Bazaarvoice’s experience and research over the past year have revealed some fundamental guidelines that will help you and your team better navigate the technical aspects of SEO as the industry is, in its current, transitional state.
View Source is obsolete – mostly
Since the beginning of SEO time, about 1995, SEO professionals have agreed on a simple principle: search engines only read what’s visible in View Source. But because the world’s number-one search engine now crawls a more complete version of web pages, we have to look beyond View Source to newer methods.
To properly understand how search engines see our web pages, we must evaluate and audit two versions of our source code: View Source HTML and Rendered HTML (Inspect Element). For more details, stay tuned for my next blog SEO Tricks: How to Audit Code Using Inspect Element. Without auditing both versions, we don’t get a complete picture of the content or markup hierarchy that we are presenting to search engines.
There is a timeout and some content will be missed – sometimes
Assume that Googlebot will not scroll or interact
Many websites have experimented with lazy-loading (aka: infinite-scrolling, scroll-loading, progressive-loading) techniques over the past couple years. While techniques that load content as you scroll down the page provide a user experience attractive to consumers, and will often result in better initial performance statistics, they may have a negative impact on SEO. When auditing code using the Inspect Element method, load the page and do not interact or scroll. Assume that Google will only load the content that is visible in the initial, pre-interaction state of the page.
Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool is broken
In order to overcome this issue, do not use Fetch URL. You must copy and paste markup directly into the Structured Data Testing Tool. Begin by pasting in the HTML retrieved via Inspect Element, as noted in SEO Tricks. How to Audit Code Using Inspect Element. Evaluate the feedback received by the tool, then repeat the process using the HTML retrieved via View Source. Pay close attention to the hierarchy of the HTML, as well as any differences. It may take some effort to fully understand the differences between these two versions of the same page.
Bing and Yahoo! are trying
To learn more about Bazaarvoice solutions to drive traffic through SEO, visit the Spotlights pages of our website here.