20 Jun Is There a Single Most Important Technical SEO Task? – SEO Theory
Technical search engine marketing articles have turn into the brand new Web spam of promoting tutorials. Everyone has an final newbie’s information to technical SEO and a listing of precedence duties that you will need to carry out to make sure the vital success of your Website as a result of [insert list of reasons].
Let’s clear up among the myths and nonsense.
First, there aren’t any search engine marketing requirements. Without actual requirements nobody’s definition of “technical SEO” means something.
In case you haven’t seen, I’ve by no means added a “technical SEO” class to SEO Theory or every other Web advertising weblog that I write or contribute to. For years many individuals have known as me “the go to Technical SEO guy” (and plenty of variations thereof). I admire all of the compliments, however regardless that I often write about technical SEO duties I’ve by no means been capable of outline precisely what technical SEO is.
Nor has anybody else. Nope, not THAT man and never your favourite blogger.
And that’s the reason I by no means added an entry for “technical SEO” to the SEO Theory SEO Glossary. I solely add definitions that I believe make sense.
Technical SEO is a kind of “we sort of know it when we have to do it” issues. But the issue or complexity of a process shouldn’t be what makes it technical. It’s technical as a result of it’s a must to jigger some whackadoodle with a thingamdiggy and it at all times helps to seek the advice of the handbook. But in terms of technical SEO there is no such thing as a handbook to seek the advice of (and anybody promoting such a handbook is dishing out snake oil).
Second, simply since you examine one thing on a weblog or hear about it at a convention or in a Webinar doesn’t imply that your newest favourite “technical SEO” process is value doing. There are individuals who advise you to “speed up” web page load occasions through the use of prefetches, which don’t pace up something (it hides the fetching and rendering within the background) and which add pointless processes to Web servers. That’s unhealthy technical SEO. If it’s “technical” SEO. But why is recommendation technical?
You could possibly make a case for arguing that some particular process is a type of technical SEO however is it a obligatory or productive process? The overwhelming majority of SEO exercise is inefficient. By “inefficient” I imply individuals do a lot of issues for SEO which can be money and time losing duties.
Take hyperlink analysis. You’re utilizing all of the fallacious instruments in case you’re looking for hyperlinks that assist together with your Google rankings. Sure, while you seize sufficient hyperlinks at random issues appear to maneuver in the correct course however you don’t have any instruments that let you know which hyperlinks assist or once they cease serving to.
So is hyperlink analysis environment friendly? Nope. And is it “technical SEO”? Well, hyperlink analysis shouldn’t be search engine marketing and it’s not a process that’s related to search engine marketing, so for my part it can’t be technical SEO. Link analysis is a kind of abstractions that pays off effectively for some individuals and never so effectively for others.
But that’s only one instance of the numerous sorts of pseudo-SEO Web entrepreneurs like to follow and promote. Any dialogue of personas represents one other type of pseudo-SEO. There is nothing within the relationship between Website and search engine that requires you to outline personas. Maybe once we get a search engine that creates outcomes primarily based on personas that can change however for now depart the personas the place the solar don’t shine. Personas could also be helpful for advertising, however even there I’m doubtful about most Web entrepreneurs’ use of personas.
Third, search engine marketing has not modified in twenty years. I hold seeing articles from bloggers who don’t know their heads from holes within the floor that say “oh, look! SEO has changed so much in the last few years!” Really? Then why are you all nonetheless fussing over hyperlinks and content material? That’s all we cared about twenty years in the past.
Our definitions of search engine marketing have modified a nice deal. There isn’t any denying that. I’ve modified my very own definition a number of occasions and I at present favor “the practice of analyzing search engine protocols, actions, resources, and guidelines for the purpose of improving Website compliance and performance in search results” (see the SEO Glossary for extra about SEO). This definition makes an attempt to elucidate the way you handle the connection between Website and search engine, nevertheless it implies some summary issues are buried within the particulars (together with hyperlink acquisition).
It is simply actually very arduous to outline search engine marketing and till somebody can do it in a fully passable means we’ll in all probability proceed to see an countless spew of nugatory “gimme attention” articles (PRO)claiming that “search engine optimization isn’t what it used to be”.
If your information of SEO isn’t what it was, that doesn’t imply SEO isn’t what it was. That can be like saying math has modified since you stopped specializing in arithmetic and began enjoying with quadratic equations.
Search engine optimization, no matter how poorly we outline it, continues to work the identical means it at all times has. You publish content material, you get some hyperlinks for it, you make sure that the search engine finds the content material and the hyperlinks, and also you hope for the very best. If your hopes are usually not realized you return and do all of it once more, and you retain repeating the sample till you both quit or get what you need.
Nothing about SEO has modified in twenty years.
Now, let’s ask some questions and see the place that leads the dialogue about “technical SEO”.
Is Website design an SEO process?
I submit that the proper reply to this query is “no”. And I imply that’s an unqualified “no”.
While it’s nice when the SEO man (or woman) will get to advise the Website designer on learn how to make the location crawlable, what meta directions to incorporate on the pages, and all that, it actually doesn’t matter. If somebody brings you a Website that’s composed solely of picture recordsdata and nothing else, you’ll nonetheless be anticipated to advertise in the major search engines.
That’s the place you begin doing all your hyperlink analysis, isn’t it? I wouldn’t write off hyperlink methods for such a web site, however I’d see what I might do in regards to the design.
And but, that’s not search engine marketing. If search engine marketing entails Website design then meaning there is just one optimum Website design, and that’s utter nonsense. Many various kinds of websites utilizing all kinds of loopy design options do exactly advantageous in search outcomes.
When you utilize the phrase “optimization” you indicate you might be in search of the very best configuration, however the one common reply to any query in SEO is “it depends …” With a lot to rely on you can’t probably outline a single optimum Website construction or design. Lacking that definitive blueprint, you can’t efficiently argue that Website design is a part of search engine marketing.
Search engine optimization can improve Website design, nothing extra.
But is that technical SEO or are you simply philosophizing?
Is bettering Website efficiency an SEO process?
I submit that the proper reply to this query is “no”. And I imply that’s an unqualified “no”.
Website efficiency is type of virtually vital for search engine marketing. However, if I point out “Website performance” to a room stuffed with SEO suppliers they’ll all nod their heads and begin sharing anecdotes about how they sped up web page load and render occasions.
There are a few issues with that viewpoint. First, Google has solely ever stated that 1% of all Websites want fear about web page load and render occasions. As far as their search algorithms are involved they solely care in regards to the worst performing 1%. So no matter SEO profit you assume you might be deriving from dashing up web page loading and rendering occasions is illusory.
Yes, it improves the person expertise and I definitely hope you give good recommendation on the topic. But you’re not optimizing for search in case you’re specializing in web page loading and rendering occasions. You can’t be optimizing for search in case you’re not serving to a web site transfer from the underside 1% into the highest 99%.
Now, if Google desires to alter the proportion breakdown, nice. I hope they inform us by way of an applicable channel. Otherwise, whereas I encourage everybody to offer a nice person expertise with their websites, dashing up web page loading and rendering occasions shouldn’t be search engine marketing. Hence, it’s not likely a technical SEO process.
I hesitate to name this a time-wasting train as a result of it’s one other of these duties that gives advantages exterior of search engine marketing. But how a lot effort and time do you have to, the SEO supplier, be investing in a non-SEO process?
Is creating influencer relationships an SEO process?
Ah, you’re considering, “This is where I get my links and social media shares!”
Great … and which of these helps the Website enhance its relationship with the major search engines? You’re fallacious in case you say something apart from “I don’t know.” You have no idea what helps. And not realizing means you might be simply throwing stuff on the wall and hoping one thing sticks.
Maybe that’s a part of SEO (who am I to say?) however even whether it is, it’s not very environment friendly. And it’s damned certain not technical. Not in my guide.
Don’t confuse common Web visibility and visitors with the visibility and visitors that search engine marketing is charged with bettering. There are many metrics you should use to measure visitors, assign attribution, and do different advertising issues. But there aren’t any dependable search engine marketing metrics.
The greatest SEO metric you possibly can devise is the speed of change in [daily, weekly, monthly, or annual] search referral visitors. Using that type of metric to measure your SEO success is a bit like utilizing a picket mallet to carve a stick of butter.
We have many metrics for figuring out and focusing on “influencers” and for measuring our success in inlluencing the influencers. That is all advertising communicate. It’s not search engine marketing.
Is following trade information a technical process?
Seriously, there are individuals who will let you know that is a part of technical SEO. That is as a result of studying the trade information is a bit like scanning the most recent handbook.
I see the comparability. I’m not saying it’s fallacious. But this isn’t technical SEO. It’s not even search engine marketing.
You are anticipated to pay attention to any modifications within the driving legal guidelines however realizing when these legal guidelines change doesn’t really play into the duty of driving a automobile on the general public roads. You can drive a automobile illegally so realizing the driving legal guidelines inside out as they alter actually has nothing to do with the way you drive.
Do “ranking factors” have something to do with technical SEO?
I submit that the proper reply to this query is an unqualified “no”.
Do you know the way many Google rating alerts have been documented in public? ONE. And I’m certain a few of you might be scratching your heads attempting to determine which of the one that you love “ranking factors” is my one sign.
All these lists of rating components you like to share are simply flim-flammery. They are snake oil. No one has a actual listing of “SEO ranking factors”.
I’ve stated in personal discussions that PageRank is essentially the most completely mentioned Google rating sign. People can simply point out different “signals” they’ve heard about. Take, for instance, the “HTTPS (ranking) signal”. If Google sees a URL beginning with “HTTPS” then it assigns a (small) increase to that URL.
Um … how a lot of a increase does it get? You don’t know? Then you don’t know a lot in regards to the sign, do you?
With PageRank you possibly can take the essential algorithm and compute all kinds of stuff. Lots of people are computing their very own PageRank. We just about know the way traditional PageRank works, though we don’t know the way Google is utilizing it (Matt Cutts as soon as stated it really works very in a different way from the best way Larry Page and Sergey Brin first described it).
You don’t have any means of confirming which of your supposed rating components is definitely being utilized by a search engine.
Google has denied a number of occasions utilizing “domain authority” and but each time they are saying they don’t seem to be utilizing it individuals hem and haw and provide you with excuses for arguing that Domain Authority is a completely good SEO metric.
Using these lists of “ranking factors” is at greatest an inefficient follow (since you’re simply making wild-assed guesses on the idea of which SEO bloggers you want) and at worst a full waste of time. Hence, there may be nothing technical about realizing somebody’s favourite “ranking factors”. They are usually not components in an equation (that isn’t even how rankings are decided).
Does Google use click on charges and pogosticking to find out “rankings” for something apart from customized Web search?
Googlers say they don’t. Ex-Googlers say they don’t.
So why do your favourite final newbie’s guides to technical SEO talk about “pogosticking” and click on charges?
You are losing everybody’s time together with your countless discussions of “bounce rates” (see “The Late Great Bounce Rate Debate” for why).
Bounce price shouldn’t be a search rating issue or sign.
If it’s not a search rating issue or sign then “managing” your bounce price shouldn’t be optimizing your web site for search. And if managing the bounce price shouldn’t be SEO then it certain as hell can’t be technical SEO.
But a lot of persons are (falsely) telling you that bounce price is vital for SEO. It’s not. It’s not vital for something, not even Website design.
Do You Have to Add (XML) Sitemap Locations to Your “robots.txt” File?
No. Absolutely not. I don’t know the place this nonsense got here from nevertheless it did NOT come from Google’s pointers for making your web site seen to Google.
Let me say this as monosyllabically as potential: You can do it in some way means.
In different phrases, in line with Google, you possibly can both submit your XML sitemaps on to Google via their Search Console OR you possibly can present a hyperlink in your “robots.txt” file. I’ve even simply embedded a hyperlink to a sitemap in a regular Web web page and Google has discovered and crawled the map.
You don’t should listing the sitemap in “robots.txt”. Now, that is a easy and prudent factor to do and I can not think about why anybody would insist on NOT doing it however so far as search engine marketing is anxious it’s not a requirement.
And if it’s not required for SEO then it’s not a technical SEO process. All the ache and turmoil you’ve got skilled attempting to get the “robots.txt” file to listing the sitemaps — I’m sorry to say, that was a waste of your time.
I might go on, however do I’ve to?
Seriously, I don’t wish to write a 5,000 phrase weblog put up. I hate the truth that all of the Web entrepreneurs now assume it’s a must to write ridiculously lengthy weblog posts. That isn’t technical SEO, both.
We can agree there are technical SEO duties. We simply don’t agree on what they’re. I stated as a lot three years in the past after I wrote “Technical SEO Skills for 2013 and 2014”. It’s not straightforward to outline these items. Unfortunately it’s too straightforward to throw a lot of crap on the Web and hope nobody notices you might be faking it.
We’re not getting any nearer to adopting Web requirements however everybody must get on the identical web page about requirements: we have now no requirements and meaning purchasers and employers who rely on search engine marketing specialists don’t have any means of figuring out who is basically educated about “technical SEO”.
I admire everybody saying I’m nice at technical SEO, however I truthfully do not know of what you persons are speaking abou.