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Top 10 technical SEO issues (and how to fix them)

James A. Martin | May 21, 2014
SEO experts share insights on the most common website technical issues that can negatively impact search rankings and offer advice on how to fix them.

6) Improper Redirects
Sometimes a Web page, or an entire site, needs to be moved to a different URL. A 301 redirect is "the best way to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page," according to Google.

"If you've ever rebuilt your website without enlisting a reputable SEO, then there is a good chance that links and URLs from your old site aren't properly set up to connect to your new website," says Ricky Shockley, search marketing specialist for Web Success Agency. "Your Webmaster should set up 301 redirects from old pages to the new ones," to help users find the old site pages and ensure those pages pass "link juice" to your current site.

You should locate any 404 "not found errors" on your site and use 301s to direct users to the correct pages, adds Greenlane Search Marketing's Sebald. "Google Webmaster Tools make it easy to find your 404s, so you can 301-redirect them to more relevant pages. On big sites this is a daunting task but a very useful one."

7) Messy URLs
CMS and blog platforms sometimes create awkward URLs for new content. For example, you may end up with a page that has "index.php?p=283581" at the end of the URL. Such "messy URLs can hurt your trust and credibility with search engines and users, leading to decreased clickthrough rates," says Shockley. "Clean up those messy URLs to include a keyword that explains what the page is about, such as 'dentist.com/dentures.' Make sure to set up proper 301 redirects on the old URLs."

"SEO-friendly URLs contain keywords and are easy to read and understand for both search engines and users," says Mike Mothner, founder and CEO of search marketing agency Wpromote. "Since it's important to make your site as easy to index and rank as possible, it's crucial to have SEO friendly URLs."

Depending on your site's CMS, you may be able to make "link templates" that can be applied across your entire site, he adds.

8) Slow Page Loads
Page speed is important not only for a good user experience but also for achieving good search rankings. "If your website has many elements on it, such as images, videos, CSS style sheets, JavaScript code and the like, be sure it's as optimized for speed as possible," says Oleg Korneitchouk, director of digital marketing and development for SmartSites.

"I recommend running several of your pages through a page-speed test such as GTmetrix and implementing the suggestions they provide," Korneitchouk says. "Applying even just a couple of their suggestions can shave seconds off your site load time."

Google also offers Google PageSpeed Tools to help you test and increase your site's overall speed, according to Delegator.com's Ewton.

 

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