Identifying technical SEO issues might be simple enough through tools like Google Search Console (GSC), but applying the relevant fixes is a different matter entirely. However, every business with an online presence should prioritize technical SEO. Optimized content is essential for generating higher traffic, but unless you’re adhering to technical best practices, your page content will struggle to rank.
Technical SEO makes your website readily accessible to search engine crawlers. Furthermore, it prevents any technical errors from hurting your performance in the SERPs. Want to generate more traffic with a user-friendly and optimized website? Below, we explore 10 of the most common technical SEO issues and easy fixes you can start implementing today.
10 Common Issues
1. Common Indexing Errors
Site indexes are essential for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They provide useful descriptions that let search engines know exactly what content a page has to offer. Many new sites may not yet have been indexed by search engines. Others may be indexed improperly. Thankfully, there are easy fixes for both scenarios.
If your site has yet to be indexed, you can do this manually. To get started, head to Google Search Console and paste the URL you want Google to index. Once Google has checked the URL, you can request for the URL to be indexed.
Other times, too few or too many pages will display within the search results. If you’re noticing too many results, check to see if older versions of the page in question are being displayed. If you’re seeing too few results, carry out a content audit to get to the root of the problem.
2. No ALT Tags
If you want your website to enjoy maximum visibility, don’t overlook the importance of ALT tags. These tags make it easy for search engine crawlers to determine the content of the image. If you’re not using ALT tags, or if they’ve been implemented incorrectly, your site images aren’t going to be indexed.
To offset any ALT tag issues, take a proactive approach. Make sure you’re adding titles and alt text to images every time you upload new content. Just remember that image titles and image descriptions are two different things. Your ALT text description should be informative and provide value to human visitors and site crawlers alike. You can also bolster your SEO efforts by including primary keywords in the ALT text.
The best way to write an ALT tag is to describe the image to a person as if they were blind. You want them to be able to visualize an image in their minds through the words you’ve written. It acts the same way for crawlers. They are using AI to help them understand the image, so you need to increase the chances of them understanding it correctly through descriptive text.
3. Slow Loading Times
Ideally, a page shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to load. The slower your loading times are, the more likely it is that site visitors will choose to look elsewhere. Worried that slow loading times are holding you back? There’s a lot you can do to remedy the problem.
To improve page loading times, a multifaceted approach is required. Optimizing images, implementing browser caching, and reducing redirects will all result in significant gains. Furthermore, it’s important to optimize your website for mobile devices, minify your coding, and address all 404 errors.
4. Multiple Homepages
Avoid using too many versions of your homepage. You might think having multiple homepages will improve your online presence, but it can cause all manner of problems for SEO. Fortunately, this is one technical issue that doesn’t need to cause too many sleepless nights.
Even if each homepage is displaying identical content, they each represent a unique URL. These URLs will be individually indexed by search engines. An easy way to resolve the issue of multiple home pages is to combine them by using 301 redirects.
What functions does a 301 redirect have? When a URL is marked with a 301, it means that any users who request the old URL will be instantly redirected to the new URL. A 301 redirect is most typically used to move all ranking power from the old URL to the new URL when a page has been permanently moved or removed from a website.
5. No HTTPS Security Protocols
The basic protocol used to transmit data between a web browser and a website is HTTP, while HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. To strengthen the security of data transfers, HTTPS is encrypted. This is crucial when customers register for a bank account, email account, or health insurance provider and send sensitive data.
All websites should use HTTPS, ones that use login information in particular. Ones that don’t have HTTPS are marked differently from ones that don’t on the likes of Google Chrome.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) security protocols are essential for keeping your site visitors safe online. If you’re not employing them, any visitor to your site will be warned that your site is not secure. This can have a huge impact on your conversions and, ultimately, will damage your SERP rankings.
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To quickly resolve this common SEO issue, simply purchase an SSL certificate. Once you’ve purchased one and installed it, your security credentials will be visible to any visitors to your website.
6. Duplicate Content
Just about every website is guilty of using duplicate page content. However, there’s a difference between the occasional bit of overlap and entire pages populated with duplicate text. If too many of your pages contain duplicate content, you’re making things difficult for search engine crawlers.
Are you guilty of duplicating content? You may be populating pages with the same content in different languages. Alternatively, you may be an e-commerce operation with similar or identical products listed under more than one URL.
One of the easiest ways to avoid this problem is to avoid creating duplicate content in the first place. If you can’t get around the issue, make sure you’re redirecting any duplicate content to the canonical URL. Alternatively, you can utilize canonical link elements.
7. Broken Links
Pages are constantly being removed or redirected. This can cause all manner of issues for your link-building strategy. A recent study found that more than 66% of active links now point to broken pages or new pages that are now completely unrelated to the original.
Broken links have a detrimental impact on your conversion rates. For starters, they can drive up bounce rates and significantly affect the user experience. Thankfully, fixing broken internal links is fairly straightforward. If you can allocate time and resources, you can use the manual method to check all links and ensure they’re taking you where you want to go. If you encounter any issues, you’ve got a broken link. You can also use tools like Google Search Console to make life easier. This innovative service lets you see how many 404 errors your website is generating.
Once you’ve found broken links, you’ll need to fix them. If a target page has moved, you can simply redirect the link to the correct destination. If the URL itself is wrong, you can update the link to ensure things are linking as they should. Finally, you can simply remove the link if the target page has been removed and an alternative isn’t available.
8. You’re Not Making Use of Structured Data
Structured data is an invaluable tool for SEO. It makes it easier for search engine crawlers to make sense of your content. Furthermore, structured data can appear in SERPs, making your website a more attractive option to potential visitors.
You can identify new opportunities for adding structured data to your pages as you create new content. However, you’ll need to ensure your preferred structured data markup isn’t causing you any issues. Refer to Google Search Console reports to check that your markups are free of errors to prevent any problems down the line.
9. Missing Meta Descriptions
You should be creating meta descriptions as standard every time you create new page content. Failure to do so will significantly impact your SEO. If you don’t write a meta description yourself, search engines will create one for you. If you’re lucky and have produced rich page content, this automated meta description will prove enticing to would-be site visitors. However, you never want to leave anything to chance as far as meta descriptions are concerned.
When writing meta descriptions, stick to 155 characters. Anything longer will be truncated. What’s more, make sure you’re using active voice and including a call-to-action. Furthermore, if you’re adding many new pages to your website, make sure you’re not duplicating meta descriptions.
See below for some additional tips on writing meta descriptions:
- !55 characters max
- Use the active voice
- Use a CTA
- Make sure the descriptions match the page content
- Make it unique
- Use keywords
- Use rich snippets
- Be specific
10. Your Website isn’t Optimized for Mobile Devices
Around 60% of daily searches are carried out on mobile devices. Refining your website for mobile-first users can seem overwhelming. Google Search Console’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a valuable tool for determining how well your site performs on mobile devices. Once you’ve determined how your page scores, you can get to work on implementing fixes.
Many SEO best practices can be applied here. You need to ensure your site is responsive and designed with mobile devices in mind. As well as configuring your site for mobile users, you should prioritize page speed. Incorporating structured data and investing in responsive web design will also yield big benefits.
Take Charge of Technical SEO Issues
Tired of technical issues holding back your SEO efforts? Now’s the time to start whipping your website into shape. First, identify indexing errors. You can use Google Search Console to make quick work of this. While you’re at it, it’s worth investing some time in a full content audit. Are you guilty of overlooking ALT tags? Taking the time to produce detail-rich ALT text descriptions will go a long way toward improving technical SEO.
Struggling with slow page loading times? If your pages are taking more than a few seconds to load, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Google PageSpeed Insights will let you identify everything that’s holding you back. Multiple home pages can also cause trouble for technical SEO. If you have more than one live version of your homepage, combine them by using 301 redirects.
Nobody wants to use a website that lacks security credentials. If you haven’t invested in an SSL certificate already, now’s the time to do so. Broken links are also something to consider, accounting for around 8% of all technical SEO problems. Too many broken links can cripple your conversion rates. Use Google Search Console to see how many 404 errors your site is generating, then get to work on fixing the problem.
Are your pages missing meta descriptions? Don’t leave it to Google to fill in the blanks for you. Every time you create a new page, make sure you’re creating a rich meta description. Likewise, adopt best practices when creating new content for a site. This will not only bolster your organic search efforts but also keep you from falling into duplicate content pitfalls.
Finally, make sure your website is optimized for mobile users. More than 60% of online searches are now carried out on mobile devices. If you’re not offering a mobile-first experience for these users, you’re slamming the door on a growing market.
Ian Carroll is the managing director of Digital Funnel, an SEO agency that helps SMEs with their SEO in Dublin and Cork. Digital Funnel has been in operation since 2019 and has worked with clients in many industries, such as SaaS, construction, printing, farming, and more.