Most Common Technical SEO Issues that Can Kill Rankings

Most Common Technical Issues That Kill SEO

In this article I’m going to share the most common technical SEO tactics that helped us almost double our organic traffic and rankings without having to build new backlinks or create new content.

Curious how you can do the same for your business? Let’s get started…

From the beginning of my SEO career I’ve learned and then understood the importance of technical SEO. On-site and technical SEO are the key actions that should be taken from the start of taking any website and continued to be done permanently. 

Working on Hexact’s 4 main products I do SEO audits once in a month, BUT this does not mean that I don’t check websites’ health issues during this period. There are some manual checks, but we have mostly automated this process thanks to our tool – Hexometer, that lets us monitor our websites’ technical issues and send automated reports to our emails. Of course we also check Google Search Console and other tools and extensions for our websites’ audit process. 

So I would divide this process into 2 main subprocesses (if I can say so 🙂 ) 

  1. Ad-hoc tasks
  2. Monthly tasks

Ad-Hoc Tasks for Finding SEO Issues 

Checking Pages Indexation Issues 

I have automated this task, so there is no need for me to check the issues manually. Hexometer sends me alert emails every time the website I track is having any indexation issues. So I don’t miss a single page indexation issue on any of our websites. The issue with indexation can occur, if the page is: 

  1. Blocked by robots.txt
  2. Marked as noindex
  3. Redirected
  4. Returns an HTTP 404 status code
  5. Crawled, but currently not indexed (as it has quality issues).
  6. Duplicate content.
  7. Soft 404 error
  8. Crawl issue 

All those issues have salvation, the thing is to reveal them and quickly resolve for not having any effects on SEO. 

Checking for 4xx errors

4xx issues show that a page that once existed is no longer live and has not been redirected to any other page. These HTTP 4xx status codes (such as a 404 error) can also impact websites’ SEO.

All the 4xx errors are client side errors. For 4xx issues detection I also use Hexometer and/or Google Search Console. So I know instantly that there are 4xx issues on my website. 

Checking for Canonical Tags

Canonical tag serves as a way to solve duplicate content issues quickly and easily, and this is not something new in SEO. Canonical tags have been used since 2009 by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. 

A canonical tag (rel=“canonical”) is a snippet of HTML code that defines the main version for duplicate, near-duplicate and similar pages. This means that if you have the same or similar content under different URLs, you can use canonical tags to specify which version is the main one and should be indexed.

I check canonical tags issues mostly with Hexometer, as it provides me with a weekly report for all the technical issues the website has, including issues with canonical tags. I also check the pages for missing canonical tags with the Meta SEO Inspector extension, which is really quick. 

This is a Hexometer dashboard that shows all the technical SEO issues:

Checking for Content Duplication Issues

Content duplication, whether it is a blog post, web page or meta data content, is also one of the worst SEO issues. Google can even penalize websites that use duplicate content, or just deindex those pages, as the bot does not “understand” the difference between the pages that represent the same content. 

Even if you have hundreds of pages for the same service with just one difference, for example, the location, you still have to write different content for each page. Yes, sure this will be very similar, but still not duplicate.

In the metadata just changing the anchor “HVAC services in Florida” to “HVAC services in New Jersey” will completely change the game. 

Missing Metadata

Missing metadata issues often occur when you just took a project, and have not yet started your optimizations. But in any case, there are situations when technical issues occur or new pages are deployed, and you did not manage to implement metadata yet. So to avoid those situations I advise you to check the metadata issues with various tools and extensions, or set up alerts just like I did. 

Monthly Tasks for Finding SEO Issues 

Checking for Website Speed

Slow website speed can harm your website’s performance, and thus affect SEO rankings and traffic. That’s why it’s vital to check the website’s mobile and desktop speed periodically.

There are lots of free tools for checking website speed, but I mostly use Google developers tool that shows all the needed Core web Vitals info for understanding my website speed issues. 

These metrics are really important, so the dev team should work on these issues to have proper results. 

Checking robots.txt and sitemap

An XML/HTML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages you want search engines to index and rank. I advise you to review your website’s XML sitemap during every technical SEO audit to make sure it includes all the pages you want to rank. 

The issues with sitemap can be as follows: 

  • Incorrect pages in your sitemap
  • Format errors in your sitemap

Google Search Console also can show Sitemap and robots.txt issues. 

As for Robots.txt file: it is a text file that tells search engines which pages they should or shouldn’t crawl. Wrong single line of code in robots.txt can prevent search engines from crawling your entire site. So it’s vital to make sure your robots.txt file doesn’t disallow any folder or page you want to appear in search results.

Checking for Crawlability Issues

Google and other search engines have to be able to crawl and index your webpages in order to rank them.

That’s why crawlability and indexability are considered to be a huge part of SEO.

You can check the crawlability issues by ahrefs or other tools: 

Checking for Internal Linking Issues 

Internal links are links that point from one page to another page within your domain.

They make a good website architecture, and also distribute the so called “link juice” across the pages to help the bots identify important pages

Summing Up

This was my vision and my experience of technical seo issues that can affect badly and harm your website. All those issues can be solved by a professional team of seo specialists, developers and content writers. 

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