Google Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and other algorithm updates have made it clear that high-quality content earns links in the age of search engine optimization (SEO). However, quality content won’t help your search rankings if your site has structural or technical shortcomings.
The SEO community weighed in on the most common issues that can adversely affect your site’s search rankings today. The problem of duplicate content, for example, has existed for many years.
However, as SEO matures and evolves, it becomes increasingly important to clean up site clutter. In the end, successful SEO is divided into three parts: on-page optimization, off-page optimization (such as backlinks), and a clean, error-free website structure.
Here are the top 10 SEO technical issues of 2022, and tips on how to address them.
1. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content was cited as a top technical concern by almost all SEO professionals. According to Google Webmaster Tools, duplicate content is any content that is “appreciably similar” to or exactly the same as content on your site.
Considering that Google must visit each page repeatedly to find changes or new content, it isn’t possible for the company to consume all of the data. The slowing down of Google’s discovery or crawl of the Web is not welcome. Websites that dynamically create Web pages from databases are often poorly configured from a search engine optimization perspective. Lots of pages, or URLs, may be generated that contain basically the same content.
Duplicate content can also be caused by the use of both HTTP and HTTPS URLs (plain and secure); failure to specify a preference between www.domain.com and domain.com (without the www); blog tags; and syndicated RSS feeds.
Content duplication can also be caused by common CMS features, including sorting parameters.
You can remedy the problem by crawling your site and applying “crawl directives” to inform Google of the relative value of multiple URLs. If you want to tell Google the specific folders and directories that do not seem to be worth crawling, you can use “robots.txt” (a file that lets you control how Google’s bots crawl and index your public Web pages).
By using the rel=”canonical” link element to point to the preferred URL, you can also tell Google which URL to prefer for its index. Google’s bots use canonical tags to determine which pages are duplicates, and which one is the primary one for indexing. This can help prevent duplicate content issues.
A site with content available in many languages that targets multiple countries can also have a lot of duplicate content. Using the rel=”alternate” hreflang code, you can identify the location of the content in a more targeted language. Detecting the IP address of a visitor to generate the correct language and default currency for a page is another option.
If a site’s URL begins with “www” or if it doesn’t begin with “www,” duplicate content is more likely to occur. Fortunately, there is a simple fix.
See if you get the www version of your URL if you type in the non-www URL, then try the reverse. Neither redirects without the other working, so your setup is not right. If so, access Google Webmaster Tools. Select Settings and then Site Settings. Check to see if you have selected a version. You might want to ask a professional for help in determining which version to set up and keep using.
Similarly, most websites default to having multiple versions of the homepage, reached via various URLs. There can be a lot of duplicate content issues with multiple versions of the homepage, and any links the site receives are distributed across multiple URLs.
By choosing one URL that you want to be your main URL you can fix this issue. Choosing one is purely a matter of taste, but once you’ve chosen one, stick to it. With a 301redirect, all other URLs will automatically point to the main URL.
Learn more about how to avoid duplicate content.
2. Poor Mobile Experience
The bounce rate of your website will increase if your website is slow to load on mobile devices and provides a poor user experience. On mobile, it is important to make sure your site loads fast and is lean.
Users are diverted to separate mobile sites by some companies, but this may cause problems. If you use a mobile subdomain (such as http://m.domain.com), it can split your link equity, raise concerns about diverting traffic without informing the user and offering options, and increase resource consumption.
When sites present different content for different devices in different ways, Google can become suspicious.
A responsive web design (when a website adapts automatically to both mobile and desktop devices) provides an experience optimized for each device while keeping the content the same for everyone. This can improve Google’s searches based on secondary signals, such as page visits, time spent on a page, and visit durations.
Learn more about how to make your website mobile-friendly.
3. Shady Link Building
Those sites engaging in questionable link-building practices are in the crosshairs of Google’s Penguin updates. Link building can help businesses gain significant amounts of traffic, but it also poses some risks.
Your site’s rankings can be negatively affected by unnatural, spam-like, irrelevant, and “black-hat” backlinks. It is imperative today that backlinks are done at a natural pace, that they are diverse, that they are natural, and that they look natural. In addition to links linking out to authority sites, cross-linking between pages is also important to help Google crawlers understand your website.
You may have to remove questionable backlinks to your site if the Penguin updates hurt you, and you might need to ask webmasters to remove those links.
Learn more about link building strategies.
4. Images That Are Not SEO Friendly
Currently, many website designs place emphasis on stunning visuals without considering how those visuals can negatively impact search rankings.
It is not uncommon for people to use beautiful fonts and strong colors to make the page appealing, but to Google, it is just an image. The following example demonstrates how to retain the beauty of a banner as well as optimize it for search engine optimization by creating all of the text elements in a banner as ‘live text.’
5. Poor Navigation
Visitor engagement will suffer if visitors have trouble navigating your site because the navigation is poorly set up.
Low engagement statistics are indicative of low authority, as are ‘crawlability’ issues and other technical issues. Your site will not rank well in search engines if it is considered irrelevant and is not thought to be useful to visitors. The business of search engines is to show the most relevant resources to their users.
6. Slow Page Load Speed
Try using GTmetrix to test several of your pages and implement the suggestions it provides. By implementing just a few of their suggestions, you can reduce the load time of your website by several seconds.
Google PageSpeed Tools can also help you increase the speed of your site, according to Ewton of Delegator.com.
There may be a problem with your Web hosting service. I believe that paying for fast, reliable, and secure hosting services is the way to go. Start out with shared hosting if you’re new to it. If your organization grows or if you are large, you should consider a dedicated server. All aspects of your website can be controlled, which is what you want anyway.
7. Improper Redirects
A Web page, or even an entire site, might need to be moved to a new URL. By using a 301 redirect, users and search engines can be directed to the correct page,
There’s a good chance that links and URLs from your old website don’t properly connect to your new one if you rebuilt your site without enlisting a reputable SEO. In order for users to find the old site pages and to ensure those pages pass “link juice” to your current site, your Webmaster should set up 301 redirects from old pages to your new ones.
Use 301 redirects to correct any 404 “not found” errors on your website. It is easy to find your 404s with Google Webmaster Tools, so you can 301-redirect them. This can be daunting on big sites, but it is an essential task. Learn more about different types of redirects.
8. Messy URLs
Content management systems and blog platforms can sometimes generate awkward URLs. For instance, there may be a page that has “index.php?p=283671” at the end of the URL.
These messy URLs can harm your reputation and credibility with search engines and users, resulting in lower click-through rates. Set up proper 301 redirects on the old URLs to include a keyword that explains what the page is about, such as ‘dentist.com/dentures.’
An SEO-friendly URL will contain keywords and be easy to read and understand for both search engines and users.
The importance of having SEO-friendly URLs is that it allows your site to be indexed and ranked easily.
If your site’s CMS allows you to create link templates, you may be able to apply them across the entire site.
9. Too Much Flash
Though Flash isn’t as common on today’s websites, it can still inhibit search engines from indexing your site’s content.
10. Local Search and Structured Data Markup
Take advantage of local search data and Structured Data Markup if you haven’t already.
The best way for sites to increase local search traffic is to ensure they are on all the local search data providers, such as Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Bing and Yellow Pages.
In local SEO, the most common problem I find is with clients’ location-specific Web pages. Businesses often lack them altogether. With separate Web pages for each location, businesses can take advantage of local SEO, which caters to people who are looking for information about local businesses. Increasing use of mobile devices is also fueling this trend.
Using Structured Data Markup can enhance your site’s search results through “rich snippets.” A good example would be a list of upcoming events at a nightclub beneath the main search result listing for that nightclub. Structured data markup and rich snippets may not directly affect rankings in search results, but they can help improve clickthrough rates.