There is no shortage of SEO conferences to choose from each year. It can be hard to narrow it down when it comes time to decide which conferences to attend. TechSEO Boost should definitely be at the top of the list for anyone who wants to learn more about what people in the trenches have been learning and doing.
This was the first TechSEO Boost I was able to attend in person. I was very impressed by how well put together it was, especially for a free conference. Paul Shapiro and the team at Catalyst really nailed it. The venue, the food, and the caliber of speakers was really impressive. I would have gladly paid for a ticket to attend.
I learned something from every talk I heard, but I wanted to highlight a few of the talks that stuck out most to me. Also, if you missed the livestream of the event, you can go back and check it out here.
Catalyst was able to pack a ton of content into a day and a half. Several talks had me staying up late in the evening trying to implement what I had learned. The first was by David Sottimano (from Keyphraseology), titled Automate, Create Tools, & Test Ideas Quickly with Google Apps Scripts. My biggest takeaways were:
- Finding out that there is now a beta in Google sheets that allows for adding up to 10 billion rows using BigQuery.
- David showed how they created their own Add-On for using templatized documents in Google Sheets.
- He also showed how to use App Script to pull in captures from the WayBack Machine.
Being able to pull in even more data into Google Sheets is definitely a game changer. I love Google Sheets, but I have missed Excel’s ability to handle large sets of data. And we were already working on a library of templatized deliverables. Imagine being able to browse and insert them right from a sidebar?!?
Another session that had me adding to my to-do list was presented by Tobias Schwarz (from Audisto) titled The Ultimate Pagination for SEO. Pagination has not been something I’ve spent much time optimizing, unless it was specifically causing a problem for a client. I never really thought of it as a priority. Tobias definitely changed my mindset about that and left me with a clear sense of what I want to/should be doing. A few of the biggest takeaways for me were:
- Avoid having paginated links to a long list of product pages (e.g. 1, 2, 3,…60, 62, 63), as those pages tend to not have a lot of PageRank value (this seems like a no brainer).
- There are many different ways to show pagination and multiple versions might be called for on the same website.
- For e-commerce sites, try using subcategories within the pagination, to help make it clearer for users and search engines that there are deeper pages within a category.
Even if you don’t find the topic of pagination confusing, I highly recommend checking out Tobais’ comprehensive guide on the topic.
The third presentation that really stuck with me was Crawl Budget Conqueror – Take Control of Your Crawl Budget, by Jori Ford of G2. Crawl budget is obviously important: if we don’t have enough, Google may not crawl all of our content. Jori talked us through how she was able to increase the crawl budget of a site she was working on in order to help website changes get noticed and indexed faster. Some big takeaways from Jori’s presentation include:
- Know what pages Google is crawling and how often by analyzing log files.
- Conserve crawl budget by getting rid of duplicate pages and by pruning non-money pages.
- Optimize for crawling by focusing on time to first byte and by optimizing sitemaps.
There are so many tools that help in analyzing log files: ScreamingFrog has a log file analyzer, and there are Botify and DeepCrawl. Or, you can get your hands dirty in Excel with some pivot table fun. Conserving crawl budget and optimizing for crawling seem like fundamental SEO tactics, but it was great to be reminded of them in such clear and practical terms. You can get Jori’s slides here.
Overall, I would give my first in-person TechSEO Boost experience a 20 out of 10. Yes, it was that good. Here is the complete recording of this year’s event. Get ready to have your brain overloaded with relevant and incredibly brilliant technical SEO knowledge.
If the thought of technical SEO overwhelms you, feel free to take a look at our SEO page and find out how we might be able to take some of that SEO anxiety away.
Niki Mosier is Two Octobers’ Practice Lead for SEO. She’s a frequent speaker at local and national events. Learn more about Niki.