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Technical SEO as Part of a Multi-Signal Search Strategy – #brightonseo

12 April 2013 BY

There’s a common misconception that SEO should sit alongside social media and PPC as part of a blended search strategy. However, SEO is an essential part of site build, content creation and on-going strategy development. Whether it’s on desktop, mobile or Internet TV, technical SEO shouldn’t be pigeon-holed.

To approach this in a better, more future-proof method, thorough understanding of technical SEO and its place in the approach to developing a strategy is absolutely vital. At BrightonSEO, Richard Falconer, Head of Technical Search at LBi, provided some interesting insights and useful tips on how to gain a better understanding of your – and your competitor’s – technical SEO set up.

Amongst the variety of topics discussed at BrightonSEO, and SEO conferences across the board, technically-based SEO always proves interesting. The presenters often find themselves asking the questions:

  • What is the technical proficiency of the audience?
  • Just how technical can I go?

In addition to this, there’s the ongoing battle between SEOs, technical teams and content teams (considering that they sit in different teams in your organisation). This was one thing that I was interested in finding out about Richard’s talk, simply being entitled ‘technical SEO as part of a multi-signal search strategy’ proved that, interestingly, this talk was going to cover off technical SEO and it’s broader application in SEO. So ask yourself, ‘where does technical SEO sit in your broader SEO remit?’

Richard’s talk was refreshing and covered a number of actionable insights for you to better understand yours, and your competitors’, technical SEO capability, including:

  1. Prefetch & prerender
  2. AJAX
  3. Crawling
  4. Grepping

Prefetch & Prerender for Technical SEO

  • Prefetch - Download the file you request and holds it until clicked. You can request multiple files.
  • Prerender – Download and fully renders a page, prior to click (like Google preview).

Both of these technologies you can implement on your site, but in order to deiced where best to implement this, Richard recommended using Google Analytics Visitor flow report to identify areas where users are dropping off the page. Consider implementing prerendering to help guide your users to a page that they want to go to (and hopefully stop them leaving your site!).

Prefetch and Prerender for SEO

AJAX and it’s use for Technical SEO

The web is designed to have one URL for each piece of content, AJAX makes this difficult. AJAX, ultimately, is good for user experience, but bad for search. When building using AJAX check that you can use it with JavaScript disabled.

  • The original solution of #hashbang’s was rubbish.
  • HTML5 includes JavaScript function called pushState() – Bing recommend using this, Google have said to ‘look into this’.

SEO Friendly AJAX

Importance of Understand Crawling for Technical SEO

SEOs need to crawl websites and most importantly understand how search engines crawl your sites. Richard recommended using the following tools to help understand this and to visualise it:

Powermapper

Grepping for Technical SEO

Grep allows us to search for a string of characters using regex patterns. Blekko allows you to grep the whole Internet:

Blekko Grep The Web

Crawl and Grep, how to:

  1. Install HTTrack
  2. Crawl the site using httrack and save the files
  3. Install grepWin
  4. Grep pages using grepwin
  5. Search for text matches or regex patterns.
  6. Build a library of regex patterns for future use.

Here’s a list of things that you can use grepping to discover:

A List of Things That You Can Discover Grepping the Web

Richard also shared some interesting and amusing things that he’s discovered using grepping:

A list of things found using grepping

Tip: Use grepping for competitor comparison to understand the technical capability of their sites (and there SEO efforts). Consider also using it for link prospecting!

AUTHORED BY:
h

Ned Poulter is the Co-Founder of AvitaDigital, a Digital Marketing Consultancy based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He specialises in all aspects of SEO, digital marketing consulting and PPC, amongst many other things.
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