Diagnosing Web Site Architecture Issues from SMX Advanced

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This session focused on common issues that prevent web pages from appearing correctly or at all in the search results. Chris Smith from Netconcepts said that 90% of SEO issues involve basic issues, so start with the simple stuff first and go from there. I walked away with a list of diagnostic steps, tools, and additional resources, which I’ll share below.

Steps and Tools to use when Diagnosing Site Architecture Issues, provided by Chris Smith of Netconcepts and Jonathan Hockman, of Hockman Consulting:

  1. Start by looking at the SERPS – are you in the results and do you like what you see? Type in site command to find all your pages that are indexed: site:example.com Yahoo! tends to show every page they crawl and Google filters out duplicate content, so don’t be surprised if your Yahoo! Index is larger.
  2. Look at your Google Webmaster Tools report to see if you have duplicate title and meta description tags, after all, these are the tags that are used in the SERPS and that can impact your organic CTR
  3. Mine the index to see if your most important pages are listed in the index. You can use the site command listed above or look at your Google Webmaster Tools report as well.
  4. Use the Googlebar (not Toolbar) to see what Google’s cache of your page is all in one click.
  5. Check the robots.txt exclusions to make sure you haven’t excluded important pages
  6. Test to see if you have a JavaScript issue by using the Firefox Developer Toolbar plugin and disabling JavaScript. This is what the bots will see when crawling your page.
  7. Test to see if your session ID’s are causing a problem. You can use the site command to find indexed pages that have a session ID as well: site:example.com inurl:jsessionid
  8. Are your redirects the right ones? Use the Web-sniffer.net tool to uncover your page’s header response. You typically will want to use a 301, not 302 or 200OK
  9. Is the problem off your site, like with your site host? Use SEOmoz’s tool to find out who else is hosted alongside your site and if they are a bad neighbor.

Vanessa Fox, moderator, provided a few more tools and resources to the list, one of which is a new site she just launched called JaneandRobot.com. She just has a few articles on here now, but the category descriptions look promising. Check out the various checklists that cover accessibility, discoverability, and other important topics. Also, don’t forget Vanessa’s List of Best Firefox Plugins for diagnosing site infrastructure issues.

That’s it for me! Great show and looking forward to the next one!

About the Author

Hallie Janssen is Vice President at Anvil Media, Inc., a search and social media marketing agency. Janssen also teaches a social media class with the Online Marketing Institute in conjunction with Wharton Interactive. Contact Hallie at 503.595.6050 x221 or Twitter.com/Hallie_Janssen.

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2 Comments

  1. hi Hallie Great article do you know of a tool that tells us the complete Google & Yahoo cache throughout a website that has more than 10,000 pages thanks Kind regards Krish

  2. The bad neighbours part is something i have allways overlooked just using seo in the design untill recently when I moved one of my websites to a new server and saw a significant increase in serps.