Thursday, August 16, 2012

Technical SEO Issues Holding Your Site Back?

The technical aspects of your Web site are similar to the foundation of a building. If they are well-made and implemented properly, you have a sound base for a beautiful structure. If your foundation sucks, it doesn't matter how pretty the house is you want to load on top of it. The end results won't be pretty.

Here are some tips on how to identify and plan improvements to your technical SEO.

1. Make sure you are set up and connected to Google Webmaster Tools.

Guys, there is so much free and great information on Google Webmaster Tools that you are really missing out if you aren't monitoring this at least once a week.  In fact, you could be making mistakes that are costing your business 10's to 100's thousands of dollars. Do you know what I found in the sites I manage?
  • Duplicate content, tons of it
  • Pages that should have 404s that don't
  • malfunctioning 301 redirects
  • malformed URLs  

2. Use SEOMOz.org's tool Open Site Explorer

Using this tool you can find out a whole heck of a lot about any page on the Internet. You can discover what other pages are linking to a page (both internal and external), how difficult it might be for that page to rank in the SERPs and how many of your site's internal pages link to that page.

3. Monitor your 404 errors

Okay people. Listen carefully. 404s aren't iinheritantly bad.  Sometimes a 404 is the most relevant result for a page, especially if you are a large e-commerce site and no product is closely equivalent to a product that's gone obsolete. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to put "catch alls" in place to mask your 404 errors so you are unable to see what content from your site is no longer desired or relevant to be indexed in the SERPs.

Why is that a problem?

Because there may be products or pages that you decide "Hey, there's an equivalent to that product. We need to redirect it to the new version!" Well, if you have catch-alls in place that prevent you from seeing where the true 404 pages are, you wouldn't ever know where those potentially relevant pages are.

Have more technical SEO questions for e-commerce sites?

Watch Everrett Sizemore's Great Webinar on the most common technical SEO mistakes for E-commerce sites at SEOMoz.org.

P.S. Everett's webinar is about 90 minutes long and full of great specfics for e-commerce SEO. However, you need to be a Pro member of SEOMoz in order to view the webinar. I highly suggest you join if you aren't already a member. About 6 months ago I posted a question in LinkedIn.com: "Which paid SEO service is worth the money?" The answer was unanimous...SEOMOz. Since then I attended MozCon. If you are an aspiring SEO and you aren't part of the SEOMoz community, people will suspect that you are either dishonest or you don't know what you are doing. I am not even an SEOMoz.org affiliate. I don't care about making money off of sign-ups. I just am telling you that you need to sign up and use their tools and be part of the community.