Common Technical SEO Issues And Fixes for Your Website

The amount of money companies spend on SEO is obscene. Yet, when we see the business this tactic brings, we may be able to justify it. Is the process fail-proof, though? Not at all!
When you work in the SEO industry, you're able to spot common technical issues. This is especially true when working on popular platforms like Squarespace, , and WordPress.
The worst part is that these technical issues can cost you money, resources, and growth. Additionally, your online visibility might get reduced if urgent attention is not given to fix the issues.
If these technical SEO issues persist, you may lose customers and eventually see a decline in your business's growth. To prevent such drastic losses, you must identify and fix them immediately.
More often than not, these issues may not cause problems for you or your customers. Yet, we need to realize that the same does not apply to all businesses. If you can, you should identify and solve problems. After all, prevention is better than cure.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO refers to website or server updates that the user has immediate control of. If you wish to create a better search engine experience, technical SEO is the first thing to look at.
So, what exactly is technical SEO?
Technical SEO comprises different on-site components. These include the metadata, 301 redirects, the XML sitemaps, HTTP header responses, title tags, meta title, image alt tags, etc. Other SEO tactics fall in later when you have ensured the proper usability of your Website.
To put it simply, these actions help in improving the ranking of your Website.
Additionally, it may affect some smaller aspects like site index, crawlability of the webpage, and page speed. If you're not a tech person, this may seem overwhelming to you. But if you want your business to appear higher in Google search results, you simply cannot neglect them.
Even your on-page SEO and Off-page SEO efforts will not show significant results if proper work is not put in into technical SEO. Subsequently, your Google ranking will take the hit.
Your social media strategy, backlinks, keyword analysis, and keyword research do not fall under this category.
At times, it might get difficult to stay a step ahead of such SEO issues. That's why it's necessary to know them beforehand and be on the lookout. At the same time, some issues can be very easy to understand and fix.
Some of the most common on-site technical SEO issues are listed below, along with the best ways to fix them.

List of Common Technical SEO Issues

1. Problems in Title Tags and Meta Description

One of the major and most common technical SEO issues is in the title tags and meta descriptions. The backend content is extremely important for ranking your Website. Missing, copied, or too long/short meta tags and descriptions can lead to your Website ranking lower.
Meta tags and meta descriptions help users find you, and search engines rank your webpage. They are hence, an essential component in optimization.
Firstly, you need to ensure that all content is unique. Next, you must follow the technical guidelines like character or word counts. At last, make sure they're catchy. You can add a clickbait to them. Further, add keywords to optimize these for better ranking.
If you doubt the title tag, you can follow a standard format - Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword | Brand Name. Add emotion and include a call-to-action in the meta description.
All pages on your Website, including blogs, static pages (home page, about us, etc.), must be optimized well.

2. Plagiarism Issues

Plagiarism is again a common problem that leads to a lower ranking of your Website. Plagiarism refers to blocks of content copied from another source on the internet. Some sources state that more than 29% of content on the web is copied.
Duplicate content hits your ranking because the Google algorithm prefers original content, which was published earlier. If there are multiple pages with the same content, it becomes difficult for search engines to rank them.
You can use online free plagiarism checker tools or paid tools like Copyscape and Siteliner to check the text on your Website for duplicate content.
If you find duplicate content, you must replace it immediately. If you don't, Google might penalize your site too. You can then bid goodbye to a chance of ranking on the SERPs
If you have subject expertise, it might not be difficult for you to create original content. Even if you outsource, ensure that a plagiarism check is done before publishing any content.

3. Low or Excess Word Count

Although shorter text blocks are simple to read and understand, too short articles can take a hit on your Website SEO. Consistent short articles can kill your SEO.
You must deliver quality on each page. Hence, it's necessary to incorporate long-form articles (1500-4000 words) throughout your Website.
Even if you wish to do short articles, keep them in the range of 500-800 words each.
Yet, there's a flip side to the coin too. If you're not adding value and keep publishing excessively lengthy pages, you can reduce your page speed.
Additionally, the readers will not stay too long, and your bounce rate may increase. These factors will further affect your search engine ranking.
Ideally, you should publish long-form articles in the range mentioned for the best SEO results.
You can also sparsely distribute short articles if the topic cannot be extended too much with value addition. You must not also juggle between the two forms. Your repeat audience expects consistency on your website/blog.

4. Low Ratio of Text Compared to HTML

Lengthy backend code compared to the text published on the frontend can lead to slower page load speed. Poor, excessive, and unnecessary code not only slows websites, it also might have hidden tests. These are a red flag for bots.
Another practice that can lead to low text to HTML ratio is excessive Javascript, inline styling, or Flash. All of these make your Website difficult to read and rank by search engines.
HTML is the markup. It guides the browser on how to show your Website. Yet, it isn't important to the visitors. What's important is the published readable text.
The solution here is simple. Your backend code is extremely neat. There should not be unnecessary strings of code, which are irrelevant and do not serve a purpose.
You can solve the problem by hiring an experienced website developer who can check your code.
Another solution is adding more readable text to your Website. This is again a reason why long-form articles work better for SEO. Additionally, you can move the inline scripts to a separate file.

5. Not Using Secure SSL/HTTPS

Google ranks HTTPS sites above HTTP sites. Additionally, it usually marks HTTP sites requiring passwords or payment information as non-secure. The 'S' in HTTPS stands for secure. This indicates a secure connection.
It is valuable and protects all customer information and communication. Hence, the Google algorithm ranks HTTPS sites better.
HTTPS additionally ensures that the visitor is redirected to the correct Website. It encrypts all user data, browsing history, and financial information. Therefore, the connection protects all data against a security breach by any third party. It ensures security and trust in your Website.
Earlier, hackers used MitM attacks to steam customer information. If your Website uses HTTPS, it prevents such attacks from insecure and compromised servers. Well, that's reason enough to switch!

6. Poor Navigation On the Website

Your visitors are less likely to engage if the navigation on your Website is too complex. Poor engagement is further one of the reasons for low authority.
If your domain authority is low, you'll likely be ranked lower by search engines. Your website user experience needs to be good to ensure lower bounce rates.
If most traffic bounces from your Website in a short time and your domain authority is low, search engines may consider your Website irrelevant to visitors. This is the primary reason for the low ranking of websites with low DA. After all, search engines try to display the most relevant links to users.

7. Using a Large Chunk of Text Embedded in Images

Text within images is something we often overlook. Numerous websites hide important text and keywords in images.
Let's take infographics, for instance. How many times have you come across pages with only infographics and no supporting text?
You should not embed important information within images on your Website. Do you wonder why?
Well, search engines have become a lot smarter. According to a test by CognitiveSEO, Google has started recognizing text within images.
The same report suggests that image-to-text extraction is not yet used for ranking web pages on the search engine. There is also evidence that sometimes Google misunderstands or misrepresents the text embedded within images. What's the best way out here?
It's simple. If you have important text, do not embed it into images. Even if you wish to put up something as an image, explain it in a textual format below. You'll be able to boost your ranking once you resolve this issue.

8. Using Various Versions of a Single Live Page

Firstly, having multiple versions of the same page increases duplicate content issue on your Website. Yet, if your homepage is the one, it causes even more damage. You cannot even imagine how many different versions of live pages exist in the form of .php, .html, back and forward slash, or otherwise.
While most search engines are equipped to work around the problem these days, you should eliminate it. It's not too much of an effort either. All you need to do is add 301 redirects to the duplicate pages.
The redirects shall guide them to the correct page. This ensures that multiple versions of a live page do not exist. Hence, search engines have an easy time ranking your web pages. It is essential to note that a single version exists for every live page on your Website.
Additionally, the live page must have the correct status code.

9. Problems in H1 Tags

If we talk on-page SEO, H1 tags are by far one of the essential components. One of the most important parts to note here is that your H1 tag should be 20-70 characters long and must contain your primary keyword.
If the keyword appears at the beginning of the H1 tag, it's best for your SEO. You need to ensure that your H1 tag represents the purpose or the main idea of the content published on the page.
H1 elements also give a clear structure to your page. They help the search engine understand the various headings on your page. They also help improve the readability score and make it easier for visitors to navigate through the content.
You must ensure that you do not have multiple or duplicate H1 tags. Also, your tags need to be different from the title tag. You can further add H2 and H3 tags to structure the content better.

10. URLs Ending in Query Parameters

You must have seen extremely long URLs. This is a common issue in the case of ecommerce websites.
Query strings or URL variables can cause problems for your Website SEO. They can either lead to keyword cannibalization or lead to duplicate content creation.
This happens when different combinations of parameters like the color, size, etc., create multiple variations for the URL, using the same content. Therefore, you need to clear up your URLs not to eat up your crawl budget.
A parameter holds value, and it can be any word or phrase succeeding a question mark '?' in the URL. Separated with an '&,' multiple parameters can exist in the URL. You must note that URL parameters are not necessarily bad, especially when used for pagination or filtering.
Yet, it's necessary to have some support in place to ensure that they do not harm your SEO. You can use the Google Search Console to define these parameters. You can also link back to the original page using canonical URLs.

11. Going Overboard with On-Page Links

Some websites have too many links on the page. Is it good for your SEO?
No! It is always recommended to use only relevant links which add value to the content. These can be both external or internal links.
Linking to high DA sites is always a plus. Yet, do not fill every paragraph in the content with links. Too many links dilute the link equity of your page. So, while links are necessary both from the user experience and SEO perspective, too many are too bad.
Internal links help users navigate to further relevant topics of interest. This keeps them on your Website for longer. External links from high-authority websites add credibility to your content.
Too many outbound links can lead to penalization by Google as your page may appear as spam. It also transfers your traffic and reputation to other links.
Ideally, you can have 5-7 outbound links and 3-5 internal links in long-form articles (1500-4000 words). Going above 100 is a strict no, according to some sources.

12. Robots.txt File Error

Though this error is not too common, it is worth mentioning. You can find this error listed specifically in Google's guidelines.
Unintended URLs can be crawled if your files aren't ordered carefully. This is because your Website might have the correct commands, but they may not work in unison.
Further, it causes your Website not to be indexed properly on search engines.
The robots.txt acts as a guide for search engines to crawl your Website. Spiders read this text file to determine whether or not they have permission to index the URLs on the site. To solve the error, you need to watch out for a few issues.
A major common is 'Disallow: /.' You can locate and read the robots.txt file for your Website by simply searching for in Google.
You can also use the same file to instruct Google not to crawl certain directories and folders on your Website.

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13. Having Broken Images and Missing Alt Tags

You can easily increase your bounce rate by incorporating images that do not lead anywhere. This is a major SEO fiasco.
Broken images are a common issue and often result from changes made in files after publishing and when domains or sites change. If the image URL is misspelled or the image file no longer exists, search engines flag them. Missing Alt Tags can also take a hit on your SEO. You must have noticed the image search option in search engines.

Related : Image Optimization Tips

How does Google know which images to display according to the query or keyword?
It's because of the Alt Tags.
These are HTML attributes that describe the contents of an image. The tags also help in reinforcing keywords, further strengthening your search engine optimization. In essence, images with missing Alt Tags are overlooked by search engines.
Without a textual description, the search engine has difficulty categorizing your images. The issue is easily fixable, too; especially, if you use CMS tools like WordPress or HubSpot.

14. Broken External or Internal Links on the Website

These are two technical SEO issues that are lightly hard to spot. While it is not practical to eliminate all broken links, too many of them can indicate SEO trouble. This is because they increase you bounce rate and decrease the traffic.
After all, who would like to visit a website with multiple 404 errors? This deteriorates the quality perception of your Website in a user's mind.
Additionally, when search engine crawlers find too many broken links, they tend to divert to other websites. This also harms your domain authority. Broken external links can further reduce the number of pages of your Website indexed on search engines.
You can easily use SEO tools to scan your Website for broken links. Screaming Frog is one tool that may come in handy.
Once identified, you can either fix the links or remove them entirely. You can also access the 'Crawl Errors' using the Google Search Console.

15. Not Doing Proper International SEO

Language declaration is essential, especially if you have a global audience. It also improves the user experience in case of text-to-speech conversion.
AI translators can read the content using the right dialect as per the native language if you've made a declaration. Ideally, whatever content you publish on your Website must reach the right audience. It refers to demographics, among other parameters, and language is an essential component.
If you do not declare the default language of your Website, you might negatively impact the ability of your site to translate for international SEO and geo-location SEO.
You can use the rel= "alternate" hreflang tag to declare language and region for your Website. You must ensure that you use the correct language code; otherwise, it's just another SEO blunder in the making.
Your hreflang annotation must also cross-reference each other so that your Website does not have a return tag error.

16. Not Having a Proper XML Sitemap

Search engines use XML sitemaps to find the essential URLs on your Website. If you leave them with outdated information after updating your Website, it can lead to broken links in the sitemap.
A missing sitemap or one that's full of errors is more likely to relay false information about the page to search engines.
Sitemaps can boost crawling on your Website, especially if it is new with low external links, has a large size, or a large content archive.
Other issues can include missing sitemaps, large sites not using sitemap index, multiple versions of the sitemap, and the robots.txt file not having your sitemap's location. You can identify errors in the XML sitemap using Bing Webmaster Tools or the Google Search Console.
This will also help you understand the quality of your URLs and sitemap.
You must note that Google has a limit of 50,000 URLs or 10MP on each sitemap. Hence, as you grow your Website, learn how to take advantage of XML sitemaps.

17. Use of Soft 404 Errors and 302 Redirects

Let's dive into soft 404 errors first. 404 errors, in general, represent broken links, and too many of them hurt your SEO. Additionally, soft 404 errors return a code 200, although they look similar to typical 404 redirects.
To fix the issue, developers can update the redirect to guide it to the most relevant alternative. On the other hand, if the pages are non-existent, they can be marked as 404. With this error, search engines believe that the page is working correctly.
In some cases, it can be a page with low content. In the end, because search engines believe the page is working correctly, keep crawling and indexing these pages, although it's not something you want. So, it is essential to fix the problem.

302 v/s 301 Redirects

Next, moving on to 302 redirects. 301 redirects are permanent, while 302 are temporary. If you no longer use a page, you must mark it with a 301. This is so that search engines know that they should not crawl or index these pages.
If the 302 redirects are used correctly, they will not hurt the SEO of your Website. These keep the original page indexed on Google. Because Google knows that the redirect is temporary, the search engine does not transfer link equity to a new page.

18. Using Low Performing Contact Forms

A lot of websites have contact forms to collect information from visitors. Most of these perform poorly. Many times, visitors do not fill the contact form.
If they do, they might not complete it at times. This means you need to put more effort into your contact form. To troubleshoot, you should have short and compelling contact forms. Additionally, make sure you use an interesting Call-to-action. You can also experiment with the aesthetics.
Make sure the number of fields on the form does not exceed five if not necessary. You can use A/B testing to compare performance.

19. Poor Mobile Optimization

Mobiles are these days one of the most common devices used for surfing the web. If your Website has poor mobile optimization, it won't offer a good user experience to most visitors. You can easily find and study your mobile usability report using the Google Search console.
Some brands have separate mobile websites too. Yet, this is not a very helpful practice. You split your link equity by having a mobile subdomain. This might divert traffic from the original URL without offering an option to the user or informing them.
In 2016, Google began mobile-first indexing. So, you need to consider mobile optimization, page load speed, Flash, etc. into consideration for a better ranking.

20. Not Having a Fast Loading Website

A slow load time can severely impact your search engine ranking. It is one of the parameters used by search engine algorithms to rank web pages.
If your page speed is low, the crawl budget is spent crawling a few pages, leading to a negative impact on the website indexation. Additionally, page speed is essential for a good user experience.
A better on-page experience reduces your bounce rate. So, while the page speed is a direct ranking factor, it also affects your SEO indirectly.
You can use Google Page Insights to check the page load speed both for mobile and desktop. It also offers recommendations to improve page speed.
It is essential to make the required changes to improve your page load time. The most common fixes include optimizing images, compressing image size, and using a CDN. Lazy loading can also help improve page speed, especially if you publish long-form articles.

7 Best Technical SEO Tools

1. Google Search Console

By far, the Google Search Console is the primary SEO tool you need for your Website.
You can use the tool by doing a DNS verification. It helps you prepare comprehensive SEO reporting and understand the problems that may hurt your Website's SEO. It helps fix issues by tracking the traffic and performance of your Website.
Furthermore, you can set up alerts for spam, indexing, or other SEO issues your Website encounters. Compared to Google Analytics, the Google Search Console is more search-engine oriented. You can use this tool to improve your presence and visibility in SERPs.

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a user-oriented SEO tool that you can use to analyze traffic and user behavior. The tool helps you track sources of traffic, applications, social networking sites, videos, and Flash on your Website.
You can use Google Analytics to collect website data, device functionality, content, user experience, and customer behavior.
It can help you identify issues with traffic like high bounce rate and any penalties you might face. If used correctly, Google Analytics can help you increase the ROI from your Website.

3. Google Pagespeed Insights

Google Pagespeed Insights does what the name suggests. This tool analyzes the content on your webpage.
Further, it suggests ways to increase your page load time for both desktop and mobile versions of the Website. Yet, you must note that Pagespeed Insights uses approximations. Hence, you can always use additional tools for page metrics testing.
A good page speed score is 90+. You must optimize your mobile and desktop versions to ensure that your page load time is fast and your Website ranks better on SERPs.

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is a versatile SEO tool. You can use it for traffic analysis, site audit, and keyword research. SEMRush is one of the best tools to use for effective content marketing. The tools and reports available from SEMRush are extremely useful for campaign management, gaining marketing insights, competitive research, SMM, and PPC.
You can try it for free with limited functionality. To explore and use the tool to its full potential, you need to purchase a subscription plan.
SEMRush claims that they provide accurate data for keywords and other technical research.

5. Ahrefs

For technical link analysis, Ahrefs is among the essential tools to have. You can use Ahrefs for keyword research, competitor analysis, website ranking analysis, and analyzing the SEO of your Website.
You can also use this tool to search for content that performs well on a specific keyword and create a content strategy accordingly.
Using the word cloud feature, you can identify anchor text issues that impact your Website. You can additionally use Ahrefs to identify missing backlinks and fix the problem.

6. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a crawler and advanced SEO site audit tool. You can locally install the tool to your Mac, Windows, or Linux PC/ Laptop.
The tool helps you understand what a search spider would detect when crawling your Website. It crawls the Website from an SEO perspective, including the CSS, images, and links.
The tool can help you identify common technical SEO issues like errors in canonicals, URLs, response codes, large images, or missing metadata like descriptions and page titles. Advanced settings can further help fix international SEO and pagination issues as well.

7. MozBar

A detailed analysis from MozBar can provide essential insights about your Website. You can use this tool to understand domain authority, page authority, page meta, schema markup, and page load time. It is a free all-in-one SEO toolbar and is compatible with Google Chrome.
MozBar functions as a browser extension, making it easy to install and use. It is a decent tool for professional SEO of small websites which do not require specific suggestions.
If you're a regional or small business owner, the tool can be very powerful in boosting your SEO within a budget.

Technical SEO FAQs

1. What Is the Checklist to Follow for a Technical SEO Audit?

Technical SEO Audit is a process you must regularly conduct to keep your Website SEO healthy and ranking high. The process offers an overview of your Website's performance.
When doing a technical SEO audit for your Website, you must do the following -

  • Crawl your Website
  • Check broken links
  • Remove as much duplicate content as possible
  • Check internal links
  • Review the sitemap
  • Fix redirects and errors
  • Check indexation
  • Add URL parameters
  • Check page speed and metadata

2. How Is Technical SEO Different from Traditional SEO?

Traditional SEO or content SEO mostly focuses on standard SEO tactics like keyword research, keyword density in content, readability, formatting, and images.
On the other hand, technical SEO dives deeper into the sitemap, broken links, errors, coding and technical problems, and the other back-end elements that impact your Website's ranking.

3. What Are Some Technical Elements for On-Page SEO?

Technical SEO helps in indexing your Website for better crawlability by search engine algorithms. Some of the on-page technical SEO elements include duplicate content, structured data markup, site architecture, mobile optimization, and website speed. H1 tags and title tags are some additional elements that fall under on-page as well as technical SEO.

4. Why Is Technical SEO Important for a Website or Blog?

Technical SEO helps your Website rank better on search engines.
With advancements in search engine algorithms, a lot of factors affect your Website ranking. It's no longer just about valuable content and proper use of keywords, although they are essential too
Technical SEO helps you understand how a search engine navigates through your Website and indexes it. You must fix major technical SEO problems to ensure high ranking on Google and other search engines.

5. Who Can Fix Technical SEO Problems?

Most technical SEO problems can be easily identified and fixed by web developers. There are some problems that any individual can fix with a decent understanding of technical SEO.
If you use a CMS like WordPress or HubSpot, you will find it easier to fix metadata and image alt text issues.
That was most of the important information you need to know about Technical SEO. If done properly, it can boost your Website's user experience and increase repeat traffic, further boosting domain authority and search engine ranking.
Are you looking to speak with a technical SEO expert? Drop your details here to get a free consultation.

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