The Botify team was excited to attend TechSEO Boost 2018, the year’s premier technical SEO conference, hosted by Catalyst!
As the Headline Sponsor, we came to TechSEO Boost to contribute our latest research and insights, and to learn from other industry experts about today’s leading technical SEO topics.
Here’s our recap of TechSEO Boost 2018 - what we saw, what we presented, and how the conference boosted our technical SEO knowledge.
TechSEO Boost 2018 Brought Together the Best and the Brightest in Technical SEO
TechSEO Boost 2018 was a meeting of the minds in the technical SEO space!
Some of the top experts in the field came together to discuss topics as diverse as server log file analysis, internal linking, machine learning, and coding for SEOs.
Some of the highlights among the presentations included:
The Statelessness of Technical SEO, Mike King, Managing Director, iPullRank
In his talk, Mike probed the basic foundations of technical SEO. He asked some 300 colleagues to define the essence of the field before the conference, and came away with a slew of competing answers. Using these answers, Mike arrived at a more concrete definition. Technical SEO, Mike said, is the combination of multiple fields:
Technical SEO differs from standard SEO in that it is about scalability, depth, detail, and/or advanced cross-functional understanding and execution.
Mike talked about the inherent incompleteness and unreliability of certain SEO data, with a focus on transparency. Since SEO platform metrics are not universally defined, different tools yield different KPIs that are not necessarily interchangeable.
Mike then discussed a wide variety of important topics in technical SEO today. He suggested that there’s a specific statistical expectation for content that ranks well. He talked about the importance of Test Driven Development for technical SEOs, along with an SEO’s place within an organization.
Mike examined the continued centrality of PageRank in technical SEO, along with several Google patents. He closed by stressing the importance of internal linking and headless browsers for technical SEOs.
Watching Googlebot Watching You: Optimizing with Server Logs, Jamie Alberico, SEO Product Owner, Arrow Electronics
Jamie centered her talk around server log file analysis, including dispelling all the myths surrounding the practice. She talked about the centrality of server log file analysis in the age of the mobile-first index.
Server logs are rich troves of data that can tell you exactly how Googlebot is behaving on your site, but they’re often carefully guarded and sometimes diffuse, which is why coordination with the dev ops team is critical.
Jamie showed how to read log files, both with a tool and manually. She detailed how to verify Googlebot’s identity through IP addresses (which Botify does automatically), and how to break down URL structures using regex. Many use cases were presented, including intermittent crawl errors, Google choosing a different canonical than the user, and how to influence Google to crawl the pages that you want.
Internal Link Optimization on Steroids, Kevin Indig, Head of Technical SEO, Atlassian.
Kevin used the Pareto Principle to highlight how a very small minority of pages attract the overwhelming majority of organic visits and crawls. He said that SEO is getting harder due to this disproportionate distribution, but internal linking can help overcome this.
Calculations of internal PageRank are often skewed by external backlinks. Kevin unveiled the TIPR (True Internal PageRank) model to accurately assess real PageRank, which ultimately combines internal PageRank, backlinks, log files, and Chei Rank (inverse PageRank).
The goal of the TIPR model is to take PageRank from the strongest pages in the Pareto Curve and give it to the weaker ones. This evens out PageRank distribution and boosts site-wide performance. Kevin showed a use case for the TIPR model on the Atlassian website that boosted organic traffic by 160%.
Just Enough to be Dangerous (And Super Effective!): Programming Basics for SEO, Paul Shapiro, Partner, Director of Strategy & Innovation, Catalyst
Paul’s talk focused on the necessity of code literacy for everyone, not just software engineers, and especially for SEOs who will one day compete with a younger workforce that has coding built into their school curriculums.
Paul showed the SEOs in attendance how to construct a computer program in Python that executed an API. He closed by recommending other free educational resources for basic programming.
Machine Learning for SEOs, Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist, Moz
In her talk, Britney defined machine learning as a subset of AI that combines statistics and programming to give computers the ability to “learn” without explicitly being programmed.
To operate more efficiently, search engines must “learn” from a massive amount of data, which is why Google and other companies are turning to machine learning. Britney related the differences between supervised and unsupervised machine learning, clustering, regression, classification, and loss models.
But Britney also stressed the accessibility of machine learning. She talked about how she used Google Codelabs to build a machine learning model in under 20 minutes that could identify the images of ducks and snakes correctly.
Britney showed how machine learning, besides illuminating search engine behavior, can also assist SEOs in a number of ways. Machine learning can automate the writing of meta descriptions, assist in content creation, find ranking opportunities, and augment log file analysis. Britney closed by encouraging everyone to roll up their sleeves and try to build their own machine learning models.
Botify’s Frank Vitovitch Merges Structured Data with Technical SEO Insights in Wide-Ranging Presentation
Frank Vitovitch, Botify VP Professional Services, presented our latest research in the ever-accelerating domain of structured data.
“You Have Structured Data...Now What?” examined the multifaceted usages of schema, particularly generating deep technical SEO insights in combination with other critical search indicators.
Throughout the presentation, Frank showed how structured data can be used not just as a way to communicate with search engines, but also as a way to illuminate technical SEO insights that were otherwise invisible.
Frank demonstrated how to tie structured data to technical SEO markers to spot the most profitable pages for optimization.
He cited many key examples, including:
- Chart crawl frequency by product ratings to find highly rated pages with low crawl frequencies, and optimize those pages to increase their visibility.
- Measure organic visits by article publishing date to optimize pages that are underperforming global trends.
- Cross page indexability with number of ratings to identify popular pages that are being excluded from search, and correct the errors that are keeping them out.
- Analyze article author against content size and real ranking to identify pages that need to improve content quality.
Beyond that, Frank highlighted how schema can generate insights about the competition, since all the data is public-facing in each page’s source code. Find out how many items a company has in stock, how many reviews its top products have, and the price points of each targeted item.
As Frank showed, structured data offers more than just communication with search engines. SEOs can use structured data right now to generate cutting technical SEO optimizations, and even competitive insights.
For more on structured data, see:
- Structured Data: Why Now Is the Time to Optimize (Botify White Paper)
- The Rise of Structured Data: Why Now Is the Time to Optimize (Botify Webinar)
- Straight from the Lab: SEO’s Hot Theory Test Results Revealed (Botify & Merkle Webinar)
See You At TechSEO Boost 2019!
The Botify team was thrilled to join the conversation at TechSEO Boost 2018. The diverse voices across the technical SEO spectrum paved the way for the insights and optimizations that will dominate 2019.
We loved being the Headline Sponsor for this year’s premier technical SEO conference, and we’re looking forward to attending and participating in the future. Thank you to everybody that made it possible. Here’s a full video of the conference, courtesy of Catalyst.
See you at TechSEO Boost 2019!