Getting on top of the technical SEO issues

by | SEO

Technical SEO? – It is what makes your website crawlable, indexable and easy to understand for search engines.

Your website is your digital shop or brochure — and part of driving traffic is making sure your business is appealing and helpful enough to draw the window shoppers in. Technical SEO is the foundation of your shop. Without a solid technical foundation, all your window dressing and awnings and signage come crumbling down. Google doesn’t read your content the way people do. It also reads all the code underlying that content, and if you don’t build your website to Google’s specs, it could hurt your visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

How to tell if your site has technical SEO issues

You’ll need an SEO audit tool to uncover any issues dragging your organic traffic down.
We use a tool called SEMrush. If you don’t have a tool click here and let us know your website URL and we will generate a free website health report for you. The report will list any technical SEO issues. Chances are you probably have some issues that need to be addressed. According to an extensive study SEMrush conducted on 1,300 ecommerce websites, even the biggest brands need some level of technical SEO remediation.

Here are just a few stats from the research:
• More than 76% of ecommerce sites have 4XX errors (typically, “404 not found”).
• 95% have pages with only one internal link driving to them
• Nearly 12% of ecommerce sites use Flash, which is also a huge security issue.

There are many website bad practices that have a negative impact on SEO. In this blog we highlight 7 issues, mostly interlinked that we see affecting SEO. Luckily, they can all be fixed easily.

1.Your site doesn’t use SSL (HTTPS).

SSL is short for “secure sockets layer,” and websites use it to secure traffic between browsers and web servers. You can tell if a site uses SSL by looking at the URL. If it says “https,” it’s secure. If it says “http,” it’s missing that extra layer of security — and that can negatively impact your search rankings.

Google uses https as a ranking signal, so it’s important to implement SSL on your website and make sure every page is secure. First, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate. Then, you need to install the certificate on your server.

2. 301 Redirects

it’s important to have 301 redirects set up to make sure links to any of your page’s drive to the https versions of those pages. So, what is a 301 redirect? – it is a permanent redirect from one URL (for example, the http version) to another (https). They have plenty of other uses outside of an SSL implementation, like changing domain names or ‘sunsetting’ popular landing pages, but they’re essential for SSL to avoid duplicate or mixed content issues. Having http pages and https pages also has the potential to create duplicate content…

3. Duplicate Content Issues

Google has a very good reason to penalize duplicate content, it is often a sign of plagiarism, and even when it isn’t, Google doesn’t know what to prioritize when two pages or blog posts share identical content. Easy to avoid, right? All you must do is make sure each page and post on your website is unique. Unfortunately, if you don’t implement https correctly, you can end up with two versions of each page on your site — one http, one https, each competing for the same spot in search results. That’s why those 301 redirects mentioned are so crucial.

4. Orphaned Pages

An orphan page is one that is not linked to any other page on your site, meaning a user can’t get to the page without knowing the direct URL. Commonly these are marketing landing pages. These pages can’t be followed from other pages by search engines, which means they are very rarely indexed by the likes of Google. For search engines to crawl the site and find your pages, they will need to be linked to other pages.

5. Links from Bad Pages

Gaining links from other websites to yours is one important factor in improving rankings in search engines. But when it comes to link building, it’s quality over quantity that makes the difference.

Although each backlink is theoretically a vote of confidence in your site, the links from sites with high domain authority (DA) are the links you want. These signal to search engines that a trusted authority vouches for your content. Even a no-follow link from a high DA site can boost rankings.

On the other end of the spectrum, links from sites with low authority, or ‘spammy’ sites, may not help your rankings. Often toxic back links not only harm your rankings but also result in penalties from the search engines.

How to fix this? We use SemRush which will scan and grade all backlinks. There are many ways to address any toxic backlinks, for example, you could simply contact the website administrator and ask for the link to be removed. We use Google’s Disavow tool to remove any toxic backlinks.

6. 4xx Errors (most likely, 404s)

4xx errors like “404 Not Found” harm both your user experience and your site’s crawlability — neither Google nor your users will reward a big roadblock on their browsing journey.

If any of your page’s link to a now-deleted page or misspelled URL, you’ll need to go in and either remove those broken links or point them elsewhere.

A good 404 tip is to customize your 404 page to keep users from bouncing. Providing links to your most popular content and a search box may help users who misspell your URL find what they need and stay on your site.

7. Website isn’t Mobile Friendly

Mobile devices are responsible for more than half of internet traffic globally. Google knows this and has been rolling out updates that make the web easier to access for mobile phone users — including its slow migration to mobile-first indexing and its inclusion of page speed as a mobile ranking factor. Responsive development is Google’s recommended approach for mobile web design. Responsive websites will perform better in search rankings because they provide a better user experience than sites that are not mobile friendly. Additionally, Google likes that responsive sites use single URLs vs. different URLs for separate mobile versions of websites.

If the time has come to review your website so that it’s mobile friendly, more competitive, and better geared up to boost your search rankings, we would be happy to chat and give you our expert feedback on what can be done to help.

Andrew Kenyon

Andrew Kenyon

Managing Director

Follow Blue Sword on Social Media