You may think, once you created a website for your business, there isn’t much left to do except push traffic to your site and gather leads. But the truth is a website is never finished. There are always things you can do to improve and update your site. In fact, there are some details that, if left unattended, can even damage your website’s reputation on Google, causing you to miss out on quality leads and business.
We’ve compiled a list of seven common website issues that you need to fix immediately to make sure your website is working for you and not against you.
Think load time and page speed isn’t a ranking factor? Think again. A slow website can actually have a huge effect on your traffic and leads. Visitors to your site expect everything to load quickly and may leave your website. In fact, Google research shows that the chance of a bounce increases 32% when the page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds. While 2 seconds may not seem like much, it’s a huge difference to visitors who don’t want to wait.
Whether on your home page or your blog, outdated content is not only a turnoff to visitors—it can also have a negative effect on your SEO. Keeping your content fresh and updating regularly helps you better compete with other companies and keeps search engines crawling your site. The more up-to-date your content, the more Google and other search engines see your website as relevant and worthy of showing to their searchers.
You’ve probably visited a website before and clicked on a link that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s frustrating and may even cause you to leave the site and look elsewhere for what you need. But broken links also count against your site when it comes to SEO. Where working links prove the quality of your site to Google, broken links may drag you down in search results, meaning fewer people visit your website.
With more and more people using their phones and tablets to browse the internet and research businesses, it’s essential that your website is mobile-friendly. In addition to the desktop version of your site, Google will also crawl your mobile site to make sure everything functions from a mobile standpoint. That’s why it’s so important to have a mobile responsive design to give your users a better experience and help with search engine rankings.
Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like: any content that is very similar or identical to other content on your website. While you may not repeat content on your site, you may still have an issue with duplicate content if you have both HTTP and HTTPS versions of your site or you don’t manage both the www and non-ww versions of your website.
A header tag is how search engines determine what a page is about. Header tags start with H1 and descend in order of importance, so H2, H3, H4, and so on. Your H1 tag should be the page title and should include relevant keywords and describe the topic of your page. Just be sure not to overstuff your header tags with keywords as that can have negative results on your rankings.
The images on your website should be high-quality and should be the right size for your page. They also should include relevant alt text that describes the images is for search engines. You can use ShortPixel to reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality. If you need help optimizing your images, check out our Image Optimization services.
Errors You MUST Fix
- HTTP/HTTPS Versions: If the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website are not set properly, search engines can index both. This can cause duplicate content issues that may negatively affect your website rankings.
- www/non-www Versions: Websites are usually available with and without “www” in the domain name. It’s important to manage both URLs to prevent search engines from indexing two versions of a website.
- Redirects 301 and 302: 301 redirects are permanent and are usually used to solve duplicate content issues or to redirect URLs that are no longer necessary. 302 redirects, however, are temporary. If you use 302s instead of 301s, search engines may continue to index the old URLs and disregard the new ones as duplicate content.
- 4xx and 5xx Error Codes: 4xx errors often point to a problem on a website. For example, if visitors click a broken link on a page, they may see a 4xx error. 5xx errors occur when the server has a problem or error. It’s important to monitor and fix both types of errors because they can have a negative impact on your rankings.
- Page Size: There’s a direct correlation between the size of the page and its loading speed, which is also one of the numerous ranking factors. The general rule of thumb is to keep your page size under 3MB.
Things That Will Help:
- XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap should contain all of the pages of your website that you want to be indexed and should be located on the website one directory structure away from the homepage. You should update the sitemap each time you add new pages to your website.
- Robots.txt: The robots.txt file is automatically crawled by robots when they arrive at your website. This file should contain commands for robots, such as which pages should or should not be indexed.
- Dynamic URLs: URLs that contain dynamic characters like “?” or “_” and parameters are not user-friendly because they are not descriptive and are harder to memorize. To increase your webpages’ chances to rank, it’s best to set up descriptive URLs that include keywords, not numbers or parameters.
These are just a few of the site errors and issues that can be revealed with a comprehensive SEO Audit. A complete audit of your website breaks down every technical and content issue that needs to be repaired in order to improve the performance of your website.
You can also find performance errors on your site through an SEO audit. Issues such as page speed and title length can negatively impact your website performance and cause users to leave without taking the action you want them to take.
With an SEO audit, you can review your keywords and content and see whether you are correctly using your desired keywords on your site. You can also take a look at what your competitors are up to and what content and marketing strategies are working best for them.