Most of the SEO companies think, that SEO is majorly about Keyword Research, Content Curating, and Content Optimization. and overlook the technical expect of SEO. Content strategy development is a time taking process which requires patience. On-page SEO is one of the major element in SEO but it’s useless if the technical elements are not in place.
Sometimes you do everything right but still, don’t get the desired rank that can be because your technical elements are not in the right place. These technical mistakes can be a silent killer of your SEO efforts. We will try to cover most common technical SEO issues that can kill your SEO in this article.
Common Technical SEO Mistakes
1. 404 errors
This is one of the most common SEO error that occurs and it’s a big-time issue when it comes to eCommerce sites. When you have 1000s of products missing out the one that has been removed or expired is very common and that straightway leads to a 404 Error.
The 404 errors can consume your crawl budget, but it’s not necessary that they will kill your SEO. Google do understand that your website can have deleted pages sometimes.
However, 404 can be a problem for your website when.
Those 404 pages are getting traffic.
They have external links sending SEO juice to them.
They are internally linked to other pages.
They are shared over Social Media or Web.
The best way to get rid of these pages is by setting up a 301 redirect. This will preserve the SEO quality of your website and will make sure the navigation is not affected.
Finding 404 Error:
You will need to run a full website craw to find all the 404 errors of the website. You can either use SiteBulb, Screaming From or DeepCrawl to get the analysis done.
Check your Google Search Console Reports (Crawl – Crawl Errors)
Fixing 404 Error:
Analyze and list all the “404” errors on your website.
Crosscheck those URL with Google Analytics and check which pages out of those were getting traffic.
Now crosscheck those URL with Google Search Console to check which of those pages had links pointed to them from other websites.
Once you have identified those page you will need to set up the 301 redirects for all those 404 pages to a similar page or toward your home page and make sure that if you are pointing the 301 redirect to an internal similar page, that page is running so the user doesn’t feel betrayed.
2. Migrations Errors
When you launch a new website, you get to work with design changes and the addition of new pages from time to time. While doing so there is a number of technical things that needed to be taken care of.
Common Migration Errors:
Using 302 error instead of 301 redirects.
Incorrect setup of HTTPS.
leaving the past 301 redirects when migrating to a new website.
Dropping the legacy tags from the staging domain.
Creating a redirect chain when cleaning up the legacy website.
Not saving the www or non-www version of the website in the .htaccess file.
Finding Migration Errors:
In order to get the list of these Migration errors. You will need to run the complete website crawl and you can use tools like the Screaming frog, SiteBulb or Deepcrawl for that.
Fixing Migration Errors:
Make sure that you have migrated all the 301 redirects correctly.
Test the 301 and 302 redirections and make sure that they are in the right place.
Check the canonical tags and ensure that you have them in the right position.
Check and make sure that you have removed the NoIndex tag.
Update your Robots.txt file.
Update the .htaccess file for your website.
3. Loading Speed
Recently Google confirmed that the website speed is a major ranking factor and they expect a website to load under 2 seconds for better ranking.
Or we can say, slow websites don’t make any money.
How to Find Factors Slowing The Website:
You will need to check your website for anything making your website to load slow. In order to get a detailed view of the elements slowing down your website, you can use Google PageSpeed Insight, Pingdom or GT Metrix.
How To Improve Website Speed:
If you are not technically sound you will need to hire a developer who has experience in this area.
Make sure that the PHP version of your website is upgraded to PHP7. Upgrading the PHP version will give you a big impact on the speed.
4. Optimizing Mobile UX
As per the latest mobile first algorithm, Google has made it very clear that they will index the mobile responsive websites firstly.
With that being specified, make sure that you don’t exclude the desktop experience or simplify the mobile experience as compared to the desktop.
How to Find Mobile UX Errors:
You need to use Google ‘s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if Google sees your website as a mobile-friendly website. Also, check that your “Smartphone Googlebot” is crawling your website or not.
Also, check how your website responds to different devices? If your website shows error on different devices, you need to get it fixed ASAP.
Fixing UX Errors:
Try and understand the impact of how your mobile website is impacting your server load.
Make sure that your website pages are built on a mobile-first perspective. Google loves the mobile responsive website and it’s one of their preferred method of delivering sites. If you can try and run a subdomain like m.xyz.com. You will see a dramatic increase in crawling of your server.
If required, consider using a template that can make the theme responsive. Only using a plugin might not help you, you should find and Hire the developer who can build a responsive theme for you.
5. XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is the one that lists out the URLs of a website into a directory which can be crawled and indexed with the help of search engines. While creating a sitemap you can put in the following information into it.
- When it was last updated
- How often the page tends to change.
- How important is its relation to the other URLs In the Site
While Google does ignore a lot of information on your website. A sitemap is something they put the focus on, So that’s the area that you need to focus on optimizing.
Sitemaps are very beneficial on those websites where:
Some areas of the website are not available for browsing interface.
The webmaster is using rich Ajax, Silverlight and flash content that is not processed easily by search engines.
The website is huge and chances are high that the crawlers overlook some of your recently updated content.
Misusing the crawl budget on non-important pages.
Finding XML Errors:
always make sure that you have submitted your website sitemap to the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster.
check and understand if there are any sitemap crawl errors.
Crawl – Sitemap – Sitemap Errors. You can also check when was the last time sitemap was accessed by the bots.
Fixing XML Errors:
Make sure that your XML sitemap is connected with your Google Search Console.
You can run a server log to analyze and understand how often Google is crawling your sitemap.
If you are using a third party plugin to generate the sitemap, make sure it’s up to date and the file it generates is working fine.
6. URL Structure
As your website will grow further, It’s very easy to lose the tracks for URL structures and the hierarchies. A website with poor URL structure makes it very difficult for the users and bots to navigate through the website and this makes you lose your ranking.
Following are the things that impact your website ranking in a negative manner.
- Website structure and hierarchy issues.
- Non-peculiar folder and subfolder structure.
- URL that Contains special character, or capital letters.
Finding URL Structuring Error
404 errors, 302 redirects, and other issues with your XML sitemap is the sign your website need a structure check again.
You can run a full website crawl with the help of any crawling tool.
Checking the GSC reporting (Crawl – Crawl Errors)
Fixing The URL Structure Error
Plan out your website hierarchy – Always use the parent-child structure
Make sure that all of your website content is in the correct folder and subfolder. Make sure that your URL path is very easy to read and make sense when the users look onto that.
7. Robots.txt issue
A Robots.txt file is the one which controls how your the search engine access your website. It’s a very commonly misunderstood file that can simply crush your website indexing. Most of the problems with robots.txt arise because of not changing it when you move from the development environment to the live environment.
Finding Robots.txt Errors:
To understand the Robots.txt errors you can either
Check your website stats with the help of Tools like Google Analytics, Woopra to check if there are any big drops in website traffic.
Or you can check the Google Search Console Reports
Crawl – Robots.txt tester
Fixing Robots.txt Errors:
You can check the Google Search Console Reports. (Crawl – robots.txt tester) This will simply validate your file.
Make sure that your pages and folders don’t want to be crawled are included in your robots.txt file.
check and make sure that you are not blocking any of the important directories like (JS, CSS, 404, etc.)
8. Irrelevant content
In addition to the “thin” pages, you need to make sure that your content is relevant to your audience. Those irrelevant pages that don’t help the user can also distract the bots from your website.
This is very important for small or low authoritative websites. Google crawls the smaller website a little less than more authoritative websites and we always want to make sure that the crawl budget is not spent on non-requirement content.
Finding the irrelevant content.
You need to review your content strategy and Focus on creating better pages as opposed to more content.
You need to check your Google crawl stats and see what pages are crawled and indexed.
Fixing Irrelevant Contents.
In order to fix you need to remove the quotas into your content planning. You need to add the content the adds the value instead of adding six blogs.
Make sure to add all your pages into the Robots.txt file that you want Google to rank. In this way, you can focus on the pages that you want to rank.
9. Misusing the canonical tags
A canonical tag (“rel=canonical”) is a piece of HTML tag that helps out the search engine to interpret the duplicate pages. If you have two pages that are similar.
If you running a website on CMS like WordPress or Shopify, then you can easily set the canonical tag using a plugin like Yoast.
Finding Canonical Errors:
You can find it by running a full crawl of your website.
Then you can compare the “Canonical link element” to the root of the URL to see which pages are using the canonical tags.
Fixing the Canonical Errors:
Review the pages to determine if the canonical tags are pointing toward the wrong pages.
Along with that, you will want to run a content audit to understand the pages that are similar and needs a canonical tag.