The Technical Pillar: Servers, Code & All Things Nerdy

The Technical Pillar: Servers, Code & All Things Nerdy

The Technical Pillar: Servers, Code & All Things Nerdy

Episode 004

We introduce the technical pillar of SEO and chat about the 9 main areas of technical SEO and the tools we consider most important.

Quite a lot of resources mentioned in this episode – enjoy:

  • Kinsta
  • WP Engine
  • Cloudways
  • WordPress
  • Shopify
  • Pingdom
  • GT Metrix
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Webpage Test
  • Sitebulb
  • Screaming Frog
  • Tiny PNG
  • Google Search Console

Hope you enjoyed the episode!

Hey, Check These Guys Out

The SEO Show is brought to you by Local Digital – need more customers? That’s where Local Digital comes in.

Stuff You Need To Know

The SEO Show is released once a week so subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts and if you’re feeling extra kind we’d love it if you leave us a review.

Learn more about us at
Check out our YouTube content at


Michael 0:04
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your host, Michael and Arthur.

Welcome to the SEO show. And after an intro like that, I am ready to run through walls. How you goin Arthur?

Arthur 0:29
I’m good, good. How are you?

Michael 0:30
I’m very excited. As you can tell. Yeah, we got a new intro.

Arthur 0:33

Michael 0:33
What do you reckon?

Arthur 0:35
Um, yeah, it’s not bad. I don’t like the way they pronounce my name. But what can you do?

Michael 0:40
Well, you can just embrace the fact that you are now arrrr-thurrr. Okay. Arthur is looking at me very angrily right now. Let’s move on. Let’s talk about SEO. This week, we’re talking about another pillar, the second of four pillars. And we are on to the topic of technical SEO. So what is technical SEO, it’s really just all of the stuff that you can do to your website. That doesn’t fit within the content pillar that we spoke about last week. So when I say stuff, you know, content, you’re dealing with the words on the page on the website. But there’s stuff you can do to the code to the CMS to the the hosting platform, the speed of the site, or the nerdy stuff that doesn’t fit within that content pillar.

Arthur 1:26
So making your site as appealing to Google from a technical perspective, making it is easy for Google to find your site.

Michael 1:31
Yeah, and crawl all the content, pretty much. That’s a matter of making it easy for Google to find all that good work you’ve done with the content. And look, the good news is technical SEO can be really complex. You know, there’s there’s people that specialize just in technical SEO, particularly when you’re looking at, you know, enterprise campaigns or really large e commerce sites with millions of pages. But for you know, the majority of people out there business owners and the like, it’s pretty easy to nail most of technical SEO, because CMS like WordPress, and Shopify, just nail a lot of that stuff out of the box. But that’s not to say that there’s not areas that you can focus on and improve things. So we’ve had a little think here, and we’ve come up with, I guess, the nine main areas that we focus on from a technical SEO point of view, to explain them a little further, and really give you a bit of understanding of the technical pillar. So I’ll let Arthur get started today with the first point.

Arthur 2:30
Yeah, so you mentioned CMS. So that’s a good starting point. So CMS stands for content management system. Basically, it’s where you manage the content on your website. So everything from the text, the images, or the pages and blog posts, and when you’re building your website, it’s super important to pick the right CMS. There’s a lot out there. So maybe we can start off by kind of going through the main ones that we work with with our clients. Yes. So when you’re building like a front end lead gen website, I guess the main CMS that we find is WordPress. So WordPress powers about 40% of the internet. It’s open source, it’s free. So there’s no surprise why a lot of people kind of dive onto it.

Michael 3:12
Yeah, and I think the the good thing with an open source platform is they’ve developed it, there’s a developer community behind it constantly creating new plugins and themes and features. So what started out as just a blogging platform has turned into a really powerful back end infrastructure for websites. So you know, pretty much everything you could hope to do with a business website can be done with WordPress.

Arthur 3:38
It’s easy to use. I mean, you do need some technical skills. It’s not as simple as something like Wix or Squarespace where you can build pages straight out of the box. There is some kind of technical knowledge involved. Alright, so Squarespace and Wix. Yes. mentioned. Yeah. How do they sort of compare to WordPress, so they’re a lot easier to use. It’s more of an out of the box solution. So you can start building a Squarespace or Wix website right away, sign up, and basically select the theme and away you go. There’s a lot of pros and cons to choosing Wix and Squarespace. So maybe we can go through the pros and cons. Yeah, I guess starting with the pros, like we kind of touched on it’s super easy to use. Anyone can go purchase a domain and start building a site today. I guess the main con is the flexibility and the customization aspects of it. So it’s nowhere near as flexible as WordPress, there’s nowhere near as many plugins and you just can’t customize the site as well as you would a WordPress site.

Michael 4:44
I would say as well. One of the cons, you know, with these types of platforms is you’re locked into a monthly fee as well. And you can’t control other elements of the technical side of things. If you’re using Squarespace or Wix. Your sites hosted by that. Yeah, you don’t really control that hosting environment, which we’re going to talk about in a minute is quite important to be able to improve the speed of the website and the like having that freedom. So, I guess the key thing to consider is an open source platform like WordPress means freedom. Yeah. Also just you know, Wix. No, we’re not fans of Wix.

Arthur 5:18
No, we often move clients away from Wix.

Michael 5:21
Yeah, we often say no to businesses that want to work with us that are on Wix. Yes. Because it’s not that nice to try and rank from an SEO point of view. No. But um, yeah, we are big fans of WordPress. You know, if you’re, if you’re a business looking to generate leads online, just have like a sort of marketing brochure type site for your business. WordPress is pretty much always going to be the answer out of those three options that we’ve covered off there, for sure. So, um, what are things like when you are trying to sell online? You know, are you using WordPress, Wix and Squarespace? Or do you have other platforms that you sort of like to use in that regard?

Arthur 5:57
that I like to use? Or? Well, I guess the main two would be Shopify and Magento. Most of the clients that are most of our e commerce clients would be on either one of those platforms.

Michael 6:08
Okay, so Shopify Magento, good platforms. Yep. Why ? Why them, over the other options out there?

Arthur 6:17
Well, I’d say Shopify would probably be preferable, it just depends on the use case. So if you’re just starting out with the e commerce store, you’ve got, say, five 6, 10 products, Shopify would be the way to go. It’s very easy to set up a store. It’s similar to I guess, I guess, a Squarespace or Wix, where you can just purchase a domain and start building a store today, you can have it up and running within, you know, 24 hours. Magento is a bit more complex, it’s probably more more useful if you’re selling, you know, a larger range of products. There are costs involved with both Shopify would be on the cheaper end of the scale, whereas Magento, I believe, is quite expensive.

Michael 6:58
Yeah. And there’s, you know, with Shopify, a lot of the work can be done by yourself on the back end. With Magento. You need developers. So we we pretty much push people towards Shopify in 90%. of use cases. A nice experience for the person using it the business owner, but also for customers, you know, like the checkout on Shopify. That’s amazing. sleek, beautiful, nice to use.

Arthur 7:21
Yeah. There’s also WooCommerce. Yeah, which the works if you if you have a WordPress front end, it makes sense to keep it all together. So WooCommerce is always a good option.

Michael 7:32
Yeah. And WooCommerce is a like a plugin for WordPress. Yeah, that adds ecom functionality, to WordPress. So this coming back to the point we made before about the fact that WordPress open source really extendable in terms of functionality. It can be a good choice. But you know, it’s not really as strong as Shopify. When it comes to e commerce,

Arthur 7:53
it is free.

Michael 7:55
Well see with WooCommerce you gotta pay a license. not much. Okay, not much. It’s cheaper. It’s cheaper, definitely cheaper. But it’s more tricky. It’s more labor intensive, I would say. So anyway, I guess CMS is the brains not even the brains, but like the sort of architecture that you work on your website, that sort of the language of your website as a business owner?

Arthur 8:19

Michael 8:20
I guess, maybe. But um, from a technical point of view, if you use WordPress, if you use Shopify, either one of them, you’re going to be able to really do a good job from a technical point of view. Yep. Wix, not so much because it’s sort of closed in a sort of ecosystem. So stick to WordPress, stick to Shopify, you’re going to be doing really well, from a CMS point of view. Let’s move on from point one on the technical pillar. And I guess, you know, you’ve got your CMS in place, what else should you be considering when when setting a site up from a technical point of view.

Arthur 8:55
so definitely the hosting environment. So basically, that’s where your website is hosted. So once you build your website, you need to host it somewhere so people can actually find it online. And there’s a lot of different types of hosting, I can get a bit confusing for clients. So maybe we can go through the different types and the pros and cons of each. Sure.

Michael 9:16
So what would be I guess, the most basic, cheapest out of the box,

Arthur 9:20
hosting, shared, shared hosting, shared hosting, yeah, shared hosting. Yep. So pros of that. It’s very cheap, easy to set up. But there’s, I guess, a lot more cons to it. So your website is on a shared server. So it’s basically hosted with a whole bunch of other sites. And that could mean that your page load or site speeds will be quite slow.

Michael 9:45
Yeah, that’s because they’re competing for the same resources. Like if you think you think about your computer at home, if you just have one browser running fine. But if you’re like me and you have 57 different tabs open and multiple windows, it starts to slow down. That’s what Chad hosts? Do they just shoehorn or not sure on just jam packed their servers with a lot of clients, customers. And if those customers are all hammering that server with traffic, it’s gonna slow down. Yeah. So you know, you might be paying you five bucks a month because it’s cheap. But you get what you pay for with.

Arthur 10:18
Look, it serves a purpose. I mean, if you’re just starting out and your your website is quite small, you could go with shared hosting. But if you’re really serious about SEO, and we want to get and want to get good results, then you want to think about something different, such as, like a virtual private server,

Michael 10:35
yes, or a VPS. Next Level up from shared hosting. with them, you basically have the resources dedicated just to your site.

Arthur 10:44
Yeah. But it’s still a shared server. Right?

Michael 10:47
Yes. So their virtual machines on the same server, yes, that you have the resources dedicated to you. So you can be guaranteed that you’ll get a certain amount of processing power, or RAM, or bandwidth.

Arthur 11:01
Yeah. And I guess the pros are, you know, it is still quite affordable. So it’s not that much more to jump from a shared hosting to a VPS. And it is faster. But at the same time, it is still on a shared server. And the other

Michael 11:15
thing with like a VPS, is you have more control over the server with the shared host, you can’t always control a lot of the settings and features in the host itself that allow you to optimize the speed, the load speed of the site. Often with VPS, you have a lot more control there. So if speed is a priority to you, and it should be because we’re going to be talking about speed in a minute. That’s another I guess, kick in the pros column for using a VPS. All right now shared hosting VPS. They’re all well and good. Yep. But if you’re really serious business, and you, you know, have some sort of a marketing budget, you probably want to allocate some of that budget to not even make a budget. But if you have money to spend, you want to get the best hosting possible. So really, we wouldn’t use shared hosting or VPS for that. No, not at all. So what we typically typically use for our WordPress based clients that are you know, really need quick hosting is an environment like kinsta, or cloudways, or some sort of platform like that, that will piggyback off, you know, Google’s Cloud Hosting or Amazon Web Services hosting environments, because they are really just the fastest.

Arthur 12:27
Yeah, nicest by far the fastest. Let’s talk about kinsta for a second because it’s amazing. Yes. We recently, i wouldn’t say recently, yeah, recently migrated a lot of our clients onto kinsta. It’s a managed WordPress hosts on the Google Cloud, super fast, super easy to use 24 hour support. Its support is next level, it’s amazing. I’ve had I’ve had clients hit me up on the weekend, because their site was down. I jumped on to the support, and they fix it up within 10 minutes.

Michael 12:57
Yeah, sounds like an ad for Kinsta. But

Arthur 12:59
it’s not an ad for Kinsta. But I just, it’s a great,

Michael 13:03
great host. And the reason that we like it so much is because with WordPress hosting, there is a bit of work that needs to go on behind the scenes to, you know, I guess fortify it against attacks and make it as fast as possible and ensure that there’s not conflicts with plugins and, and they take care of all of that.

Arthur 13:20
And the migration. Yeah, again, this sounds like a plug for kinsta. And it isn’t, it’s just probably the best hosting provider that I’ve worked with

Michael 13:28
and to show that it’s not a plug for kinsta. Another version of that, that we’ve used previously is cloudways. Yep. Again, that’s just like a front end bolt on that allows you to use a range of fast cloud hosting environments, and install apps and all the like on it, but that doesn’t have the same level of support and WordPress focus that kinsta does. So um, you know, with hosting environments, starting out, start on shared, it’s only going to be five bucks a month, then you can migrate your way up over time to a fast environment like kinsta, where you might be paying 30 or 60 or 100 US bucks a month, I’d

Arthur 14:03
say start on a VPS Yeah, cuz it’s not that much more. Yeah, you get all the benefits.

Michael 14:08
Yeah. Look, or just start on kinsta. You know, another. WP Engine. WP Engine is a competitor of theirs. If you want to check them out. We’re not just giving them a plug because their responses or anything. We couldn’t even attract sponsors right now if you wanted to.

Arthur 14:22
But maybe one day, yeah.

Michael 14:24
Anyway, let’s move on, because we don’t want to spend too long on hosting.

Arthur 14:28
Yeah, let’s talk about site speed, and optimization. Okay. So basically, site speed is the measurement of how quickly the content on your page loads. So from the moment that the browser requests the server, to the page loading fully, and it’s becoming increasingly important as a ranking factor, and we’ve seen now especially in June, Google rolling out the core web vitals, update, that site speed and user experience is super important.

Michael 14:56
Absolutely. And core web vitals is another area we’re gonna talk about in a sec, but I guess on the speed front its from a Google point of view, very important, but also from an end user.

Arthur 15:07
Yeah, whenever you, I mean, probably even more so from an end user.

Michael 15:10
Yeah, we’ve all been there like you click a link, and it just loads. And for me if it sort of takes four or five seconds, I normally just click back down even wait for it.

Arthur 15:18
Yeah. And that comes back to what we were talking about the hosting. So having a slow server response time, will slow it up.

Michael 15:25
Yeah. So. So when you say slow server response, that means that if, if we’ve clicked a link, our browser is requesting all that data from the server to show in the browser. If you’re on some crappy, shared host, and you’ve got tons of other websites that you’re competing with, it’s going to take ages until that server can can sort of fulfill that request. So yeah, just a bad slow, crappy experience.

Arthur 15:49
Yeah, which is why she go with Kinsta. There’s a lot of things you can do to help speed up a site. So I guess the one thing we touched on is the host, but also there’s a bunch of other things like leveraging the browser caching, optimizing images, a lot of clients that we work with, you’ll be surprised at how large the actual image files are on the site, upwards of three, four or five megabytes in some cases, for an image, that would be a couple of pixels. Yeah, you know, wide and tall.

Michael 16:16
And so the reason that normally happens is you might like a business owner might have a banner they want to put on their site. And it’s been designed at, you know, 10 times as a resolution size on the screen. Yeah. And they just shove that on their site. And the browser will make it look smaller on the screen, but it’s still having to load a massive file. So it’s pointless having that massive file to begin with.

Arthur 16:36
Yeah, and there’s a lot of tools, free tools out there that you can use to optimize the image size without compromising on the image quality. There’s also a lot of plugins for WordPress. Yeah, not sure of any off the top of my head,

Michael 16:46
I’ve got a couple of good ones here for if you want to do it manually, there’s a website tiny PNG dot com, you can just take an image, upload it to tiny PNG, and then it will compress it and then you download and it can take a say 600 kilobyte file and make it 60 kilobytes. So you know, much, much smaller

Arthur 17:05
Google have squish, yeah, then I don’t really use that one. Very similar.

Michael 17:10
But I use shortpixel as well in in WordPress. So it’s basically a plugin that you install on WordPress. And then as you upload files, it will automatically compress, upload image files, it will automatically compress them so that they’re smaller. But really, what you want to be doing is getting in the habit of saving your images as small as possible to begin with. Yeah.

Arthur 17:33
And how do you find the site speed of a website? Is there any tools that you’d like to use?

Michael 17:38
There’s a couple of different approaches you can use. Depends again, on what platform you’re on. You know, if you’re on Shopify, and all that there’s not that much that you can do. But WordPress, there definitely is a couple of different tools I like there’s one calle d perf matters,

Arthur 17:52
Oh sorry, i me ant tools to find out the site speed, so stuff like gt metrics.

Michael 17:56
Oh, yeah, yeah. Okay. My favorite. Yeah. gt metrics. pingdom? tools dot pingdom dot com. Web web page

Arthur 18:05
Yeah, that’s a good one. Yep. Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Michael 18:09
Yeah. What’s your favorite out of them?

Arthur 18:11
I’d say gt metrics. Yeah, I think is universally liked by most. But I guess it’s good to look at Google’s PageSpeed Insights, because ultimately, it’s Google, who is going to be ranking your website. So you kind of want to be picking the right boxes for them.

Michael 18:26
And so with these tools, you just plug the site in, and then the tool will load the site and track how fast it loads. And then it gives you information about what is making it loads slowly. So if you’re looking things from loading, because you’ve got some bit of code or something being loaded first on the page, or images are really big or your service slow. Yeah, it tells you these things, and then you can go fix them to make your site faster.

Arthur 18:50
Yeah. If you don’t know how to fix it, pass it on to your developer. Yeah, because a lot of this stuff can be a bit technical. Oh, yeah,

Michael 18:55
absolutely. Another thing that can be handy from a speed point of view is depending on where your audience is using something like a content delivery network. That is basically, you know, if you have people over in America, and people in the UK, and people in Asia, accessing your site, your servers are here in Australia, they have to wait for the data to come from Australia all the way to them on the other side of the world. So it can delay things. But with the content delivery network, it will basically store copies of things like your images and the sort of media files on your site on a server closer to them, and serve it from them. When they load your site. It’s just quicker. So if you’re a business that has traffic coming from overseas, you should host it somewhere. It’s going to be hosted somewhere, but then you should also have a CDN so that it speeds up the the delivery of that content for you visitors all over the world. But really, yeah, I guess speed is a really, really important pillar of technical SEO. We could talk all day about trying to speed up sites but really, it’s just something that you need to keep in the back end. And have developer resource helping you with that. Yeah, besides super fast,

Arthur 20:05
for sure. Moving on. So the next thing here is the SSL certificate. So did you want to kind of explain to everyone what SSL is?

Michael 20:13
Yep. SSL stands for secure socket layer. And it is basically, it’s a certificate that you install on your server, and it encrypts the data that is transmitted from the browser to the server, back and forth. So if you have a website, and people are entering information into contact forms or checkouts and the like, it makes sure that that information isn’t just transmitted in text, where anyone can see it. It’s encrypted and safe. You know, all of that is pretty good. But from an SEO point of view, it’s also a ranking factor.

Arthur 20:46
Yeah. Since 2017, yeah, October 2017. There you go. You’ve

Michael 20:50
done your research. But it is any small ranking factor. But be that as it may, you may as well be trying to give Google as much juice as possible. So why not have an SSL certificate on your site?

Arthur 21:04
Yeah. And outside of that being a ranking factor, I think a lot of people have just become used to seeing the HTTPS in a URL. So more than anything, making sure you have it for the user to feel secure. A lot of browsers if you don’t have an SSL certificate will let you know. Or come up with a warning. So you want to avoid that.

Michael 21:24
Yeah. But we won’t focus too much on that one. Now, because it is really easy to set up. Coming back to most hosts. SSL can be really installed with the click of one button. Yeah, they’ve from the control panel. They don’t even cost money.

Arthur 21:37
No, they’re free now. Yeah. Most of the time, they’re still you know, the GoDaddy is and the other hosts, which try to get money out of you for an SSL. But

Michael 21:45
yeah, some of them charge like 200 bucks. Yeah, that’s ridiculous. And there is a lot. There’s a coalition of Google, Facebook and big tech companies that just make them for free now.

Arthur 21:54
Yeah. Anyway, that’s it don’t pay for your SSL.

Michael 21:57
Yes. That’s on to the next focus area of technical.

Arthur 22:02
Yeah. So making sure that your website is mobile friendly. So that’s basically self explanatory, making sure that the site is responsive, so you can access it and view it on all different types of screens, be it a laptop, a tablet, or a mobile. So I was a 2018, that Google moved into mobile first indexing or 2019.

Michael 22:23
I’m not sure because they were talking about it for ages that saying we’re gonna shift to mobile first indexing, it was 2019. Yeah, yeah. But the fact of the matter is that Google when it comes to your site, now it’s crawlers. They’re looking at it as if they’re on a mobile device. Yeah. Not a desktop computer.

Arthur 22:38
Yeah. So you want to be really good looking on a mobile device? Yeah. And the reason for that is that 68% of searches globally, are done on a mobile device.

Michael 22:49
And we see that looking in analytics on class, you know, it’s just biased towards mobile, Facebook, the volt bulk of the traffic comes on mobile. We’re in a mobile world, we eyeball first worlds and make your site look good on mobile, it’s good for users good for Google,

Arthur 23:03
you’ll be surprised how many websites do look awful on mobile.

Michael 23:06
Yeah, even sites that are responsive, people might just install a theme and think that it’s responsive out of the box, but it doesn’t necessarily look that good on mobile. So it’s worth checking out how your responsive site looks on mobile and making changes to it so that it does actually look good on mobile,

Arthur 23:23
for sure. I think that’s a good lead into the next point, which is called web vitals. Because it looks at speed and also a bunch of different other metrics, that you kind of want to run through that.

Michael 23:34
Yeah. And this is another thing that, you know, much like mobile first, indexing, core web vitals are something that Google’s been banging on quite a lot about over the past sort of year, talking about how they’re going to be using that in their ranking algorithm and how important it’s going to be moving forward and the like. So it is something you need to be keeping in mind.

Arthur 23:52
Yeah. You can’t say that they didn’t want us.

Michael 23:54
Yeah. But then then now they’re sort of saying as well. Well, it’s not gonna be that important in terms of ranking. It’s just a little factor. Yeah. And the other interesting thing with COVID vitals is most sites on the internet. Don’t pass Google’s sort of standardized Google Sites. No pastor and metrics. Yeah, yeah. Which is ironic. But Yep. Basically, COVID vitals are basically just the factors that Google considers important in a web pages. User Experience. Yeah. So these elements are LCP, largest content, paint, and content, full paint content, full paint, sorry. And that’s how long it basically takes a page to load from the point of view of the person looking at the page. Yeah. So you know, page might, it might take a couple of seconds for all the visual stuff to show and then a couple seconds more for resources and stuff on the page to load. Yep. So this this LCP largest content, full paint is just the first part there what the user sees loading. Yeah.

Arthur 24:50
So basically loading the meaningful content on the site so the user can actually use it.

Michael 24:55
And you want that to be quick. On the four seconds is what they recommend. Yeah. Save me I get frustrated with force for seconds. Why not? You know, they probably say that, but like, for me, I like fast. I want to see website loading, you know?

Arthur 25:09
Yeah. And it’s it’s weird that you say that because a lot of the clients that we work on that will have a low LCP score compared to a client, they might have a LCP score of, you know, 4.5 seconds, the page load speed will be the same. So the way they measure it doesn’t necessarily reflect the end user sees if that makes sense.

Michael 25:30
Yeah, cool. Okay, well, look, what vitals might be massive moving forward, I think I read is a bit of a sort of, I guess, a early stage thing that from an SEO point of view, at least, yeah. But the other factors of it, first input delay. So what what the hell is up?

Arthur 25:48
Basically, it just measures the time it takes for a user to actually interact with the page that’s loading on mobile.

Michael 25:53
So like, if the page is loading, and it has a form or something in it, if they can start using it from when this is a measure of when they can start using the actual That’s right. Yes. Yeah. That’s pretty self explanatory, right there. Yeah. The last aspect is CLS, which is a cumulative layout shift. So they can basically sorry, making sure that the page is stable as it loads. So it’s not jumping around and elements aren’t shifting around the words, which can be frustrating, you know, if you’re using it, particularly on a mobile device, and you gotta you got to push a, like a quarter action a button, all the way down. Yeah, and you hit the wrong thing. Bloody annoying when that happens.

Arthur 26:31
So it is frustrating.

Michael 26:33
Yep. And that that can happen when you’re running things like testing software on the site. Or if you have external resources, like, like embedded widgets or something in the site, and they take a while to load. And when they do lead, it suddenly changes the layout of the site. So I guess it’s just really Google trying to encourage good user experience practices so that websites are more enjoyable to use. And I guess it’s a better experience for people, you know, after they’ve clicked from the Google search results over to our website, they sort of want to ensure that they have a good experience for people.

Arthur 27:07
Yeah, definitely. And if you want to know what your scores are, you can use the Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or let you know all the LCP fid ncls scores. And also Search Console will let you know if you have any pages that need looking at.

Michael 27:22
Cool, well, moving on. Let’s talk, redirects and server codes. So this is really just dealing with the way you handle web pages on your site, when they break or when they move to other places. So I guess, what are some of the the main error codes or server codes and redirects that we use day to day?

Arthur 27:43
Okay, so there’s a whole lot of different error codes, but I guess the main ones that we see would be the four, four. So that’s basically page not found. And what that means is that there was a page that existed at that URL at some stage, but it’s no longer there. And having a Foursquare is good, because it lets crawlers know that that page no longer exists, the next one would be a 500 error. So there’s different types of 500 errors. But basically, they’re all related to the service or the browser cannot find the page on the server anymore

Michael 28:13
normally means as a problem if

Arthur 28:14
there’s a problem with the server, yeah. And the two other codes would be the redirect. So the 301 redirects, which emanate redirects, and three are twos, which are temporary redirects. So if you’re moving a page, permanently, you want to make sure that you include a 301 redirect that tells Google that that page has moved there. That’s not coming back. But if you’re only temporarily removing the page, that’s where you implement a three answer. So a three on one will pass on all the SEO value, whereas the three or two might not.

Michael 28:43
Right. So this element of technical SEO is just making sure that all your server codes and redirection pages, are throwing up the messages to the crawlers that they need to be fixed. All this stuff is pretty much just either a manual process or going through and auditing the site and making changes or perhaps using a developer to help you do that. Yeah. But it’s not a huge aspect. So we won’t dwell on it too long. Now, let’s move on to the next thing, which I think is a pretty big part of technical SEO, which is then or duplicate content. There’s a lot of, I guess, misconceptions in the SEO world around what duplicate content means, you know, people sometimes think I know, you know, I published a blog post on my site, and then someone came along and stole it and published it on their site. And Google’s gonna penalize me. Yeah. And it’s just not true. Now, duplicate content really is a problem when you have a ton of pages on your site that look very similar to Google.

Arthur 29:42
Yeah, exactly. So a good example would be if you’re trying to do some litigation, their location based SEO, and you’re using the same content and just changing out different suburbs or locations and creating hundreds of pages. Google will pick up on that and not index those in the search results.

Michael 29:57
Yeah. And then another example with an e commerce A site might be, if you don’t have the right sort of filtering and set up for the architecture of your site, then it could be the case that you have 1000s of pages created for every variant of address, you know, the sizes, the colors, the different combinations of sizes and colors, were really nothing is changing for Google’s having to come to the site and crawl through 1000s of these pages and getting no value from it.

Arthur 30:25
So how would you address

Michael 30:27
issue like that? Well, there’s all sorts of different ways you can address it, the number one way would be using a good CMS, out of the box. Yeah, like a Shopify, or Magento, should deal with a lot of that stuff out of the box. But if you are having to come at it from a manual point of view, probably the quickest way to deal with it would be the use of canonical tags. So a canonical tag is a bit of code on the page that tells Google that, yes, this page exists, but really, there’s a parent page. So you really should only care about the parent page. Other ways you could do it is through using things like nofollow, no index tags and the like. But yeah, that would be the sort of main recommendation I’d have on that front. But really, the point with this aspect of technical SEO is that you want to keep your site lean and mean, you don’t want to have 1000s of irrelevant pages on there. Because there is like a budget or an allowance that Google’s crawler will sort of allocate to your site when it comes in visits. And if it’s having to move through all this junk, you’re sort of wasting that budget. So just focus your efforts on having good, valuable pages that give value to Google and will likely lead to traffic 100%. All right. Well, that’s been a pretty good intro to the main areas or aspects of technical SEO, the technical pillar, we have touched on a little bit tools that we use. Now, we’ve mentioned some names, but maybe we should talk a little bit more about them what they do so that people can go out and check them out if they’re interested.

Arthur 31:56
Yeah. So the first one that I kind of wanted to talk about is Google Search Console. So GSC is a free tool that’s provided by Google. And it lets you monitor your website. So every every person that’s running a website should have Google Search Console verified. And so it’s basically you just plug this tool into your site, see, so they can confirm you own the site. So you add a bit of code to the head, or there’s different ways to verify it. But basically, you can add a bit of code to the head, which tells Google that you are in the website, and unlock the tool. And it gives you a whole bunch of data and insights. So things like performance of keywords, so impressions and clicks all the way down to core web vital information. So it will let you know if a page isn’t performing well. errors with the site errors, everything. So it covers a lot.

Michael 32:44
It also lets you ask Google to come and crawl pages on your site and index them. Yeah, if you make changes to your site, it’s really handy to have to wait for gonna say please come check my site out now. Yeah. Anyway, um, every website should have, you know, basically, every website should have analytics and search console set up out of the box, definitely. Out of the box, but you need to set it up, right? Yeah. All right. So that’s one tool. Another one that we like, quite a lot is air traps, spoke about it last episode. It is typically used as a, you know, like a link database. So you can see how many links pointing to your site, how strong they are the anchor text, you can look at the keywords you rank for, and the like. But it also has a site auditing function, where you can basically load your site into it, and it will go and crawl the site. And again, much like Search Console, it’s going to list out all the errors with it. So server errors, redirects. I think it’s got a bit about load speed in there. Yeah, does.

Arthur 33:43
I think it’s a great starting point to anyone that’s wanting to learn about SEO, because it basically tells you what’s wrong with the site and tells you how to fix it. Yeah, it

Michael 33:51
gives you a little, I guess, even hints that signposted, you know, this is most important three to less important. And another tool that does that, actually, that’s a good little segue is sitebulb. So it’s a web based crawler. Again, you plug your site in, and this tool will go through, read every page on the site, look at everything and give you a really detailed report on everything that’s going wrong with the site from all sorts of different technical aspects. Yeah. And again, it’s signposted. So most important three, the least important highest value, the least value, and that’s more or less, you know, the output of that that tool is something that you can hand to a developer and say, can you make this happen on my site, please? Yeah,

Arthur 34:30
I actually I love sitebulb not even that long ago. I’m just thinking back to you know, 2014 2015 It used to take weeks to do a tech audit. Yeah. Now you can have it done in a matter of minutes.

Michael 34:43
Yeah. So we would prepare tech audits manually using all sorts of different data sources Excel doc. commentary. Yeah. Mainly what should be done all that very manual?

Arthur 34:53
Yeah, very, very manual. I think the the first take what I did for a client was an 80 page document.

Michael 34:58
Yeah. lm done. That take

Arthur 35:01
about a month. This is going back to 2013. Yeah, very, very manual. So to have a tool that can cut out all that time and spit out actionable recommendations that will fix a website is a godsend.

Michael 35:14
Yeah. And then it’s really just the fact that they’re, they’re sort of prioritize is great, too. Because not everyone has an unlimited budget and time. So you can sort of focus on the ones that are going to have the biggest impact. That’s right, yeah, get around to the rest when you have the time.

Arthur 35:29
And it gives you a score an SEO score, among other things, which you can implement all the recommendations recrawl and see how it’s improved your website,

Michael 35:39
beauty. Look, I guess you have the tool that does a similar job to that is Screaming Frog.

Arthur 35:43
So tell us a little bit more about Screaming Frog. So Screaming Frog is a crawler. Very similar to sitebulb. Except it doesn’t spit up recommendations. So it will crawl all the pages on a website and provide you information such as crawl areas, redirect redirects, page titles, meta descriptions. It’s a super handy tool. But like I said, it doesn’t spit out recommendations the way that seipel does.

Michael 36:09
Yeah, that’s it’s the older tool. Bit more nasty to use,

Arthur 36:12
I find that it’s a bit easier to use. Sometimes if you just want to see something at a glance, you don’t have to go through the interface. As good as good as it is on seipel. It’s a lot easier to kind of see a whole bunch of data displayed within Screaming Frog.

Michael 36:26
Yeah. Okay. I guess like with all tools, they have their use cases. So depends on what you’re trying to do. But, you know, if you haven’t looked at this stuff before, it’s well worth checking them all out, and just seeing what they have to say about your site. So I guess that’s pretty much everything we had for technical SEO. Ella, did you have anything you wanted to check in there before we wrap up? No, I

Arthur 36:46
think we covered a lot today.

Michael 36:47
Yeah, we did. And that’s about all we have time for pretty much. So we are going to wrap up. And we’ll see you next week with the third pillar of SEO, the UX. And if you’ve enjoyed this show, please subscribe so you get the episodes when they come out. So we’ll see you next week.

Arthur 37:04
Bye bye bye.

Episode Transcript:

We introduce the technical pillar of SEO and chat about the 9 main areas of technical SEO and the tools we consider most important.

Meet your hosts:

Arthur Fabik


Michael Costin


Type at least 1 character to search
Everywhere You Listen: