SEO is important for the success of any website. If you want your site found, it needs to be optimized for search engines. SEO is valuable but challenging and there can be technical problems often. This guide goes over the most common problems and how you can fix them, to help maintain the optimization for your site.
Technical SEO refers to the updates done to a site that impact how search engines crawl and index a site, and how they get ranked in search results. The goal is to keep your site at the top of the results, so you get more traffic and leads. There are several components to SEO including keywords, backlinks, title tags, redirects, metadata, and social media strategies.
Many of these problems are overlooked which can damage your site’s visibility. But, the good news is that these are easy to fix, and this guide will tell you how.
1. No HTTPS Security
One of the most important things for a site is HTTPS security. A site that is not secure will display a gray background when typed into the domain. Some may even show a “not secure” warning. Either of these notifications can cause users to bucket and visit another website.
The Fix: Check if your site is HTTPS by typing it into the search to see if this message or gray background appears. A green ‘lock’ and the word secure will appear in the bar if your site is secure. If not. You need to convert your site to HTTPS by purchasing an SSL certificate.
Indexing helps Google crawl and identify your page so it appears in the search results. If your page is not indexed properly, it essentially doesn’t exist and consumers cannot find you.
The Fix: If your site is not indexed, just add your URL to Google. If it is indexed, then you can either look for site-hacking spam and older versions of the site that may be indexed instead of proper redirects, or you can perform an audit of indexed content to see where your pages fall compared to other results.
3. XML Sitemaps
These are folders that let search engines know about your pages and content so they can appropriately pull you for results lists. You can check for your sitemap by typing in your domain followed by “sitemap.xml”.
The Fix: If you do not have a site map, you can create your own with a sitemap tool or work with the website developer to get one created.
4. Duplicate Content
This refers to the same content appearing on multiple pages across the site. A search engine will mark content as ‘duplicate; if it is 100% the same or very close. This content confuses search crawlers and will affect your ranking. Duplicate content can occur because printer-only pages repeat content, or when content appears in different languages across sites.
The Fix: Duplicate content issues can be fixed by using 301 redirects, canonical tags, or robots.txt.
5. Slow Speed
A site that doesn’t load quickly (3 seconds or less) is considered slow and will cause viewers to leave. Site speed is one of the most important factors to user experience. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights tool to evaluate your site speed, and can check both desktop and mobile sites. It is also a good idea to monitor the speed and check it regularly.
6. Multiple Homepage Versions
Typing “yourwebsite.com” and “www.yourwebsite.com” takes you to the same place. It may seem convenient but it causes Google to index multiple URLs and this weakens your site’s visibility to searchers.
The Fix: You first need to make sure the different versions do go to one standard URL. Check all combinations and look for HTTP and HTTPS versions. If there are multiple versions indexed, you or your developer need to create 301 redirects and set up a canonical domain.
7. Missing Alt Tags
Images that are missing tags or are broken, are missing out on SEO benefits. An image alt tag helps Google index a page and tells the bot what the image is about. By fixing broken images and missing alt tags, you optimize the SEO value of the page and the user’s experience.
The Fix: Conducting an SEO site audit will typically identify broken images and alt tags. This needs to be done regularly so your image content is properly managed and contributes to search ranking appropriately. Start by checking that maes have been properly uploaded, and then check the filename and extension.
8. Broken Links
When a link in your page does not work it is broken, and this negatively impacts user experience. Renaming pages and not changing the links is a common reason for broken links as is content that has been deleted. Proper links are important for search crawlers as it indicates high-quality content.
The Fix: It is important to change and update links when content moves, gets changed or is deleted. The best way to do this is with a regular link audit. This will help you find external links and fix any that are broken. You can delete broken links or redirect them to the appropriate page.
9. Text to HTML Ratio
This ratio refers to how much text is visible compared to HTML elements. You want to aim for a text to HTML ratio of 25-70%. Sites that have more visible text will rank higher than those with more HTML.
The Fix: To correct this ration to work in your favor you need to validate the HTML code and check the load speed of your site. You also need to remove any hidden text, add simple text to the pages, use internal links, compress images, and reduce page size to 300KB or smaller.
10. Mobile Optimization
Most people are searching the web from their phones, making mobile site optimization very important to SEO and your site’s results. If you are not sure that your site has been optimized for mobile devices, you can check using the Google URL Inspection tool. You need to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly to ensure all customers get a good experience.
The Fix: Your mobile site gets indexed, so you need to perform the following steps for all “.m” pages. First, confirm the right hreflang code and links are used. Then, update all metadata on the mobile site, including meta descriptions which need to be the same on desktop and mobile sites. Finally, add your structured data to the mobile pages so that URLs are up to date.
11. Missing Metadata
A useful meta description will describe what the content is about and will be shorter than 160 characters. Search engines use this data to index your page/site, and a well-written description can encourage interest in the page. Meta descriptions are important and yet many pages are missing them because they cannot always be seen on your page. But they are there and they need to be optimized along with the content.
The Fix: If a meta description is missing, you need to run a site audit to locate the pages missing. Decide how valuable each page is and prioritize their descriptions. For the pages that have meta descriptions, use an audit to identify errors and evaluate their value to the site. A high-value page needs to be optimized first, and monitored often to be updated with any changes. The best meta descriptions will also be unique.
Performing regular SEO audits is the most effective way to ensure your site is optimized and ranking high in searches. SEO gets your site and content noticed, and will keep users coming back. Sites that are not optimized will lose consumers and rankings. So, it is worth the time to address these common SEO problems when they arise and get them fixed. Fixing them will be easy, now that you have this guide.