iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 30

TRAFFIC managed. As you probably already know, HTML titles and meta descriptions are key element of any webpage in terms of SEO. However, different front-end templates, CMS systems and back-end solutions handle these highly sensitive elements in different ways, and sudden changes in them can damage your website rankings and CTR rates. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to keep your metadata unchanged during a website redesign. As said, this is just a quick list of common macroscopic mistakes one may make. Before deciding on any new design, architecture or platform it is always recommended to perform a thorough SEO assessment of it. Figure 2: URI’s response time breakdown in ScreamingFrog 3. Benchmark your old and new design’s performance optimize choice in terms of SEO. Search engine spiders may encounter problems in interpreting client-side languages such as JavaScript and JavaScript-based technologies such as AJAX. Therefore, it is advisable to limit the use of these technologies in key areas of the site, making sure all relevant content and links are accessible also in alternative ways. Basing navigation on drop-down menus and search boxes. During their discovery process, search engine spiders browse from page to page by discovering and visiting HTML links they find. In most cases, spiders may have problems in choosing elements from drop-down menus or filling in search boxes and complex forms. Therefore, all information accessible only via drop-downs and search fields may be hard to reach for search engines and should • be made available also via alternative navigation paths based on HTML links. Creating redundant sections. Keyword cannibalization occurs when several pages focus on the same set of keywords, confusing both users and search engines. For example, in the case your redesigned site contains a few additional sections dedicated to poker tournaments, probably the best thing to do is to keep just one generic section about tournaments and to focus other sections on specific kinds of these, so that each page and section makes use of a specific set of mid- and long-tail keywords. This way, both users and search engine will know exactly what each section and page is about and what is the best area of your site for every specific kind of tournament, without getting confused. Changing the way in which metadata is • • 5 26 iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 Once your new design is ready in a staging environment (i.e. a test area) you should make sure it is not slower than your former one, as this can impact on your users’ experience and ultimately also SEO rankings5. As we mentioned in the first section of this article, a redesign often involves changes both in the front-end (i.e. what HTML, CSS and JS code composes your site) and in the back-end (i.e. how the code composing your site is generated). Therefore, before launching a new design it is always advisable to test both back-end and front-end performances extensively. A tool which can help you get an idea of how your new design’s back-end performs in terms of speed is ScreamingFrog6, a crawling software which can massively “call” your site’s resources and show you how long it takes before you server delivers them (see Figure 2). Another tool which can be extremely helpful in determining the speed of your new design (in both its back-end and frontend components) is Google Pagespeed Insights7, which will also offer you specific advice on how to improve your site. After the new design’s performance has been optimized and tested in a staging environment, it is always advisable to https://moz.com/blog/how-website-speed-actually-impacts-search-ranking 6 http://www.screamingfrog.com 7 https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/