Technical SEO Factors You’re Likely Ignoring
Notes from Pubcon Vegas 2019
At the Advanced SEO: Core Organic Traffic Optimization Techniques and Strategies workshop, Eric Enge and Bill Hunt dug into technical aspects of good SEO that can bring big organic wins for any site. While the day-long workshop discussed tools, best practices, and quantifiable metrics, the workshop’s deep dive into key components of technical SEO stood out.
There are countless ranking factors for sites, and technical SEO is just as important as other organic search efforts. We’re exploring major technical SEO factors that should be addressed on any site.
The Case for Improving Your XML Sitemap
In their Pubcon 2019 Las Vegas workshop, Bill Hunt and Eric Enge discussed many components of good SEO. XML sitemaps are one important component of good search engine optimization that many site owners are ignoring.
Regularly updated and submitted XML sitemaps can help SEO by:
- Helping bots like Googlebot navigate your site
- Increasing the number of indexed pages across your site
- Ensuring all pages on your site are crawled by search engines
Simply having an XML sitemap isn’t enough. Paying attention to sitemap errors, updating your sitemap or sitemaps regularly, and getting Google to recrawl your sitemap or sitemaps periodically are all important steps to take when it comes to using your sitemap for organic growth.
XML sitemaps are crucial for SEO and should be regularly updated and submitted to search engines including Google and Bing. The workshop also touched on errors in sitemaps, which can usually be identified in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. A good rule of thumb is to have an error rate of less than 1%.
So while it’s important to add new pages to your sitemap as they’re published, or to add new sitemaps, it’s also crucial to constantly comb through your old sitemaps to ensure that there are no issues. Any issue found in your submitted sitemaps need to be updated and then the sitemap should be resubmitted with its corrections.
How Crawl Depth Hurts Sites on Desktop and Mobile
Crawl depth is another important technical SEO factor that many site owners and managers tend to ignore. Crawl depth is a concept that applies to how “deep” users/bots must crawl to reach a page. Top-level pages like the homepage and pages in the main nav aren’t at a deeper crawl depth, but product pages buried in category pages may be considerably deeper than main nav pages, which means they may not be crawled or indexed as readily as pages that are at a more shallow crawl depth. Googlebot and other search engine spiders will only go so far when crawling a site to rank and index pages, so the deeper a page is, the more difficult it is to rank that page.
Adjusting site structure to remove the deeper crawl depths can help ensure that your valuable pages are found, crawled, and indexed. Updating and submitting your sitemap after making these changes is crucial.
Your SEO Content Is Wrong
Content is still in the realm of technical SEO and this is why it was a big subject of the Pubcon workshop. Thin content and text that is written purely for SEO won’t do your site or its traffic any favors. In this Pubcon Las Vegas workshop, the importance of quality content was emphasized. Good content is at the core of great UX, and powerful UX is vital to the organic growth of your site.
Today, Google is interested in content that offers competition for its users. This means the content needs to meet all possible aspects of what the user is searching for. So, for example, if a user is searching for oil for their car, a good piece of content would talk about:
- Car oil (and maybe even sell the product)
- Directions on how to change their oil (possibly with a video or infographic)
- Car upkeep tips
- A guide on car maintenance
- Where to dispose of old car oil
The key is to meet the needs of your users in your content. You need to answer all the questions they may have when they land on your page so Google can make the user as happy as possible with the SERPs. If your content doesn’t discuss the keyword/subject at hand to its full potential, the content is not comprehensive and it needs to be fixed.
Building Better Technical SEO
Technical SEO is a giant iceberg that’s constantly changing, and one workshop (or blog recapping that workshop) can’t cover all aspects of this in-depth SEO. Contact our team today to learn more about technical SEO!