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Top Ten Common Technical SEO Issues

Written by Natalie | 12-Jan-2012 10:37:32

On a daily basis the SEO team here at Equi=Media look at a lot of websites across a variety of niches and on a diverse range of scales.  We thought we’d share the top ten technical issues with the aim of making you aware if some of the more common technical pitfalls
Our observations are in no particular order; however we do consider each point to be a useful optimisation that should be considered more cautiously during the design and build of Websites.

1.    IP and geo location
Hosting server location can be very important to your search engine rankings.  Moving server from UK to overseas hosting can be detrimental to your UK search rankings.

2.    Redirects
This is an issue that crops up for most clients, where 302 temporary redirects are in place where 301 permanent redirects should be. It is a very common SEO misdemeanour.
 
3.    Crawler access
Blocking spiders incorrectly using Robots.txt and broken links hinder crawling and in some cases can completely prevent crawling and indexation.

4.    JavaScript
Google is improving the way they crawl and index sites using JavaScript, but other search engines are still catching up, so ensuring the use of JavaScript on your site is done in a search engine friendly manner is still an important factor.

5.    Flash
Again Google has made some improvements to way they spider Flash content but there is still some way to go before full visibility of Flash content is achieved, and again other search engines are still playing catch up.  There are some optimisations you can implement to minimise the negative impact of using Flash on your site but Flash is not supported by some Smart phones and tablets so if you plan to market to your audience via this format then a Flash based site is not the best option for you unless you plan to create a Flash free mobile version of your site.

6.    URL structure
This is key component to search engine optimisation and domain, folder structure and page naming are going to go a long way to making to your attractive to the search engines and users alike.

7.    Site Speed
Site load time is particularly key to pleasing users and search engines; we’ve all experienced the frustration of slow loading sites.  Google recognises this so uses site speed as a signal in the algorithm.  Making the effort to iron out the issues that cause slow page rendering will help your site rank better and improve user experience.

8.    Frames
Using frames in your web design can seriously hinder indexation of the content, so avoiding use of frames in your site design from the start will certainly be the best option.

9.    Duplicate Content
Database driven sites which create duplicate content via multiple URLs can cause issues with duplicate content, similarly pagination can cause an issue here too, for example archiving your article resources or a product in your online shop that crosses over into two categories.  Building in solutions for this into the site build and applying the right techniques from the start can reduce he negative impact of this.

10.    HTTP header codes
HTTP status codes are a set of standard response codes given by web site servers on the Internet. The codes help identify the cause of the problem when a web page or other resource does not load properly.
Ensuring your website serves the correct header codes is a core SEO concept.  One example is where a page cannot be found and produces a 404 error page to the user but the header code is actually producing a 200 page ok code, when it should be sending a 404 page not found code.

Summary

Many of the above issues can be fixed on sites which have been live for some time, but ensuring your site meets best practise guidelines during the development stage saves time and resources as well as ensuing your site has the best possible chance of being ranked well in the search results shortly after it goes live.


If you think your site could be suffering from one of the above issues, a technical audit can be a methodical way to pinpoint and document technical issues.