|Aspects and tools for technical SEO|
|Written by Gabriella Sannino|
|Monday, 12 September 2011 12:59|
Technical SEO, out of all the optimization “subsets”, is often overlooked in informative articles. Witness the fact that link building alone brings back over 1 million results (hacked query). For technical SEO, you get about 2,730. If you modify the results based on the past year, it drops down to a measly 198 (about 10 of those are reprints from OutSpoken Media). Sad, sad.
Does this lack of coverage mean technical SEO isn’t as important as, say, link building? We all know the answer to that; without a working, clean site as the foundation, an SEO campaign just doesn’t have as much viability. In fact, it’s beyond me why such an important part of optimization is buried under other aspects.
Let’s add one more article to that measly number, shall we?
Technical SEO – What Is It?
For those of you who don’t know, technical SEO is just what it sounds like – dealing with all the technical issues, errors and bugs that come along from creating a website. The bigger the site becomes, the more issues you can potentially have.
Your job, as the optimizer, is to clean your client’s website up and get it ready for the bulk of the campaign. To do this, you have to find the errors.
Tools to Find the Technical Errors
Crawl errors, duplicate meta data (or no meta data), poorly formatted URLs, bad HTTP response codes, duplicate content, slow site speed, clean code, a poorly written robots file – these are all elements that technical SEO targets. Luckily, there are several tools to help you find these issues:
SEO Spider – Search News Central’s own Terry Van Horne recently wrote a review about Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, with a short video walkthrough. As the article and site point out, this tool can crawl the entire site. It’s £99 per year for the full version; the free version crawls up to 500 URLs.
SEO Spider can help you find a variety of issues, all with a friendly UI, including things like:
SEO Spider doesn’t do everything for you, but it offers a fantastic start.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth – A free program, Xenu’s Link Sleuth offers some of the things SEO Spider does, without the friendly UI (the developer calls it a “no-frills user interface). For crawling sites, however, it’s a hard working program.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth also offers a variety of information, although not as much as SEO Spider. The information includes:
The crawl limit is approximately 10,000 URLs before it freaks out and has a nervous break down, so make sure you don’t run it on the really big sites.
IIS SEO Toolkit – Created by Microsoft for (as usual) the tech geeks, the IIS SEO Toolkit is a fully featured crawler. It’s only available for Windows Vista/7, so XP users are out of luck.
IIS SEO Toolkit provides information such as:
Other Error-Hunting Tools;
If a large program isn’t what you’re looking for and you just need a little something extra, there are a variety of “partial” tools, as well. Here are just a few:
Just because you get a 404 doesn’t mean the page is actually missing. For that matter, you can get many erroneous errors due to how the server handles the pages, how the code was written and so on. Before making changes, it might be a good idea to check the server-side header responses:
Site Speed Tools
On top of all the above, you also have to consider the speed of your client’s site. For this, you’ll have to have some kind of network crawler, not just a page crawler. How fast does it take to load your client’s site? If it takes forever, what part of the code is the culprit? A few tools to help you out:
Keep in mind that these are just a few available – you can search the Chrome web store, Firefox Addons, or even the plain old SERPs for more extensions, applications and programs that might help you. These are just a few that we’ve used or are currently using.
Obviously, this is a short list of things included in technical SEO, and of tools to do the work. If you plan to make technical SEO a major part of your services, I strongly recommend trying several programs out before deciding on the one you’re most comfortable with. In this way, you have a better chance of getting a program that meets your needs, rather than pigeon-holing yourself into something less.
If you have your own fav technical on-site tool we missed, feel free to post it in the comments
|Last Updated on Monday, 12 September 2011 13:04|
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