Every company wants its website to be on the high search engine rankings. To make this possible, an in-house or external software development team needs to be aware of different aspects of the SEO strategy.
In order to create a website that engages with the customers and avoids a future drop in the SEO rankings, this team takes their time to thoroughly check every step they have made so far. But, on some occasions, despite the endeavor, a sudden drop in the rankings affects the website's performance.
In 2021, Serpstat made a study where they analyzed the data of 288 million pages and, with this information. They identified the most common SEO issues: "multimedia, indexing, and headings".
From our experience, we know after working so hard on the site's architecture and development, it can be challenging to identify why it does not work as expected.
You may be accidentally committing some of these SEO issues, hurting your website's ranking, and affecting your business's visibility and success. But first…
What's to index? What's an index?
According to Google Search Central, "To index is when Google fetches a page, reads it, and adds it to the index."
And what's the index? According to the same source, "It is where Google stores all web pages that it knows about"
Here we leave you a video that explains the process in more detail:
Why is it so important?
A website with proper indexing has major possibilities to rank for search results and to gain a spot on the acclaimed page one. Also, without indexing, there will be no possibility that the audience will look at your most relevant pages and recognizes the value and services you offer.
In this article, we'll explore five common indexation errors. And how to identify, fix, and solve them. Keep reading!
Most of the time, duplicate content is about having two or more identical pages with the same amount of content. But, occasionally, it could be about putting the same items on different sites on the page. And in other times, it may be a URL issue or content that was unintentionally double-posted.
In the end, all this could negatively affect your site rankings.
How to solve it?
- Create and implement clear guidelines for content creation, including a review process that ensures all content is unique and valuable to the target audience. Design thinking is a powerful method that can be used to create a repository of relevant themes for users. This approach requires a focus on quality over quantity. It should be backed up by robust project management processes that ensure team members are aware of the guidelines and held accountable for their work.
- Employ technical solutions such as canonical tags and redirects, which can help search engines identify the source of the content and avoid indexing duplicate pages. It requires a strong understanding of SEO and technical expertise and should be implemented carefully to avoid unintended consequences.
- Software development teams can put forward tools to automate the process of identifying and eliminating duplicate content, reducing the workload for team members and increasing efficiency.
Broken links occur when a link on your website points to a no longer existing page. This can happen when a page is deleted, moved, or renamed. This problem interrupts the positive experience the audience is having on the website and, above all, leaves a bad impression on the brand. In addition, this can hurt your website's ranking because search engines view them as a sign of poor website maintenance.
How to solve it?
- To perform a link audit to identify broken links and fix them promptly. This can be done manually or with the help of automated tools that crawl the website and identify broken links.
- To implement a 301 redirect strategy. When a page is deleted, moved, or renamed, a 301 redirect can be put in place to redirect users to the new location of the content automatically. This ensures that visitors to the website can avoid broken links, and it also signals to search engines that the content has moved to a new location.
- Make sure that all links on the website are properly formatted and up-to-date. This includes both internal and external links. Internal links should point to relevant and active pages on the website, while external links should be checked regularly to ensure that the linked content is still available.
Low Word Count
Search engines want to rank pages that are informative and provide value. Therefore, if your pages have less than 500 words, they may deem the content "thin" or "low-value" because that amount of words won't be enough to use keywords and satisfy your visitor's answers.
How to solve it?
- Focus on creating long-form, high-quality content that provides value to the user. This can include in-depth articles, tutorials, guides, and other types of content that answer the user's questions and give them the information they need. By doing this, websites can create more valuable content that is more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- To ensure that search engines can understand the content's relevance and rank it accordingly, you need to search and use keywords.
Missing or Incorrect Sitemap
A sitemap is a crucial file that lists all of the pages on your website, and its absence can negatively impact your website's search engine rankings. A missing or incorrect sitemap can prevent search engine crawlers from discovering new or recently updated content on your site.
This is especially true for websites with large amounts of isolated or poorly linked pages that are not easily accessible through the site's navigation interface. Software Development Teams that use rich Ajax, Silverlight, or Flash content may also encounter difficulty with search engines not being able to process this type of content.
Additionally, a missing or incorrect sitemap can cause search engines to misallocate their "crawl budget," wasting resources on unimportant pages instead of important ones.
Websites must have a properly formatted sitemap to ensure that search engines can effectively index all of their pages and improve their search engine rankings.
How to solve it?
- Check that the website has a sitemap that lists all of the pages on the site. This can be done manually or with the help of a software development team, who can build a tool that generates the sitemap automatically.
- Confirm that the sitemap is up-to-date and accurate. Review it regularly and ensure that it includes all of the new pages that have been added to the site, as well as any changes made to existing pages.
- Ensure that the sitemap is formatted correctly, with correct syntax, so search engines can easily read and understand it.
Misuse of the Noindex tag, Robots.txt File and Nofollow Attribute
Sometimes software development teams make mistakes that can put our website ranking at risk. The misuse of the noindex tag, robots.txt file, and nofollow attribute are three of them.
For example, when you want to prohibit a search engine from accessing a page, for some reason, you could use a "robots.txt" file or a "noindex." Nevertheless, if you accidentally use one of them on your most important page, it will vanish from the rankings. The same happens if you apply a "nofollow" attribute on your site's internal pages; it will cause the site rankings to drop.
How to solve it?
- Put clear and concise guidelines for the use of these tags and attributes. Ensure that all members of the software development team are aware of these and adhere to them.
- Make a regular review and audit of the use of these tags and attributes on a website to identify any potential errors or misuses.
This can involve conducting regular crawls of the website to check for any pages that may have been incorrectly tagged as "noindex" or "nofollow" and reviewing the robots.txt file to ensure that important pages are not being blocked from search engines.
We know that a website with proper indexing has a much better chance of ranking in high positions in search results. In this article, we have discussed the five most common indexation errors, including duplicate content, broken links, low word count, missing or incorrect sitemap, misuse of the Noindex tag, Robots.txt File and Nofollow Attribute, and provided solutions to address them.
It's important to mitigate the risk of these errors. Businesses can employ a comprehensive approach by partnering with a software consultation team that takes into account technical and creative considerations, as well as the needs and preferences of their target audience.
By doing this, they can effectively communicate their message and engage with the audience more meaningfully while their website remains visible. As a result, they are ultimately helping to drive traffic and increase engagement.
What is indexing, and why is it essential for website rankings?
Indexing is the process where Google fetches a page, reads it, and adds it to its index, which is where all web pages that Google knows about are stored. Proper indexing is essential for website rankings because it increases the possibility of a website appearing on page one of search results and allows users to find the most relevant pages of the website, recognizing its value and services.
What are the five most common indexation errors?
The five most common indexation errors are duplicate content, broken links, low word count, missing or incorrect sitemap, and misuse of the Noindex tag, Robots.txt File, and Nofollow Attribute.
How can software development teams solve the problem of duplicate content?
Software development teams can solve the problem of duplicate content by creating and implementing clear guidelines for content creation, employing technical solutions such as canonical tags and redirects, and putting forward tools to automate the process of identifying and eliminating duplicate content.
How can businesses address the problem of a missing or incorrect sitemap?
Businesses can address the problem of a missing or incorrect sitemap by checking that the website has a sitemap that lists all of the pages on the site, ensuring that the sitemap is up-to-date and accurate, and making sure that the sitemap is formatted correctly, with correct syntax, so search engines can easily read and understand it.
What is the risk of misusing the Noindex tag, Robots.txt File, and Nofollow Attribute, and how can it be solved?
Misusing the Noindex tag, Robots.txt File, and Nofollow Attribute can put a website's ranking at risk. To solve this problem, businesses can put clear and concise guidelines for the use of these tags and attributes, conduct regular reviews and audits of their use on the website, and ensure that all members of the software development team are aware of these guidelines and adhere to them.