Edition #2: One weird trick to improve crawlability

It seems inappropriate to say 'Happy New Year' in late January. So I won't.

Instead, let's just get on with sharing all the stuff you can't afford to miss, from the technical SEO world and beyond...

Recent Tech SEO Stuff We Love

Our favourite things from the world of tech SEO, in the last 30 days (or so):

John Mueller's Offhand Comment Causes Widespread Confusion (Shocker!)

In a webmaster hangout, John said that there is some confusion in the SEO industry surrounding noindex, follow. If Google see the noindex, apparently, they will initially keep the URL in the index but just not show it. But if they see the noindex there for 'longer' they will remove the URL completely, and no longer follow the links. Thus, over time, it becomes equivalent to noindex, nofollow.

I hope that John realises that the reason there is confusion is because other Googlers have stated the exact opposite:

  • Matt Cutts literally said: "A noindex page can accumulate PageRank, because the links are still followed outwards from a noindex page."
  • Maile Ohye literally said: If you've marked page 2 to n of your paginated series as "noindex, follow" to keep low quality content from affecting users and/or your site's rankings, that's fine, you can additionally include rel="next" and rel="prev."

I don't know when this changed, but it certainly took most of the SEO community by surprise, and caused a bunch of smart people to ask lots of follow-on questions.

The upshot is that if you don't want a page in the index, but DO want Google to crawl the links and/or pass PageRank from a given URL, then noindex, follow is not a suitable solution (either rel=canonical or rel=next/prev is the way forward).

View Source: Why it Still Matters and How to Quickly Compare it to a Rendered DOM

via @badams

Barry Adams argues (what? Barry, arguing?! Never!!) against such opinion as, 'Google can render JavaScript now, therefore View Source is dead.' He points out the ignorance of statements like this, and shows his methodology for comparing the HTML source with the rendered code, in order to find differences that may affect indexing. 

N.B. It would be remiss of me to not mention that you'll soon be able to do this instantly within Sitebulb for any URL you've crawled, straight out of the box. Stay tuned...

Pagination Tunnels – An Experiment in Crawlability and Click Depth

by Matthew Henry (I tried and failed to locate a Twitter profile. I know, I don't get it either).

The Crawl Maps we use in Sitebulb were inspired by some posts we'd seen from the Portent team several years ago. And here is another great one from Matthew Henry, who uses crawl maps to demonstrate how extreme pagination can cause big issues for search engine crawlers, and comes up with his one weird trick to improve the crawlability of deep pagination. Middle out for the win, baby.

New Tech SEO Subreddit

Check out the brand new technical SEO subreddit at /r/TechSEO - it's only been live for a couple of weeks but has already got a ton of great stuff in there. 

Other Stuff You Should Check Out

  • Google Maps's Moat
    This post has a crappy title which does not inspire a click. But click it you should. It is an epic, fascinating, study of how Google has combined maps data to create new data, and solve some really tricky problems to boot. It is really really good.
  • Improving URLs for AMP pages
    Everyone hates AMP because they force you to use Google URLs amirite? Not any more pal. Google listened (again!) and will soon start showing publisher's URLs. Praise be.
  • Chrome 41: The Key to Successful Website Rendering
    More stuff about JavaScript, and rendering, and whatnot. It's kind of a big deal.

That's all for today folks.

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