Guide to Technical SEO: by CXL Institute (Student Review)

About Me

Hi there!

I’m Khushi.

I graduated, top of my batch, with a major in marketing from India’s leading business college. Over the course of last 2 years, I have worked in both big and small companies in India and abroad in the growth marketing space. I’m wildly passionate about marketing, Karate and hot chocolate. Connect with me linktr.ee/khushilunkad

What this is all about?

I took a course on CXL and wanted to share everything I learned with you. Ofcourse, this article isn’t exhaustive but will help you make a better purchase decision.

  • Bullet-point summary of everything I learned from this 2.5 hour course.
  • Summaries of other courses in the growth marketing minidegree can be found on my website toption.org/cxlminidegree

What tools can you use to crawl a site to learn more about the technical issues & improvements?

ScreamingFrog (recommended), Sitebulb, Botify, Deepcrawl

The free version of ScreamingFrog lets you crawl upto 500 urls, which is more than sufficient for most websites. Before starting out, go to configuration tab and make sure the crawl speed doesn’t load your server.

Another set of tools: Search Console and Bing Webmaster to get insights about your website.

How does a search engine look at your page and ‘understand’ what it’s about?

  1. HTML: It’s the language most websites are coded in. Google reads this and understands what in here.

<Head>

Meta descriptions, Meta Content type, Meta Viewport and Meta Robots fall in here.

Meta Descriptions are coded like this

<meta name=”description” content=”Example”>

Google’s known to change these meta descriptions. While Meta descriptions don’t affect SEO, they do affect the click-through rate on the search results.

Meta Robots

  1. Index or NoIndex: should this page be shown in google search results
  2. Follow or Nofollow: should the links on this page be read by search engines.

Canonical URL:
Tell search engines if your content isn’t original.

<link rel = "canonical" href = "https://cxl.com>

Use cases:

  • When you’re an ecommerce store with multiple the same product having multiple subpages. Eg Nike Air Max 97 — size 8 and size 9 will have 2 separate pages. In cases like these, all tags can point to one main page.
  • When writers/publishers form a syndicate to pool in content, they generally direct canonical tags to the primary resource to tell Google (etc) that their content is referenced from another site. I don’t fully understand why backlinks can’t serve this purpose.
  • Self-referencing when you’re repurposing old site content.

Open Graph and Twitter cards: Technical seo for facebook and twitter.

HREF Lang: Alternate url for similar (English UK, eng US, eng IN, different $$ values) or different languages (eng, spanish, etc)

<Body>

All the content of the page: tables, headings, images, links, accordians (like a toggle view)

</Body>

</Head>

How can you get the search engines to crawl the harder pages?

Your privacy page has so many internal and external links pointing to it. But your most important product pages eg nike.com/?size=7&color=blue&lace=no may be difficult for search engines to understand and crawl. What do you do in cases like these? (I couldn’t get the answer to this in the CXL lesson xD but the lesson actually covered some other content)

  • Duplicate H1 tags need to be addressed. Two pages having the same H1 tag can confuse search engines.
  • Fire status codes to tell search engines what’s going on. Eg, if a product is no longer available, you fire a 410. Know more about status codes here.
  • Best way to move from blog.domain.com to domain.blog.com is through a permanent redirect ie 301.

Trailing Slashes

  1. http://www.example.com/word
  2. http://www.example.com/word/

The only difference between these two are the slashes at the end. It’s common for websites to use a trailing slash but it’s not really that necessary in my opinion. See what google’s doing

XML Sitemaps: See which webpages are being crawled but not indexed. I didn’t find this lesson very useful for me, though.

Structured data

“With structured data, you give the search engines a better idea by marking up your content. It will help search engines understand what a particular entity means and how it relates to others.” ~CXL

  1. Use Schema.org: Tell search engines about the data that is available and what that content is. Schema.org can use rich snippets as well.
  2. Use Google Structured Data Testing tool

Edge SEO: With Edge SEO you don’t need the support of a developer anymore to make changes?

Improving site/page speed

Users/Search engines care about site speed

  1. Run your website url on Lightspeed

Lighthouse will also tell you which anchor texts are not optimised.

2. Try out pagespeed insights to know how your website renders on mobile and desktop

3. Webpagetest.org: Check by a server where most of your website users are located. Analyze the waterfalls ie see how each page is loaded.

What is International SEO?

International SEO comes into picture when you have the same site content for different countries. Different countries may have similar or different languages. For example, US and UK English are similar but not the same. The goal is that you want to rank for the right keywords in the right country.

Being available in multiple countries will make SEO a bit more complex.

This is what you can do:

  1. Use HREFLang diligently to enable easy access for users to local versions of a site. <link rel = “alternate" hreflang = “lang_code" href = “url_of_page”/>
  2. International XML sitemaps ‘require’ additional changes to the regular XML sitemaps.
  3. Folder, URL & Domain Structure

With Folder: nike.com/shoes/AirMax

Without Folder: nike.com/?category=shoes&brand=AirMax

Future of SEO

  • A/B testing for Technical SEO:

Test for Page Layouts, Canonical Tags, META Descriptions, Schema.org, Titles, Content, Product Descriptions, Images, Ads etc.

  • Edge SEO: Make changes to your page, without needing a developer
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages / Progressive Web Apps

Wow, thank you for getting to the end of this summary.

If you want to support this article, please visit CXL’s growth marketing Mini Degree* using my affiliate link. The link remains active for 30 minutes after you click and expires immediately when you close the tab. Thank you.

You can read summaries and reviews for almost all of the courses on my blog here. If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Linkedin or Email. If it’s education related, I’ll respond super quick :) If it’s growth marketing related and beyond the scope of CXL institute, I’ll be happy to help you get rolling. Just ask?

Best Wishes,

Khushi Lunkad

Growth Marketer

Toption.org

Growth Marketer, specialising in customer acquisition. Love all things marketing, technology and startups. toption.org is where you'll find me.