The term technical SEO often drives the website owners squeamish. But technical SEO is simply focusing on how well the search engine spiders can crawl your site and index your web pages.
Why It’s Important To Integrate Technical SEO At An Early Stage
Do you have an online business?
For the companies who are seriously concerned about search engine optimization, should include technical SEO as a core part of website development process, harmonizing elegantly with planning, design and developing activities.
But often, technical SEO is considered as a secondary concern in website development; something that can be factored into the site after it has been launched. Because, this is the way SEO has always been done. But continuing to tack technical SEO onto pre-launched and built websites signals a lack of understanding about the breadth of technical implementations available which can be used to bolster your search performance, and which can be best incorporated into the site from the planning stage.
The problem with integrating technical SEO post-build is that when issues surface that affect your site’s performance, certain technical solutions can be difficult to implement due to the constraints imposed by chosen technology, programming languages or used CMS. Moreover, as you’ve spent so much time and efforts in developing the website, you might feel timid to implement the solutions which might require fundamental changes to the underlying technology, functionality or structure.
Integrating technical SEO at an early stage, helps you negotiate such risks and also provides you with a solid foundation to further build your SEO activities.
Technical SEO is typically based on the best practices which include factors like:
- Having only one H1 tag on each page
- Adding alt attribute to all the images
- Linking the highest value pages from main navigation
- Creating a clean URL structure
- Having minimum page load times
Although these factors seem fairly simple, there are many websites which get this basic stuff go wrong. For example, regularly making on-going technical tweaks can do wonders in boosting your website’s organic traffic, yet you’d be surprised to know, there are many companies that only look at the technical issues once and never look them again.
There are various factors contributing to the success of your website’s online performance. To dig little deeper, you need to run a detailed audit of your website and identify the potential areas and the problems where there are opportunities for growth.
Here are some of the rookie SEO mistakes, even the experts in the industry are bound to make. We are sharing these problems so that you don’t make the same mistakes. More importantly, we’ll show you the solutions to fix those issues. These solutions are tried and tested in growing your site’s organic traffic to more than 50%.
5 Technical SEO Problems And Their Solutions
Problem 1. Broken Links & the 404s
Broken links are the hyper links that point to a page (404 page) which is no longer active. Search engine algorithms are designed to recognize this and will downgrade the ranking of the websites that accumulate large amounts of internal 404 links.
Solution: You can avoid this by keeping a regular watch on 404s that Google finds on your site using the Google Webmaster tools. Also, you should perform regular housecleaning on your site to make sure that you have the minimum 404s by implementing 301 redirects when moving the resource from one URL to another, combining heavily similar pages.
Problem 2. Overlooking 301 Redirect Best Practices
The URLs http://www.example.com and http://example.com, both are considered as two different websites. If your site is linked from other sites using a combination of two URLs, you can be dividing your ranking potential in half. In the below screen shot from Opensite Explorer highlights that the www version of the site has — unique root domains with links pointed towards it and the non www version has –.
Solution: Simply choose the domain you prefer and implement a 301 redirect on all the instances of other, pointing that redirect to the domain you choose, to integrate all of your ranking potential.
Problem 3. Shady Link Building
This is a big issue that some sites still run into – Buying links from the SEO agencies. Google considers this as an unnatural linking practice with specific respect to the sites which accumulate a lot of artificial links and simply trying to manipulate the search engines to be ranked higher – Penguin algorithm update. Another big concern is Google takes a strong stance against the sites posting low-quality content from other sites – Panda algorithm update. Both these algorithms are updated with great regularity.
Solution: Ensure that you link to the sites where it looks natural to do so and vice versa. You should not pay for a link unless it is a sponsored-type link. And, if you do this, the link should include the rel=nofollow attribute otherwise, this may also risk setting off a red flag to Google. Buying a number of links from SEO companies is usually a bad practice which will likely lead to an eventual penalization in the search engines as well.
Problem 4. HREFLANG Tags
What are HREFLANG tags? Well, these tags are used for Google to know which alternative versions of a page exist in different languages and countries. For example, If you want to let Google know what the Spanish equivalent of your .com homepage is, then you can use one of these tags to do this.
HREFLANG tags work in the same way as the canonical tags, showing when a duplicate version of a page exist. It helps Google index the local content on your site easier within local search engines. If you’ve implemented these tags incorrectly, you will not get any favours for your international SEO efforts.
Solution: Try to create a solid link between your site’s main page content and the content on your international domains. Set up these tags correctly for all the core pages which have country-specific variations – all the product pages, home page etc. This will help you pass trust across your sites and improve the way Google crawls these pages.
Problem 5. Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml
This is another big technical SEO problem of not helping the search engines. The search engines have only a fixed amount of time to crawl sites on the web and helping them to efficiently crawl ensures that all your important pages get indexed. A common mistake made by some companies is not having a robots.txt file for the website to identify which pages or sections of your site you don’t want the spiders to crawl. Moreover, another big problem is not having an XML sitemap file, which helps to show the search engines which pages on your site are most important and should be crawled most frequently.
Solution: Make sure to include a robots.txt file on the root of your server which includes sections/pages of your site that you don’t want to appear in the search results. Also include a curated sitemap.xml file which will help you outline all the unique pages on your site. This will eventually help Google crawl it more efficiently.
That’s it for now! If you’ve found this post useful, don’t miss to share it with other SEO geeks! What technical SEO issues have you run into? Share your experiences in the comment section below.