Make your pages findable by Google
Kristina says: “You should ensure that Google can see and index the content you’re putting out there on your website.”
How big a problem is this? Are there people publishing content like blog posts and not even realizing that Google isn’t indexing them?
For example, if we consider internal linking. Sometimes people invest a lot of energy and money in creating content without making sure that Google can actually index it. If Google can’t index it, then it can’t rank it. And if it’s not ranking, you’re wasting money and time instead of working on being found and generating more leads.”
Another thing would be website structure and internal linking. A website is an organism, and every part of it should be connected. Every time you add a new page to the website, you should have a process for how to integrate it. You must ensure that your entire website is accessible and that all the content you want Google to see is in the rendered HTML.”
Is there software you recommend for identifying pages that are no longer indexed or pages that aren’t as crawlable as they should be?
Is there any particular alert you recommend setting up within Google Search Console to know when something goes wrong?
“Google Search Console sends many alerts, but not all of them need your attention - especially mobile-friendly ones. So, it could also be safer to use Content King for that. You can also do the same in Google Analytics every time a page undergoes significant changes.
How can you use technical SEO to control your website performance on Google?
“There are three pillars of technical SEO. First, there are pages that you want Google to index. Secondly, there are pages you don’t want to be indexed or crawled by Google. And the third is basically about page experience. As a technical SEO, you have to have control over each stage.
If you identify the most important pages and want them to be indexed and crawled, you must ensure that they are not disallowed in robots.txt. Internal linking should also be properly set up and, generally, these pages have priority on the website. Google also considers whether there is an XML sitemap with the correct tags, like ‘last modified’. These things will help you ensure that your website is up properly, you actually benefit, and you see those benefits much quicker from the content you’re creating.”
How do you decide which content or pages to remove from Google’s index to make sure you are delivering a unique, distinctive, and high-quality user experience?
“It depends on the percentage of the entire site that needs to be revisited. For example, if a website has, say, 80% of the website outdated, then it could be a big issue. If they’re just a couple of pages, then maybe it’s not a priority.
The next thing would be to decide if there are pages you need to remove, but this can come with several options. Some can be improved, and others merged. You just need to make sure that the old pages have external links pointing to them.
Generally, it is a whole large project, and you want to ensure you understand the process before making serious decisions about removing pages.”
If you do see a negative impact, how do you identify which technical changes might have had the most significant effect on rankings?
“Usually, the best way is to queue the changes and not make them all at once. For example: don’t change the domain at the same time as the website structure or any redesigns. That way, it will be much easier to see what worked and what didn’t, and then fix it. It is common for seemingly minor issues to cause a great decrease in traffic and rankings.
Then, if everything is right but there is still a decrease, Google needs more time to review and re-evaluate the website. It is quite easy for Google to pick up all those clues and changes on your website, so it definitely needs more time.
Finally, you need to understand that any migration involves some risk. The more changes you make, the more risks there are. It’s unrealistic to expect results in the early stages. Even if everything is in order, it does not guarantee that there will not be temporary decreases in traffic, because you can’t control it fully.”
What shouldn’t SEOs be doing in 2023? What is seductive in terms of time, but ultimately counterproductive?
“Stop doing things purely for SEO. In most cases, this would be creating SEO content. We all know about the helpful content update, and how it is easy to get caught up doing multiple optimisations while missing the full picture of what your users actually need.
Overall, it should still be all about the users and finding ways to serve them better. SEOs need to zoom out and focus on the bigger picture. Remember that SEO is only one avenue of bringing the right people to the website who can convert. Therefore, it needs to align with all other strategies, as well as the actual experience of your users.”
Kristina Azarenko is a Founder at MarketingSyrup Academy, and you can find her over at marketingsyrup.com.