SEO Code Errors are like holes in a bucket
After almost two years of being back in the SEO world, I've noticed a huge problem that seems to be still unaddressed.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to any website's success. It helps businesses and organizations reach their target audience and increase online visibility.
However, there is still a common problem that many website owners overlook when it comes to SEO: code errors.
So many websites are still having a significant number of code errors on their website.
Code errors are like holes in a bucket, leaking away potential traffic and revenue.
So being one to raise problems, I want to unpack this and offer some solutions.
The Premise of the article:
- Search Engines can't index information if they can't find it.
- Users don't enjoy websites that don't work correctly.
- People pay for websites and expect a certain amount of value to be generated.
- Website owners are trying to build more value for their websites.
- Web developers get the site up but sometimes miss SEO elements.
- Errors are defined as broken, missing, or duplicated information.
The Problem of SEO Code Errors
What are code errors?
Code errors are technical issues in a website's HTML and CSS code. Various factors, such as coding errors, outdated software, or server issues, can cause them. Code errors can cause a variety of problems on a website, including broken links, missing images, slow loading times, and other usability issues.
Why are code errors harmful to SEO?
Code errors can negatively impact a website's SEO in several ways. Firstly, they can make it difficult for search engine crawlers to navigate and index your website. Suppose your website has broken links or missing images. In that case, crawlers may not be able to access all the content on your site, resulting in lower visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Code errors can negatively impact user experience, leading to higher bounce rates and lower engagement. If a website is slow to load or has broken links, users are less likely to spend time on the site or return in the future. This can result in a lower click-through rate and reduced conversions.
Code errors can affect the website's accessibility, making it challenging for users with disabilities to navigate the site. This can result in a lower user experience score, harming the website's ranking in SERPs.
When a website has code errors:
- It reduces the indexability of the website. Not everything is picked up and read. (Search Spiders miss out)
- Users run into issues, and it may damage the perception of the brand. (People bounce from the site or leave the pipeline early)
- It reduces the effectiveness of the content on the site. If there is duplicate content, it creates a penalty. (Takes away value)
- Efforts to build up the website's rank or traffic conversion are more costly. (You pay more to overcome the challenges provided by the errors.)
- Searchability is another layer of web development and may not have been included in the original website development price/contract. Web Developers generally worry about the design and functionality and miss some elements that impact SEO.
How do code errors impact search engine ranking?
Search engines rely on several factors to rank websites in SERPs, including usability, relevance, and authority. Code errors can negatively impact all of these factors, resulting in lower rankings and reduced traffic.
For example, broken links can harm a website's authority by reducing the number of backlinks and referral traffic. Slow loading times can damage a website's relevance by affecting the user experience, and accessibility issues can harm its usability by making it difficult for users to navigate the site.
In addition, search engines often prioritize websites that are well-optimized and user-friendly. Websites with code errors are less likely to meet these criteria and may be penalized in search engine rankings.
How can you fix code errors?
Fixing code errors can be challenging, especially if you're unfamiliar with HTML and CSS coding. However, several tools and resources are available to help identify and fix code errors.
Firstly, you can use online tools to scan your website for technical issues and code errors. An SEO Technical Audit can find these. Many of these tools will provide recommendations for fixing the issues and improving your website's SEO.
Secondly, you can work with an experienced web developer or SEO professional to identify and fix code errors. They can thoroughly analyze your website's coding and make recommendations on how to improve its performance.
Lastly, regularly monitoring your website for code errors and technical issues is essential. As your website evolves and new content is added, technical issues may arise. Regular maintenance and monitoring can help ensure your website is optimized for search engine crawlers and provides a great user experience for your visitors.
How to Remedy SEO Code Errors
- Get a website SEO audit. There are plenty of people that will do an audit of your website. You should be able to get a high-level overview for cheap/free. But you may want the specific errors to work on a punch list for your website. I offer a Full Website SEO Audit.
- Prioritize your fix list. Start with duplicate content and broken images and links. Then work on missing meta descriptions and too-long titles. Finally, work on alt tags, internal links, and more.
- Prioritize your best-ranked/critical pages. If you have a larger site, start with the most important pages and work through your site.
- Pause AD spending. Consider your monthly spending on your website, content creation, and SEO efforts. Could you briefly pause some activity to fix the bucket?
- Work with a third party. SEO is considered a separate field and service by some providers. Your current web person may make some of these fixes or need advice on what needs to be fixed as part of their regular service. You may want to get an objective third party to identify errors and make the fixes.
- Aim for 90% Error Reduction: When you fix the SEO code errors, set a goal for yourself. I usually shoot for a 90% reduction in these types of errors. The last 10% of errors sometimes result from tougher errors that will help but may cost more than they would benefit.
- Some Errors are Repetitive. Some errors are caused by some small issue that repeats itself. Sometimes you have to go in and fix an error multiple times manually. Know how to parse out repetitive work to a cost-efficient solution.
- Future error-proof the site. Create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for updating content on your site. Be sure to include an SEO checklist before the page gets published. I create SOPs for our clients to help reduce the chance of future errors.
- Hire a Neutral Third Party. There are plenty of people that enjoy the challenges of SEO (I do!). Higher a third party to come in and "catch the site up." They should be neutral and just there to fix a problem. Watch for agencies that offer website SEO audit services but want other businesses. They may offer solutions that require their proprietary solutions.
Conclusion - Get a Website SEO Audit
I hope this helps website owners and managers to pause and think about why some efforts may not be having a substantial impact.
This is no silver bullet solution, but SEO code errors are one of the big reasons people have holes in their website efforts.
Please fix the errors, i.e., patch the holes and see how much better your site serves its purpose.
For my clients, their sites improve ranks within a few weeks of fixing these errors. They have continued to rank well, with new content being indexed fairly quickly.
Want to talk SEO code audit?
Contact me for a free 15-minute consultation. Send me some basic info and I can give you a brief overview of what I find with an initial quick audit.
Senior-level SEO consultant that enjoys helping businesses learn how to SEO their website since 2007. I have over 20 years of experience helping business owners realize their goals through process development, data-driven decision-making, and simplifying complex processes.