SEO Mid 2017 Technical SEO

SEO in mid-2017 – Technical SEO

Read this thought-piece to get an understanding of the developments in Technical SEO for 2017 and beyond.

Enjoy & if you’d like to discuss further, please get in touch.

#SEO #TechnicalSEO #HTTPS #JavaScript #PageSpeed


SEO Gets Technical (Again)

Summary:

Despite the content marketing shills believing that reams of content are the gateway to success, it’s becoming clearer that having a great Technical SEO strategy is regaining its previous importance. While Google makes efforts to overcome technical deficiencies on the part of webmasters, you need to be technically adept to deliver consistent crawling, indexing and ranking of your content.

State of SEO 2017 Technical SEO

  • Google Search Console
    • This is becoming more important in the webmaster’s armoury of useful tools, especially if you want to test elements of technical implementation. Google has made great strides in making it a useful place to go, rather than just bare data.
  • HTTPS and Security
    • It is time to implement HTTPS. It’s not difficult, well, it can be if your infrastructure is complex and third party vendors are struggling to implement HTTPS themselves.
  • CMSs catching up, but still lacking
    • Many CMSs are catching up with the needs for Technical SEO, however they tend to be lacking in certain areas, namely:
      • Flexibility – it can be difficult to change default settings, or there are no settings to change.
      • Correct implementation – they are getting better at this, but they still seem to miss certain elements at times. This is frustrating.
  • JavaScript Rendering
    • Ahhh, JavaScript, the saviour of many a server’s CPU. Google’s rendering of JS has improved enormously, however there are still concerns about crawling speed – allegedly a 10x efficiency impact, as well as whether or not Google can actually crawl and index content contained within some JavaScript frameworks.
    • Google is likely to catch up, but it would be wise to ensure that JavaScript rendering is only done when you absolutely have to. If there is no need for dynamic content, just use flat HTML, or use a CMS which delivers flat / cached HTML for non-dynamic content.
    • Even worse are the current fashons for SPAs (single-page-apps) and PWAs (progressive-web-apps). These are both in place because coders cannot think their way out of the corner they have put themselves in. Loading content behind the scenes to give an impression of speed is a broken workaround, as you rely on using too many user resources.
  • Browser Wars
    • I had thought that the browser wars were done and dusted. But it seems that Apple’s Safari is no longer the golden child of web devs, whereas Chrome is, and Firefox is a fuddy-duddy old Grandpa sitting in the corner (luckily IE is dead. I’m not sure enough people use Edge to really form an opinion on it).
    • Clearly it makes sense in Google terms to develop for Chrome, but also remember that Apple has a large installed user base.
  • Cascading SERP
    • As discussed above, Google has an order of preference of the content it displays in response to search queries. Technical SEO is particularly needed to deliver structured data, app indexing and AMP.
  • Page Speed / Load Times
    • One of the big ticket items with the Mobile First Index, and using the web in general, is Page Speed and Loading Times. There are all sorts of stats on user abandonment if Load Times exceed x seconds. Load times are being bloated by overloaded web pages with too much JavaScript (or JavaScript which requires processing power to run), as well as static images not cached or CDN’d properly. This is why AMP with its stripped down code and JS is being promoted. AMP is not likely a long term solution, but it will remain until the web catches up with current users “need for speed”.
    • Where possible, heavy duty work should be undertaken to speed up the web experience – remember that AMP is a stopgap.
    • There are numerous studies showing the there is an exponential relationship between speed increases, visits and conversions.

Key Technical SEO Actions to Take:

  1. Become intimate with all the information and tools that Google Search Console and related testing tools can provide. It will be worth it.
  2. Push CMS vendors to provide better implementation of technical SEO requirements. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
  3. Stop using JavaScript when you don’t have to. Lightening a server CPU only places the load on the user’s CPU, causing delay for them.
  4. Pay attention to browser issues. Make sure your content is usable and readable by the overwhelming majority of users.
  5. Pay attention to the cascading order of SERPs and create technical solutions to appear higher up the chain.
  6. Work to speed up your pages and and load times, from initial load to completed load in a  user’s browser. They won’t wait and it will increase visits and conversions.
  7. Implement HTTPS.
  8. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss further.

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TL;DR Technical SEO

You had better get your devs fired up and ready to code. SEO in 2017-2018 is going to be bigly technical.

If you’d like to discuss further, please get in touch.