Intervista a Barry Adams uno dei SEO più amati, preparato, ironico e professionale.
Technical SEO, contents and links are the main aspects that influence the ranking on Google. According to your experience, which is, among this three factors, the main ones? Is it possible to classify them in a percentage order?
That’s a very tough question to answer. Technical SEO is about optimising a site for crawling and indexing, and if content cannot be crawled and indexed it cannot be ranked. So technical SEO is crucial. But the content needs to be highly relevant too, and solve the user’s problems adequately. And without links it’s unlikely a piece of content is going to rank well, because search engines need to trust the content. Links are the primary factor search engines look at to decide if a webpage can be trusted.
If I had to choose, I’d say that links are still the most important factor. I’ve seen websites rank well purely on the basis of a hugely authoritative link profile, even when their content is not very good. But, on the other hand, some websites rank really well with almost no links, because their content is superb.
Percentage-wise, I’d go for something like:
Technical SEO: 25%
SEO Audit: which are the main important aspects?
There’s a lot that goes in to an SEO audit, because a small improvement here and there can lead to huge gains over a long period of time. This is called the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ and it highlights how a website is never ‘done’: there is always room for more improvement.
For me, the top aspects of a SEO audit to drive a website’s performance are:
- Crawling: can the website be easily crawled?
- Relevancy: is the content relevant for the right search terms?
- Trust: does the website send the right trust signals for search engines?
Each of these aspects has multiple facets, so the rabbit hole can go down quite a bit. It also differs from one website to another. No two websites are the same, so every SEO audit needs to be customised to that website’s specific target audience and requirements. Some websites are technically very solid but need a lot of content improvements, whereas other websites have great content but are not easily crawlable. It all depends on the site in question and what their stakeholders are trying to accomplish.
In the end, we as SEO professionals need to be able to effectively prioritise the improvements that we want the website to make. So we need to evaluate how much impact a recommendation is going to have versus how much effort is required, and assign the appropriate level of importance.
Log file analysis: how is it importance today in a SEO Audit? Do you suggest to follow it?
Log file analysis definitely adds a dimension to SEO audits. If you can get your hands on a website’s server log files, you can perform a range of in-depth analyses that you couldn’t do with regular site crawler reports. So if you are able to get log files, I’d always recommend to use a tool like the Screaming Frog Log File Analyser to find orphaned pages, determine your top crawled pages, and get accurate data on server response times.
But in practice it’s often very difficult to get server log files. Most site owners don’t have direct access to their hosting environment, so you have to go through hosting providers or IT helpdesks to get log files and/or FTP details. Also, for many large websites the log files can get too big to handle, so you need to perform some extraction to get the right data that you can then analyse with your log file tools.
For me, log file analysis is bonus but not a must-have. You can use log file analysis to squeeze some extra improvement out of a website, but you can perform great SEO audits without it too.
AMP Pages. Google gives more and more importance to them, so every web project should have AMP Pages. Do you think that AMP Pages implementation is important in every kind of project or only in editorial projects?
For news websites, AMP is not optional. Every news publisher should have implemented AMP by now, otherwise they’re missing out on large numbers of mobile visitors.
But outside of news it’s a very different story. I don’t think every website needs to implement AMP. In fact, I think for most websites the priority should be on creating optimal mobile experiences without AMP. That’s where your time and effort should be focused. Once you’ve done that, then AMP might be worth exploring. I wrote about Google AMP recently and showed three different case studies of websites that have implemented AMP; the results were mixed.
As the AMP standard matures and more functionality is available, it might become more interesting. Worth keeping an eye on the AMP project’s roadmap and case studies.
HTTPS Migrations. In several SEO communities people noticed traffic loss caused by https migration of big websites, especially editorial websites. It seems to be a physiological loss that, after some months, lines up to pre-migration levels. Did you have a similar situation in your experience?
Yes, usually a HTTPS migration causes some temporary loss of rankings and traffic. This is because switching to HTTPS is basically a full site migration. It’s not as simple as just flicking a switch; you are basically changing the domain name of the site.
Most people don’t realise the move to HTTPS is so drastic, and that’s where a lot of problems originate from. You need to think about a lot of different aspects before you make the switch. For example, you need to decide how to handle HTTP to HTTPS redirects and re-visit your existing redirects. You need to update all your internal links to HTTPS, and make sure all resources on a page (images, scripts, etc) are also served over HTTPS. And you need to update your external links to point to the HTTPS version where possible.
There’s a lot that goes in to switching to HTTPS. Aleyda Solis’s HTTPS migration checklist is a great place to start, and shows just how much effort is involved.
Which are the main preferred tools for a good SEO Audit?
For every audit there is a fairly small set of tools that I rely on. These are my preferred SEO auditing tools:
- Google Search Console
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
There are plenty of other tools for different bits and pieces, but usually I can get 95% of my audits done with the tools listed above.
Per chi volesse la traduzione in Italiano: http://www.webinfermento.it/seo-audit-amp-migrazioni-https-e-log-file-intervista-a-barry-adams/