1. Duplicate content
Duplicate content occurs when content appears on the Internet in more than one place. This makes it difficult for search engines to identify which version to include in their index and rank for search queries. Although there isn’t a specific penalty for duplicated content, it can affect ranking and traffic. Your SEO agency can run an SEO audit initially so you can begin to assess the situation. If the duplicated content is something you can control, you can re-direct to the most authoritative page using the rel=canonical tag which prioritises which duplicate page to rank.
2. Title tags
Title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what a page is about in an accurate and succinct way. This same title will also form the anchor text when shared on other websites and across social media.
Title tags are an important element within SEO, ranking more highly the closer the start of it is to a keyword-based query. Google can override your title if it doesn’t like it. If you’re working with an SEO agency, they can help optimise your title tags when it comes to length, keywords and relevance.
3. Meta descriptions
A meta description is a short description that appears under your URL in search results. Placed in the <head> in the HTML of your website, it’s a
150 320 character description of the content – a great way to show visitors the page is relevant to their search.
This is something you can rectify via your digital marketing agency or do yourself depending on your site platform and expertise.
Most Content Management Systems (CMS) have a window in each page of content where you can edit your meta description.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can use the Yoast SEO Plugin to edit the meta description.
These extracts are crucial as they influence the traffic you receive from specific search results.
4. Broken links
A broken link and subsequent 404 error results in a poor user experience and can have a negative impact on search results too. Broken links normally come about if an old page is deleted, moved or if the URL has been changed. The same can apply with outbound links whereby a website you’re linking to alters so it’s worthwhile checking for broken links regularly.
You can use browser plugins or numerous SEO tools to crawl for internal and external errors, these can then be fixed or removed manually. A nice free tool is Xenu Link Sleuth. It’s not been updated for a few years but it still works well and will generate an HTML report of all your broken links, by page, by linked page etc.
5. Image optimisation
Images are the best way to bring a website or post to life thus making the content more shareable. But in much the same way as broken links, broken images can lead to a poor user experience. Images need to indexed properly too with ALT and TITLE attributes used to provide an accurate description for search engines.
Google image search receives over a billion page views every day. Optimised images are more likely to receive regular traffic from Google and image-based sites like Pinterest. You can work with your SEO agency to identify which images are impacting your website, replacing or deleting those affected.
These are just a few of the most common SEO problems companies currently face, we’ll be back to address more SEO issues in part 2. If you have a specific challenge you’d like us to include, feel free to contact our Digital Marketing Manager, Paul Mackenzie Ross, at Clever Marketing, Hampshire’s digital agency, on 01276 534 680.