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Mohamed
Mohamed

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Technical SEO: The 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

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Search engine optimization is a series of measures that you have to apply so that your online store appears in the best possible way in organic searches according to relevant terms.
In addition to the quality of the content and its relevance, for the evaluation of websites there is also a technical dimension; for example, whether pages can be crawled and rendered smoothly, or whether they can load quickly. Today we answer five of the most frequently asked questions regarding technical SEO.

First question: URL structure

I often hear that my store URL should be "friendly". What does this mean and what would my URLs generally need to be like in order for them to contribute to search engine optimization?

Response:

Being "friendly" means that the URLs should not be made up of random numbers and characters, but should be legible and thus provide information about the associated content. This can provide important clues to the user who is looking for pages relating to a particular query.

For URLs it is especially important that the spelling of the URL exactly matches the content page. For search engines, https://www.shopexample.com and https://www.shopexample.com/ are two different pages from a technical point of view. If the same page is found in both URLs in terms of content, we are talking about duplicate content. Although search engines can handle it better and better, such structures should be avoided.

Therefore, create a uniform structure and also use it to link the pages together. All alternative scripts must be resolved with a 301 redirect or via a canonical tag relative to the chosen script.

Otherwise, avoid separating spaces in place of underscores, special characters, and umlauts.

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Second question: international orientation

In my store I sell to Spain as well as to Argentina and Mexico, so I have my own page dedicated to the domain of each country (.es, .ar, .mx). What's the best way to prevent Google from duplicitly interpreting content in the same language? I also want to get Google to find the version of the store corresponding to the country.

Response:

The hreflang tag is used just for that purpose. If you enter it in the source code, you inform the search engines of the geographical orientation, that is, that the pages with .es are the relevant ones for Spain and that there are the same or very similar pages for Argentina and Mexico.

This information applies to a single URL. For example, a category page for boots for Spain with the URL https://www.shopexample.es/boots/ might have this information in the < head > part:

< link rel="alternate" href=" https://www.examplestore.com/boots/ " hreflang="en-us" / >

< link rel="alternate" href=" https://www.shopexample.ar/boots/ " hreflang="en-ar" / >

< link rel="alternate" href=" https://www.shopexample.mx/boots/ " hreflang="en-mx" / >

When entering this information you have to follow the ISO 639-1 format: first write the language code and then the country code. You can check the correct use of the hreflang tag in the Search Console under Search Traffic -> International Targeting.

Third question: pagination

In my store there are category pages that list hundreds of items. For this there are several pages, which means that whoever visits the page can click through page 1 – x. If there are too many products on a page, we may overwhelm the customer. However, paginated pages are not standalone content for search queries.

Is it possible to make it clear to Google that the first page is the most relevant and that search engine visits should go to it first?

Response:

These typical pages of online stores can be identified as such in the source code. In the < head > part of the page it is indicated with rel=β€œprevβ€œ and rel=β€œnextβ€œ which page is positioned in front of the current page (prev) and which is positioned behind (next). This is how to set the first page as the main page.

On the first page only the next page is specified. On the second page, the previous and the next. On the second page https://www.tiendaxample.es/botas?pagina=2 this could look like this:

< link rel="prev" href=" https://www.shopexample.com/boots β€œ >

< link rel="next" href=" https://www. examplestore .es/ boots ? page =3 " >

Fourth question: indexing

There is a certain page of my store that is not found in Google. What could it be and what can I do?

Response:

Search engines visit and process (crawl) all known and published pages. If the operator does not consciously exclude any or if there are no qualitative errors, an indexing of the pages will normally be carried out. This means that the search engine is aware of the page and will generally return to it to answer a query. The best way to check if the page is indexed is with the search site: URL of your website .

If the search engine indicates that no information is found, the page is definitely not indexed. Otherwise, it just happens that it doesn't show up for the query you've been using.

To get the page indexed quickly, it is best to use the β€œBrowse as Google” feature. You will find this function in the Search Console, entering β€œCrawl” and β€œExplore as Google”.

Write the URL in question and click on β€œGet”. Once Google has done this, you have the possibility to request indexing using the button that appears.

For the rest, you also have to check if

  • text "noindex" appears in the source text. For the page to be indexed, it must be removed.
  • if a canonical tag refers to another version of the page that is used for indexing.
  • in the robots.txt file a crawl of the page is prevented. Crawling does not necessarily preclude indexing, but in order to update content, regular crawling must also be guaranteed.
  • the page is included in your sitemap and the sitemap appears as such in the Search Console.

Fifth question: redirect

It is often heard that when you relaunch and change the URL structure, the old pages should be redirected to the new URL. What does the redirection imply and what information should I take into account for it?

Response:

Technically, redirecting means that when the user enters the old URL, they are automatically transferred to the new page and thus access the new content. This is important for the user experience, but the search engines also receive the information that the new URL will be used for corresponding searches in the future and will have the relevance of the old URL.

To do this, in most cases the redirect must be indicated with a 301 status code. This means that the URL change is permanent and thus the old URL must be replaced. The 302 redirect also technically causes a move to the new URL, but this informs the search engine that the old URL will only be temporarily unavailable and that the new URL will only help for a while. In this case, the signals of relevance from the point of view of SEO are not transmitted.

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