Have you checked your search engine marketing plans recently? SEM provides top ranked websites with at least 48% of their turnovers. It is surely easier to track the ROI of search engine optimization as compared to the offline bits. SEO comes with a lot of technical aspects.

It is difficult for a nonprofessional to know about the dark corners of the industry along with the traps of digital marketing. These technical issues can trip your financial plan and keep your site from reaching its maximum level of performance.

Here are the five common mistakes every SEO needs to avoid on their way to success –

Overenthusiastic Robots.txt files

Robots.txt files are mandatory for SEO. You need your fair share of these files to make sure that Google bots crawl through every nook and cranny of your website for the listing. According to Phoenix SEO, there are pages and places on your site that you do not want for public viewing. It might be a duplicate content or simple backend data. We have seen cases where Google has skipped an entire server domain because the crawlers chanced upon duplicate content on a site.

If your migrated site is not seeing enough traffic, check your robots.txt files immediately. You may have an overzealous .txt file that is keeping crawlers away from your domain. You can fix this by using more accurate commands. Mention images, folders and file types for your Disallow lines.

Unintentional NoIndex tags

Meta robots tags accompany robots.txt files. You can foolproof your game by following up a robots.txt with a meta robots tag. Most of the times, robots.txt is not enough to stop search engines from following a particular nofollow link. It is true especially if the link comes from another site. This way, you will end up indexing and listing pages that you do not want listed in the first place.

The only solution is to add meta robots noindex tags to the pages that you do not want the bots to follow, crawl and index. This simple tag goes in a page <head>.

If you are not getting any traffic on a page, you should first check if you have any noindex tag on the page. This tag is enough to prevent indexing. You can use Google’s tools to carry out a crawl test on your pages and see if you have a noindex tag in place that is preventing entry of bots.

Inept redirects

Redirects are common for bots. Each website has a few of them. If you are migrating, they are more common than you can imagine. 301 redirects are unavoidable, and to some extent, necessary as well. These help you move pages to new locations. 301s and now 302s assist you with your website SEO.

There are three ways 301 redirects can hurt your traffic –

  • Redirect chains

It is the Achilles’ heel of redirects. It happens when your reader is scuttling from on URL to another, and also when you have moved a page around a couple of times. You need to minimize the number of redirects because piling one on top of another just increases the page loading time.

  • Internal redirects

It is common and almost always ignored. Sometimes, it is impossible to stop a backlink from pointing at a redirected URL. There is no reason for these links point at 3xx redirects, but they do. It again decreases your website speed.

  • Redirected canonical URLs

It is your site’s blazing guns. So make sure your canonical URLs never point towards a redirect. Unless you are a big shot in the blogging world or digital marketing domain, using your canonical URLs to point at another redirect will not work out for you.

Mismatching Canonical URLs

Redirecting conical URL and conflicting URLs are two verified ways to lose website traffic. It is a typical technical SEO pitfall that most marketers ignore. All kinds of canonical mismatches can occur when your canonical tags do not match with other places bearing the canonical tags.

Two most common instances:

  • Relative links: this happens when you are using a file, folder or path that is not going anywhere. Search engines recognize only full URLs. Unless the names are URLs in canonical tags, bots will not be crawling them.
  • Sitemap mismatch: this occurs when the canonical URL is not the same as the one on your sitemap.

Canonical tags are essential for your website. They will help your site fight against duplicate content and get organic traffic from search engines. A mismatch in the canonical tags will upturn your whole strategy. It will present a number of duplicate content to your search engines.

The hreflang tag errors

The hreflang tag points search engines and bots to other versions of any page on your site. It is usually another page in another language hosted on the same URL. It can also signify that the page is for certain geographic locations only. The use of hreflang tag is common for international users. If you do not have hreflang tags on your pages, it is time you got at least one.

The most common technical error with these tags is the “return tag error.” It is when a page refers to another, but the second page does not return the tag to the previous page.

You can check if all your hreflang tags are in place by simple using crawl tools from one of the verified marketing websites. If you have a WordPress site, you can rely on your WP repository or even use Google’s own crawlers to check if you have hreflang return tags in place.

Take-home message

To improve your website ranks and see more organic traffic, you need to dodge these four most common mistakes almost all SEOs make. As you may already know, there is no instant gratification in SEO. So, your efforts may not drastically skyrocket your traffic, conversion rates or CTR. However, you will certainly see a gradual upward trend that will improve your ROI.