5 Technical SEO Problems That Are Damaging Your Site (and How to Fix Them)

In this day and age, having a digital presence is almost as important as keeping a cell phone charged and ready for use no matter where you are. This digital presence is best presented by making your own website where you can sell your services, make some side cash through blogging, or just let people know about your business and keep them in the loop about how it’s doing.

After all, the catchphrase of our current era is Google it when we don’t know the answer to a question, not look it up in the library or see if they’re in the phone book.

Problems to look out for

Due to this new importance of the internet, it is a must to make your website easy to find and use. This is where quality SEO services come into play. However, if you can’t afford to pay for a reputable SEO company to check out your site and fix any problems they find, there are quite a few technical SEO problems that you can fix on your own so that more people can find you or your business.

Indexing

Have you ever typed in your website on Google to see what comes up? Much like typing in the name of your date from Tinder to make sure they aren’t a serial killer, searching for your website to make sure it is putting its best foot forward is equally important. If Google isn’t showing your website or the pages within, or if it is showing more than you want it to, there are a few things that can be tried to fix this problem.

Let’s discuss robots.txt file, canonicalization, and pagination as problems, and their solutions.

A technical solution that may work for your site is the robots.txt file. If you don’t want parts of your website to be indexed due to the webpages clogging up the system, or if you want to make sure the file is correctly coded, this is a very useful option. By using the “Disallow” code on pages that you do not wish to show up on a search engine, you clear up any bloating that may be occurring. And if your website has this file and has things marked as “Disallow” that you did not want marked as such, it would be a good idea to change that.

As for canonicalization, you may find that you have multiple pages showing up for the same content. This can also cause bloating for search engines, but can easily be fixed by adding a canonical tag to your header so that it will appear ahead of other pages. Combined with robots.txt, it could be the only page that appears if you wish.

Lastly, Pagination is great if your website is a boutique and all of your shoes are easier to find under one place. But if you are a blogger who reviews books, it wouldn’t be beneficial for all of your book reviews to act the same way. Due to the pages having the same meta information, they are considered duplicates, and will not show any variation. By placing these pages into sub categories, they will be easier for search engines to find.

Unnatural Word Count

This may be a bit strange to consider, but just because you wrote a 750-word article for your website, it doesn’t mean that it will show up as 750 words. Thanks to this possible technical SEO problem, your website will not only load slowly, but it may also lead search engines like Google to believe that your website is hiding malware. And if they think your site is dangerous, they aren’t going to allow your site to be shown well when people look for it.

The best way to fix this problem would be to double-check your word counts with a tool like Leaping Frog. If it doesn’t look right or seems fishy, check your CSS and Javascript to see if “Display: None” is in the code. If so, this is the reason for the problem. You can also ask your development team to look into this issue and fix it immediately so that you will no longer be penalized.

Internal Linking Structure

This may not seem like it is important, but it actually is. Think of it this way: Search engines have spiders that crawl through websites to find the right information. If the internal linking structure is poorly done, the spiders won’t be able to connect to your webpages, and their poorly made web will just be a few dangling strings in the digitally created wind instead of a strong, well-built web.

To fix this issue, you must first go through your website and make sure it is easy to go from one page to the next. If you can do this, so can your prospective customers. There is a lot of architectural work to be done for this fix, but it is worth the work and effort to make sure your site functions smoothly.

XML Sitemaps

Speaking of spiders crawling on your website, did you know your XML Sitemap makes it easier for them to get from place to place? If the XML Sitemap isn’t on the website, if it is not mentioned in the robot.txt file, or if there are multiples, then the spiders can easily weave their way throughout your site, especially if it is a large one.

The best way to help these spiders weave their way throughout your site is to either speak to your developers, or create and clean up your sitemap. This will help search engines bring your webpages up and to the forefront of searches. Just be careful that your website isn’t too big. Search engines like Google have a cap for how many URLs a sitemap may contain, so you may have to perform some spring cleaning every once in a while, depending on your site’s size.

Broken Backlinks

Have you ever clicked on a link that lead to a 404 error? This happens when a page no longer exists, which can be pretty frustrating, depending on what you’re looking for. If your site is bringing up broken backlinks, it is important that you redirect them with a 301 redirect so that search engines will at least bring people to your website, and not a 404 void of despair. The 301 redirect is a permanent redirect you create so that a page you no longer have available will bring customers to a similar page, or your home page.

Unfortunately, with a 404 error, users will not be able to navigate your site, and may end up going somewhere else for their needs, which is why a redirect is important.

You can choose to do a 302 redirect if you wish, but it will not be a permanent solution like the 301 redirect. Either way, there are a few different ways to perform a redirect based off of your comfort level for coding. For example, you could choose an IIS Redirect, a Cold Fusion Redirect, a PHP Redirect, or even a JSP Redirect, to name a few. It all depends on what you are most comfortable with.

Getting to work

These are a few of the most common technical SEO problems that may be damaging your site, so it is important to start with them to ensure your website is putting its best foot forward. There are many other possible reasons why your site may not be appearing when it is searched for, like being penalized by a search engine for something you didn’t know you were being penalized for. Your site may also have a bad rep due to someone else having the website name before you, like a vengeful spirit refusing to let go.

But remember, there is no problem that cannot be fixed with the help of your development team, a how-to-guide that can be found on the internet, or a trusted SEO company. So if your website seems like it may be in big trouble, just take a deep breath and perform one fix at a time.

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