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Marketing / 23rd Sep, 2021

8 Common Errors That Hurt SEO Rankings

We all know the importance of organic search ranking, and we also know the difficulty to stay on top of best practises. All sites are bound to have some SEO errors that have a direct impact on your rankings, and if you’re experiencing some of these, you are not alone.

To help uncover some of these common technical SEO errors, let’s take a deep dive into the common issues that are hurting rankings.

Duplicate Content

When you have two or more duplicate pages, search engines do not know which page to crawl and display in the search engine results pages (SERPs). There are a handful of ways around this but best advice would be to use a canonical tag. This tells search engines which pages are preferred to be indexed.

Legacy No-index Tags

When you want to hide a page for search results, you use a noindex tag. Sometimes users forget to remove this, meaning that search engines are ignoring pages that should be ranking.

To avoid this very common mistake, it’s a good idea to keep a list of all noindex tagged pages, we add this step to our publishing checklist.

Mixed Content

A website with mixed content is one that contains both HTTP and HTTPS content. You may have an SSL installed, with HTTPS across most pages, however you have scripts, images, videos or other types of content that are being served by a standard, insecure protocol (HTTP).

Since 2015, Google has confirmed that secure websites and HTTPS were important ranking signals, meaning upgrading your site with an SSL certificate is a valid demonstration of trustworthiness, resulting in a significant increase in Google’s search results.

To fix this common mistake, head to the source code of insecure page and simply search for any references to HTTP instead of HTTPS. The best way to do this is by inspecting with your browser, we use Google Chrome for this. Once you’ve found the insecure asset, simply swap the content with a secure version.

Check out our blog on maintaining your WordPress site, which includes some great tips on performance.

Orphaned Pages

An orphan page is one that is not linked to any other page on your site, meaning a user can’t get to the page without knowing the direct URL. Commonly these are marketing landing pages. These pages can’t be followed from other pages by search engines, which means they are very rarely indexed by the likes of Google.

For search engines to crawl the site and find your pages, they will need to be linked to other pages.

Links From Bad Pages

Gaining links from other websites to yours is one important factor in improving rankings in search engines. But when it comes to link building, it’s definitely quality other quantity that makes the difference.

Although each backlink is theoretically a vote of confidence in your site, the links from sites with high domain authority are the links you want. These signal to search engines that a trusted authority vouches for your content. Even a no-follow link from a high DA site can boost rankings.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are links from a ‘spammy’, low DA site. These will not help your rankings.,

On the other end of the spectrum, links from side with low authority, or ‘spammy’ sites, may not help your rankings. Often toxic back links not only harm your rankings but also result in penalties from the search engines.

How to fix this? We use tools like SemRush which will scan and grade all backlinks. There are many ways to address any toxic backlinks, for example, you could simply contact website administrator and ask for the link to be removed. At Make, we use Google’s Disavow tool to remove any toxic backlinks.

Not Using Browser Caching

Browser caching is the ability to use a browser to store website files locally, on a users computer, allowing the files to loan locally next time the user visits the website. This significantly reduces the time it takes to load the page, which in turn has a big impact on search ranking.

Iframes

Search engines consider the content from iFrames belong to another website, so the best you can hope for is no effect.

Because the content doesn’t technically live within the code of the page, content within the iFrame is classed as ‘invisible’ to search engines, and often leads to low-quality pages with minimal content.

iFrames can also hurt load speeds and experiences scores as the can be susceptible to contain malware, are confusing, and people general don’t like them.

Low Content

If your post or pages is short, it can be seen to not do the topic justice, and Google may deem the content ‘low value’.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that word count is a ranking factor, it’s definitely not. What matters is that that content explains what the reader is there to learn.

Ultimately, it will be more difficult to rank as you simply won’t be using enough keywords, and semantically linked words to satisfactory answers to your users questions.
To wrap up

It’s important to not fall into the above are commons SEO mistakes, they really can make an impact on your search ranking efforts.

By making some simple changes, you will see an improvement in your ranking and click-through rates quickly and will be portioned for SEO success moving forward.

If you want to discuss your SEO challenges in some more detail, please click here to start your project and discuss with one of our search experts!