We’ve established the importance of technical SEO as it relates to your leads and successes, you’re excited to start tackling some of your own errors and writing blogs, but you’ve run into an issue. How do you go about fixing these errors? In this article, we will explain the reason we try to stick to WordPress since technical SEO and WordPress work hand in hand to make fixing technical errors as easy as possible. We will go over a few specific tools we use and how the Wordpress system makes using these tools and fixing these errors easy on any type of user.
Auditing Crawl Errors
The first step when creating an action plan to fix the technical errors found on your website is to identify errors you have to fix. Creating a (potentially massive) list of errors found on your site can help you prioritize and focus on the most important tasks. These are the fixes that can have the greatest direct impact on your website and user experience. Here at Firestarter, we use a combination of AgencyAnalytics and Moz. Both tools have their pros and cons, but the end result is largely the same. Each tool runs through our client’s domains to explore any errors a search engine bot may come across.
Yoast is the backbone of our efforts in a WordPress environment. It lets you assign target keywords to pages from your strategy, grades those pages, and gives you suggestions for improvement . The system monitors for areas you’ve used the same keyword each time. The optimization fields found as you are editing each page are intuitive and productive for your efforts to optimize your pages. Should you look to create standards for your meta titles, Yoast has you covered by allowing you to structure the automatic generation of titles you don’t want to give a large amount of attention to. They even have tools to bulk upload meta titles and meta descriptions to move through larger websites quickly. Yoast also integrates with many of our tools including Google Search Console and Google Analytics. While there are solid options apart from Yoast, the functionality, support, and ease of use is unmatched in our efforts.
Google Search Console
Any SEO company worth their salt should live within Google Search Console for exploring keyword rankings and opportunity. Much of the information we get back from reporting software for keyword rankings is instantaneous at the time of the crawl. Google Search Console is data directly from Google telling you where you came up for certain queries over a certain period of time the user chooses themselves. The interface can be complicated to understand, but once you understand how to understand the information, it can be a powerhouse. Search Console allows you to drill down into individual pages, or view tech errors from the top level. You are able to control your sitemaps and the number of pages indexed within the dashboard once your site is connected. GSC can tell you if your pages are mobile-friendly or have errors within as well. You can investigate links pointing to your site and even gain valuable information if you feel you have been penalized by the Google system. We also love the integration with Yoast SEO and all the other Google tools in the marketing suite.
As with Google Search Console, 301 redirects are mentioned in at least 90% of sales calls and SEO campaign implementations. Creating 301 redirects lets you pass SEO value from an old page to a new one. An example of this would be in the case of adding services to your website. Maybe before you only had one service so you did not need a services page. Once you expanded into 3 service offerings, it made sense to create a services page so your users could explore your services as a whole and dig deeper into the areas they are interested in. The problem with this would be changing your URL (using Firestarter as an example) from https://www.firestarterseo.com/seo-services to https://www.firestarterseo.com/services/seo. As you can see, these look very much the same and probably have the same content on them. The problem is the SEO value the first URL built up would not be passed to the second link without the proper redirect. On top of this, your users may click an old link or go to the URL saved in their browser, and would end up at a dead page. This is the same experience a crawler would have and would result in a loss of rankings for the single page at best, and a decrease in rankings across the board at worst. The WordPress system makes it easy to write redirects to make sure the SEO value and user experience is pointing to the right place. While we use the Redirection plugin, there are a ton of plugins built out to solve the problems listed above. We prefer Redirection because it monitors for permalink changes and implements 301 redirects when URLs are changed.
Much like redirects, sitemaps are quite important to your SEO efforts. Handing Google a map of your site before it embarks on its journey through your domain can help it understand what it should and should not find. The more indications we can give to help Google understand what it is we want our websites to do, and then rank for puts us in good favor. If you haven’t been able to tell yet, being in good favor with Google is certainly somewhere you want your business to be. The WordPress system has a wealth of plugins to build out your sitemaps. Some are more advanced than others, so be sure to choose something that will fit your needs. We utilize the sitemap builder in Yoast for our clients.
Creating an intentional and actionable plan to tackle your technical errors helps you keep from getting frustrated, and helps get those errors fixed sooner with prioritization in mind. WordPress makes the process easier for those with little or no coding knowledge. If you’ve run through some of this and still have questions or would like to talk about another area of technical SEO, contact us today.