I had the fortune of being at SMX Israel last week where I attended Advanced SEO Techniques, featuring a panel of experts and moderated by Meyer Reich of RankAbove. Gil Reich of Managing Greatness (no relation to Meyer), Kalman Labovitz of RankAbove and Eitan Helman of Wix shared lessons from their areas of expertise.
If you’re new to SEO, one key facet to ranking well is ensuring Google can crawl and index your website. If technical glitches are blocking Google’s access to your content, it cannot be indexed and will not be shown as a Google search result.
In a nutshell: if your site isn’t structured correctly, decreased crawling will result in decreased visibility and traffic.
Google can’t display what it can’t see
As mentioned, only crawled pages are indexed and therefore searchable. Increased crawling leads to increased traffic. Gil Reich offered a number of actionable suggestions to insure your site is optimized for the crawler:
- Use the Search Console (previously known as Webmaster Tools) to check your crawl stats, URL parameters and internal links.
- Minimize bad links and bad content by getting rid of them, or adding a “nofollow” command to prevent the Googlebot from crawling them.
- Optimize performance to shorten page load times, as better performance leads to increased crawling.
Don’t compete against yourself
Labovitz shared an exchange with a client who wanted to rank for a specific keyword.
“Which page?” asked Labovitz.
“All of them.”
By consolidating pages with similar content, you avoid competing against your own site for keyword ranking.By consolidating pages with similar content, you avoid competing against your own site for keyword ranking. #smxisrael Click To Tweet
This became a teachable moment, during which the client learned the importance of each page having a unique focus and related keywords. Otherwise, different pages on a single site will compete against each other for search ranking.
In order to avoid this situation, Labovitz suggested these tips for consolidating your webpages:
- Consolidate pages only when it makes sense
- Know which pages you want ranked for which keyword(s)
- Each page should have a unique goal
- Remember that a tighter, more focused site will have more of its pages crawled
Tackle giant sites piece by piece
Wix has more than 800,000 indexed pages maintained by more than 450 developers. Helman offered valuable advice for those managing massive sites.
- Train your developers in SEO from the start so they are aware of it throughout the site building process. SEO should not be an afterthought.
- Don’t tackle the entire site as one unit. Organize by section and optimize each one individually.
- For multiple language sites, keep a parallel site structure
- Be vigilant in your fight against duplicate content. Google is wary of a site that has multiple pages with large content overlap. Some sites do this intentionally to manipulate search results. Even if your intent is not malicious, Google Search Console Help warns “the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”
Bottom line: Good content and a well-designed website will get you the right kind of attention from both the Googlebot and users.Bottom line: Good content and a well-designed site will get you the right kind of attention from both the Googlebot and users. #smxisrael Click To Tweet
As expected, best practices stand the test of time. If you build your site with SEO in mind, keep it focused and filled with unique, quality content, it will weather any changes in the search algorithm and, most importantly, offer your users a positive experience.