SEO audit is a great tool for discovering the existence of technical problems in a website that may lower its ranking in the Search Engines Results Pages and affect your Internet marketing efforts. The following are 10 such common problems that need to be resolved quickly to boost up the site’s rankings.
1. XML site maps not updated regularly:
XML site maps need to be kept current in order to make the search bots find all parts of your website without difficulty. Otherwise, new links will not be found and outdated links will be reported with a page not found error. To resolve this, make your XML site map dynamic, and regularly submit updated site maps the search engines either automatically or manually.
2. Duplicate pages being found:
This problem is common in websites hosted on Windows servers. Search engines report the existence of duplicate versions of the home page at http://yourpage.com and http://yourpage.com/default.aspx. To resolve the issue, identify the pages that are facing this problem by checking the sitemap manually or by using a tool like Screaming Frog. Thereafter install canonical tags or 301 redirects in the duplicate pages pointing to the right homepage. Another solution is to use the robots.txt file to block those pages of the website that you do not want the bots to crawl.
3. Poorly programmed robots.txt
While we’re on the subject of robots.txt, ensure that it is programmed correctly. In many cases, due to programming errors in robots.txt, blocked URLs get indexed by the search engines. The only solution to this problem is to manually check the robots.txt file and fix any errors that you might encounter.
4. Homepage not canonicalized properly:
Ideally, a website should have a single homepage with the URL http://homepage.com, or http://www.homepage.com, and not both in order to avoid duplicate content being reported. If both pages are separately existing, then modify one of the pages and cannonicalize it to point to the actual URL you want to assign to the homepage. Thereafter, log into Google Webmaster tools and select this page as your preferred version of the homepage.
5. Wrong redirect type:
If you are deleting or moving a page permanently, don’t forget to install a 301 (permanent) redirect instead of a 302 (temporary) redirect. A 301 allows you to retain the link juice, while 302 does not. Wrongly installing a 302 redirect will result in the loss of link equity in the page.
6. URL resolution issue
.NET web hosting servers respond to URLs written in uppercase well, but have problems in resolving lowercase URLs. This often results in a page not found error. Use the URL Rewrite Module from Microsoft to easily correct this issue.
7. Soft 404 (Page not found) errors:
Sometimes when a user tries to access a page on your website, he sees a 404 error. However, when the search engine tries to access the page, the 404 error is coupled with an HTTP 200 status code, which tells the search engine that the page is accessible. The search engine tries to find the page and fails. To resolve this, identify the soft 404 pages using Google Webmaster tools or Web Sniffer, and manually visit each page to check the error codes.
8. Mobile friendliness
Google recommends that all websites should be mobile friendly, i.e. it should adapt to any screen size. If your website is not mobile friendly, then it is a major technical SEO issue, and is likely to cause a drop in rankings and CTR. Immediately consider shifting to a responsive web design framework to make your site mobile friendly.
9. Poor Navigation
If your website does not have a clear navigational structure, then not only the visitors, but also the search bots will have great difficulties in finding all the pages. Google considers poor navigation as a sign of low authority of the site. Investigate the link structure of the site and ensure that all the pages are linked hierarchically in order to get discovered easily.
10. Images not optimized properly:
Heavy images impact the page load times, causing a drop in rankings. Go to the Google Page Speed insights tool to check whether any image in the website needs to be optimized. Also ensure that proper tags and titles are included in the images for better indexing.
An SEO service in Phoenix can help you resolve the above mentioned issues seamlessly and ensure that your website goes up in the rankings.