9 Common Technical SEO Issues That Actually Matter

December 20, 2023
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Technical SEO issues can be the hidden culprits behind diminished website performance, reduced organic traffic, and lower search engine rankings. They can sneak into a website's code, structure, or server configuration, and if left unaddressed, can wreak havoc on your online visibility and overall digital marketing efforts. To effectively optimize your website for search engines, it is essential to not only focus on keyword research, content creation, and link building, but also to be aware of and fix any technical SEO problems that may be lurking beneath the surface.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss nine common technical SEO issues that you should not ignore, and provide tips and best practices to address them. With the help of Ranked, a leading provider of affordable SEO for businesses and white label SEO services, we aim to empower you with the knowledge and tools necessary to tackle these technical challenges and boost your website's presence in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

1. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to large blocks of content that either completely match or are very similar to content found on other pages of your website or external domains. Search engines may have difficulty determining which versions to index or display in search results, potentially leading to lower rankings for all versions involved.

To identify duplicate content, use tools like Google Search Console, Siteliner, or Copyscape. To resolve duplicate content issues, consider the following:

- Rewrite or rephrase content to make it unique.
- Use canonical tags to indicate the preferred version of a page to search engines.
- Implement 301 redirects to permanently redirect users to the correct version.

2. Improper Use of Heading Tags

Heading tags, ranging from H1 through H6, help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your web content. Misusing heading tags can confuse search engines and negatively impact your site's SEO.

To optimize heading tags:

- Use only one H1 tag per page for the primary topic of the page.
- Organize your content with a hierarchy of subheadings, preferably using H2 and H3 tags.
- Incorporate relevant keywords into your heading tags, but avoid keyword stuffing.

3. Broken Links

Broken links are hyperlinks that lead to non-existent pages, usually due to a moved or deleted target page, or a typo in the link's URL. Broken links can undermine user experience and hurt your website's SEO by making it difficult for search engines to crawl your site and pass page authority through internal links.

To find and fix broken links:

- Use tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Broken Link Checker to identify broken links on your site.
- Replace or update broken links with valid URLs.
- Set up custom 404 error pages to help users navigate back to your site when encountering broken links.

4. Slow Page Load Speed

Slow page load speeds can lead to high bounce rates, decreased user engagement, and lower rankings in search engine results. According to Google, the probability of a user bouncing from your site increases by 32% as page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds.

To improve page load speed, consider the following optimizations:

- Optimize your images and media files by compressing, resizing, or using a content delivery network (CDN).
- Leverage browser caching to store static files on users' devices for faster load times on subsequent visits.
- Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to reduce file sizes.
- Implement lazy loading to defer offscreen elements until a user scrolls to their vicinity.

5. Mobile Unfriendliness

With the rise of mobile search queries, search engines like Google prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their search results. A site that's not optimized for mobile devices may struggle to rank well in mobile search results.

To make your site mobile-friendly:

- Opt for a responsive web design that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions.
- Ensure that your site's font sizes, button sizes, and tap targets are easily legible and touch-friendly for mobile users.
- Use tools like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to identify potential mobile usability issues and areas for improvement.

6. Improper Use of Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file is used to guide search engine bots on how to crawl and index your website. Incorrectly configuring this file can lead to undesired crawling behavior or accidental blocking of important pages from search results.

To use the robots.txt file effectively:

- Don't accidentally block essential CSS or JavaScript files, as this can hinder search engines from rendering and understanding your web pages.
- Allow crawling of important web pages that you want to appear in search results.
- Use the Google Search Console's Robots.txt Tester to ensure that your file is properly formatted and free from errors.

7. Missing or Poorly Implemented Schema Markup

Schema markup is a form of structured data that helps search engines better understand the content of your web pages, potentially leading to enhanced SERP features like Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panels, or Rich Snippets.

To properly implement schema markup:

- Choose the most relevant schema types and properties for your content, as per the guidelines at Schema.org.
- Use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool or Rich Results Test to validate your markup and ensure it's error-free.
- Keep schema markup up-to-date and relevant as your website content changes.

8. Unsecured Website (HTTP)

Website security has become a significant factor in search engine rankings, with Google now favoring sites that use HTTPS (secured with SSL certificates) over those that don't. An unsecured website can create vulnerability to data breaches and lower your search rankings.

To secure your website with HTTPS:

- Obtain an SSL certificate from a trusted certificate authority.
- Install the SSL certificate on your web server.
- Update your internal and external links to HTTPS and set up proper 301 redirects.

9. Lack of XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap helps search engine crawlers to navigate and index your website's content more efficiently. A missing or poorly structured sitemap can hinder search engines' ability to discover and index your site's pages, which may result in lower rankings.

To create and optimize your XML sitemap:

- Generate an XML sitemap using tools like XML-Sitemaps.com or Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
- Include only important pages in your sitemap and remove low-quality or duplicate content.
- Submit your sitemap to major search engines like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Stay Ahead in the SEO Game with Ranked

Addressing these nine common technical SEO issues can make a significant impact on your website's organic traffic, user experience, and search engine rankings. However, as the world of SEO constantly evolves, staying vigilant and proactive in tackling these challenges is crucial for long-term success.

Ranked, a provider of affordable SEO for businesses and white label SEO services, equips you with the expertise, tools, and support needed to navigate the complexities of technical SEO. Our team of professionals can help you identify and fix technical issues, optimize your site for both user experience and search performance, and guide you through the ever-changing world of digital marketing. Reach out to Ranked today to lift your website's presence in the SERPs and unlock its full potential.