Many SEO practioners will start their campaigns with a comprehensive technical framework prior to undertaking any SEO campaign. This provides the foundations for subsequent recommendations and provides a solid framework to develop a comprehensive SEO campaign that delivers results.
1) Site Targeting issues.
Good targeting starts from the very beginning of a site development. Get this wrong and many of your subsequent recommendations may fall flat on their face. In particular site localisation is often the difference between global domination and localised mediocratity. This can manifest itself in many ways
- Localised targeting but no global targeting opportunities
- Incorrect targeting due to ‘incorrect’ ccTLD and many others
I remember working with an IT company when I first started my own company. They had a great branding url – utilising the .it TLD however this had a significant effect in terms of natural search as a potential revenue source for them. The company in question were trying to target UK users, and the .it domain meant that much of their site visibility was localised round Italy, and they enjoyed very little in the way of UK based organic search visibility.
In such cases remediation is often not a quick process, and it is worth thinking through your ultimate requirements, marketing channels and target customers before commiting to any defined URL strategy.
2) Robots Management
Its amazing how many people still haven’t got to grips with this one – despite the amount of well documented coverage.
In short, merely advising the search engines via the disallow command in a robots.txt file does not mean your page will not be included – in fact completely the opposite. If this is required webmasters should consider page level robots remediation in order to ensure content they do not want included in the index – is not included in the index
3) Server Response Codes
Again this is something so many people do not get right, and again is something that is so easy to fix. There are a number of tools out there that allow you to check what server response codes are being sent by a page (these are passed in the head of an HTML document – and are not anything presented to screen) – however two which are easily accessible and useful would be
The following codes in particular should be taken into account:
- 200 – Valid page
- 301/302 Redirects
- 404/410 Error page
- 50x – Server errors
Particular bottlenecks in such instances are normally
- Error pages resolving as 200 valid pages
- No consideration taken when databases go down. Resolve as 200 and subsequently indexed
- 302 redirect utilised when 301 should be used
4) Page Load Times
There has been a lot of noise in the industry press recently about page load times, so it was only right to throw it in here. However I have included in here, not just for SEO purposes but for the following reasons as well
- Adwords quality score takes into account page load time as well
- People don’t like sites that take a long time to load. Thats reason enough to consider page loads times alone
5) Information Architecture
I have found that this is an often under utilised facet of SEO, and one that is increasingly influental within particularly Google’s framework. Take for example the new breadcrumb trails introduced on the SERP’s, these need to use trigger signals to determine hierarchy
This should be considered early on, not just in terms of what content you are going to be on the site but also
- How will your content fit together and support it from an SEO perspective
- How is your content going to evolve. SEO should most certainly be an ongoing activity, and subsequent content should have a function. What is this function and how does it support your end goals
- What are your champion pages. Are these integral to your information architecture
- Is your internal information architecture supported by your external activity
There is a lot of other potential issues that should be looked at as part of the SEO process, however it is often the easiest facets that are not considered and often overlooked. Getting these right is often not a difficult to do but not doing it is a bit like building a house without laying your foundations