The world of SEO continues to change at a high speed and it’s time to start preparing our digital strategies for 2017. We will focus on some fundamental measurements to technical SEO success in 2017. Some of the steps have been relevant for a while, others are pretty new and are related to the recent search engine changes.
Make your significant resources crawlable
In order to check your website’s crawlability, you can simply look through robots.txt; but often, it is just as inexact as it is simple. Robots.txt represents just one of the ways used in order to restrict pages from indexing, therefore you may want to use a SEO crawler to get a list of all blocked pages, regardless of if the instruction was found in the robots.txt, X-Robots-Tag or noindex meta tag.
Auditing internal links
The logical website structure represents the prerequisite of great UX and crawlability, and internal linking also helps spread ranking power or PageRank around pages more efficiently.
4 things to check when you are auditing internal links:
• Click depth – You should try to keep your website structure as shallow as possible, with your important pages no more than two/ three clicks away from the home page.
• Broken links – The broken links can confuse visitors and affect pages’ ranking power. Many SEO crawlers will show broken links, but it can be really tricky to find all of them. Besides the HTML elements, remember to look in the tags, sitemaps and HTTP headers.
• Orphan pages – The orphan pages are not linked to from other pages of your website, and thus are hard to find for search engines and visitors.
• Redirected links – You should look for chains of three or more redirects, and try to update the links to redirected pages as soon as you discover them.
Maybe you already know how significant sitemaps are. Sitemaps tell search engines about your website structure and let them discover the new content faster. the following are the main important criteria to check your sitemaps against:
• Freshness – Your XML sitemap should be continuously updated whenever new content is added to your website.
• Size – Google limits its sitemap crawls to 50000 URLs. You should keep it much shorter than that so that your relevant pages get crawled more frequently. Most of the SEOs point out that reducing the number of URLs in sitemaps yields more efficient crawls.
• Cleanness – You should try to keep your sitemap free from garbage (redirected URLs, 4XX pages, non-canonical pages, and pages blocked from indexing). If not, you may risk having the sitemap ignored by the search engines completely.
Improve page speed
Surely, page speed is one of Google’s top priorities for 2017, and it is also its ranking signal. Moreover, you can test your pages’ load time with Google’s own PageSpeed Insights tool. It can cand be hard to manually enter all your pages’ URLs to check for speed, so you may want to use WebSite Auditor for the task. Google’s PageSpeed tool is integrated right into it.
Google’s started the “mobile-first indexing of the web” a few weeks ago. That means that they will index the mobile version of websites instead of its desktop version. Therefore, the mobile version of your pages will determine how they should rank in both desktop and mobile search results.
The most important things to take care of to prepare your website for this change are:
• Test your pages for mobile-friendliness with Google’s own Mobile Friendly Test tool.
• Run extensive audits of your mobile website, like you do with the desktop version. You will likely need to use custom user agent and robots.txt settings in your SEO crawler.
• Do not forget to track your Google mobile ranks, and remember that your progress will likely soon translate to your desktop rankings as well.