The 15 Most Common Technical SEO Problems

Avatar for Wouter Maatman
Technical SEO Problems

In a previous post, we deep-dived into how SEO can maximize your ranking. However, based on research on over 1 million websites, there is a list of the most common technical SEO problems. The percentage represents the proportion of websites where these issues were found on at least one of their web pages. While these are the most widespread issues, it’s important to remember that every website is unique. You can access reports about these issues for your website using various tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Web Development. Please find below a list of the most common technical SEO problems:

1. 3XX Redirect – Found on 95.2% of Sites

The presence of redirects is common and generally not a cause for concern. The web is constantly evolving, and our research has shown that about two-thirds of links to web pages disappear over nine years. However, it is essential to watch out for redirect loops, where a page is endlessly redirected, or lengthy chains of redirects. Google will follow up to five redirect hops in one session, and anything exceeding ten jumps won’t properly consolidate signals like links to the final URL. You can locate these in the “Issues” tab in the Redirects report within Site Audit.

2. HTTP to HTTPS Redirect – Found on 88% of Sites

Encountering this issue is a positive sign, as it indicates your site is using HTTPS, which is desirable. However, be cautious if the redirect goes in the opposite direction—from HTTPS to HTTP. You can identify HTTPS to HTTP redirects in the “Issues” tab of the Internal Pages report within Site Audit. It’s worth noting that more than 6% of sites are redirecting incorrectly in this manner.

3. Missing Alt Attributes – Found on 80.4% of Sites

Missing alt attributes pose an accessibility concern that could lead to legal issues. Large companies have faced lawsuits for ADA compliance issues on their websites, so addressing this is crucial, especially for main content images. While alt attributes may not significantly impact SEO rankings, they do play a role in image search and rankings. You can locate missing alt attributes in the Images report.

4. Missing or Empty Meta Description Tags – Found on 72.9% of Sites

Missing meta descriptions typically don’t affect rankings, as Google can generate them automatically or rewrite existing ones. However, consider adding meta descriptions when creating a page, especially for high-traffic or strategically important pages. You can identify the “missing meta description” issue in the Content report in Site Audit.

5. Slow Page – Found on 72.3% of Sites

Determining page speed often relies on subjective assessment. Enable Core Web Vitals in your project’s crawl settings to gain a more precise understanding. This connects you to Google PageSpeed Insights, which provides the actual Core Web Vitals metrics used by Google for rankings. The Performance report in Site Audit offers insights into these metrics and more.

6. Page and SERP Titles Mismatch – Found on 68.5% of Sites

If your page title doesn’t accurately reflect its content, it’s worth improving for SEO, as it’s a ranking factor. You can identify this issue in the “Issues” tab of the Content report in Site Audit.

7. Page Has Only One Dofollow Internal Link – Found on 66.2% of Sites

While not wholly orphaned, pages with only one dofollow internal link may benefit from additional internal links. Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool suggests internal link opportunities by examining your pages’ rankings and recommending links from related pages on your site.

8. Title Too Long – Found on 63.2% of Sites

Ensure your title tag isn’t being truncated in SERPs, especially on mobile devices. While mobile typically allows longer titles than desktop, consider manually checking important pages to avoid cutoffs.

9. Page Has Links to Redirect – Found on 62.7% of Sites

Having links to redirects is generally not a significant issue unless excessive redirect chains exist. You can review this in Site Audit’s “Issues” tab of the Redirects report.

10. Missing or Empty H1 Tags – Found on 59.5% of Sites

While missing H1 tags are a minor concern, they’re usually a straightforward fix. H1 tags should be considered, but their impact on SEO is limited. This issue can be identified in the Content report.

11. Meta Description Too Short – Found on 59.2% of Sites

Short meta descriptions aren’t a significant concern, but consider adding content if it’s a crucial page and you have valuable information to include. This issue can be found in the Content report, like missing meta descriptions.

12. Open Graph Tags Incomplete – Found on 56% of Sites

Not all pages require Open Graph meta tags, primarily for social media sharing. They don’t significantly impact SEO but may enhance social media visibility and potentially lead to more links.

13. Meta Description Too Long – Found on 54.5% of Sites

If a page is important to you and you can craft a concise meta description that fits, consider doing so. However, extensive meta-description rewriting is generally not a priority.

14. Multiple H1 Tags – Found on 51.3% of Sites

Modern HTML allows for multiple H1 tags, and Google has stated that this is not a problem. Ensure that all H1 headings are relevant to the respective pages.

15. Meta Description Tag Missing or Empty on Non-Indexable Pages – Found on 50.8% of Sites

We classify issues based on whether a page is indexable or not to save time. Don’t worry about meta descriptions on non-indexable pages, as they won’t appear in search results.

Prioritizing Fixes

Determining which issues to address first depends on their scale and potential impact on your site. Site Audit provides default prioritization, but you can adjust priorities by accessing “Issue Settings” in the Site Audit dashboard. Customizing issue priorities allows you to focus on the most critical problems for your site. Prioritization is a complex aspect of technical SEO, considering factors like the issue’s impact and the effort required to fix it. It’s essential to balance the technical problems with content and link-building strategies. Sometimes, the best course of action is to prioritize issues based on their impact and the effort required for resolution.

Avatar for Wouter Maatman

Digital Marketing Manager at Icecat N.V.

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