High-Level SEO Summary
On this blog we often talk about SEO, and how social media and search engine optimisation can work together.
In the past we have discussed several interesting SEO topics, such as:
We also have a fairly comprehensive SEO archive with more articles.
Today we are going to talk about some more High-Level technical SEO topics you should be aware of, including:
- Site Speed
- 301 & 302 Redirection
- HTTP Headers / Responses
- Geo- Redirection
- Google Crawler Access
Google has previously told us that site speed really does matter – they want the web fast.
Google previous conducted site speed research in a test environment. They had 2 groups of testers running web searches on Google. 1 group got search results at current speeds, the other group were given a delay of 0.1-0.4 second on searches. The participants had no idea there was any speed limiting but for the second group the number of searches conducted dropped, even though the drop in page speed was only minimal.
This would very much correlate with your site, if your pages are slow to load then people are likely to view less pages.
For some time Google has had a feature in Webmaster Tools which shows your roughly how fast your site is. Alexa also show you site speed which is no doubt pulling data from the Alexa Website Archiver.
301 & 302 Page Redirection
There are 2 types of redirection you should be aware of.
301 Redirect = Permanent Redirect
You are signalling to the search engines that this page/content has permanently moved to a new page. As a result search engines will pass most of the pagerank to the new webpage. The old webpage will probably be de-indexed by the search engines.
302 Redirect = Temporary Redirect
In this case you are signalling that the page/content has only temporarily moved, and you want the search engines to keep the old page in their archive. This type of redirection passes no pagerank to the redirected page.
HTTP Headers / Responses
In short, every time someone views your webpage your website will send back a HTTP Header response to that server, including bots and search engine crawlers.
There are quite a few codes that could be returned, these are the most common and important:
200 (Success) – The webpage loaded successfully and should be indexed and and ranked by search engines.
301 (Moved Permanently) – this means a page has moved permanently. Search Engines will pass across the link juice and de-index the old page.
302 (Moved Temporarily) – this means the page has moved temporarily but will change back to it’s original location another time. This passes no link juice to the redirected URL.
404 (Page Not Found) – this means there was an error crawling that page. If you have a page that is returning a 404 error, over time the search engines will remove it from their index.
410 (Page Permanently Removed) – this means that you are signalling to the search engines that this page has been permanently removed. The search engines will de-index this page.
500 (Internal Server Error) – a generic error that is not really helpful at all. If you see any of these try resolve them asap.
503 (Service Unavailable) – if you have website downtime, return a 503 error to the search engines. This will tell them you are experience downtime and not to index your error pages – particularly handy for large websites which are being crawled often.
If you want to manually check what sort of HTTP response a page sends back (or if there are redirects setup on a page), check out the following tool: http://web-sniffer.net/
This can get tricky. You may have a large website with sub directories with different content for different contries, eg
In this case you may decide to redirect users based on IP address to the specific local site. This is fine for your users, but for the Google Crawler (which is based in the USA with USA IP addresses) this could mean that only your US content is getting indexed.
If this is the case for your site and it’s clear your are trying to provide a good user experience, you may want to drop the redirects for GoogleBot so it can run through all your sites and not have any redirection issues.
You need to proceed carefully with Geo-redirection to ensure you are not ‘Cloaking’ and also to ensure all of your content is still getting indexed.
Google Crawler Access
Google will crawl your pages with the highest PR and works its way down to pages with less and less PR. It may get to a point where low PR pages are either not crawled/indexed or crawled very rarely.
So it’s obviously for your homepage (which typically has the highest pagerank) to be crawled the most frequently.
It’s also therefore important to note any links on your homepage will be ‘strong’ links and pass good link juice to the page being linked to. As a result don’t have too many links on your homepage (or any page for that matter). Google has previously said 100 links per page is a good rule to go by, however if you are a large trusted site then you may be able to include more.
There is plenty more to SEO than just on-page – title, keyword, description optimisation coupled with link building.
If you want to go that extra step, look at the finer details we’ve listed above. Tweaking your site in relation to these points could definitely bring you a noticeable SEO gain and jump in search rankings.