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What are critical SEO errors and how can fixing them help my business growth?
07 May 2021
By: Nic Thomas
Why bother with checking for SEO errors? Surely my website doesn't have any errors as it all seems to be working and looking ok?
You are a small business, you’ve got your website up and running (maybe you even did a bit of a DIY effort during the pandemic when your business was closed) and everything looks as it should and all the links work ok, so why bother with checking for SEO errors — surely your website doesn’t have any errors as it all seems to be working and looking ok?
In this blog we’ll talk about:
- What SEO critical errors are
- Why these errors get missed
- An example of a critical error
- Why are fixing these errors important for business and your website
- How you can find out if your website has any SEO errors
What are SEO critical errors?
If you’ve ever seen an SEO report or carried out an SEO audit for your website you might be surprised to see that even though you thought your site was working just fine, the report shows you a ton of critical errors! So what are these ‘errors’ all about and why are they critical?
Why do critical SEO errors get missed?
These errors are what Google deems as absolutely critical for the success of your website and its rankings. It’s Google saying – I don’t understand this! But often they just get missed as you can see your website working correctly, links aren’t broken and all the design looks right, but actually, there’s a ton of errors damaging the search-ability of your website that you just didn’t even know were there.
So by fixing these errors with some simple changes you may be able to make a bit of headway in making your website work even harder for your business to ultimately getting the right leads and customers knocking on your door!
An example of an SEO critical error
So for example a common critical error is Duplicate Titles.
Let’s say you have a website that offers a professional business-to-business service, you offer Consulting for Microsoft Office. On your page title for your main Services page you have:
‘Microsoft Office | Your Company’
but as this is your main service you also write about this in your blog so you have a category in your blog called ‘Microsoft Office’. When Google crawls your website it finds the page title for your blog archive as:
‘Microsoft Office | Your Company’
exactly the same as your services page!
Of course to a human — no problem, it’s obvious from the design of the page that it’s a list of blog posts about Microsoft Office, but to Google, it sees them exactly the same and because it can’t work out which one of the pages is about Microsoft Office, it just says “oh well I can’t work it out so I’ll just give up”. Suddenly you’re down in the rankings — and no one wants that.
Why are fixing these errors important for business and my website?
It’s absolutely essential that your business be visible on Google, even if you think you are, even if you think you don’t need to be — what’s the first thing anyone does when looking for a product to buy or needs help with something? They pull out their phone and ‘Google it’ . It’s something you can’t ignore if you want to be successful in business. And when Google releases one of their big updates (coming up in June 2021) it’s even better to be as prepared as you can be.
But hang on isn’t SEO all about keywords? Don’t I need a keyword strategy? Yes, SEO is indeed a lot to do with keywords, but, the first step in discovering what your keywords strategy is, should be checking what’s right and what’s wrong with your current website. If you can take the first step in getting these errors fixed — and often people don’t bother or haven’t even noticed they are there — then you are heading in the right direction to great SEO health! It’s a common misconception that SEO needs a long-drawn-out strategy — we feel it’s a combination of technical fixes and a well thought through strategy, and if you can see where your problems are and you are getting technical fixes complete you are taking action. Once action happens you can start to form a strategy.
Some people find this error checking monotonous work, dare we say it’s the boring end of SEO, and yes fixing 250+ critical errors can take some time, but because of this, it’s often something that gets missed when launching or maintaining a website. Once you know what you are doing you can start making headway and that report score starts creeping up to 100%! And it could help your business be visible in Google to the right clients and customers. Satisfying!
So how do I know what these errors are on my website and go about fixing them!?
The first thing you’ll need to do is get a report of what the errors are, then you can move onto a strategy for attacking the fixes quickly and easily.
1. Get a free SEO Audit Report
There’s plenty of tools out there that can give you an SEO audit report, some more complex than others. We like the quick and easy SEO audit reports — we even have a tool you can use!
Get your report using one of our favourite and simple tools listed below, it might seem a bit overwhelming at first but forearmed is armed as they say and you’ll know what you are up against once you have the report.
Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest SEO Analyzer
A free-to-use SEO analysis report that gives a very usable report with how and what to change. The report is split into Critical and Warnings and doesn’t overwhelm you with all the errors at once, you just get the most important ones first. And you also get a performance report to check things are running fast — another critical error to check!
Get a free report with Ubersuggest
We just love the look of this one – a simple design that shows you visually exactly where you need to make changes. Having the overall SEO health score fed back to you also gives you the motivation to improve it. Sometimes it can be a little slow producing the report but we think that’s just because it’s so comprehensive. Free to run a report but if you want to hide actions you’ll need a paid plan. We also love the page audit which goes into a more comprehensive report on individual pages.
Get a free report with Sitechecker
Our SEO audit tool!
Head on over to our Free SEO report tool to get a comprehensive report emailed to you. Our simple report gives you a summary of where you need to address errors. It also gives suggestions of keywords against your competitors but make sure you get those errors fixed first.
Get a free report with our tool
2.Pick some quick wins
Once you have your SEO audit report check if one of the errors applies to many of the pages. If it does this is a great place to start. Sometimes there’s one fix that you can do that will populate through every page on your website. So by doing one thing you suddenly fix every page on your website! It might be as simple as there’s a link in your footer that isn’t secure (missing an s on the HTTP link!) and that is appearing on every single page so causing a huge number of errors. Try to get these ones first.
3. Check your mobile usability
For Google, it’s all about mobile-first so if your website doesn’t work on a mobile then you are not going to change anything by fixing a couple of errors…you’ll still be languishing beyond page two in the listings if you don’t check your mobile usability too. Check your website using Google Search Console — not sure what we mean? Maybe your web designer submitted your site for you, if not go to https://search.google.com/search-console and get started.
Head into Google Console.
Ensure that you try and fix any errors that are still affecting pages. (if it’s font size make sure your mobile text size is no smaller than 16px).
We’re not saying fixing these errors are suddenly going to make you appear top spot in Google, but it’s a really great place to start.
If you get stuck — and sometimes these errors can be confusing, you might fix one and then another one appears — frustrating! However, we absolutely LOVE fixing technical errors here at Individualise because we just love making websites work! So give us a call and we can help you started with a free report, or if you really don’t want to do it we’ll just get it done for you!
Posted By Nic Thomas
Starting her career building websites in notepad back in the late 1990s, Nic's worked on a wide range of small and large-scale web projects. Nic can take your web project from website design brief, to website development completion and support you with your digital marketing.
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