Episode 118 | Posted on

Common Technical SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: Dawn Anderson

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Learn why a slow website will discourage Googlebot from crawling your entire website with @dawnieando Click To Tweet

This Week’s Guest:

We’ve all heard about mobile-first design, but it can be hard to internalize. For many of us, our first instinct is to create a traditional desktop website and then work on making it mobile-friendly. As you’ll learn in this episode, a true mobile-first approach is more important than it’s ever been — and will only keep growing in importance.


In this conversation, my guest and I are going to take a deep dive and geek out about technical SEO. It’s hard to imagine anyone better suited for such a conversation than Dawn Anderson, who is an internal SEO and digital marketing consultant for brands and startups alike. She’s also a lecturer and trainer in digital marketing and search marketing. She and I speak at many of the same conferences, so I already know she’s a fantastic expert and the perfect guest for the show.


Find Out More About Dawn Here:

Dawn Anderson on LinkedIn
Dawn Anderson on Search Engine Land
@dawnieando on Twitter
Dawn Anderson on Facebook


In This Episode:

  • [01:09] – Dawn starts off by discussing crawl budget, what it is, and why we care.
  • [03:29] – Crawl budget feeds into things like page speed, Stephan points out. Dawn then expands on the idea.
  • [05:46] – Dawn talks about the key areas in which you can emphasize importance in huge websites.
  • [07:07] – Google pretty much ignores priority on XML Sitemaps because people lie, Dawn explains. Another problem is that they tend to get the “last updated” field wrong.
  • [11:05] – Stephan steps in to clarify what Dawn has been saying by using the metaphor of a tree with sickly branches.
  • [12:11] – Dawn discusses a canonical error that she sees frequently involving migrating sites and updating site maps. Stephan then offers his own related insight and advice.
  • [16:25] – Dawn thinks that more education about search console parameters would be really useful for those in the search engine optimization field.
  • [18:20] – What are some other technical SEO issues that a lot of people get wrong?
  • [20:48] – For listeners who aren’t as familiar with technical SEO, Stephan clarifies and explains what Dawn has been talking about in simpler terms.
  • [22:58] – Dawn offers an example involving an ecommerce site to illustrate what she and Stephan have been talking about.
  • [26:15] – The older the site, the longer the process can take for all but the largest and most important sites, Dawn explains.
  • [28:34] – What is hreflang, and why should we care? Dawn and Stephan discuss the challenges inherent in having different sites for Canada, Australia, England, and the United States, for example.
  • [32:51] – These challenges apply in foreign languages too, Stephan points out, using the example of France and Quebec.
  • [35:08] – Stephan and Dawn talk about the time that SEO takes.
  • [36:56] – Dawn talks about a very recent Google release involving mobile-first indexing. Stephan then clarifies why it’s important to think about mobile first as your strategy, and desktop second.
  • [40:01] – Dawn was recently watching a webinar, which she describes and discusses.
  • [44:12] – On a desktop site, tabbed content is still in the HTML but not displayed by default. On mobile devices, Google isn’t discounting it in the same way.
  • [45:25] – What is AMP?  And do all Marketing Speak listeners need to implement it on their sites?
  • [47:47] – Dawn explains that there have been issues with AMP’s proprietary code, but overall it increases performance and conversion rates.
  • [49:26] – Speeding up a slow-loading website is the carrot, but there are sticks as well, Dawn points out.
  • [51:36] – Does Dawn have a parting tidbit or bit of advice for technical SEO? She recommends making sure that you focus completely on mobile and make sure it’s a fast experience.


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