Murphys Law famously states “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”
While this (thankfully) isn’t exactly true, we may often feel like it is based on the many ways mess-ups can happen. This also rings true when it comes to SEO and creating or maintaining your own website. As your website grows in size and complexity, so do the ways that technical errors can occur. Some of these errors may be minor inconveniences. But, others may cause many negative effects on the health and architecture of your site.
In today’s post, we are going to be discussing some of the biggest technical errors that can affect your site. Plus, we will cover how these errors affect your site, and why you should take the time to focus on resolving them. So without further ado, let’s cover one of the most critical issues you may find on a site audit.
Site Audit Issue #1: 4xx Errors
Ideally, you wouldn’t be very familiar with the effects 4xx errors can have on websites. But, the reality is you’ve likely already encountered one of these before. They can occur on any website, including your own. These errors signify when the link or URL of a page isn’t working as intended. The reason why a link stops working can vary depending on many factors. But, they always appear as an error code.
Some of the most common 4xx error codes include:
- 403 “Forbidden” – When a person doesn’t have the correct permissions to access the page in question.
- 404 “Not Found” – When a URL isn’t available to Google, and it isn’t known if the URL will be available in the future.
- 410 “Gone” – When a URL has been permanently removed from Google.
- 401 “Unauthorized” – When an individual lacks the verification or login credentials to access a specific page.
Why should you resolve 4xx errors?
Regardless of which 4xx error you may be encountering, finding the solution for the broken link is an important part of maintaining your site’s health. These errors can cause entire pages of your site to be unavailable to potential visitors. Plus, Google can’t index pages if the robots can’t crawl them! As a result, your site may not get the SEO credit it deserves, even if you put a great deal of work into the content of your site.
One of the most efficient ways to resolve these errors is by creating redirects. Setting up redirects on your site will vary based on the builder you are using, but will usually involve using 3xx redirects. While this method is convenient, doing so may also result in slower navigation for the user on the site. I’d love to mention more about redirects, but that topic deserves its own blog post entirely! So, let’s move on to the second big error.
Site Audit Issue #2: Duplicate Content Errors
When we talk about “quality” content, we often refer to what any client can see on screen. But, this can also apply to the more technical parts of your site that may go unseen. These seen and unseen errors can have measurable effects on your site’s SEO. Duplicate content may appear as copies of:
- Paragraphs and photos
- Meta descriptions
Duplicate content itself occurs when the same content is present in more than one place on the web. Having duplicate content on your site won’t result in any specific penalties from Google. But, it can still make it hard for search engines to decide what content is the “right” content and should show up in the search results. Search engines like Google won’t rank every copy of the same content. So, it is up to you to help Google figure out which one should be included, and which should be excluded.
Fixing Duplicate content
By using a site auditor, you can have a much easier time finding exactly where the errors are hiding. But, fixing duplicate content actually starts with creating the content itself. Having original content is vital from both a client-facing and technical SEO perspective. By having this high-quality content, you will ensure that Google knows your site is active, maintained, and is seen as a more credible source.
While also having original content, you can fix duplicate content by setting up a redirect. This may be a 301 or rel=canonical redirect, and by using them you can determine which pages you want Google to focus on. There are also other, more technical ways of resolving duplicate content, but that deserves its own blog post as well!
Site Audit Issue #3: Broken Links
This refers to all the internal links connecting each page throughout your site. These links are vital to the make-up of your site architecture, and website authority. So, ensuring your site is clean of broken links is a must. If your page is littered with dead-end links, it does not serve as a good sign to Google. But, these may occur for a number of reasons, such as:
- Updating a page’s URL
- Pages getting lost or renamed during a site migration
- Linking to content that has been removed
- Typing in the wrong URL (or accidentally linking to a page that doesn’t actually exist).
If a link is broken on your site, it may be a sign that a page is no longer available. This may be due to something like a 404 or 410 error as mentioned above or might be a sign that a broken backlink is present on another site. This can cause even more SEO issues since losing these valuable links can harm not only your authority but also your expertise in the eyes of google. By fixing these issues, you are also indirectly helping to establish and maintain EAT with Google.
Fixing Broken Links
Finding broken links can be made simple by viewing a site audit. But, fixing them is another story. This can seem like a simple fix if only a few links are affected. In some cases, you may only need to the page where a single broken link is going. If so, you can go to that page, and update or remove said link. But, if a single link is present on a vast number of your pages, finding every instance of the broken link can soon become a problem. Luckily, creating redirects for the affected links can once again help you to resolve these types of issues. By creating a redirect for a broken link, you can give it a new URL that the site will recognize. Thus, making it easier for you to make larger, more sitewide changes instead of hunting for every instance of the error.
I’ve mentioned how redirects can help solve a variety of site audit errors a few times in this blog. But, they are not the end all be all. They can help you to maintain and fine-tune your site but, they are not always the best solution for every situation. When addressing site audit errors, it is important to do your own research on how you can solve the issue using your specific website builder. The methods may differ based on the platform, but the principles remain the same. By following these principles, you can rest assured that your site is free of any catastrophic errors.
Begin SEO Services With Simplified SEO Consulting
We are very familiar with the many errors that can occur from a site audit. We are also happy to offer support in solving them. Our team of SEO specialists is trained in resolving these technical errors to help your site rank higher on Google. To start SEO services with Simplified SEO Consulting, please follow these simple steps:
Other Services Offered with Simplified SEO Consulting
Our team is happy to support you in improving the health of your site. But, this isn’t the only service we offer. We also offer SEO services including our DIY Online SEO Courses, Done For You SEO services, and a Done With You 12-week Intensive SEO program. Feel free to visit our blog to learn more today!
About the Author
Sterling Humburg-Cage graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Psychology in 2020. He integrates what he learned in school into his work as an SEO Specialist with Simplified SEO Consulting. Sterling prides himself on helping current clients & alumni problems solve difficult SEO issues. He’s great at giving clients multiple options about how to approach a situation and responding quickly to client concerns. Since he started, Sterling has met frequently with our alumni and provided them extra problem-solving support, often going the extra mile to do outside research and make sure private practice owners have everything they need to rank well on search engines long term for the keywords their ideal clients are using!