SMX West Session Notes: Technical SEO Issues for Developers

Technical SEO Issues For Developers – Highlights the most important elements to consider for search engine optimization (SEO) when building a web application infrastructure and provides tactical details about how to implement those elements. Moderator: Vanessa Fox Speakers: Patrick Bennett, Arnab Bhattachajee, Michael Gray, Maile Ohye Patrick Bennett, Founder Modern Blue, Notes – Topic: SEO Starts with the Developer. Developers used to code and rip it out, but not think about SEO at all.  The would then turn site over to marketers and have to redo all their work. SUMIA acronym:
  1. Sitemaps: Doesn’t improve rankings.  Not directly, but it provides and easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.
    1. Create both human and XML sitemaps.
    2. Be proactive
  2. URLs
    1. Canonicalization – decide on being either www. or non www.
      Patrick Bennett Talking at SMX
      Patrick Bennett Talking at SMX
    2. Work with redirects to have consistency.
    3. Limit the size of your URLs that make sense.
    4. Return codes: 200 OK, 301 Moved Permanently, 302 Temporary Redirect, 404 Not Found.
    5. Redirect anything that is not a real folder or file back to the index.php.
  3. Meta and Title Tags
    1. Provide options for customizing Title and Meta.
  4. Infrastructure
    1. Code: Keep it clean.
    2. Use necessary tags for important content: (h1, h2, etc.)
    3. Alt and title tags for images.
    4. Follow Google webmaster guidelines.
    5. Use Robots.txt
    6. Choose the pages you want indexed.
  5. Analytics
    1. SEOs can’t live without analytics.
    2. Track sales, returning customers, bounce rate.
Remember SUMIA when you are developing a website. Arnab Bhattacharjee, Senior Director – Yahoo, Notes – Topic: Focusing on the basics for Yahoo and how to simplify your site.
  1. Follow developer standards.
  2. Don’t link to SPAM.
  3. Simple clear anchor text.
  4. Meaningful page titles.
  5. Follow W3 standards.
  6. Create a crawl-able architecture, use
  7. Use Robots.txt.
  8. Recommends using Yahoo Site Explorer as you are developing.
Michael Gray, President – Atlas Web Service, Notes –
Michael Gray Speaking at SMX
Michael Gray Speaking at SMX
Topic: Not Named
  1. Case Study on Tech Issues
    1. Getting 200-500 uniques a day.  Had thousands and thousands of pages.
    2. Had terrible URL structure.
    3. Solutions:
      1. Stripped down URLs to basics.
      2. Used 301s on all old URLs to new ones.
    4. There Titles were confusing.
      1. Good: put important info at front and focused in on them.
    5. Consolidate pages and focus on link equity.
      1. Use CSS to put all content on one page behind tabs.
      2. Block indexing on pages that are non essential.
  2. These changes were made among many others and traffic went to 0.
  3. You have to understand that this is going to happen, but traffic will grow from there to larger amount.
  4. 6 months later: traffic is at 80k uniques a day compared to 200-500 uniques a day.
Maile Ohye, Sr. Developer Program Engineer – Google Inc., Notes – Topic: Bridging the gap between how Google wants your dynamic site built and how you actually build it. Frames and iFrames:
  1. iFrames are often indexes as a separate URL.
Review of Dynamic URL’s:
  1. Implement often with cookies to hide user details.
  2. Create patterns for crawlers to process efficiently.
  3. Disallow actions Googlebot can’t perform. (example: shopping carts)
  4. Disallow login pages.
  5. Disallow contact us forms.
  6. Avoid “maverick” coding practices.
    1. Don’t make up your own alternative encoding.
    2. Stick to the norms.
    3. Eliminate positional encoding.
    4. Remove session ids from paths or positions.
  7. Create an intelligible URL structure.
    1. Disallow bots from useless URLs.
    2. Standardize encoding.
    3. Use lowercase URLs as they are case sensitive.
    4. Robots.txt is case sensitive.
    5. Use dashes (-) in URL strands.
Q&A Session: Q: How to put tracking code in URL? A: Always 301 it – Michael Gray. Q: How do you link between multiple sitemaps used on a website (using mini sitemaps)? A: Go to and it will provide details on max info for sitemaps in xml format. Q: When splitting content into tabs using CSS, do the SERPs ignore CSS dispaly non or Java is thas it not displaying? A: Once page is indexed, check cache and then click on text only.  If text is displayed on text only cached page, then it is being seen by the SERPs. Q: Should you use absolute or relevant URLs when linking in site? A: Use absolute URLs when programming for sure – Michael Gray, and Patrick Bennett. Q: How important is load-time in Google algo? A: They don’t have a hard number for that, but referenced the user experience and slow loading pages don’t work well for users. (I call BS)

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