Fix These 7 Technical SEO Errors That Destroy Your Rankings
Over the years, technical search engine optimization (SEO) has shifted from a neat addition with many benefits to being necessary for a healthy, functioning website. Hiring an SEO agency for this is not required, but having one advise you greatly helps with upkeep.
This guide lays out everything you need to know about technical SEO errors, including:
- What counts as a technical SEO error, and how it affects your website
- Seven common technical SEO errors, and how to limit their effect on ranking
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
Watch this video to learn how Digital Authority Partners tackles Technical SEO!
Technical SEO Errors: How It Harms Your Website
As you know, the backend of your website is where all the magic happens. One of technical SEO’s primary functions is ensuring that everything runs smoothly on the backend. It deals with everything, not just content creation (on-page SEO) or marketing-related (off-page SEO).
While it may seem a bit broad to put it that way, this is the gist of technical SEO’s role on your website. Fixing broken links and boosting accessibility are prime examples of this. Incidentally, those two are common technical SEO errors that can ruin your website’s SERP ranking when left unfixed.
Why do technical SEO errors harm your website? If your website is unhelpful, your search engine results page (SERP) rank drops. You want users to have a satisfying website experience (UX); however, very little makes users more frustrated, and dissatisfied, than using an unhelpful website.
7 Common Technical SEO Errors and How to Fix Them
There is currently no standard definition for what technical SEO errors are (hence the broad definition above); however, it is at least certain that they are contrary to effective technical SEO. Look at these examples to get a better feel for what counts as good SEO practices and what constitutes errors:
- If fixing broken links (internal, external, or backlinks) on your website is good technical SEO, then continuing to ignore them is a technical SEO error.
- Securing your website with antimalware is good technical SEO, therefore overlooking potential vulnerabilities (for any reason) is a technical SEO error.
- Optimizing your website for fast load times and mobile devices is good technical SEO, hence slow pages and poor web design are technical SEO errors.
If it still seems vague to you, do not worry. We cover each of the above and four more items in greater detail below. Each entry also delves into how to fix these errors once you identify them.
1. Ignoring Broken Links
Links are a valuable asset for all websites, especially those that want to raise their rank. Each type plays a role in building your site’s domain authority (DA), another technical SEO benefit. Even redirect links, which resolve 404 errors, impact your website’s technical SEO score.
Errors such as these result from broken links or, in some cases, poorly implemented redirects, which can significantly bring down your website’s UX. Fortunately, you can resolve them using a tool that scans your pages for broken links, such as Ahrefs’ Free Broken Link Checker.
2. Neglecting Site Security
Websites are not inherently secure, especially since they are made of many moving parts that you cannot monitor all at once. Vulnerabilities are usually just around the corner, as hackers find new ways to exploit any weaknesses. In short, site security oversight is a major technical SEO concern.
Resolving this issue is straightforward through marketing tools, website plugins, and antimalware programs. Once found, you can fix them by following tips from the respective tool, plugin, or program. It is pretty easy to apply, even inexperienced users can do it.
3. Wasting Crawl Budget
According to Google, certain websites sometimes fall short during crawling, like in these cases:
- Having more than 500 pages makes it hard to reach critical ones for indexing.
- The absence of internal links limits access to specific pages within the website.
If search engine crawlers fail to reach a page during their visit, there is zero chance that they will add it to their collection of indexed pages. You can make the most of your website’s limited crawl budget by creating an XML sitemap and a robots.txt file (more on these below).
4. Poor Website Usability
A fast and organized website is one of the easiest and best applications of technical SEO. It goes without saying that slow and messy websites hurt your SEO ranking. Thankfully, today’s content management systems (CMS) combine simplicity with efficiency.
The best way to improve website usability is by improving these two core elements:
- Keep your user interface (UI) simple. Avoid features that hinder search capabilities on your site.
- Prioritize ensuring a smooth UX. Steer clear of issues, such as speed, that annoy users.
5. Not Having a Sitemap
A sitemap is a file containing a list of all or some of the pages found on your website, depending on how you want crawlers to approach your content. A sitemap’s primary function is to serve as a reference for search engines. However, visual sitemaps are excellent as directories for users.
As with most other technical SEO procedures, tools for this purpose are also available online. Not all, but some are free, however you can generally find one that will suit your needs. Remember, you only need an XML sitemap for submission to search engines. The visual ones are optional.
6. Overlooking Meta Tags
In addition to XML sitemaps, you need a robots.txt file to manage how thoroughly site crawlers comb your website for new content. Essentially, these two components guide crawlers on what to look for in your content, and whether or not to follow a link or index a page.
Meta tags that you need to cover, at the very least with high-priority pages and content, include:
- Meta Description
- Title Tags
- Canonical Tag
- Meta Viewport
- Robots Meta Tag
- Date Meta Tag
7. Lacking Content Focus
This does not come up nearly enough in discussions, but a poorly conceived website inevitably leads to setbacks. If you do not know what you want, your website will reflect this through disjointed content clusters, unnecessary features, and unoptimized website pages. A lack of content focus is among many of the pitfalls in a digital marketing strategy. Therefore, have the foresight to thoroughly plan your website, considering its niche, audience, and content strategy.
Just as good technical SEO can boost your website's ranking, so too can technical SEO errors crush your SERP ranking. Broken links, security issues, and UX issues are only some of the major deficiencies and vulnerabilities. All of these should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Hiring a technical SEO expert, or technical SEO partner, can help you uncover more errors. They can benefit you in starting to take measures to resolve these issues now, as well as preventing them from reoccurring in the future.
Need assistance with addressing all of your website’s technical SEO errors? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
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