Technical SEO and Web Development

One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is the technical build of a website and whilst many people still describe SEO as a dark art, a lot actually boils down to common-sense.

I’ve had three experiences recently with websites not performing in search engines and all either relate to the build of the site or the way the hosting files were managed.

Information Architecture and Google

technical seoI think sometimes people think Google is more intelligent than it is. Yes, it can understand and decipher an enormous amount of data, but it can’t understand your company or any changes you make to your business unless you tell it.

As such, managing your marketing messages online is more than words on a page, or getting links. It’s about how you present the information to the web and how you manage your pages of content.

Content Curation

The buzz-word for 2011 around content on the web seems to be content curation and how managing your information on the web is becoming more important.

Because it’s so easy to create web pages these days and subsequently more people are doing it, we’ve hit the point of information overload. For a search engine it becomes important to understand:

  • Which pages on the web offer the most value to a person searching based on the search phrase they have used.
  • Which web pages in the web are up-to-date (or still live) and have not just been forgotten about and left to rot.

As such, it needs to make a call on what pages it deems to be the ‘best’ and although SEO and link-building play a big part, so does the way people manage their content.

Managing Your Own Content

This is why it’s important for any business using the Internet for marketing their business to ensure that they have their own house in order, from a content point-of-view and from a technical point-of-view on how their pages are delivered to the web.

Examples

So, the examples I’ve had recently involve the following scenarios:

Website Migration

One client had migrated a website to a new domain but had not managed the process. The result being that they still have old web pages in the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) with links to a blank screen whereas the new pages are nowhere to be seen.

The new pages on the new domain could have been benefiting by redirecting the credibility from one site to another, but this had not been implemented.

The result – losing a lot of search engine traffic / brand credibility and potential business.

Domain Structure

Another long-standing website had not set preferred domain status between the main domain name and the www, ie. both www.thesite.com and thesite.com were live as two separate domains, thus diluting the links and the profile online in the Google SERPs.

This may seem trivial but by honing in on one, you will increase your profile for the preferred page in search engines.

Duplication of Content Delivery

Finally, another website using a content-management system was delivering the same pages under a number slightly different (automatically created) addresses.

eg. www.thesite.com/1/2/page/ and www.thesite.com/1/page/

This creates a similar problem with the dilution of content and links coming to the page to build up its credibility.

Technical Optimisation

These issues may seem trivial, but in an online arena that is getting more and more crowded, optimisation of marketing messages is essential – to keep costs down and deliver results.

By overlooking website migration issues you could lose your online reputation overnight and if you’ve spent a long time building that up, it could cost dearly – not in your Google position, but on top line sales.

And, by organising existing non-performing websites that are being hampered by technical oversights, opportunities could be created pretty quickly which could improves your sales.

Start A Google Conversation

Love them or loathe them, Google (and other search engines) can deliver a lot of new opportunities to your business via a good website profile. If you work with them, you can optimise the process to become ever more efficient in your marketing efforts online.

Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools give an amazing amount of information about your website to technically improve it’s performance. You’d be an arrogant fool to ignore the gift horse.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Jason

    Good advice from Matt Cutts on this subject here

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/

    Where he says that a 301 redirect from the non-www to the www is acceptable (he does this himself) and won’t affect rankings.

    He even mentions that if you want your www links to be the ones listed in Google just ensure all your links use the www internally and don’t mix that and the non www version.

    If you do that, Google will index and store the www addresses and so no harm done.

    At least, that’s what he says.

  • Craig

    Site-wide, it’s also a case of existing incoming links as well. Situations I had related to a client site with multiple incoming links to both www and non-www and user journeys ending.

  • Jason

    yep having nothing to get to is bad. implementation-wise it’s a case of working out whether you just do a 301 redirect the www home page OR remap the old URL to the new URL.

    One is easy, one is more work but not doing it could affect results I guess.