Even though more companies are putting efforts into improving their search engine optimization, many of them aren’t going far enough. Learning how to write SEO-friendly blogs and improving the user-friendliness of your site isn’t enough. In order to properly climb the SEO ladder, you need to make sure you aren’t ignoring the technical side of your efforts.
That’s because sites like Google and Bing need to be able to send web crawlers through your site to index them correctly. If their systems can’t do that, your website isn’t going to rank very well. Fortunately, your company can avoid this issue by knowing which common technical SEO problems are hurting your overall rankings. Once you’ve nailed these down, you should see a noticeable increase in your search result position.
There Are Too Many 404 Errors and 301 Redirects
If you don’t regularly check your site for errors, you’ll find that many show up over time that you could be completely unaware of. The most common errors are 404 errors. Whether they’re due to you moving the page somewhere else or an update breaking the link, a 404 error will pop up if a user can’t access a certain page. When site crawlers come across these, they will mark down your site for them.
Another common error that site crawlers don’t handle well is a 301 redirect. These occur when you replace an old URL with a newer one. If you don’t do a redirect, you could end up with a 404 error, so these are important to do. However, linking too many of them in a 301-redirect chain will cause issues. Not only will they make your pages run slower, but they will confuse crawlers, leading to further issues.
The Robots.txt File Is Broken or Missing
All websites need to have a robots.txt file. They are what tell the crawlers which pages to index. If this file is missing or broken, the web crawlers will index every page on your site, including the hidden ones. This will lead to many more problems you were likely trying to avoid, such as multiple pages with duplicate content.
Your Site Isn’t HTTPS Secure
One thing that crawlers don’t like is an insecure site. If you don’t have an SSL certificate or forgot to enable HTTPS, the site crawlers will mark you down for not having a safe website for users to visit. In many cases, this will lead to visitors receiving a prompt telling them that the site isn’t secure and warning them about proceeding. Obviously, this will hurt your overall rankings and potentially your site itself. Without this level of security, you will be vulnerable to hackers and cyberattacks.
You Have Backlinks to Insecure Sites
Of course, your site being insecure isn’t the only one that can hurt its rankings. Having backlinks that send users to other sites that aren’t secure will also have an effect. Even if a crawler thinks that the linked site is too spammy, they’ll mark you down for it.
This is because search engines don’t want to accidentally send users to malicious sites. Doing so might hurt their reputation. As long as you keep a close eye on the online locations you link to, you shouldn’t have to worry about this issue.
The Data on Your Site Isn’t Structured
No matter what kind of website you run, there will be a lot of data working behind the scenes. If you don’t use a structured data code to organize your site’s content, web crawlers will struggle to understand what your site is all about. Fortunately, there are many tools out there that can make this structuring process easier, but if you ignore it altogether, your rankings will suffer.
You Didn’t Send an Indexed Sitemap
Our final technical SEO issue that is likely hurting your site’s rankings is failing to send an indexed sitemap of your website to the most commonly used search engines. Even though web crawlers are becoming more advanced by the day, they sometimes need a little bit of help. Sending an indexed sitemap will give them a roadmap to better understanding your site. Once they’ve completed this task correctly, you should notice a significant boost in your rankings.