avi Wilensky: 11:48:32 am
AJAX/HTML - Maile was at conference in London, with HTML 5 can use do AJAX like things but will render browsers url on the client site to change states. If JS is disabled, still crawl-able. Hash-bang.
Avi Wilensky: 11:48:50 am
Recommend push state.
Avi Wilensky: 11:50:13 am
Subdomain vs Subfolder. Don't change URLs around if not necessary. Vanessa says doesn't make a difference, often better to use a subdomain if totally different. Need a valid a reason to migrate URLs and think about users and what makes sense. Subdomains dont have ranking ability right away that the primary would. Think about UX over SEO.
Avi Wilensky: 11:51:11 am
Videos: Say you have a UGC site - how does Google rank the content there if users add to multiple sites.
Avi Wilensky: 11:51:43 am
Use alot of markup., and video sitemaps.
Avi Wilensky: 11:52:42 am
How important is it to remove 404 errors in GWT? Its just a heads up, no need to remove. IF there are links, redirect them. From an SE perspective # of 404's doesn't signal less trust.
Avi Wilensky: 11:58:00 am
And that is all.

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