In this blog, we’ll be looking at some of the most common mistakes people make when they’re optimizing their website. The goal is to help you avoid those pitfalls and get your rankings back on track.
The “common mistakes in website structure” is a common issue that most websites face. This article will show you how to avoid these mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes, and SEO teams are no exception. There will be mistakes while dealing with large websites, development updates, CMS difficulties, scripts, pictures, and plug-ins/add-ons while attempting to incorporate ongoing SEO and content strategies. The good news is that everyone learns from their errors, and this is true in the SEO sector as well.
Technical SEO audits are often used to identify mistakes that have a detrimental influence on rankings, conversions, and objectives. We spoke about this in last week’s SEMrushchat.
We were really fortunate to have two outstanding SEO professionals, Joe Hall and Joe Williams, join us. With over 10 years of expertise helping businesses improve their online presence, Hall is the founder and SEO consultant of Hall Analysis. Williams founded TribeSEO with the goal of making SEO more accessible to small companies.
The first question we posed to our specialists was how often and why they performed technical audits of customers’ websites. At the very least, Hall and Williams agreed on annual audits.
- “Audits are performed on several of my regular customers at least once a year. Some every six months or more, particularly if they’re making a lot of modifications to the site. It’s also a good idea to seek an audit before or after launching a new site or design. Ideally, before.” Joe Hall is a writer.
Williams used an automobile analogy to convey his approach to technical audits:
- “I do a comprehensive technical SEO audit once a year, much as I get my vehicle serviced by a technician once a year. I depend on alerts from technologies like SEMrush, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics for serious concerns.” – Williams, Joe
- “I propose doing a technical audit of your site on a quarterly basis, similar to when you go to the doctor for a checkup. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on analytics for warning indicators, but looking beneath the hood may help you foresee issues.” Slawski, Bill
- “Topical audits are something I prefer to perform on a monthly basis. – Site speed in January. Backlink analysis in February. Internal linking in March. April…however, this is normally only suitable for big, corporate sites – but it may be adjusted to work for smaller sites.” J.P. Sherman
- “Depending on the size of the site and the frequency with which it is updated, it is updated on a regular basis. I would suggest weekly for an ecommerce site with a lot of new and modified goods, for example. Other, less-frequently visited sites, maybe once a quarter or even once a year.” – Cox, Simon
- “At my day work, we undertake “site assessments,” which are high-level audits that take a couple of hours. I would do one of these regularly to compare over time, and if there are no abnormalities, a full-on, under the hood, nooks and crannies audit should be done once a year.” – Marianne Sweeny
- “I do technical audits by L2 quarterly for larger/enterprise customers to guarantee nothing has gone wrong. With smaller customers, once a year or once every six months be enough, as long as the site analytics and indexation performance are monitored.” Kat Hammoud (Kat Hammoud)
Resources and Time
Everyone’s position, time constraints, and finances are different; a firm with a full-fledged in-house SEO staff will find it significantly simpler to do monthly technical audits than a small business.
If you are struggling with Resources and Time, you could always utilize the SEMrush site audit tool and stay informed on a continual basis about issues that arise. Then, every six months to a year, pay an SEO expert to audit everything to ensure your site is up to speed. With all the Google updates and changes, have an expert review your sites is essential.
The second question focused on the most important technical issues that clients have encountered with their websites, the effect on performance, and how they might be prevented.
No indexing technical concerns, as well as sites being fully blacklisted by robots.txt, have come up often in our SEO community.
- “The greatest difficulty I’ve had is with Noindexing sites that were online for testing and soft launch, and then failing to remove the tag after authorized.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
- “How many times has a new customer approached us with a site that is completely blacklisted by robots.txt? There’s nothing else to go but up!!!” Morgan Hennessey (Morgan Hennessey)
- “Because new site designs are nearly never completed on time, they are often pushed out the door. Search engines are blocked, redirects are forgotten, site performance suffers, and rankings suffer as a result. Before, during, and after a roll-out, the greatest solution is prevention.” – Williams, Joe
- “Among the most notable are one that noindexes all of the pillar content, another that insists on browser-side rendering for Angular JS, and a third that indexes their dev site, which subsequently ranks above their genuine slte for branded phrases…” Ruchlewicz, Sam
- “Back when I worked for an agency, I had a client whose primary site was no-indexed (no huge concern), but his 500 duplicate sites, each with 10,000 pages, were not. Did I mention that each page featured a 12-megabyte image of his face?” J.P. Sherman
- “The home page is not being indexed. There are no ranks, no traffic, nothing. In a couple of days, I removed the noindex, retrieved the primary site structure in GSC, and voilà, I was an SEO wizard.” – Reaney, Adam
- “Because a dissatisfied former employee wasn’t quickly removed from Lastpass, we added noindex tags to all of our sites. It was a good time.” – Gossage, David
- “A large site with 20 million URLs from faceted navigation indexed. Normally not a huge issue, but this site had an odd IA that forced me to develop a conditional logic to de-index the URLs. Then to top it all off, the site was in Portuguese & I only speak English” – Joe Hall
- “Infinite scroll was put up on one site in such a manner that it resulted in at least 12 spider traps. Although the site had a fair number of backlinks, resolving the loops seemed to result in a ranking rise.” Slawski, Bill
When doing technical audits, there are often many faults to address; however, how do you prioritize which technical errors to fix first?
- “Based on their influence on rankings, traffic, and danger level, they are categorized as High, Medium, and Low. It’s a high priority matter for me if I find a breach of Google’s standards.” Joe Hall is a writer.
- “Indexation problems are fixed first, particularly if crucial sites aren’t showing up in Google (the URL Inspection Tool from Google is great for figuring out why). Then I concentrate on site-wide technical problems that impact top-performing pages as well.” – Williams, Joe
Joe Hall’s suggestion of categorizing them as High, Medium, or Low risk is an excellent place to start. Indexation, as mentioned by Joe William, is certainly a “high” danger, as is anything that violates Google criteria or has an influence on results. Anything that falls into the high-risk category should be dealt with as soon as feasible.
Other crucial areas indicated by our participants were any faults that have an influence on users and conversions. They also said that they prioritize issues based on the severity of the problem and the amount of time it takes to resolve it:
- “Start with the ones that have the most influence on macro-conversions and revenue: traffic, site flow, content engagement, local exposure, right language version…whatever earns your client money.” Marianne Sweeny (Marianne Sweeny)
- “Consider how quickly the issue in question can be fixed, then prioritize by user experience, conversion rate & overall SEO impact!” – Ben Austin
- We prioritise our technical fixes by: Which ones are most likely to affect traffic & conversions. Which issues affect the most important pages What fixes will have the biggest impact vs time spent. Time needed – if it will take 6 weeks to fix, start now! – FSE Digital
- “The following factors are used to prioritize suggestions for implementation: 1. Most Impact 2. Ease of Implementation 3. Time to Implement” – Bill Slawski
Additional Reading: SEMrush Study: 40 Technical SEO Mistakes
According to a research published by SEMrush, duplicate content is a key SEO error that occurs often. Approximately half of the websites in our analysis had this issue. With this in mind, we asked our SEO specialists whether they had encountered a similar problem and what they did to resolve it.
Both responded with a resounding affirmative.
- “Yes, this is a topic I bring up in practically every audit I do. Sites that employ the same marketing content on every landing page are often the source of difficulties. Only by pressuring them to generate distinct **relevant ** material for each page will they be able to remedy it.” Joe Hall is a writer.
- “Duplicate material is prevalent, particularly on ecommerce sites that “share” manufacturer product descriptions. More value is required for these sorts of sites by producing original material, promoting feedback, and, where appropriate, adding videos.” – Williams, Joe
Our community has contributed some identical content observations and solutions:
- “This is a HUGE issue for some sites, especially ones w/siloed teams. Copy/paste the same content across pgs in the same experience due to lack of content & knowledge that this is bad practice. We crawl & identify duplicate content & decide where it should live.” – Kat Hammoud
- “The quarterly audit would aid in your understanding of your material, what it is, and where it resides. When dealing with duplicate material, determine its purpose and the sort of traffic it receives before devising a strategy for eliminating or diverting it.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
- “When a customer has an SSL without redirection or a preferred site version, the duplication is the worst. The Hello site has been multiplied by four. Fortunately, a redirect generally suffices.” – Your Highness Bermime
- “Most of the time, developers create staging servers that result in duplicate content issues. To overcome this, add robots noindex nofollow meta tag & rules in robots.txt file for duplicate content pages & staging servers. Also, defining canonical URLsolves this.” – Amar
- “Duplicate material isn’t normally a penalty, but it may lead to missed chances – make every page work for you by making it distinctive and responsive to inquiries that your audience wants answered/needs to know.” Slawski, Bill
- “There is no penalty for duplicate material. You squander the indexing resources allotted to your site by the search engine if you do not declare: 1) the pages you want the search engine to concentrate on, and 2) which version is the best to visit.” Marianne Sweeny (Marianne Sweeny)
The recommended practices for title tags and meta descriptions were the subject of our last query. In the same SEMrush investigation, we discovered that almost seven out of ten websites had difficulties with missing meta descriptions.
So we asked our experts whether all of their web pages had distinct title tags and meta descriptions, and if so, what recommendations they had for creating them.
Joe Hall said, “It is SEO best practices to have unique titles & meta tags. Unique meta tags are probably a little less important, but I do think it helps. For title tags, they are so important that you are going to want to do them by hand…unless you have a specific meta tag strategy, you can automate them by leveraging your CMS. For example, many WordPress devs do this:”
<meta name=”description” content=”<?php echo wp_strip_all_tags( get_the_excerpt(), true ); ?>” />
“By including that code snippet in your theme, the first 55 words of a post will be piped in. This is a simple method for automating meta description tags.”
Although many people believe that unique titles and meta descriptions are superfluous and wasteful, particularly for huge websites, you may still concentrate on the pages that are critical to achieving your objectives:
- “Writing meta descriptions for each page isn’t exactly a best-practice requirement. This may be a tremendous waste of time for really big sites. Depending on how much time you have, write meta descriptions for the most crucial pages first.” Ramsey, Michael
- “No, not every page on my website has its own title and meta description tag, but every page I want to rank does?” – Williams, Joe
- “Google will select text from your page that may include query terms your page was found in a search for. If you anticipate those searches, you can write meta descriptions that engage & lead to more traffic. Why rank highly if no one selects your page in SERPs?” – Bill Slawski
- “Consider employing AI/NLP to build abstractive summaries from the material if you require excellent meta descriptions at scale. I created an easy-to-follow lesson here: https://t.co/EoCeg6qINX, and @cyberandy created another here: https://t.co/wgqbOzIj9Z.” – Batista, Hamlet
- “Meta descriptions are generally overlooked by Google, yet they are a great practice that may improve CTR. I make sure they contain major keywords (a user and Google relevance indication) and that it’s a decent overview of what a user will discover on the page.” Danny Conlon (Danny Conlon) (Danny Conlon) (
- “Only use the meta description to propose what should appear in the SERP – it’s a terrific marketing tool (so use it!). Google will choose an appropriate description depending on the user query, which may or may not be your meta description!” – Cox, Simon
The Only SEO Checklist You’ll Need in 2020: 41 Best Practices is a recommended read.
We’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our SEO specialists and the rest of our supportive community for participating in last week’s #SEMrushchat and sharing their knowledge about SEO blunders.
Do you have any pointers on how to prevent SEO blunders that you’d like to share? We’d be delighted to hear them. Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. We hope you’ll join us every Wednesday for SEMrushchat.
The “seo what not to do” is a list of common mistakes that people make when trying to optimize their websites for search engines. The article will also include tips on how to avoid those mistakes.
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