Top 5 Technical SEO Errors That Can Hurt Your Web Rankings

April 9, 2024

Technical SEO is one of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of search engine optimisation. By making sure your website is properly optimised for crawling and indexing, you can ensure that your pages are being found and ranked by search engines. However, technical SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, which can make it difficult to keep up with the latest best practices. As a result, many websites are making avoidable errors that can hurt their rankings and visibility in search. 

To start a successful SEO campaign you first need to focus on fixing the errors already there, improving the website performance and then continuing using best practices in the future. In this article, we outline five of the most common SEO technical errors we see hurting website rankings, as well as how to fix them. 

Incorrect use of canonicals 

A canonical tag (often referred to as a rel="canonical" tag) is an HTML element that helps tell search engines which version of a page should be indexed. It's useful for cases where there are multiple versions of a page with the same or similar duplicate content, such as variations by country or mobile vs. desktop versions. 

If canonicals are not used correctly, it can lead to duplicate content issues—meaning Google will index multiple versions of the same page, which dilutes your link equity and can hurt your rankings. 

To fix incorrect use of canonicals, make sure that all duplicates point to the correct canonical URL using the rel="canonical" tag. In addition, use 301 redirects for any URLs that don't have a canonical tag pointing to them. 

Orphaned pages 

An orphaned page is one that can't be reached from any other page on your site—in other words, it's not linked to from anywhere else on your website. This can happen if a page is accidentally deleted or if someone mistakenly creates a new page without linking to it from an existing one. 

Orphaned pages aren't necessarily bad for SEO (Google can still find and index them), but they're not doing anything to help your website either. Although it is easy to submit indexing pages like this, they won't carry and value for your site or retain the visitors. They're also difficult for users to find—and if a user can't find what they're looking for on your site, they're likely to leave and go to one of your competitors instead.

Not Using Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Another common error is using the same title tag and meta description across multiple pages on a website. This can be a missed opportunity to optimise each page for unique target keywords. In addition, using duplicate title tags and meta descriptions can result in search engines penalising your website for being repetitive and/or keyword stuffing. There are also set rules on how long the meta description and title tag should be, make sure you adhere to them. To avoid this issue, take the time to write unique title tags and meta descriptions for each page on your website.

Broken links 

A broken link (also known as a dead link) is a link on a web page that no longer works because the destination URL has been changed or removed entirely. Broken links often happen when pages are moved around or renamed without updating all the links pointing to them. They can also occur when an external website changes its URL structure without setting up proper redirects. There are multiple tools that can help you easily find broken links within your web pages. Both internal links and external links are equally important to be functional for better Google rankings.

Slow page speed 

Page speed has been a ranking factor since 2010, when Google first announced that it would be using site loading time as a signal in its search algorithm. In July 2018, Google, as a top search engine, again announced that page speed would be becoming even more important for mobile searches with the launch of its "Speed Update." As part of this update, slow-loading pages will now be ranked lower in mobile search results—even if they're well-optimised for other ranking factors like keyword usage and backlinks. Sensibly, a slow loading website serves poor user experience to potential customers and is one of the several factors that will contribute towards losing that visitor as a potential customer.

Not mobile-friendly 

Mobile-friendliness has been important for SEO since 2015, when Google rolled out its "Mobilegeddon" update and began boosting the rankings of mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results while simultaneously penalising those that weren't optimised for small screens. In March 2018, Google again updated its algorithm to give even more preference to mobile-friendly pages—so if yours isn't optimised for mobile devices, you could be at risk of losing ground in the SERPs. There are many more mobile users today than ever, if you look through your audience analysis you might even find your customers only come through mobile devices to your website.

Appeal to search engines and earn your space on the search engine result pages

These are just some of the most common technical SEO errors we see hurting website rankings—but thankfully, they're all relatively easy to fix once you know what they are and how they work! By taking care of these issues on your site, you can help improve your search visibility in search and start driving more traffic (and conversions) for the relevant keywords from organic search results.

If this topic on fixing SEO errors and issues is too scary or complicated for you it is always a good idea to get in touch with a professional SEO agency which can do an SEO audit and help you identify and fix these common errors.

Other similar blogs

VIEW ALL blogs
Super-proud to call these clients
Let's have a chat
Get in touch