Restructuring Websites for Indexability – Areej AbuAli

09 April 2019

Posted in: BSEO

Below is a roundup of Areej AbuAli’s BrightonSEO talk which was focused on a client story where major restructuring was needed to get the site indexed correctly. Here are the tactics and techniques Areej used to rectify this indexability issue.

Overview

How to restructure a website to fix indexation issues

Areej was working with a job aggregation website that had a 89% loss in visibility due to indexation issues. A technical audit revealed that the site was almost uncrawlable due to thousands of search URLs being indexable. (A new URL for every new search).

The first thing to do in a situation like this is to run a technical audit, which Areej did. This uncovered:

  • 72% of backlinks come from only 3 referring domains
  • Duplicate content
  • Incorrect canonicals
  • No sitemaps
  • Much more…

But even after these issues were fixed, the indexation issue was still not resolved. That’s when Areej took a deeper dive and realised there was a much bigger problem.

Creating a custom framework to instruct robots on what to crawl and what not to crawl was the next step. This, alongside an internal linking structure and new sitemaps was sent over to the client.

Unfortunately, despite all the new recommendations, the site continued to struggle. Even after 4+ months, Areej saw no positive uplift and after some digging, she found out why. The client had implemented very few of the recommendations that had been given.

This is actually an ongoing story, with Areej highlighting that all technical problems are people problems and that implementation is always the hard part when it comes to client relationships.

Fave quote

“All technical problems are people problems.”

 

Potential impact on the industry

As SEOs, we need to put more time and effort into the actual implementation of our strategies. Areej mentioned how, on reflection, she would have only sent the client must-dos and wait till they are completed before sending nice to-dos.

We can conduct huge technical audits that reveal massive opportunity but if this is not presented or explained to the client in the correct way, the findings may never get implemented. Putting some extra effort into the final stages of an audit like this can definitely help deliver results for a client.

Key takeaways

  • Always check the basics (like indexation and crawlability) before deep on-page audits
  • Help the client understand technical problems with stats, figures and clear explanations
  • Only give the client a handful of must-do actions and wait for them to be completed before moving on
  • Present audit findings in a clear and digestible format
  • Technical problems are people problems
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