Analyze & Fix Website Technical Errors.
Technical errors will impact search. If the web crawlers detect technical errors they won’t effectively crawl or index your web pages. Web pages that aren’t indexed will not appear in search results. Search engine optimization should begin with cleaning up technical errors.
Some errors aren’t as serious as others. If the web crawler finds a broken link it may not continue to crawl the site. At least it won’t follow the broken link and index pages affected. Have you ever seen the dreaded 404 Error page? That is the broken link. The page that was originally associated with that link cannot be found. A visitor will move on to another webpage when confronted with a 404 Error “page not found”.
There are a variety of reasons for this to happen. Most are easy for a webmaster or your marketing folks to correct. In order to correct the errors, they need to know about them. There are numerous free tools available that will crawl your website checking for errors. You can do it by placing the URL of the website you want to crawl in the free technical app on the right side of this page for one. It will return to use an overview of the technical errors on the website entered.
You can also use “screaming frog”, “squirrely”, Moz or other online tools. Really want to ensure what Google sees when they crawl your website? Ask your marketing department or webmaster to see reports from Google Search Console. If you see a questioned look on their faces when asked the question it may be time to get some outside help!
Receive a free audit of your website to find technical errors.
A partial list of the 80 attributes the audit will check on your website:
Broken external links
- 4XX errors
- 5XX errors
- Temporary redirects
- Too many on-page links
- Domain configured incorrectly
- Broken internal links
- Missing or incorrect sitemap
The technical errors audit will also detect any images missing attributes. Translate? Google and other web crawlers do not read images. They read the description of the image or alt image description. Without this description, the crawler doesn’t recognize the image or its importance to the content. High-quality images are important for the viewer but the images need to be optimized that they don’t affect loading speeds. When an image loads slowly the visitor will often become impatient and move on.
The speed an image loads often affects the page speed. Especially on a mobile device, a visitor will only wait 3-4 seconds or less to view a web page. Images are the biggest offender of speed issues but there could be other technical issues affecting speed. Google provides a simple test for the speed of your website. The results will illustrate that it is complicated but your webmaster should be able to sort out the issues for you.
Before Google decided to make https:// a priority only companies offering purchases on their website needed to be concerned. This year Google has made it a priority and some browser like Explorer will return a warning page if https:// security isn’t implemented correctly. The warning page ensures that the potential visitor and prospect will not visit your website. The audit will detect proper implementation of https:// on your website and identify issues associated with the SSL certificate required. See Symantec’s definition of SSL.
Titles & Descriptions
The audit will detect missing, duplicate page & heading titles, and meta descriptions. Why is this important? Before Google’s or other web crawlers indexes a page from your website, it reads the page title. No page title or missing or duplicate the crawlers loose interest and move on to another website. If your page isn’t indexed it won’t be stored on Google’s servers where Google actually searches when someone types in a request on their search bar. Google doesn’t search the entire web each time someone enters a search term. Their bots have already searched the web and indexed the information. That is why when you look at results you might see 750,000 results in .59 seconds!
Have a page title that describes what information is contained on the page? Great. Next, the crawler looks at heading titles. What is the content about and what paragraphs are important for the subject being searched? No headings titles, most likely the bots will not bother to index the content on the page.
Meta Descriptions. If not defined by you Google will take the first 155 characters or your first paragraph and use that as a meta description. Why is that important? The meta description is that information that shows up on the page of search results. It is what the searcher reads to determine if your content appears interesting enough to click on the description. Without a good designed/copywritten meta description having your website/page appear on the first page of search results may be of no value.
Note number 7 on the list has information about upholstery and carpet. Probably not the intent of the website.
The bottom line on website technical errors
Technical errors need to be fixed and audited periodically. Any changes to the website or content can produce errors. Having a plan to run periodic audits and repair error will help keep your website healthy and encourage visitors to hang around when they visit.