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Elena Terenteva

Technical SEO challenges #semrushchat

Elena Terenteva
Technical SEO challenges #semrushchat

Hello dear SEMrush Blog readers! Today we are going to talk about the most common technical SEO challenges – CMS issues, backlink monitoring, mobile SEO, essential international SEO issues and a lot more. Find out the answers to most important SEO questions with our amazing guest expert Paul Shapiro, digital marketer, programmer and SEO director at Catalyst, and hundred of our participants.

How to ensure that your content is crawled

Filling your website with valuable content is important, yet it is no less important to ensure that search engine crawlers access all of this precious content. The very first step is “to make sure you have a good site architecture and internal linking structure,” as Paul Shapiro ‏@fighto suggests.

The next step is to use Google Search Console to make sure that Google can index your content and to optimize your website’s presence in search results.

To prevent or quickly eliminate any problems or indexation errors that affect your website’s pages, regularly perform a website audit and crawl your pages.

This is how a basic plan for revealing sources of website indexation problems might look:

To learn more on this subject, check out the article “SEO Siloning: Building a Themed Website,” shared by Paul Shapiro ‏@fighto.

Another way to get your website indexed fast is “to promote socially and specifically to influencers to encourage linking, which may accelerate indexing,” as Jordan Bradley ‏@thejbrads advises.

Most common CMS issues

Okay, speaking of “a bunch of other issues that pop-up,” Paul Shapiro is not revealing the entire truth. Let’s take a look at some problems that can be caused by CMSs:

  • Slow page load speed
  • Duplicate content
  • Bad file names
  • Too many plugins on WordPress
  • Messy/meaningless URLs
  • Duplicated title/description tags
  • Internal linking issues
  • Poorly optimized images

Now let’s take a closer look at the most common problems. Most of these can be prevented, if you know what you are doing in the first place. Managing a CMS is not easy in itself, and it requires some technical knowledge. Improve your knowledge base or hire someone who has experience with CMS managment. There is no way to automate the management process and no plugin that will do all the work for you. And what’s more, when a CMS is stuffed with tons of plugins, this becomes even more complicated, and here a lot of problems are born.

Faceted navigation (“Faceted navigation or faceted browsing is a technique for accessing information organized according to a faceted classification system, allowing users to explore a collection of information by applying multiple filters”) can cause a headache.

It’s a tricky thing because it “creates many combinations of URLs with duplicative content,” so you’d better study this topic in detail before implementing it for the website. Take a look at this post Faceted navigation best (and 5 of the worst) practices (shared by Paul Shapiro). According to our chat participants, duplicate content is a major issue. To avoid this kind of problem, make sure you noindex pages you don't want to be crawled. 

Mobile SEO

When it comes to mobile websites, probably the main thing to focus on is loading speed. A fast load is essential for mobile users; if your website doesn’t provide one, they’re likely to simply close it and go elsewhere.

To ensure a good user experience, you need to understand how your customers are going to use the mobile version of your website. For example, if people mainly access your website from their mobile devices to order pizza, they will want to understand how they can do it right after they’ve opened your page.

Don’t forget to adjust your content; make sure it is relevant for mobile users.

Here is a checklist for a good mobile-user experience provided by Emma P ‏@PU3YLO:

Follow the rule that always works: if you want to know what’s better, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do they want? How do they think? What do they expect?

To get more insights into creating mobile-friendly websites, check out the article “Building Your Mobile-Friendly Site” by Distilled, which was recommended by Paul Shapiro ‏@fighto. International SEO  The world is big, but the Internet is used by everyone. If you are running an international business, you can still have only one website, so be sure that you show users in different countries what they want to see. This is not very difficult if you are familiar with some core principals. The first one:

Know your audience! Some companies spent a lot of money on audience researchers, and they are probably making a wise investment.

No technical improvements can help if you are not able to answer “yes” to this question:

Speaking of content...

No machine translations! Both your users and Google will be confused, and your site will be considered spammy.

The second question:

Think twice about your site’s structure. The right approach will depend on many factors – from your marketing strategy to your technical capabilities – and it can bring certain benefits and make the lives of your webmaster and your SEO easier.

“Rel=alternate hreflang. Know this code. Boom” - Matthew Young@MatthewAYoung. If you you have a multi language website, with rel=alternate attribute you are giving signal to search engines to show user correct language version of the page, matching the language use use while searching.

And last but not least:

I can tell you that managing two teams located in two different offices can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Choose the right means of communication and be sure your workflow is set up properly, otherwise you’ll be forced to spend additional time and effort fixing mistakes that can occur because of poor cooperation. If you want more on this topic, check out recorded SEMrush webinar with Jon Payne Think global Act Local and International site checklist by Aleyda Solis, suggested by Carrie Morgan ‏@morgancarrie. How to fight spammy links Backlinks – we never get tired of talking about them. This seems to be a simple topic, but a spammy backlink profile is still one of the most common reasons for a Google penalty. And one simple way to prevent it is to “regularly check your link profile,” as Reva Minkoff ‏@revaminkoff suggests. Use sharp eyes, common sense and helpful tools of course.

Netvantage Marketing ‏@netvantage also recommend Majestic; ThinkSEM ‏@ThinkSEM uses RavenTools to assess links.

Tripp Hamilton ‏@Tripp_Hamilton, like many other participants is a fan of Ahrefs for finding new spammy links.

Laurel Marcus @ljmarcus suggested that SEOs “audit backlinks via Search Console, especially for newly launched content,” but that they “try to handle it with Webmaster first.”

Paul Shapiro ‏@fighto mentioned “LinkDetox, which might be a good investment depending on your site’s size and value.”

So, there are a lot of options.

Once you build a list of links you want to get rid of, follow these instructions:

But there are two very important things to remember.

If your backlink profile is terrible, it might take a lot of time to even list them all, much less contact the website owners whose links you want removed – so just don’t bother. But, at the same time, “don't go disavow crazy. You can mess up your site rankings sometimes” - Paul Shapiro ‏@fighto. Remember that links are a very valuable asset you don’t want to waste. So be strict, but fair.

And finally – sometimes it’s easier to prevent an illness than to treat it later.

SEO challenges We would love to give you a simple answer to this question and point out only three main technical SEO challenges, but it seems that there is no simple answer. Looking at this list of SEO problems, we can tell that there's no SEO minimum! Every aspect is important and needs to be taken care of.   Most Common SEO Challenges

  • Attract quality links
  • Set up right content targeting
  • Proper site speed
  • Manage different sites for each country
  • Fix incorrect canonical implementation
  • Fight for indexability then visibility
  • Setting up internal redirection
  • Overcoming CMS limitations
  • Development of proper site architecture
  • Manage site migrations/rebranding
  • Fighting with spam
  • Fixing unintentional duplication of content
  • Using Schema well

While creating this list we used Tweets by following participants: 

Andrew Peron ‏@andrew_peron

Bill Slawski ‏@bill_slawski

Jacques Bouchard ‏@jacquesbouchard

Luke Monaghan ‏@koozai_luke

Nate Plaunt ‏@NatePlaunt

Paul Shapiro ‏@fighto

Reva Minkoff ‏@revaminkoff

SEOcial ‏@SEOcial

Studio-40 ‏@Studio40

We’ll tell you more – SEOs aren’t simply facing technical challenges. 

Knowledge is power! Once your team understands the rules of the game, your chances of messing up with SEO may reduce dramatically. Educate and motivate!

Hope you enjoyed the post! We'll see you again this Wednesday!

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush.

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