When it comes to technical errors affecting your SEO, it can be difficult to know where to start and what SEO mistakes you should tackle first.
From simple issues such as your website not being indexed correctly to your site not being optimised for mobile, it’s important to know some of the most common technical errors your website might face and what you can do to fix them.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common technical errors that could be affecting your websites SEO performance.
Your Site Isn’t Indexed Correctly
If you’ve built your own website or been operating for a while and then signed on with an SEO agency, this is the first thing they’re going to check.
If your website isn’t showing up when you search for your brand name in Google, then there could be an issue with the indexation of your website, and if your website isn’t indexed then according to Google, it doesn’t exist.
To check the indexation of your website:
- Type the following into Google’s search bar: “site:yourwebsite”, Google will return the number of indexed pages you have for your website.
If Google returns no results, then it means your site isn’t indexed at all. To fix this problem, start by adding your URL to Google here. You can then use the Google Search Console to submit indexing requests for individual pages on your website.
For an in-depth guide to getting your pages indexed on Google, check out these 10 methods from Ahrefs.
No XML Sitemaps
Most websites do pretty well when it comes to sitemaps. Despite this, if there’s an issue with either of these, then they’re usually quite severe.
XML sitemaps help Google search bots understand your site’s pages, enabling Google to crawl your site effectively.
To check your websites, XML sitemap type your domain name into Google and add “/sitemap.xml” at the end. If your sitemap is set up you’ll see something like this:
If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, then you’ll end up with a 404 error. To create a XML sitemap, you can hire a specialist or do it yourself.
For 5 easy steps on creating a sitemap for your website, check out this post from Quick Sprout.
Slow Page Loading Speed
Page speed is one of the most significant factors when it comes to ranking your website. Page loading speed influences user experience and whether users will stay on your page or not.
Search Engine Journal estimates that more than 20 percent of websites have a slow page load speed. The good news is speeding up your page loading speed will increase key SEO metrics such as improving organic traffic, improving click to visit ratio on ads and bring in more visitors to your site in general.
While there are plenty of different ways to increase your website loading time, here are three simple ways to get started:
- Make sure your images and videos are optimised. This can include sticking to JPG images where possible and ensuring your videos are embedded into your website through a third-party hosting platform such as Vimeo or Wistia.
- Upgrade your web hosting – while cheap hosting packages may seem attractive, they can slow down your web page loading times. More premium web hosting packages usually use faster technology stacks, as well as better customer support and options to fine-tune your server.
- Minimise HTTP requests – there are a few different ways to decrease the HTTP requests on your website. You can do this by reducing the number of images you use, combine CSS/JS files and use queries to only load what’s needed.
Check Your on-Page SEO
On-page SEO is all about optimising content and the HTML code of particular pages to improve the rankings of those pages. The first part of fixing your on-page SEO is checking the existing content on your website.
An easy first step is checking whether your website contains any duplicate content. An easy way to check for any duplicate content on your website is to copy and paste a snippet of your content into a Google search and see if any pages show up with exactly the same content. Duplicate content can also be found by going into the Google Search Console, clicking on Optimization then HTML Improvements and any duplicate search snippets, meta titles and meta descriptions that your website contains.
Remove Broken Links
If you haven’t audited your site in a while, you could be unaware of any broken links or URLs that are present on your site.
To check if any broken links are present head on over to the Google Search Console and click on “Crawl Errors” under the “Crawl” Option to see if which of your pages are returning 404 errors.
If any 404 errors are returned, then it means there’s a problem with the HTTP status code, to fix the error you can redirect the 404 links to another page on your site, such as your homepage. You can also look at restoring the deleted page to your website, or make necessary adjustments to the content of the page to keep it relevant.
For more information on fixing 404 errors, check out this guide from Matthew Edgar.
Ensure Meta Descriptions Are up to Date
A study by Search Engine Journal uncovered that 63% of website owners don’t optimise the meta descriptions on the pages on their website. While missing meta descriptions aren’t that harmful having duplicate meta descriptions can be detrimental to your website.
To write a great meta description, make sure you include the keywords you’re trying to rank for in your meta description. Keep your meta description between 135 – 160 characters long and try not to use any duplicate meta descriptions.
Keep Technical Errors to a Minimum
While it can be challenging to experience zero technical SEO issues, it’s important to keep them to a minimum. Minimal technical errors will ensure your website is running at maximum speed and is ranking well in Google.
By carrying out regular SEO audits and keeping your website maintained, you can stay on top and minimize the number of technical errors on your website. You may want to invest in SEO site audit tools like my site auditor which helps you to audit your website regularly.
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