It’s scary when you have a website with loads of traffic, and a common error brings your site down for hours!
Be it any error, at the end of the day, your site will go down. If it keeps happening, you might lose your ranks on search engines, and all your SEO efforts will go in vain.
This blog will give you an idea about the most common website errors that affect SEO, how to fix website errors, and much more.
Broken Links: Deal With them Immediately
A survey conducted by Siteimprove revealed the total number of broken links in 135 fortune websites. Here are the results:
A broken link does not take users to their desired webpage when clicked on.
How is it bad for SEO?
When Google web crawlers or Google Bots index the webpage, they visit these links to collect data.
If they land on a link that’s broken, it’s a sign for bad SEO. This means you won’t be ranking high on search engines till you fix this broken link.
Fixing the Broken Link Problem
To fix a broken link, you will have to find one first. Google won’t appear in your dream and tell you which link’s broken, right? 😜
The best way to check a website for errors and broken links is via Google Analytics or SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush.
Make a list of all the broken links you come across. It’s now time to take action against these links.
Here are ways you can fix the broken links:
- Replace Broken Links with Live Ones: This is the best method if you don’t have several broken links on your website
- Remove All Broken Links: If you observe that the links are pretty old (4-5 years old), just remove them
- Reach Out to the Linking Site: If it’s a broken backlink, contact the site you linked to and ask them to fix the link
- Redirection: In case of a broken internal link, 301 redirect the link to the live one
TLS Certificate Error: An Important One
TLS is a digital certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA). It denotes that the owner owns a particular domain, and it’s a secure one.
In simple terms, if you don’t have a TLS certificate, your site would have a URL starting with HTTP instead of HTTPS.
HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) is old technology and ignores how the data travels online from one device to another.
HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) encrypts the data and protects transmitted data from any hacks.
In 2014, Google announced that they would prioritize ranking websites with HTTPS URL above HTTP.
When you get an invalid TLS certificate error on your website, it could be for many reasons:
- Misconfiguration of Certificate: If you don’t follow all the steps correctly, manual installation of the certificate can give you this error.
- Domain Mismatch: In case of a mismatch between the bought domain name and domain name you’ve issued a TLS certificate to, you will get an error.
- Identity Verifying Issues: If the certificate authority can’t verify your identity, you can’t install the certificate
- Incorrect Date or Time On Your Desktop: TLS certificate are issued on a timely basis, so if the date and time on your desktop isn’t correct, you won’t be able to issue it
- Old Version Certificate: If your certificate leverages Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1), it might be flagged as invalid as SHA-1 is outdated
Resolving TLS Certificate Issues
- Check date and time on your desktop
- Check for configuration errors and vulnerabilities with online SSL tools
- Check domain mismatch
- Get the certificate from a trustworthy and established CA
Website Load Speed: Don’t Keep Your Visitors Waiting
Do you get results like those below when you run it through Google Page Speed Insight?
If yes, you might want to change all reds into greens.
According to Think With Google, with an increase in load time by just 2 seconds, the bounce rate can increase by 32%.
Google has also made it evident that page load speed is one of the crucial ranking factors that it uses to rank a webpage.
There might be a lot of reasons for poor website loading speed, such as:
- Unoptimized images
- Excessive HTTP requests
- Your website doesn’t leverage any caching tool
- Lack of gZIP compression
- Too many ads
- Lack of CDN service
- Bad hosting
How to Reduce Page Load Speed to Improve SEO?
- Choose a hosting that’s performance-focused
- Compress and optimize all website images
- Try reducing redirects
- Enable browser caching
- Eliminate unnecessary plugins and keep everything updated
Mobile Compatibility: Don’t Miss It
It’s no secret that a poorly optimized website for mobile won’t rank on Google. In 2013, Google announced that it would penalize websites with a bad mobile experience.
So when you launch a website, make sure the mobile optimization is in place.
How do you do it?
Here are some tips:
- Test your website with the Google page speed insight tool and see what’s wrong
- If WordPress powers your site, use a mobile-responsive theme
- Redesign pop-ups for mobile devices
Duplicate Content: Time to Revamp Your Content Plan
Duplicate content doesn’t affect your SEO too much, but it results in poor search engine rankings.
When you have a lot of similar content throughout your website, it’s called canonicalization.
Duplicate content raises three major issues for Google crawlers and bots:
- The bots get confused between which page to include/exclude from their indices
- The bots don’t know if they’re supposed to direct the link metrics to one page or keep it separate
- They get confused between which version should rank for the targeted keyword
Some of the reasons why your website generates duplicate content unknowingly are:
- URL variations for the same page
- Your site has different versions www.site.com & site.com
- Targeting the same keyword number of times with writing almost similar content
Resolving Duplicate Content Issue As A Webmaster
- 301 redirect is the best method to get rid of duplicate content
- Use Rel= canonical to give search engine bots a hint of treating the page as a copy of the specified URL
- Leverage the code <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”> to tell search engine bots not to crawl the page
Toxic Backlinks: Get Rid of Them Quickly
Backlinks are the major part of any website’s SEO strategy. It helps increase your website’s DA and PA so that you can rank for the targeted keywords over time.
In plain English, toxic backlinks are low-quality spammy links. Such types of backlinks might impact your page rank negatively.
A backlink can be deemed as a toxic one if:
- It comes from a site that has been set up only for linking purpose
- The website is nowhere relevant to yours
- Backlinks come from a website that isn’t indexed on Google
- The backlink is hidden in your website footer or comment section
- The backlink exists on every page of your website
Toxic backlinks can negatively affect your SEO. Let’s look at some of the consequences.
Google Team Can Take Action Manually
If someone from Google’s webspam team reviews your website and observes spammy backlinks, they can lodge a manual complaint.
Although filing a manual action is far less common nowadays, you might still want to take care of it.
Such complaints can be lodged if:
- One of your competitors files a spam report
- You’re in a niche that’s known for excessive backlink spam
- You repeatedly practice buying and selling cheap quality backlinks
Your Website Might Suffer From An Algorithmic Filter
When your site has toxic backlinks, and Google rolls out an algorithmic update, your site might lose traffic tremendously.
The worst thing about this is you won’t even get a notification from Google about why your site has lost positions on search engines.
So not taking the proper measures to get rid of toxic backlinks can be a nightmare for your business.
A Pro Tip: The best way to recognize toxic links on your website is by running a backlink audit report on popular SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs. You can also leverage the Google search console for the same.
How to Get Rid of Toxic Backlinks
- Ask the website’s webmaster from where the backlink’s generated and tell them to remove them.
- Check which page the backlink is linked to; if it’s of low quality, just remove the page.
- You can manually remove the link via Google’s disavow tool
Website Errors Codes that Might Affect Your SEO
Website error codes don’t directly impact your SEO, but there’s a chance of losing traffic due to these errors. Let’s discuss some of the common errors you might encounter as a webmaster.
404 Not Found
It’s said that ~73% of visitors who reach the 404 error pages leave the website and won’t be returning to it ever. Fixing 404 errors isn’t hard, but people ignore it now and then.
A 404 error is a standard HTTP status code. It’s displayed when a user tries to access a URL that doesn’t exist. It can also pop up if the server can’t find the requested resource at that moment.
You must be wondering how to find 404 errors on the website? The best way to do it is via Google Search Console. Another way of doing this is by using a website error checker tool like Screaming Frog.
400 Bad Request
A 400 Bad Request error pops up when the request made by the client is wrong, corrupt, or the server can’t understand it.
Note that this is a client-side error. So there’s not much you can do about it.
The error can occur due to the following reasons:
- Wrongly written URL or the URL contains unrecognizable characters
- Invalid or expired cookie
- You try to upload a file to your website that’s too large
To fix 400 Bad Request errors:
- Clear browser cache and cookies
- Flush your DNS
- Restart your device and try again
500 Internal Server Error
When you see a 500 error page, this means your web server is facing problems, but it can’t pinpoint the root cause of the error.
This error can be caused by:
- Broken .htaccess file
- Some permission error
- Broken third-party theme or plugin
- PHP memory limit might’ve exceeded
To tackle this error:
- Try refreshing the page
- Wait for some time and come back later
- Leverage the tool down for everyone or just me to see if the website is down for you or everyone
- Delete your browser cookies
You see a 403 error when someone tries accessing a webpage that they’re not allowed to.
There are only two possible reasons why your visitors see this error:
- You, as a webmaster, have set up proper access permissions and decided to keep the website private
- You have set up permission improperly, and the visitors getting denied when they really shouldn’t be
As a webmaster, you only have one option to overcome this error. Check if you accidentally enabled access permission on the webpage.
503 Service Unavailable
When your webserver can’t handle a request at that moment, it displays a 503 error.
There are five things you can do to rectify this error:
- You can reboot your server to release the congestion in the server chains
- Ensure if there’s any maintenance going on with your webserver
- Check your firewall configuration and see if that’s down – try fixing it
- Check application logs and server logs
- Check your website’s code for any bugs
Fixing website errors for a newbie or an experienced person can be equally challenging.
New technical issues will keep you on your toes, and you might have difficulty dealing with them.
But once you know how to fix website errors that might ruin your website’s SEO, you know that the SEO side of things is taken care of. So deal with these errors patiently and adequately.
You may also be interested in exploring backlink SEO tools.