As a webmaster, your day to day life will probably involve dealing with continual updates while fighting to keep technical issues at bay. Even if you are aware of the issues you are currently having with your site, it can be difficult to maintain its health when the rules, regulations and requirements are continually changing. That’s SEO for you. If you want to make sure that your sites have the highest chance of operating at maximum efficiency, then you need to avoid making these monumental SEO mistakes.
This is a critical issue, and it can include 404 page error codes. When the dialogue between a client and server is disrupted, it breaks down. The problem is that the trust your user has in your site will break down as well. Serious server issues lead to lost traffic because the content isn’t accessible, but at the same time, it can also damage your ranking in the long term as well. Google may not be able to find any suitable results on your website, and this is the last thing that you need. If you want to know some of the biggest HTTP issues, take a look below.
Errors like this indicate that the page is broken and that it cannot be reached.
Pages not being Crawled
These errors happen when your page cannot be reached. It may be that your response time is more than 5 seconds or that your server has blocked page access.
These are links that lead the visitor to a non-functioning page. This damages your UX and your SEO.
Your meta tags help a search engine to identify what you’re talking about. It is also used to connect them with keywords and phrases which are used by searchers. Creating the right title tag means choosing the right keywords. You have to make sure that your meta descriptions are tailored to your page. If you don’t, Google will generate one for you, and this can lead to mismatched searches. The end result? You guessed it, loss of trust and a poor UX. If you want to ensure your site's health, make sure that your meta tags and data are optimized for your keywords and your audience. You also need to avoid the below mistakes.
Two or more pages with the same title, or the same description, will stop Google from determining which page is the most relevant.
H1 tags will help Google, or any other search engine for that matter, to determine the topic of your content.
Missing ALT Tags
ALT tags will provide search engines and those who are visually impaired with an overall description of the images you have on your site. Without them, all relevance is lost.
Duplicate content will damage your rankings for a very long time. You should steer clear from duplicate descriptions, entire sections of copy, H1 tags and URL issues. Pay attention to every single detail on your page to make sure that it’s not just rank able but clickable too. If you aren’t sure if your content is duplicated or not, then sites such as Copyscape are ideal for helping you to find out.
The website audit tool will flag any duplicate content on your site if it’s got the same URL or even the same copy. Resolve this by adding a 301 redirect.
Duplicating your H1 tags will, as mentioned above, make it very difficult for the search engine to know which page to send your visitors to.
Duplicate Meta Data
Duplicate data of any kind is not good, but duplicate meta data can easily work against your rankings much more than you realize.
The links that guide your visitors along their journey can work against you if you’re not careful. You may even find that it impacts your search performance overall too. Google will not rank your site if you are not providing your customers with a good experience. Some links may have underscores in the URL, and others may be no-follow. If you have some that are using HTTP instead of HTTPS, this can also significantly impact your ranking. You can find broken links on your site by using the Website Audit tool. When you know the problem URLs, you need to deal with them in priority order.
Links that Lead to HTTP Pages
Links that go to old HTTP pages as opposed to HTTPS pages will provide you with a very unsafe dialogue. It will create friction between your users and your server, and it can impact your rankings too. Ensuring that all of your links are HTTPS is crucial.
URLs that Have Underscores
Search engines can easily misinterpret underscores, and this can result in your site being incorrectly documented. Make sure that you use hyphens instead.
Broken Internal Links
You have to make sure that you handle any broken links as well. Broken internal links can disrupt your buyer journey, and even if you don’t know about them, Google will.
Making your Site Difficult to Crawl
Crawlability is crucial to the health of your site. There is ground to be lost and also gained through your site being crawlable. If you ignore crawling issues, some pages might not be as visible to Google. If you fix crawling issues, Google will identify the right links.
What’s surprising is that XML sitemaps are not usually referenced in robots.txt. This should be pretty standard. There should also be plenty of internal links. This is a classic site structure, and if your site neglects this, then you could end up missing out. If you do not have a sitemap.xml file within the robot.txt file, you may find that search engines misinterpret your site's architecture, which is the last thing you need. A sitemap.xml file can help search engines to identify and find the URLs that exist across your site. If you want to avoid making some of the mistakes people make when maintaining your site, then look below.
No Follow Attributes
Internal links that have no-follow attributes block any kind of link equity from reaching your site.
Your sitemap.xml should not contain any broken pages. You need to check for redirect chains or any non-canonical pages if possible. They should return a 200-status code.
Sitemap Not Found
Missing sitemaps make it way more difficult for search engines to index the pages on your site.
Good indexability is vital for your SEO. In simple terms, if a page is not indexed, it will not be seen by a search engine. There are many factors that can stop your site from being indexed, even if you take the time to ensure that there are no issues with your crawling. Duplicate content can make it hard for search engines to know which pages you should be ranking for. Indexability is crucial to the long-term health of your site too, so take the time to make sure that you are avoiding these top mistakes if you want to come out on top.
If your pages are duplicated, then Google won’t know what to rank you for when a term is searched.
Short and Long Title Tags
If your title tags are over 60 characters, then they will be cut short. Those that are under 60 characters may well result in missed opportunities as well.
Another issue would be hreflang conflicts. Websites that are in multiple languages can confuse the search engine, especially if the hreflang attribute conflicts with the source code of the page.
It doesn’t matter whether you own an SEO agency, whether you are DIYing your very own website, or if you just want to make sure that you are not making a common mistake with your sitemap. You have to make sure that you take the time to understand the ins and outs of SEO if you want to get your site ranked. On top of this, you also need to ensure you are investing in the long-term health of your site. Of course, it’s important to know that Google are always changing their algorithms and they are also continually looking to make tweaks so that they can provide the right information to the right people. If you take the time to ensure that you are focused on your UX as well, then there’s no reason why you can’t get your site ranked while also being able to optimize your pages for the appropriate keywords.
All in all, by following this guide, you can be sure to correct any mistakes that you might have made in the past while also avoiding potential mistakes for the future. You can also speed up the time it takes to get your site ranked while providing the best user experience possible.
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