Many people view the search engine optimization (SEO) process as relatively uncomplicated, but this is simply untrue. Optimizing content for search engines requires a lot of effort and expertise, especially if you consider that every year there are unexpected and erratic Google algorithm updates.
SEO can be defined as the process of optimizing a website for a higher ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It consists of two activities: on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to the optimization of a website, while off-page practices relate to the promotion of the site.
Getting the desired results is a continuous process, the outcome depends upon the strategies applied and how the problems with SEO are dealt with.
In many ways, SEO is a process of trial and error – but if these activities are executed with proper planning and keeping in mind your competitors’ efforts, anyone can win the SEO game.
To obtain success in getting a high rank for your website, one has to fix the SEO problems encountered along the way. The most common SEO issues (and their solutions) are as follows:
The same content present on different web pages is known as duplicate content. To be considered duplicate by search engines, content can be either 100 percent identical or close to the same. Having duplicate content on websites creates confusion for web crawlers – search engine robots do not understand which page to crawl and rank.
Steps for fixing duplicate content issues are:
The time spent by a user on your website depends upon the loading time of your website. If the website speed is good on different devices, the user won’t get irritated and will stay on the website. So it becomes crucial to have a good website loading speed, which should be less than two seconds.
Links on your web page that are not working are known as broken links. There are many reasons for a link to be broken, like renaming a web page and not changing the internal links, linking to content that has been deleted or moved or linking to a third-party page and thus not knowing when changes are being made to the page. Broken link issues are fixed by deleting the broken link or by redirecting it to the correct location. The best solution is to make the page live again, especially if links are on it.
Text to HTML Ratio
The ideal ratio for text to HTML should be 25-70 percent. This ratio determines how much text will be visible as opposed to HTML elements. The sites with more visible text rank higher on SERPs.
To fix the issue:
1. Validate the HTML code.
2. Check the load speed of the website.
3. Remove hidden text.
4. Add simple text to the page.
5. Reduce the size of a page and keep it under 300KB.
6. Use internal linking.
7. Compress your images.
Alt Tags and Broken Images
Google crawlers can’t read images. In this case, alt tags play a crucial role. Assigning proper alt tags by including relevant keywords helps crawlers in reading the image. With the help of alt tags, Google will be able to deliver the right images on SERP as per the query made by the user.
Broken images, on the other hand, are the ones that do not appear.
To fix broken images, start by making sure you have indeed uploaded an image. Check the filename and extension, do not link files from your computer and check your file paths.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
A meta description is the “gist” of the web page that gets displayed on the search engine page and title tags help users to understand the topic after a click on the title link. As per SEO, to get a higher rank on SERPs, it becomes vital to optimize web pages and blogs by providing proper title tags and meta descriptions with keywords in them. Various plugins are available online like Yoast SEO, SEO Framework and SEOPress for WordPress.
URL optimization involves inserting relevant keywords and page-related information. So, it becomes easy for the user and crawlers to understand the content of a URL.
A URL has to be SEO-friendly. By SEO-friendly, we mean including keywords in the URL, use of lowercase letters, hyphens to separate words, having a static URL and limiting folders in the URL structure. URL optimization also helps you to avoid duplicate content.
Improper navigation between internal web pages confuses search engine robots. Having a proper website structure with easy navigation helps crawlers in crawling your pages. It is good to have a clear hierarchical website structure to curb the bounce rate. Follow the rule of three clicks, by which a user can reach the desired page within three clicks on the website.
Providing a great mobile experience should be a priority for marketers.
Points to consider when making the mobile experience interactive for users:
- Platform designs on Android and iOS
- Having a seamless onboarding process
- Understanding the context of mobile interactions
- User-friendly accessibility
- Regular testing
The user experience (UX) of your website is boosted when users can easily access your pages and find their desired results as per their search.
Indexing of the Site
Indexed pages are those which web crawlers have visited, analyzed and included in their database of web pages. Through Google Search Console, marketers can request their site pages are indexed. Indexing is vital for your website to appear on search results, as search engines use keywords and metadata for onsite searching.
XML sitemaps are a kind of folder that lets search engines know about all the URLs of your website with the type of content each page contains and how to find it. You can find the sitemap by typing sitemap.xml at the end of the domain in the browser.
XML sitemaps are created using online tools such as Slickplan, Mindnode, Writemaps, PowerMapper and through the Yoast SEO plugin. With XML sitemaps, having an HTML sitemap is also vital. The HTML sitemap is a page where all the subpages of the website are listed. These subpages are visible to all users in the footer of the website.
When we do not want to share certain information with search engines, we use robots.txt. It is a text file created by webmasters to instruct crawlers how to crawl the website. Having a robots.txt file is not necessary for all websites. One can view the robots.txt file by entering “robots.txt” at the end of the domain.
To create a robots.txt file, use a text editor and fill the asterisk and syntax as per the requirement. Creating a robots.txt file maximizes your search engine crawl budget.
Canonical tags are the best option to solve the problem of duplicate content. It helps to remove the confusion of which page to crawl. It is a meta tag applied on the page level in the HTML header of a web page.
Canonical issues are sorted in two ways: using 301 redirects or adding canonical tags to your web pages to let crawlers know which page to prefer.
Usage of Structured Data
Structured data makes web crawlers understand your data better. It is also known as schema markup and improves the click-through rate, resulting in more leads.
There are different tools used to generate structured data, such as Schema.org, Google Codelabs, Knowledge Navigator, JSON-LD, Schema Generator and more. Structured data also includes rich snippets that help in enhancing the search results on SERPs.
Functioning of Contact Forms
The use of contact forms is for business inquiries, submissions, feedback, business proposals, questions, etc. The contact form displayed on the website is the source of generating leads. If they do not work properly or are missing from the website, this will result in reduced leads and conversions. The contact form creation requires installing and activating the WPForms plugin for the WordPress content management system (CMS). For other CMSes, it can be done through scripts and coding.
SEO is all about planning your strategies after doing competitor research and executing it with the right approach.
An SEO audit report reveals all the issues a website is facing that could result in a lower ranking. These foundational as well technical issues have to be sorted as early as possible for more traffic.
Taking into consideration all the above points regarding how to fix technical SEO issues will help to achieve a higher rank for your website on search engines and improve your sales.