Wednesday, 13 February 2013

3 SEO Headaches Solved

There are many SEO headaches which I come across on a daily basis, I won't list them all here as I've also a job to do, so where do I start:

1. Products Pages with 2 URLs

Having product pages with '2' different URLs is really quite regular and Magento sites, or should I say developers who don't understand the intricacies of Magento sites, haven't helped the issue, for example these two pages contain the exact same content - Google would most likely call this duplicate content:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/widgets/large-widgets/blue/

and

http://www.yourwebsite.com/large-widgets/blue/


Ideally the site would only render one of these pages, for example:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/large-widgets/blue/

Alas we don't live in an ideal world, but fortunately for us Google has a solution, it's the canonical link; how does it work, simple, just add the following link to the head of (the above) each pages code:




Done - that'll keep the duplicate penalty at bay.

2. Rel NEXT and PREV Tags

When a type of product is within a category within a website which has more than '1' page, we are once again in the realms of duplicate content, why? Because the pages are most likely database driven they will generate the same page title and page heading 'h1' for all the paginated pages, so if a website has a '100' different categories and each category has '100' different pages - that means there are a lot of duplicated pages.

Once again Google has the answer and that is to use the rel="next" and "prev" tags, here's an example run-through of code that needs to be added to the head of each respective page, in this case I’ve used Large Widgets as the category:


There are '3' important factors to remember here:
  • All pages contain rel="canonical".
    The first page only contains rel="next" and no rel="prev" markup.
    Pages two to the second-to-last page should be doubly-linked with both rel="next" and rel="prev" markup.
    The last page only contains markup for rel="prev", not rel="next".

Done - lovely clean and organised pagination.

3. Site Re-Launch Matching URLs

Speak to any developer when it comes to either the redesign of a website or a simple re-launch and they'll say don't worry we're keeping the URLs the same so there's no reason to implement any redirects.

Site gets launched and bang Google is discovering 404 error pages all over the place, and I know in Webmaster Tools Google state:

"Generally, 404s don't harm your site's performance in search, but you can use them to help improve the user experience."

Hey, in my opinion Google wouldn't report them if they didn't have an issue with them - it's a little like moving house and forgetting to tell anyone your new address.

What's the best solution, well and this is a big thank you to Screaming Frog you need to have all the old (original) site's URLs and add them to a CSV file, then add all the new (re-launched) site's URLs to this same file - sort and then eliminate all the duplicate URLs and then run it through Screaming Frog's Mode then List (this will download your CSV file).

What's left or displayed will be the 404 error pages, export these and then fix them.

Done - site's as good as new.