14 Most Common Technical SEO Issues
It is virtually impossible today to build a business’s online presence without proper SEO.
You need it to serve a wide variety of imperative purposes, including driving traffic to your website and retaining the current crop of customers. That said, even with a good strategy, you might have trouble reaching the top of search engine rankings owing to certain technical SEO issues.
If not addressed immediately, these issues can have disastrous consequences and adversely affect your business’s standing online. What is even more concerning is that most of these problems often fly under the radar and only become apparent until it’s too late.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to the process of ensuring that a particular website is complying with the technical requirements dictated by modern search engines. It pertains to website and server updates that can directly affect your webpage or site’s indexation, crawlability, and of course, search engine rankings.
One should not conflate Technical SEO with components like keyword research, analytics, and backlink development. Integral elements to Technical SEO include sitemaps, metadata, title tags, 301 redirects, and HTTP header responses.
It is essential to nail the technical aspects of SEO if you want to create a better search experience. Unfortunately, most website owners remain clueless about their presence until the damage is irreversible.
So in this article, we would like to acquaint you with all of these mostly overlooked Technical SEO issues and suggest tips to fix each of them without a hassle.
Common Technical SEO Issues
1) Missing XML Sitemaps
Your site needs an XML sitemap to help search engines like Google crawl and learn more about the content of your web pages. If a site is missing its sitemap, Google will have a tough time understanding the hierarchy or content of your pages.
To know whether your site possesses a sitemap or not, you can start by typing your domain name into Google with the following – ‘sitemap.xml.’ If your sitemap doesn’t exist, we suggest using a developer to create one or use tools like the Yoast SEO plugin to generate it yourself.
2) Issues with Robot.TXT
If you find your site isn’t indexed by Google yet, this may be a sign that something is wrong with the robots.txt file. Spiders read such files to ascertain whether they have permission to index a site’s URL or not. A missing or misconfigured robots.txt file can have devastating effects on your site’s organic traffic.
To detect this issue, just type ‘yoursitename/robots.txt’ into the search bar and keep an eye out for ‘Disallow:/.’ The presence of a Disallow line means that Spiders aren’t allowed to index your webpage. We recommend seeking the assistance of a developer to get this issue fixed immediately.
3) Obscure URL’s
Illegible URLs are a common technical SEO issue. If you have a URL that ends with ‘..index.php?p=256789’, then you should probably do something about it as it isn’t user-friendly at all. You want your URL to convey your site or webpage’s message to potential visitors.
We suggest creating more comprehensive URLs. You can start by adding keywords to them. Avoid using long URLs; ensure they are shorter than 70 characters instead. Implement a sub and single domain. Only use lowercase letters. Finally, use hyphens instead of spaces to separate words in them.
4) Absent Alt tags
Alt Tags can be defined as HTML attributes that describe an image’s content. They are important in case an image fails to render properly on a webpage. They are also important in reinforcing a targeted keyword by assisting crawlers in deciphering information associated with a particular page.
This goes without saying, but a missing alt tag will result in crawlers failing to understand page information. Fortunately, adding Alt tags to images is simple. You have to search the image component within the HTML code and insert the alt tag.
5) Improper Site Indexing
If a search input for your brand name does not return results for your website, this may indicate an issue with the site’s indexing. To Google, an unindexed site simply doesn’t exist. As a result, your site won’t pop up on search engines, let alone rank higher on them.
If you find out that your site is not indexed, immediately add your URL to Google. Also, make sure important pages of your site aren’t being blocked by the robots.txt file. Moreover, verify if you have accidentally implemented a NOINDEX meta tag.
6) Misconfigured NOINDEX
A misconfigured NOINDEX is a typical SEO issue with devastating results. It is quite common for developers to NOINDEX many files while the website is still in development. However, it is essential to remove all NOINDEX tags once the website is live.
Failure to do so will severely impact the search visibility of your website’s pages.
Moreover, an inappropriately configured NOINDEX will also wipe out all of your pages from Google’s index. This is a serious problem. NOINDEX tags must be removed if you want to facilitate your site’s visibility on search engines.
You can check for such tags by right-clicking on your site’s main page and selecting ‘View page Source.’ Later, use the ‘CTRL+F’ command to search for lines that read ‘NOINDEX’ OR ‘NOFOLLOW.’ You can use auditing tools to find such tags and take the help of a developer to remove them.
7) Missing HTTPS Security
With the number of data breach incidents reaching new heights, site security has never been as important today. A site with no HTTPS security will return a gray or worse – red background with a visible ‘Not Secure’ alert. You don’t want your visitors to find your site in such a state that it will immediately result in them bouncing.
To add HTTPS to your site, you must obtain an SSL certificate from a legitimate certificate authority. SSL certificates can be bought from several prominent hosting providers. Once your site converts to HTTPS, your domain’s name will feature a ‘Secure’ prefix on your browser’s search bar.
8) Slow Loading Speed
Slow website Speeds have a direct correlation with poor SEO performance. It is also a primary culprit behind an increased bounce rate. No visitor has the patience to wait around while your webpage takes its sweet little time to render fully. Your site’s speed is integral to a better user experience.
You can use tools like Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights to monitor and identify issues that bring your site’s speed down.
9) Title Tag Issues
Issues with Title tags are the most prevalent technical SEO issues. Problems like needlessly long titles and duplicate and missing title tags can create problems for your site’s visibility of search engines.
“Your Title tags exist to describe your page content to potential visitors in a bid to entice them into clicking on the link,” says Carly Bryanna of Haitna.
Hence, we suggest making the message of your webpage clear with a simple Title Tag. These tags should not exceed more than 70 characters. A title with 60 characters max should suffice. We also recommend putting the targeted keyword at the beginning of your title tag.
10) Broken Links
Broken Links will prevent your website from being indexed or crawled by search engines. Broken links are extremely common in large sites that harbor several pages.
So, you can expect a few broken links here and there. However, a site with over a dozen broken links is a dire issue that needs attention immediately.
You can use tools like deadlinkchecker or Ahrefs to find broken links.
A broken link will not only affect your website’s page authority negatively but also result in your site losing its appeal in the eyes of users. You can ferret out broken links by using Google Search Console and selecting the ‘Crawl Errors’ option in it.
Here you will know which pages are returning a 404 error. You should fix them as soon as possible to allow search engines to crawl and index pages again.
11) Not Optimized Mobile Website
A major chunk of traffic experienced by websites globally comes from mobile. As such, you want a website that is appropriately optimized for mobile devices.
This is all the more important today because of Google’s gradual implementation of its mobile-first index endeavor. The search engine intends to rank websites based on their mobile versions.
Therefore, make sure you have a website that features well-optimized and readable pages on mobile devices. You can use several tools to verify how your site looks on different mobile devices.
According to your findings, make design changes that make using the site convenient on smartphone screens.
12) Incomplete or Unclear Meta Descriptions
You need clear meta descriptions to help users ascertain the topic of your web pages. Meta descriptions that end with ellipses aren’t user-friendly and do not serve any purpose in improving your site’s rankings.
They should describe the content of your page in up to or under 160 characters while also featuring your targeted keyword.
Ensure your page has meta descriptions or at least contains descriptions that are complete. Make sure to update these descriptions by the changes and updates your page has undergone. Also, make sure your meta descriptions can be uniquely attributed to your page.
13) Redundant Content
As more people use content management systems and popular SEO practices worldwide, websites contain duplicate content. Such content can confuse search crawlers, resulting in your target audience being served with incorrect information for their search query.
Several reasons are attributed to the prevalence of duplicate content. It may be due to the same content appearing in different languages on international site versions, or it can be something as simple as content being borrowed heavily from competitor pages.
It is imperative to keep your content as original as possible to avoid this issue. This problem can be solved by correctly utilizing hreflang tags, implementing correct rel=canonical, or just by checking content for plagiarism.
14) Insufficient Content
The content on your site is integral to its SEO performance. While good content can do immense favors for your site, poor content can kill it. It is a well-established fact that lengthy pages with a dense content rank higher than short content and barely cover any important information.
If you will grace your webpage with content, make sure it is adequately detailed with relevant information about the targeted keyword. Divide the content into several sections using sub-headings. Also, try using long-tailed keywords to characterize these sub-headings.
You can use tools like keyword tool dominator to find long tail keywords.
The Bottom Line
All of the problems mentioned above are some of the most prevalent technical SEO issues plaguing websites worldwide. These are problems that need to be addressed before they have the opportunity to negatively affect your site’s visibility online.
These issues are easy to fix with many intuitive solutions that will put your site back on track, thus helping you win new customers and build a strong online presence. We also suggest seeking expert advice when handling some of the issues to avoid further aggravating the situation.
Knowing is the first step in solving a problem. Now that you are aware of the technical SEO issues that can derail a site’s rankings, you will be better prepared to tackle them if such problems do arise in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the different types of SEO?
There are three major types of SEO. Firstly, ON-Page SEO refers to components such as blogs, product descriptions, web content, etc. Furthermore, we have OFF-Page SEO that refers to elements that aren’t directly related to your website, like Backlinks. Finally, technical SEO refers to elements like indexing, crawling, and search engine rankings.
Q2. How is Technical SEO different from On-Page SEO?
Technical SEO differs from On-Page SEO in one key aspect. While On-Page SEO refers to optimization done with the page’s content itself, technical SEO entails any optimization work done in areas other than the page’s core content.
Q3. What are the Most Commonly Used Modern SEO Techniques?
Some of the most commonly used modern SEO techniques include the following:
• Optimizing page for ‘People Also Asks’ section.
• Monitoring a Competitor’s high-ranking pages
• Leveraging competitor’s broken links
• Optimizing website for image search
• Using PPC testing to boost organic CTR and much more.
Q4. What is the Job of a Technical SEO Expert? A Technical SEO expert uses his SEO knowledge to evaluate, analyze and modify a website to improve its rankings. Their work is considered a success if the page they are managing ranks high on search engines