Being visible in Google is the goal of many people but, to achieve this, we have to be up to date with news in the world of SEO. For this we must ask ourselves, how does SEO currently work? What are the REAL pillars that we must take into account to work effectively?
How does SEO currently work?
“SEO has changed a lot in recent years.“
Although we still continue to hear this phrase on a regular basis, there are SEO-level techniques that began to be installed years ago and that, to this day, continue to work.
The techniques are:
- Create and keep content fresh and updated.
- Make it evergreen by removing dates.
- Create content that answers the question that users ask in the search engine.
- Take care of Internal linking and anchoring, to distribute the force between different URLs and endow those URLs with a coherent semantics.
- Optimize the authority of content as the site grows and grows larger.
SEO changes little by little, thanks to both the users who use the search engine and the SEOs themselves. This does not mean that we should abandon the techniques that have been working for us until now. We must complement them with new ones.
Google: A key aspect for positioning
Some of the ideas that can help us to better position are: think about mobile devices, increase loading speed or give importance to links and content.
We must bear in mind that Google learns with everything and that it tries to respond better and better to user searches. So we must also adopt this path.
However, to avoid lurching back and forth with all the recommendations that we come across, it is important to work with your own methodology. Testing it in different areas and over time to check its effectiveness.
Also Read: How To Perform A Complete SEO Audit?
The 4-piece SEO puzzle: crawling, indexing, content and popularity
There are 4 basic pieces to fully work on SEO: crawling, indexing, content and popularity. But we must bear in mind that, in order for all the pieces of the puzzle to fit together, they need to be transferred to the web correctly. And that’s what web architecture takes care of.
The web architecture is made up of information architecture. Which includes logical dependencies and semantic groupings made. And, on the other hand, it also includes the technical architecture that transfers all this information to the web.
The 3 most important areas of work in SEO
These 4 pieces can help us create a useful methodology for us. We need to distribute the strength of the web according to our priorities and the objectives we have.
When working on them, these 4 pieces are classified into 3 areas that are: technical, quality and authoritative. Let’s summarize the objectives and the operation of each one of them in a brief way.
The technical area wants to get Google to see the URLs that we want it to see in the shortest possible time. Thanks to the efficient web architecture which is based on correct crawling and indexing.
Precisely for this reason, it is important that we find the most efficient way to develop our SEO strategy. Avoiding the possible positioning errors that could destroy our objectives.
Why is the quality area focused on content?
On the other hand, the quality area seeks to cover the user’s present and future search intentions giving Google as much information as possible.
To cover this area it is important that we create adequate content which responds to the needs of our users.
Finally we have the area of authority, which is related to the image of our brand. If we also comply with this point, we can turn the project into a reference at the search level.
But, in order to improve our brand, it is important that we generate an appropriate link building strategy. Creating links to other web pages within a similar niche.
How to work on the technical area of SEO?
1. Differentiate between crawlable URLs and indexable URLs
Google does not track the URLs it finds in order or as it detects them. But prioritizing by the authority of each URL. Understanding the difference between crawling and indexing requires clarifying first what detection, tracing and indexing consist of. Three terms that are closely linked to these terms.
► Detection: Detection occurs when Google discovers that a URL exists. When this occurs, it queues it up after a previous scan to see how many links it contains.
► Tracking: Whatever Google sees in HTML, it will track and get into a queue by an intelligent tracking system that prioritizes processes. Thus, tracking would be based on these priorities and their level of relevance.
► Indexing: If the crawled URL is indexable and Google can index it, it will do so. If you don’t index it, it may be because you don’t consider it a canonical URL. Or you may consider that you have an item that should not appear in your search engine.
How does Google decide which URLs to index and which not?
If we declare a URL as canonical, it does not mean that Google will take it as such. Google, rather, will decide for itself. This topic is extremely important because if we declare a canonical URL and Google doesn’t accept our suggestion, it won’t index it.
In order to develop all this well, we must control and know how to differentiate some other important terms.
- Discovered / Detected URL: Google has detected it in a previous crawl and has queued it, setting its priority.
- Trackable URL: Can be tracked without problems.
- Tracked URL: It has been tracked by Google.
- Indexable URL: can be indexed without problems.
- Indexed URL: appears in the Google search engine when a user executes a Query.
When can Google index a URL?
There’s a widespread misconception: an untracked URL cannot be indexed. We should know that even though a URL is blocked by robots.txt, Google itself could index it. So we must know some of the usual situations:
- A detected, discovered and traceable URL could go a long time without being tracked. This would happen when we open a new website, and it has no external authority, it has many URLs more than three to four levels deep. In this case, the URLs would be detected, but Google would not track them.
- A crawlable URL could be indexed.
- A non-crawlable URL could also be indexed.
- A non-crawlable and non-indexable URL (when we tell Google not to index it) could also be indexed. Why? Because when we declare information and block the URL, Google will never be able to see it that way. Google even indexes the 404 errors that a URL gives for the simple reason that it is not able to see the error.
- The canonical is a suggestion and it could be that the declaration made by the user was incorrect.
After pointing out the difference between detecting, tracking and indexing and Google’s considerations in this regard, let’s move on to the technical area: the depth levels of a URL.
2. Consider the depth levels of a website
The depth levels make up the hierarchy of each website. In this way and according to Google, from the hot spot of the web – or the strongest page in the domain – all the others would be structured based on the levels of clicks. This main page is usually the Home, because it is the page that links the most and the one with the most popularity, through external and internal links.
But, what to do when you have a website with many levels of depth and you want to attract more traffic? The best way is to clean up useless URLs and move a bunch of other useful URLs to shallower levels, all within consistency.
3. Experiment the case of the pages
Finally, the last step would be to experiment in some aspects as to what result can we obtain. It is recommended to put the rel-next / prev, related to pages.
The key that always works when it comes to SEO is to experiment. In other words, we should not blindly trust what we read as opinions can be diverse. It is important that Google crawls all the URLs that we have, and that we should not put many products in a category without paging them. What we need to do is reduce that paging so that all products are tracked efficiently at low depth levels.
Also Read: The Perfect On-Page SEO Guide
How to work on the SEO quality area?
After covering the most technical part of SEO, let’s move on to the quality part, which is also very important in SEO. Following are the key objectives of this area:
- Cover the user’s search intentions when executing it in the search engine.
- Give Google as much information as possible through metadata, sitemaps, etc.
What does Google do about duplicate content?
Google filters duplicate URL versions, trying to identify the correct one. So if we have several URLs with the same content, the information we give the search engine is scattered. In addition to that we do not give him a correct canonical statement.
There is no penalty for duplicate content. Google chooses a URL among all, and declares it as canonical. The others simply filter them.
We can say then that Google filters URLs with similar content and keeps the good one, taking it as a reference. It is the scattered signals that we send out as webmasters that actually harm us to position.
“What is the final objective that we are pursuing with this whole process?” The answer is clear: We want to make the project a reference, and for everyone to mention it (or link it) and search for it by the brand itself.
Authority can be measured through PageRank.
What is page rank?
When we talk about PageRank we mean a formula that expresses the relative weight of a page.
The formula to calculate the Pagerank is as follows:
PR (A) = (1 + D) / N + D * (PR (B) / L (B) + PR (C) / L (C) + …)
N: Total number of active pages that are part of the calculation.
D: It is the damping coefficient (usually it has a value of 0.85).
L: It is the number of outgoing links.
We should not limit ourselves to putting internal links at will. We must base ourselves on 2 basic premises.
- Do not lose internal popularity: It is better not to link to URLs that do not give 200 code, canonical indexable, that gives error 404, 301, or that are not indexable. Better just link to URLs that are going to appear on Google.
- Do not waste popularity: It is preferred not to put internal popularity to URLs that are not so important. Popularity needs to be distributed equitably, prioritized, coherently and efficiently. Not all URLs need the same strength, nor are they all equally important or competitive.
The objective should be to put the focus where our actions generate the greatest “ROI”. And so this methodology helps to identify the work area where we have to focus our efforts.
Also Read: 9 Most Influential SEO Metrics
In the end, we can draw the following conclusions:
- SEO has not changed. It evolves little by little as Google improves its search engines to satisfy the user.
- The puzzle that makes up the SEO of any URL is based on crawling, indexing, content and popularity.
- The 3 areas that these pieces encompass are the technical area (crawling and indexing), the quality area (content) and the authority area (brand popularity).
- The first and greatest objective of any web project in SEO is for the world to know it, detect it and search for it by its brand.
- The important thing when undertaking an SEO project is detecting which area is failing or can improve, and focus on it.