How to fix SEO errors | LinkWheel.Pro

A list of the most common SEO errors and how to fix them

Many SEO analysis tools such as Google Webmaster tools, SEMrush, YoastSEO, and others can show you errors and SEO tweaks needed in your website.  Here are the most common issues with descriptions and some of our tips to fix them.

302 Redirects

A 302 redirect means that a page has been temporarily moved to a new location. If you use a 302 redirect, bots won’t drop an old page out of the search engine’s index, and the value of the backlinks and the webpage’s popularity won’t be passed to a new webpage. Just remember to remove it, when it is not necessary anymore.

Tips: Use a 301 permanent redirect instead if it’s not going to change anytime soon.  Sometimes 302 redirects are properly used in shopping carts and these are OK and should just be masked from future error checking reports.

4XX Status errors

4xx errors happen on the client’s side. (400 – a user’s incorrect request; 401 – a user’s authentication is required; 403 – a user is not allowed to access a webpage etc.) Having a lot of error pages negatively affects both User Experience and a search engine robot’s crawlability, which can lead to less traffic to your website.

Tips: Always resolve 4xx errors.  If they are the result of renamed pages, then create a 301 redirect for that page.  There are great plug ins to find and fix these for WordPress but you can also fix them within your web host control panel by creating a “redirect”.

Broken Internal Links

An internal broken link can cause a webpage to return an error status. It can occur due to incorrect or malformed URL, or because the page the link is leading to is broken or no longer exists, etc. Having a lot of internal broken links negatively affects both User Experience and a search engine robot’s crawlability, which can lead to less traffic to your website.

Tips: Find and fix all the broken links.  They shouldn’t exist.

Duplicate Title Tags

The <title> tag is a part of the HTML code within the <head> tag that contains the name of the webpage. Using the same titles for different webpages makes it difficult for search engines to decide what pages to display in search results and for users to understand how one page differs from another. Doing so also means a lost opportunity for using more relevant keywords.

Tips: Each title tag for unique pages should also be unique and contain your target keyword phrase for that page.  If you have multiple pages for the same keyword, you shouldn’t.  Rethink your strategy and consolidate your pages.

Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate content means that the content of a webpage is very similar or identical to the content found on another webpage. Duplicated webpages are competing against each other for higher positions in search results, and dividing the weight of backlinks and visits, instead of accumulating weight for one page. Excessive duplicate content can negatively impact a webpage’s ranking.

Tips: This happens sometimes when creating A/B testing landing pages (which is OK as long as you are picking a winner).  This also is common when creating local SEO landing pages for each city.  In this case, make sure to create unique content for each page regardless (pictures, outgoing links, etc).

External Broken Links

External broken links lead users from one website to another and bring them to an error page because a webpage they are pointing to no longer exists or returns an error status. Having a lot of external broken links negatively affects User Experience and may signal to a search engine that the website is poorly coded or maintained.

Tips: These change on occasion (but shouldn’t, due to proper 301 redirects), but just keep an eye on them and repair as needed.

A frame is an HTML <frame> tag that serves to insert multiple webpages into another. Frames are difficult to index and can impact a user’s navigation on the webpage.

Tips: Change instead to individual landing pages which is a far more effective SEO technique.

Low text to HMTL ratio

The text-to-HTML ratio shows the percentage of text visible to users and the code. This warning is triggered when text to HTML ratio is less or equal 10%. Complex and excessive code compared to a small amount of text is considered an unfriendly SEO practice, which can cause slow load speed of a webpage and affect crawling.

Tips: Becoming more common due to CMS such as wordpress+tons of plugins and visual website builders (should be avoided if possible).  Reduce unneeded plugins and migrate off Visual builders if at all possible.  Otherwise you should create more text content per page.

Low word count

The length of a contained web document is not a determining factor in a webpage’s ranking. However, if a site has too little content or lacks vital information, visitors may feel compelled to visit another page.

Tips: Add more useful content (text, pictures, videos).  

Missing meta descriptions

The <meta description> tag includes a summary of a webpage’s content and can be used by search engines to provide search results with snippets. The absence of this tag means a lost opportunity to use more relevant keywords for a given webpage and for a higher Click-Through Rate.

Tips: Underrated tweak, makes your snippet on search engines far more attractive to be clicked on.

Missing Language declaration

If you don’t declare the language of a webpage’s content, the web text might not be recognized by search engines. Also, it may not appear in search results or be displayed incorrectly, which can make your website less accessible to people with disabilities.

Tips: Add html code for language declaration.  Taken care of by most CMS, but further reading –> here <– for hand made or custom websites

Missing H1 heading

An <h1> tag is the top-level element in the heading tags’ hierarchy (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6>). The text within the <h1> tag is the most important; and it is considered to be a short description of the webpage’s content. An absence of an <h1> tag will break the heading tags’ hierarchy and prevent search engines from fully understanding the content, which can impact a website’s ranking.

Tips: Properly using headings in text content is becoming more important.  Update your content to match this organized approach.

More than one H1 heading

Using a single <h1> tag is considered best practice; but, it is reasonable to use multiple <h1> tags if a webpage contains different sections. However, search engines might consider this a website’s attempt to be ranked for more keywords, which can lead to a penalty.

Tips: Bad idea, change subs to H2 or split onto a separate page if different.  Remember each landing / topic page should be focused on 1-3 keywords for best results (except your home page).

Nofollow Attributes

A nofollow attribute within an <a> tag gives an instruction (rel=nofollow) to crawlers telling them not to follow the link. “Nofollow” links don’t pass any link juice or anchor texts to the referred webpages. Although webmasters have used the technique of applying nofollow attributes to internal links for PageRank sculpting for quite a long time, it is no longer an appropriate one to use.

Tips: Normal in shopping cart use and some dynamic content, but no longer good for PR sculpting.  Use with caution.

Page contains frames

A frame is an HTML <frame> tag that serves to insert multiple webpages into another. Frames are difficult to index and can impact a user’s navigation on the webpage.

Tips: Terrible idea from the 1990’s.  Get rid of them and redesign site to have individual landing pages ASAP.  Big improvements possible here.

Title tag text too long

The text of the <title> tag is shown in search results. The length of text to be displayed in Google is limited to 70 characters, including spaces. If the text within the title element is longer than 70 characters, it will be cut and only partially shown in search results. This can affect a website’s Click-Through Rate.

Tips: Shorten to low competition keyword phrases.

Title tag text too short

The text of the <title> tag is shown in search results. The length of text to be displayed in Google is limited to 70 characters, including spaces. Having a “too-short” description can be unclear for users. It can also make it difficult for a search engine crawler to understand what the webpage is about. Furthermore, a too-short description may affect a website’s Click-Through Rate and ranking.

Tips: Increase to include low competition keyword phrases with supporting useful words.

Too many on-page links

In order to effectively crawl and index your website, the use of links should be relevant to your site’s content. There is no limit to the number of links a webpage can contain; and Google doesn’t penalize sites for including a lot of them. However, you should use links reasonably, as the link juice is divided among all the links on the webpage.

Tips: An obsolete SEO technique, now it’s a general bad idea since it’s not natural.  Only use links that are useful.  Quality content is king includes quality links.

Underscores in URL

Google can’t correctly understand the meaning of URLs containing underscores (“_”) because it treats the entirety of all the words separated by underscores as a single word. By using hyphens (“-”) as word separators in URLs instead, you can help the search engine to read them correctly.

Tips: Common noob mistake and easy fix.  Change as needed to hyphens.

Is this “How to fix SEO errors” post missing something?  let us know.

Linkwheel.Pro offers website SEO cleanup services to tweak and tune your website for optimal SEO results as part of our custom services.

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