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Do any of these sound familiar from dealing with your IT or development team?

“Why didn’t they run this by me first?”

“Were they even thinking about SEO when they did this?”

“Why aren’t they prioritizing my requests?”

Take a deep breath; you are not alone.

Remember how hard it was to get a meeting with the content writers for that keyword research workshop? Now think about doing that with developers – and on top of that, needing to add requests to their already busy queue.

Most organizations, especially when we talk about digital marketing projects, are still working in silos.

Developers are also very busy!

SEO professionals are always planning out the content to re-optimize or produce. The same can be said with developers. They have weekly sprints, tech debt, and are always on call for when something goes wrong with our website.

We need to better understand how to communicate with the development team, how to prioritize issues, and how we can change our process moving forward so we can work better together.

In this column, you’ll learn more about how we can prioritize technical SEO issues without rocking the web development boat.

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How to Educate the Development Team on SEO

There are so many different things you can do to help your SEO strategy become successful, which is why prioritizing what you need to do first is important.

And when talking about technical SEO, it becomes a whole new beast.

Educating Web Dev on SEO

The first step in prioritizing the technical issues is to make sure the development team is aware of what SEO is and the importance of it as a channel to the site.

Most of the time when there are technical issues hindering SEO, the development team isn’t aware of them.

They’re not creating technical issues on purpose. Technical teams can also be extremely defensive around their own work – I mean, who isn’t?

Make sure you aren’t blaming them for these issues but instead, showing them how you can work together.

Give Your Requests Context

When I’m creating a technical document of all the issues on the website, I also include why this is necessary and what the fix should be.

By including educational resources around what the issue is and what the fix is, the developers have more information available to them around why this is so important and how it can benefit the overall website.

Failing to include this context as to why fixing this issue is important adds more work to both teams as the information has to be chased down. Usually, the issue will not be prioritized.

Share Knowledge Openly and Regularly

It’s incredibly important to break down the silos of the marketing and development teams. Communication is key, especially in organizations where each department may have an impact on the other’s goals.

If you submit a ticket to update hundreds of canonical tags, you might be interrupting the last week of their sprint.

On the other hand, if the development team accidentally 404s a bunch of our valuable SEO pages, it might add more work for both teams down the road.

No one wants to add more work to someone else’s plate. By holding joint knowledge sharing sessions, the SEO team can explain what matters from an SEO perspective on the site and the development team can figure out how this can be incorporated into the current queue of projects.

I understand no one wants to have another internal meeting but try to make these learning sessions fun.

Try doing a hackathon or a workshop where you walk through an actual issue together. Collaborating on something that is actionable and real-life will make it more impactful as both teams can begin to understand how each department can truly work together.

Evangelizing why SEO is important and a necessary step to having a mature SEO organization, so it’s vital that we make sure we aren’t just delegating work to teams but discussing it as a team project and how all of our roles are interconnected.

One of the best ways to help educate the development team around how technical SEO can impact our website is by prioritizing the issues for them.

How to Prioritize Technical SEO Issues for the Business

When we think about SEO, it’s already incredibly hard to prove ROI compared to other marketing channels.

Now on top of that, we have to talk about technical issues and how they can improve our crawl budget or decrease duplication.

Not too easy to prove, right?

Well, yes and no.

We all know it’s much harder to prove the ROI of a technical issue. But we can prioritize these issues for the business and show the impact they might have on our primary pages or highest converting pages.

Here are a few different ways we can prioritize our technical issues for the development team:

1. Prioritize by Number of Technical Issues Impacting the Page

The simplest way to prioritize technical issues is by the raw number of issues that exist on the website.

There are so many different tools to help crawl our site and create a technical audit. But that doesn’t always mean these tools make it easy to understand what the impact of these issues is.

By using a crawling tool such as DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog, or even Google Search Console, we can begin to identify the number of technical issues on our site or on each page.

By looking at the raw data and the number of issues that are impacting a page or that exist on a site, this might get the ball rolling on fixing some of the issues that really stand out.

If there are hundreds of pages with duplicate titles and only a couple of pages that have a redirect chain, it might make sense to first focus on the duplicate title tags.

Break Issues Down in Terms Your Team Can Appreciate

I recommend trying to break down the issues in buckets based on what they are.

For example, I try to break down the technical issues by “Content” (think duplicate title tags, missing header tags, etc.) and “Indexation” (think status code, redirects, non-indexable pages in sitemap).

This way, it’s easier for the development teams to understand what issue is related to what.

So when we see we have missing title tags or header tags, they understand that it’s related to the content on the page, not necessarily a 302 redirect or a missing canonical tag which may impact indexation.

When there are a lot of issues on the site, this can be overwhelming for both the developer and the SEO pro. This is why it’s important to work as a team to understand what can be accomplished in the short term vs. the long term.

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2. Prioritize by the Effort It Will Take the Development Team to Fix

SEO is a long-term game – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This is why we need to learn what the developers are doing in their sprints and align it with the fixes we need to be made.

Keep in mind that not every fix is going to be quick or easy. Every website is different. Every tech stack is different.

There are some companies where the SEO professional can go into the CMS and update the canonical tag or the title tag.

Other times, they need to submit a ticket, get approved in the development process, and wait in the queue until the issue is fixed.

Imagine if the fix isn’t exactly what you wanted?

Since every development process is different, it’s important that we learn what we can easily do within the system, what might take a little longer, and what things we can never fix so and push out to another day.

Show Web Dev You’re Considering Their Time & Resources

Discussing the technical issues with the development team and showing them what you want done makes it easier for everyone to understand what is feasible in the short term.

Creating a document with the technical issues and the effort it will take for the development team is another great way to prioritize what to fix first.

The development team knows what they can or cannot do easily. Talk to them when you’re reviewing this document or you might keep submitting a ticket for an issue that will never be resolved.

Break out what issues are low effort, medium effort, high effort, or not even possible to do. Once we can figure out what can be done easier, we can begin to educate them on what might have the biggest impact on our site.

If image compression is the easiest thing to do for page speed compared to removing unused CSS or Javascript, then we should absolutely be prioritizing compressing the images on our site.

By allowing the development team to fix things that take less time, they will not only be appreciative as it enables them to focus on their other projects, but we can even get more buy-in to have more technical resources for SEO as we can start to see improvements quicker.

Figure Out Where to Focus First for Quick Wins

I typically like to get a lot of the low-hanging fruit out of the way early on such as cleaning up missing title tags, header tags, or descriptions.

These fixes are usually a lot easier to make and begin to report to the organization all the updates we are making to the larger organization.

Additionally, by fixing these content issues we can begin to understand if there is something in our template or content creation process that is creating these technical issues.

Maybe the content or development team was never taught the importance of the H1 tag or other header tags on the page for SEO.

Instead of being reactive towards these issues, we can start to be proactive and create guidelines around what is needed within these pages before they are pushed live on our site.

We don’t want to ignore the longer-term technical issues altogether as we know they can still hinder our website. But during these cross-departmental projects, it’s always nice to get a win early on.

People want to see progress on their work and with SEO we know how long that can sometimes take.

If we’re still having trouble getting executive buy-in around fixing technical SEO, we can always bring organic performance data to the table to show the impact these issues are having on our most important pages.

3. Prioritize by Organic Performance (Think Traffic, Conversions, or Keyword Rankings)

The best way to get the business to care about something is by showing them how their primary pages may be impacted by technical issues.

Once an executive hears they may lose traffic or conversions and we know how to fix the issue, this will absolutely help get things moving in the right direction.

The easiest way I’ve found to get more buy-in for technical SEO resources – or for the technical team to actually care about our issues – is by adding organic performance data around these pages.

Showing organic data especially keyword rankings is honestly one of the best ways to help resonate across different teams why SEO is important to your business and the same can be said with technical teams.

When thinking about organic data to show, try and bring in metrics that are easily understandable to the larger team:

Organic traffic (sessions, pageviews, visitors, etc.).


Keyword rankings (I even break this out into Page 1 keyword rankings to show how visible these pages are).

Total search volume from the keywords ranking.

Average position of the keywords ranking.

While the business or development team might not care or even know about SEO, they most likely know what pages on the website are the best performing or the most impactful.

From my experience, it’s also important to show them other pages that perform well organically that they may not know about.

Once they hear how well these pages are performing with technical issues, they will be very interested in prioritizing the fix to see how much better they can do without any issues.

At the end of the day, your business cares about what impacts them the most.

By bringing data around how these pages are performing and communicating expectations on what can happen if the technical issues are resolved, the queue magically opens up and issues are fixed much quicker than before.

[Recommended Read] → The Ultimate Technical SEO Audit Workbook

Final Thoughts

In short, prioritizing technical issues can be done in several different ways. But without a strategy for it, the technical team will be completely lost on where to begin and more and more issues will continue to accrue.

We can have the best content in the world that’s optimized for all our relevant keywords. However, if we have technical issues on the site that hinder a user or a search engine crawler from accessing our content then it was all for nothing.

With Google’s recent Core Web Vitals update, they’ve put more emphasis on user experience than ever before.

This means we need to talk about page speed and updating our sitemap when we release new content. And the more we bring up technical SEO with our web dev teams, the more ingrained it will be in their process.

The best-case scenario for prioritizing these issues is that we get a dedicated technical resource, and we can knock out a bunch of things we’ve always wanted to get done.

Worst case scenario is that we still have to submit tickets to the development team and get them approved in the queue.

But now at least we know it’ll get done correctly or in a timely manner, since we’ve explained the issue to them in depth.

I hope this helps you and your team better understand how to work with the technical team while still maintaining good relationships with your coworkers. Here’s to more efficient and scalable solutions in the process!

More Resources:

Featured image: spectrumblue/Shutterstock

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14 Technical Seo Takeaways From Techseoboost

TechSEOBoost is a tech SEO’s paradise: incredibly technical and actionable sessions inspiring innovative approaches and empowering solutions.

What was a PPC person doing there!?!?!

Usually, if there’s a PPC track, the PPC folks will go there. If there’s an SEO track, the SEO folks will go there.

Too long have the silos between SEO and PPC blocked empathy and knowledge shared between the two disciplines.

This PPC marketer was curious to understand what pain points and innovations our counterparts were exploring.

One of the best parts of the conference was seeing how many parallels there are in where SEO and PPC are evolving.

If there’s one focus point we can all agree on, it’s audiences and understanding the shifting desires in audiences.

The other takeaway weaving its way through most talks was to share data and make marketing a truly cross-department initiative.

Each speaker had great takeaways – here’s the round-up of the main takeaway from each presentation:

1. NLP for SEO

Pragmatism is a beautiful trait, and Paul Shapiro led a great discussion on how to decide which parsing method would serve you best.

In the spirit of pragmatism, Python was a requirement for this talk.

Lemmatization, while more accurate takes more time.

When deciding how you’ll parse, consider the scope of the content and whether the intent could be lost by taking the faster Stemming route.

2. Automate, Create & Test with Google App Scripts

This session solicited audible excitement for good reason: David Sottimano gave us easy hacks to easily analyze 10 BILLION rows of data without SQL!

The “secret” is Sheets data connector and the implications are exactly as exciting as they sound!

Sottimano outlined the following use cases:

Clean and manipulate data quickly in sheets.

Parse URLs quickly.

Scraping Google via SEPapi.

Creating your own auto-suggest.

For everyday SEO, these practical use-cases were suggested:

Checking for indexing and 301 targets in the same action:

Monitoring pages, comparing content and caching:

Machine learning classification using bigML and SEMrush keyword data:

3. When You Need Custom SEO Tools

The first panel of TechSEOBoost focused on knowing when third-party tools might not be enough and it makes sense to invest in proprietary tools.

The panel consisted of:

Nick Vining: Catalyst (moderator)

Claudia Higgins: Argos

Derek Perkins: Nozzle

JR Oakes: Locomotive

While the panelists each had their unique perspective to share, the overarching theme they focused on was cross-department empathy and data access.

Investing the time and resources to build a custom solution may seem daunting, the panelists all agree that having a single source of digestible truth more than pays for it.

Specific soundbites we call can learn from:

Higgins discussed shedding fear around building a custom solution/thinking it’s only possible if you have a really technical background. Don’t allow lack of tech chops get in the way of you solving a problem you know needs solving!

Oakes empowers us to use usage as a good metric to decide if a tool is outdated, as well as never build unless there’s a clear understanding of the outcome.

Perkins reminds us to hold off on automating a function/data set until it happens at least three times. Any less than three and the sample size and data focus will be compromised.

4. Bias in Search & Recommender Systems

To be human is to have bias – and the impact of those biases are felt in our careers, purchases, and work ethic.

Ricardo Baeza-Yates outlined three biases that have far-reaching implications:

Presentation bias: Whether a product/service/idea is presented and can, therefore, be an eligible choice.

Cultural bias: The factors that go into work-ethic and perspective.

Language bias: The amount of people who speak the language most content is in.

Presentation bias has the biggest impact on SEO (and PPC). If you’re not presented during the period of consideration, you’re not going to be chosen.

It’s not sustainable to own everyone’s presentations bias, so we must understand which personas represent the most profit.

Once we’re in front of our ideal people, we must know how to reach them.

Enter culture and language bias.

Baeza-Yates translates culture bias as living on two scales: minimum effort to avoid the max shame.

Depending on the market, you’ll need to tailor your messaging to honor higher/lower work ethics.

Language bias is an insidious one – the majority of content is in English, but only 23% of the internet accessing world speaks English.

5. GoogleBot & JavaScript

Whenever a Googler shares insights, there’s always at least one nugget to take home.

The big takeaways from Google’s Martin Splitt included:

Google knows where iframes are and odds are it is making it into the DOM.

Avoid layout thrashing – it invites lag time in rendering.

WRS is simply HTML + content/resources: That’s your DOM tree.

Google doesn’t just rely on an average timeout metric – they balance it with network activity.

Mobile indexing has tighter timeouts.

If a page can’t render correctly due to a “Google” problem, they’ll surface an “other” error.

Consider which side of the devil’s bargain you want to be on: if you bundle your code you’ll have fewer requests, but any change will require re-uploading.

Only looking at queue time and render time will lead you down the wrong path – indexing pipeline could be the issue.

I will admit as a PPC, most of this didn’t have the “shock and awe” for me as it did for the rest of the room. That said, one big takeaway I had was on page layout and the impact on CRO (conversion rate optimization).

The choices we make to optimize for conversions (page layout, content thresholds, contact points, etc.) align more than I would have assumed with the Google SEO perspective.

That said, the tests needed in both disciplines confirm the value of dedicated PPC pages and the importance of cross-department communication.

6. What I Learned by Building a Toy to Crawl Like Google

It’s easy to complain and gloat from the sidelines. It takes a brave and clever mind to jump in and take a stab at the thing you may or may not have feelings about.

JR Oakes is equal parts brave, clever, and generous.

You can access his “toy crawler” on Github and explore/adapt it.

His talk discussing the journey focused on three core messages:

If we’re going to build a crawler to understand the mechanics of Google, we need to honor the rules Google sets itself:

Text NLP is really important and if honoring BERT mechanics, stop words are necessary (no stemming).

Understanding when and where to update values and is far harder than anticipated and it created a new level of sympathy/empathy for Google’s pace.

The main takeaway: take the time to learn by doing.

7. Faceted Nav: Almost Everyone Is Doing It Wrong

Faceted navigation is our path to help search engines understand which urls we care they crawl.

Sadly, there’s a misconception that faceted navs are only for ecommerce sites, leaving content rich destination sites exposed to crawl risk.

Yet if every page gets faceted navigation, the crawl will take too long/exceed profit parameters.

Successfully leveraging faceted navigation means identifying which pages are valuable enough to “guarantee” the crawl.

As a PPC, I loved the shout-out for more collaboration between SEO and paid. Specifically:

Sharing data on which pages convert via PPC/SEO so both sides know how to prioritize efforts.

8. Generating Qualitative Content with GTP2 in All Languages

Nothing drives home how much work we need to do to shatter bias, than translation tools. Vincent Terrasi shared the risks of being “complacent” in translation:

Different languages have different idioms/small talk mechanics

Gender mechanics influence some languages while have no baring on others

Rare verbs, uncommon tenses, and language specific mechanics that get lost in translation.

The result: scaling content generation models across non-English speaking populations fails.

Terrasi won’t let us give up!

Instead, he gave us a step by step path to begin creating a true translation model:

Generate the compressed training data set via Byte Pair Encoding (BPE).

Use SenencePiece to generate the BPE file.

Fine tune the model (slide)

Generate the article with the trained model

You can access Terrasi’s tool here.

Where I see PPC implications is in ad creative – we often force our messaging on prospects without honoring the unique mechanics of their markets. If we can begin to generate market specific translations, we can improve our conversion rates and market sentiment.

9. Advanced Data-Driven Tech SEO – Pagination

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a crucial part of all digital marketing disciplines.

Yet we often overlook the simple influencers on our path to profit.

One such opportunity is pagination (how we layout the number of pages and products per page).

The more pages clients have to go through to reach their ideal product/content, the greater the risk for mental fatigue.

While there are pros and cons to all forms of pagination, Ghost Block far and away did the best job of honoring user and crawl behaviors.

Here are the outcomes of all pagination formats:

10. The User Is the Query

Dawn Anderson’s perspective on query analysis and audience intent is empowering for SEO and PPC professionals alike.

Way ahead of the curve on BERT, she empowers us to think about the choices we present our prospects and how much we are playing into their filters of interest.

In particular, she challenged us to think about:

The impact of multi-meaning words like “like” and how context of timing, additional words, and people speaking them influences their meaning.

When head terms (“dress” “shoes” “computer”) can have super transactional intent, versus being high up in the funnel.

For example, “Liverpool Manchester” is most often a travel query, but when football is on, it turns into a sports query.

Anderson encourages us to focus on the future – specifically:

Shifting away from text-heavy to visual enablement. We need to come from a place of curation (for example, hashtags) as opposed to verbatim keyword matching.

Shifting away from query targeting and opting more into content suggestions based on persona predictions

Shifting away from answers and weaving ourselves into user journeys (nurturing them to see us a habitual partner rather than a one-off engagement).

This session had the most cross-over implications for PPC – particularly because we have been shifting toward audience-oriented PPC campaigns for the past few years.

11. Ranking Factors Going Casual

I have so much love in my heart for a fellow digital marketer who sees board games as a path to explain and teach SEO/PPC.

This session gave a candid and empowering view on why we need to think critically about SEO studies.

Micha Fisher-Kirshner reminds us to be:

Consistent with our data collection and be honest with ourselves on sample size/statistical significance.

Mindful of positive and negative interactions and what impact they can have on our data sets.

Organized in our categorizations and quality checks.

My favorite takeaway (based on Mysterium) is to be mindful of the onset of any study and be sure all the necessary checks are in place. Much like the game, it’s possible to set one’s self up to have a “no win” condition simply because we didn’t set ourselves up correctly.

I also have to give Fisher-Kirshner a shout out for coming at this from a place of positivity, and not “outing” folks who mess up these checks. Instead, he simply inspired all of us to chase better causation and correlation deduction.

12. Advanced Analytics for SEO

Analytics is the beating heart of our decisions – and getting to learn from this panel was a treat.

Our cast of players included:

Dan Shure – Evolving SEO (host)

Aja Frost – HubSpot

Colleen Harris – CDK Global LLC

Jim Gianoglio – Bounteous

Alexis Sanders – Merkle

While each panelist had their own unique perspective, the overarching suggestion is sharing data between departments and working together to combat anomalies.

Gianoglio reminds us to be mindful of filters that might distort data and never allow a client to force us to a single guiding metric.

Frost shared her skepticism that analytics will be our single source for truth in the emerging GDPR and CCPA world as well as empowering us to explore data blending if we aren’t as confident in SQL to explore data blending.

Harris encouraged us to be pragmatic and realistic about data sources: if the data seems off, we should explore it! Analytics is a means to uncover data distortion.

Sanders encourages us to pull revenue numbers and marry analytics with tools like Screaming Frog and SEMrush to create true attribution for SEO’s impact on profit.

13. Crawl Budget Conqueror

Jori Ford outlined a really pragmatic approach to crawl budgets: honor your money pages and account accordingly!

Her four-step approach is:

Determine the volume of pages and only use the sitemap to correlate if it’s an optimized site map.

Understand which pages are being crawled naturally via custom tracking and log file analyzers (Botify, Deepcrawl, OnCrawl, etc.).

Assess the frequency of pages crawled and how many pages are getting crawled frequently/infrequently.

Segment by percentage type: page type, crawl allocation,  active vs. inactive, and not crawled.

14. Leveraging Machines for Awesome Outreach

Gareth Simpson invites us to explore tasks we can delegate to AI and machine learning. However, before we can, we need to have practical workflows to build machine learning into our day.

Here are the paths to machine learning:

Gather data from sources.

Cleaning data to have homogeneity.

Model building/Selecting the right ML algorithm.

Gaining insights from the model’s results.

Data visualization: transforming results into visual graphs.

Testing machine learning in prospecting might seem crazy (the human element of the relationship is crucial). Simpson helps us uncover delegatable tasks:

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author from (TechSEOBoost slide decks), December 2023

This Fast French Military Boat Can Crawl From Water To Land Without Wheels

Amphibious boats are certainly not a new concept. In the 20th century, notably during World War II, the United States, Great Britain and Germany all developed versions, but they were land vehicles that could be used on water. In the 21st century a very small number of companies, including New Zealand company Sealegs, have turned that idea on its head; they have been developing fast boats that can be used on land. But, like their 20th-century ancestors, they all have wheels, generally one in the front and two in the rear.

The Iguana is the only fast boat in the world with caterpillar tracks. It was designed by a company, Iguana Yachts, founded in 2008 by Antoine Brugidou in Normandy, on France’s Atlantic coast. The coastline there sees some of the world’s biggest tidal ranges, and that was a problem for Brugidou, a boating enthusiast. If he wanted to take his pleasure boat out at low tide and come back at high tide, he couldn’t haul his boat down to the shoreline and then leave the vehicle and trailer on the beach—they’d be underwater by the time he came home.

Julien Poirier, the company’s chief operating officer, says that the initial prototype came out of the Iguana shipyard in 2011, and the first boat was sold two years later. The caterpillar track system, or “mobility system” as the company calls it, “has proved its robustness and efficiency” since then, as the company website says.

When aluminum arms lower the kevlar and rubber caterpillar tracks to the ground, the 30-foot-long, 10.5-foot-wide, 4.4-ton vessel lifts about three feet off the ground. A retractable ladder at the back allows access on and off the boat. The craft may appear to be unstable, but Poirier said 11 people, each weighing some 176 pounds, can stand in it while it was on its caterpillar tracks and it remains “extremely stable.” Once the boat has trundled down into a minimum of 1.8 feet of water, the tracks fold flush back into the hull without compromising its hydrodynamic properties—you’d never guess there was anything unusual about it.

The company’s website stresses the solution was “developed specifically to be both efficient and extremely resistant.”

It quickly became apparent that the boat had obvious defense, homeland security, coast guard, and life-saving applications. The company developed a militarized version, the IG Pro 31 Interceptor, both as a rigid hull and a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) with an all-around inflatable tube making it “safe and more comfortable” according to the vessel brochure.

The Interceptor’s tracks deploy and retract in just 8 seconds and can be used to travel at a top speed of about 4.5 mph along shores that are muddy, sandy, or rocky and even up inclines with a 40-percent grade. In the water, the boat is powered by two 450 horsepower engines, taking it to a top speed of 52 knots (60 mph). It can be used in winds up to Beaufort 8: that’s a gale with winds of up to 46 mph and waves up to 25 feet high. It can carry up to 2,645 pounds, so that’s 11 people plus 709 pounds of gear. But there are only five seats on the rigid Interceptor (six on the RIB) so that leaves plenty of wiggle room to carry all sorts of other equipment, including a light machine-gun mounted on the front.

At sea, the boat can hit speeds of 60 mph. Iguana Yachts

Iguana specifies that the whole boat can be customized based on the existing carbon fiber and glass-reinforced plastic (or GRP) hull and mobility system. For example, it could be equipped with shock-mitigating seats, a hard top, a crash engine rail, lights, cameras, and so on. And to mitigate the boat’s carbon footprint it can also be equipped with electrically powered engines.

15+ Technical Seo Interview Questions For Your Next Hires

Technical SEO requires technical and analytical skills together with a good understanding of how Google and other search engines work.

A technical SEO must be familiar with the most popular CMS systems and know at least the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

In addition to that, a good technical SEO should know the fundamental rules of SEO and be able to identify if a website breaks these rules.

Finally, a technical SEO must be able to offer possible fixes to the problems identified on the website and be able to determine whether the fixes were implemented correctly.

But how can you verify that your next technical SEO hire has these skills and knowledge?

In this article, you’ll find 15 sample job interview questions that will help you decide whether the person you are interviewing is the right candidate for a technical SEO position.

Let’s get started!

1. How Do You Check Whether A URL Is Indexed By Google?

The site: command is the simplest way to quickly check if a given URL is in Google’s index.

Every technical SEO should know the site: command and, ideally, a bunch of other Google search operators that allow for filtering and narrowing search results.

In addition, you may also ask the candidate how they would check how many pages are indexed by Google and what the most accurate way of doing that is.

Here your ideal technical SEO hire should demonstrate familiarity with the Google Search Console Coverage report and indicate how it differs from the site: command.

2. How Do You Block A URL From Being Indexed?

With this question, you want to see whether your potential technical SEO hire actually knows the purpose of a no-index tag and does not confuse it with blocking a page in robots.txt.

They should know that chúng tôi is for controlling and optimizing crawling while no-index tags are for keeping pages out of Google’s index.

In addition, you may also ask about the best ways to protect a page from being accessed by everyone, including curious people (i.e. protecting it with a password in addition to adding a no-index tag).

If the person says that you should block such a page in chúng tôi then it means they still have a lot of SEO homework to do.

3. What Are The Most Important SEO Ranking Factors, In Your Opinion?

Of course, there is no definitive answer to this question. But hearing the person’s perspective on Google ranking factors may tell you a lot about their knowledge & experience.

A good technical SEO specialist candidate will:

Back up their answers with data or – better – data based on their own experience or SEO tests they performed.

Be willing to show you their own websites and talk about the SEO strategies they used to grow the sites.

Avoid absolute statements (e.g. these things are Google SEO rankings factors with this amount of weighing for every website).

Understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Not be afraid of saying “it depends” or “I don’t know” where it makes sense.

4. What SEO Myths Have You Had Enough Of?

Only a person with at least some knowledge and understanding of SEO will be able to answer that question.

If you are looking for an experienced technical SEO expert, ask them to elaborate on their favorite SEO myths and how they deal with them on a daily basis.

5. What Is Your Favorite Website Crawler And Why?

Website crawlers are probably the most important tools for technical SEOs.

For example, everyone can plug the domain name into the crawler and start the crawl but only an experienced technical SEO expert will know:

How to configure the crawl to check exactly what they want to analyze (e.g. check the PSI metrics in bulk for all pages).

How to execute JavaScript to compare the rendered HTML with the source HTML.

How to change the user agent if the crawl does not want to start.

How to actually interpret the data the crawler presents.

How to prioritize the issues the crawler highlights.

You want your next technical SEO specialist to be familiar with all or most of the most popular crawlers, such as Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Deepcrawl, JetOctopus, etc.

6. How Do You Analyze Page Speed And Core Web Vitals?

Your potential technical SEO hire should use both the Google PageSpeed Insights tool (the Google Lighthouse report) and the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to analyze the speed and performance of the site before drawing any conclusions or giving recommendations.

The point with this question is to check that the person:

Really knows the difference between lab data (the data provided by Google Lighthouse) and field data (the data provided by the CrUX report) and knows which ones to prioritize (i.e. field data).

Knows when it’s best to use the GSC Core Web Vitals report (i.e. to check pages in bulk) and the PSI tool (to get an overview of one specific page, usually the homepage).

Ideally, your candidate also knows other speed and performance tools, such as GTmetrix or WebPageTest, and knows how to use crawlers to analyze the lab performance of pages in bulk.

7. What Are Some Quick Technical SEO Wins?

In this question, you want your potential SEO hire to draw on their experience.

Even though there is no best answer here, you want to see that the person can really differentiate between low-impact, high-impact, low-effort, and high-effort technical SEO optimizations.

For example, it always makes a huge difference if you compress images on the website and convert them to JPEG or WEBP. Meanwhile, it may not really help a lot to rebuild the entire website (and use a ton of resources in the process) to get it from 92/100 score to 98/100 in PSI.

8. A Site That’s Been Online 9 Months Is Getting Zero Traffic. Why?

Ask for the possible reasons that come to mind.

Sometimes the solutions to problems in SEO are simple – for example, the site has no organic traffic because a no-index tag has not been removed or simply GA is not working correctly.

Other times, they require a ton of technical and data analysis that goes well beyond checking the indexability of pages.

With this question, you want the person to demonstrate their ability to look for solutions, think critically, and be creative.

9. How Do You Check If Googlebot May Have Problems Accessing Site Content?

A good technical SEO expert must know something about JavaScript rendering and the potential problems that JavaScript-based websites may face.

Here you want the person to demonstrate:

At least basic knowledge of the topic of SEO & JavaScript (i.e. their familiarity with Martin Splitt from Google).

Their knowledge of tools that allow for comparing rendered HTML with source HTML, such as Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Rendertron, and – obviously – the URL Inspection tool in GSC.

10. What Example Errors May An XML Sitemap Have And How Would You Handle Them?

I see people focus too much on XML sitemaps with small websites (a couple of hundreds of URLs or less) and too little on that for huge sites (multi-million-page sites).

When it comes to XML sitemaps, you want your next technical SEO hire to show that they know:

What XML errors can be classified as low-impact (e.g. using deprecated parameters) and high-impact (e.g. indicating non-indexable pages).

When it is important to put a lot of focus on the XML sitemap (e.g. with huge sites that may have indexability and crawlability issues as opposed to small websites).

How to use XML sitemaps to improve and optimize the crawl budget of the site.

What pages should be included in the sitemap and how different CMS systems generate XML sitemaps.

11. How Do You Perform A Technical SEO Audit?

With the help of this question, you want to check if the person has their own SEO process for auditing a website.

Do they use a set of different tools to do that? Or do they rely on a fully automated audit where the tool (not the person) decides what issues the site has and what their priorities are?

At this point, you may also:

Ask the person to show you the examples of technical SEO audits they have performed.

Get them to explain how they approached particular issues.

And have them talk about the results their recommendations brought (if they have been implemented).

12. You Discovered That A Website Has Hundreds Of Duplicate Pages. What Do You Do?

With this question, again, you want the person to demonstrate their critical thinking abilities and desire to look for solutions.

There is no right answer here but an experienced technical SEO specialist should mention the following in their answers:

Checking the index status of these pages to make sure that these duplicates actually create a problem.

Checking the user-declared and Google-selected canonicals for these pages (possibly with the new URL Inspection Tool API).

Checking where these pages are in the internal linking structure of the website.

In addition, you may also ask the person when duplicate content is not an issue and how to check if the site actually has this problem.

If the person is saying that the site may get penalized for duplicate content, it means they have some catching up to do.

13. What Do You Use Google Search Console For? What’s Your Favorite Use Of That Tool?

Google Search Console, in most cases, should be the number one SEO tool for technical SEOs.

You want your future technical SEO hire to share with you how they use the tool and how it helps them to achieve their SEO goals.

There is no single correct answer to that question again but you probably want them to mention the following:

The Coverage report and what its specific buckets are for.

The Page Experience report and its limitations.

The Crawl Stats report and how it can be used to analyze how Google crawls the website.

The Security report and how you can use GSC to check if a site has been infected.

Ways to use GSC to analyze internal linking.

14. How Do You Check If The Site Uses Structured Data And Whether It Is Valid?

Structured data can be a specialty itself within SEO but you still want your technical SEO to:

Be familiar with tools, such as Schema Markup Validator and Google Rich Results Test and know the difference between them,

Know how to use crawlers, such as Screaming Frog or Sitebulb to analyze structured data in bulk for many pages,

Be familiar with SEO Chrome extensions like Detailed SEO that allow for quickly looking up what types of structured data are used on a particular page.

Here, you may also ask the person about the difference between structured data, rich results, and featured snippets.

People often confuse these.

15. What Are Your Favorite SEO Resources?

This is a totally open question but the more resources the person cites, the geekier they are.

An absolute must is that they are familiar with Google Search Central, read the Google SEO documentation, and watch the SEO office hours with John Mueller.

If you hire an SEO geek, you can be sure they will never miss any meaningful SEO news and will be happy to test and implement new strategies.

Bonus: Yes Or No Questions

Open questions are great for seeing how a person thinks and how deep their knowledge actually is.

However, yes and no questions may also help you check if a person updates their knowledge frequently and really knows this stuff.

Here are a few yes and no questions about technical SEO to ask your potential hire.

Ask them to justify their answers to get even more insight:

Is structured data a Google ranking factor?

Do errors in the Coverage report in GSC always indicate an error on your website?

Can you use Google Search Console to analyze internal links on the website?

Can Google penalize you for duplicate content?

Is it possible for Google to treat a 302 redirect as 301?

Can you inform Google about the new domain for your website in a different way than through a 301 redirect?

Should you noindex category and tag pages?

Should a non-existent page always return 404?

Does Google always use the canonical URL you declared?

Does Google always respect the nofollow attribute on links?

Final Thoughts On Interviewing Technical SEOs

If your prospective technical SEO hire managed to get through all of these questions and gave you satisfactory answers,  congratulations!

Chances are good that you have a pretty smart and experienced technical SEO wanting to work for you.

On the other hand, even if the candidate wasn’t able to answer all of your questions currently but has a willingness to learn and genuine interest in SEO, they may still make a brilliant technical SEO expert in some time – if you give them a chance.

More resources: 

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

How To Use The Hidden Apple Watch Web Browser To Browse The Web

Apple Watch supports viewing web content on your wrist, and in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use the hidden watchOS browser to visit any website you like.

How it works

Apple Watch doesn’t have a visible Safari browser. Therefore, you won’t find it in your app list. However, Apple’s WebKit engine is integrated into watchOS, making it possible to use the internet on your wrist.

So, how do you access the web if there is no Safari browser?

How to visit websites on your Apple Watch

Open the Messages or Mail app on your iPhone and send yourself the link you want to access on your Apple Watch. This also works if someone has already sent you a text or email with a website URL.

Press the Digital Crown to see all your apps. From here, open the Messages or Mail app.

Tap the link, and it will open that web page.

When you’re done, hit Close to exit web browsing and return to the Mail or Messages app.

Controls while browsing on Apple Watch

You can interact with the web view using these gestures:

Scroll: Move your finger on the screen or rotate the Digital Crown.

Zoom: Double-tap to zoom in, and double-tap again to zoom out.

Follow hyperlinks: Tap a web link to load the underlying webpage.

Enter text: Tap a text field to type, speak, or spell out some text.

Back or Forward: Swipe left/right from the edge of the screen.

Normal Web View or Reader View: Tap the URL bar at the top.

Reload page: Tap the URL bar at the top.

Can I type in the URL bar?

Once a web page opens, you’ll see an address bar at the top which shows the site URL you’re currently on. Sadly, tapping that URL box doesn’t pop open the keyboard, and you can’t enter any other site name or address manually. However, you can tap any link on the current webpage, and it will work. For example, if iDownloadBlog is open on your Apple Watch, you can tap a link you see there (say for a post), and it will open.

How to open Google on Apple Watch

Just send yourself the chúng tôi link and open it on your watch. A mobile-optimized Google search page will show up. You can type the search query in the search box with the QWERTY keyboard (on Series 7 & later), scribble or dictate your query, as well as select the desired item from the Google homepage.

WebKit integration on Apple Watch: What’s the use?

Implementing support for WebKit is a monumental achievement. The Cupertino technology giant doesn’t feel like browsing the web on such a tiny screen would make sense—that’s why Apple Watch doesn’t ship with Safari. That said, it’s possible for your Apple Watch to render web content, albeit in a limited fashion. For example, you can check out a restaurant menu or read a quick news article without pulling an iPhone out of your pocket.

In other words, the lack of manual input significantly reduces the web browsing ability on your Apple smartwatch. However, if there are links that you must open on your wrist for any reason, then you can send yourself the link via messages or email and visit it later. Besides that, if someone sends you a link in iMessage or email, the WebKit integration allows you to have a quick look from your watch, and for a deeper experience, you can always visit that link later on your iPhone.

Old Apple Watch?

Series 2, Series 1, and Series 0 models aren’t supported. Attempting to open an attached link on an unsupported model yields an error message saying, “This link isn’t viewable on Apple Watch, but you can open it on your iPhone.”

Web pages not loading on Apple Watch

Don’t expect the watch to render all websites properly. In our experience, webpages with complex layouts with embedded widgets and JavaScript code might get stuck, resulting in a blank page or refusing to load at all. Still, it’s nice knowing that limited web content support is there should you ever need it.

Third-party browsers for Apple Watch

Apple doesn’t offer Safari on Apple Watch, but you can use a third-party app to access the web. Here are two mini browsers you can try:

µBrowser: $0.99

Parrity: Free

Check out next:

How Does Chatgpt Work Technically? The Technical Magic

ChatGPT is an AI-powered tool developed by OpenAI that utilizes GPT language models to perform a wide range of tasks. It has the capability to answer questions, generate copy, draft emails, engage in conversations, explain code in various programming languages, translate natural language to code, and much more. In this article, we will explore how ChatGPT works technically, providing insights into its underlying mechanisms and processes.

See More : How Does ChatGPT Work in Simple Terms?

ChatGPT is built on the foundation of the GPT-3 architecture, a state-of-the-art language model. However, ChatGPT has been fine-tuned on a distinct dataset and optimized specifically for conversational use cases. The fine-tuning process involves training the model on a set of ground rules and exposing it to various situations or extensive data to develop its own algorithms. This enables ChatGPT to generate responses that are more aligned with human-like conversation and context.

When a user interacts with ChatGPT, the AI attempts to understand the given prompt or query. It processes the input text and generates a response by predicting a sequence of words that it deems as the best answer based on the training data. The model leverages the knowledge it has acquired during training to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses.

To further enhance user interaction, ChatGPT can also ask follow-up questions. This allows it to seek clarification and better understand the user’s intent or the context of the conversation. By engaging in iterative exchanges, ChatGPT aims to provide more accurate and meaningful responses.

The underlying mechanism that drives GPT models, including ChatGPT, is self-attention. Self-attention involves converting tokens (units of text such as words, sentences, or other text segments) into vectors and calculating attention weights between them. This process enables the model to focus on the most important parts of the input text while generating its output.

By assigning attention weights, ChatGPT can prioritize relevant information and context within the given prompt or conversation. This mechanism helps the model understand the relationships between different tokens and generate responses that are coherent and contextually appropriate.

Also Read : How Does Generative AI Work?

To continually improve its responses, ChatGPT employs a novel technique known as Reinforcement Learning From Human Feedback. This technique involves training the model to follow instructions with the help of human feedback. Initially, the model is fine-tuned using supervised learning, where human AI trainers provide conversations and responses as examples. The trainers also have access to model-written suggestions.

Subsequently, comparison data is collected by having multiple AI trainers rank different model responses in terms of quality. This data is then used to create a reward model, allowing reinforcement learning to be applied. Through this iterative process, ChatGPT can learn from human feedback and enhance the quality of its generated responses.

Now let’s address some frequently asked questions about how ChatGPT works technically:

Q: How is ChatGPT different from traditional chatbots?

A: Unlike traditional chatbots, which often rely on predefined rules or pattern matching, ChatGPT utilizes a sophisticated language model based on the GPT-3 architecture. This enables ChatGPT to generate more contextually relevant and natural responses by leveraging its vast training data and the self-attention mechanism.

Q: Can ChatGPT understand complex queries or technical topics?

A: ChatGPT has been trained on a wide range of topics and can understand and generate responses on various subjects. However, its knowledge is based on the data it was trained on, which has a cutoff date. While ChatGPT can handle many complex queries and technical topics, it may not have the most up-to-date information beyond its knowledge cutoff date.

Q: How does ChatGPT handle biases or inappropriate content?

A: OpenAI has implemented certain guidelines and policies during the fine-tuning process to mitigate biases and filter out inappropriate or harmful content. However, it’s important to note that the model’s responses are generated based on patterns learned from the data it was trained on, which can still contain biases or produce responses that might not align with everyone’s preferences. OpenAI actively seeks feedback from users to improve the system and address any biases or concerns.

Q: Are there any limitations to ChatGPT’s capabilities?

A: While ChatGPT is a powerful language model, it has some limitations. It may occasionally produce incorrect or nonsensical responses, especially when presented with ambiguous queries or unfamiliar topics. It’s important to review and verify the information provided by ChatGPT to ensure its accuracy. Additionally, ChatGPT may sometimes respond to harmful instructions or exhibit biased behavior despite efforts to mitigate such issues.

ChatGPT is a powerful language model based on the GPT-3 architecture. It uses fine-tuning and self-attention mechanisms to generate contextually relevant responses. By leveraging large-scale training data and reinforcement learning from human feedback, ChatGPT continually improves its performance. However, it still has limitations and potential biases, which OpenAI is actively addressing to ensure safer and more reliable AI interactions.

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