Top 5 blogging mistakes for beginners.
This is by far one of the most common errors out there and therefore deserves its #1 spot in our Top 5 SEO Tips and Errors. According to research by SEMrush, duplicate content is an issue that 50% of sites face. While there is no penalty as such for duplicate content, it can be malignant or harmful depending on type, severity, and other factors.
The problem with duplicate content is that it confuses search engines, and makes them unsure which of the two (or more) pages is “the right one” to give authority to. Basically, the two pages will be competing with each other for attention. They will also compete for backlinks, meaning that both ranking and backlinks will be diluted across two pages, rather than focusing on one.
Dubious Duplicate Content Issues
An obvious cause for duplicate content issues is if the content is copy-pasted from another site. For one thing, you might face copyright issues. If this occurs, you need to address it very quickly, usually by simply removing the content. On the other hand, if someone took your content you’ll need to ensure that they take it down. Use plagiarism detector tool to check duplicate content.
Innocent Duplicate Content Issues
However, if you’re faced with duplicate content issues of the more innocent kind there are other ways to deal with it. For example, many bloggers find that they accidentally create duplicate content problems for themselves because their blog and “uncategorized” section is practically identical due to a lack of categories on their posts. A simple fix would be to add categories to your blog post. For example, if you’re publishing content on fashion, add categories like “summer clothes”, “winter wear”, “beach clothing” and “suits”. This way your blog page will be markedly different after a few posts than your various categorized, or uncategorized sections.
If your site is live on http:// and https://, or www. non-www. all at once, this can also create problems. You ought to give priority to one over the other. You can solve this through 301 redirects or using rel=canonical to tell search engines which one is the authority. Though we did cover more than planned on duplicate content for our Top 5 SEO Tips and Errors, it’s really only an introduction. Moz has a very clear and detailed article that can help with specific duplicate content issues.
Over the course of your site’s lifespan, you will very likely see a 404 page show up. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s simply important that it appears when appropriate. There are two types of 404 pages: 404, and a Soft 404.
A soft 404 occurs when there is a 200 success code communicated to the browser, while the page itself shows very thin content, or a custom 404 content page. What is Google’s take on these?
“Returning a success code, rather than 404/410 (not found) or 301 (moved), is a bad practice.”
How you solve a Soft 404 page depends on the circumstances. If you’ve removed the content because it has become obsolete you can use your CMS to delete the page. This should result in the URL returning a correct 404 code. However, if you don’t intend to use the URL in the future, you can use a 410 code. This will tell search engines that this page is permanently deleted, and it will stop indexing it sooner than it would a 404.
That said, there is another option if you have a different content piece that is very similar to what was previously on the now obsolete URL. In these cases you can use a 301 redirect to try to improve user experience. If you have a lot of traffic on this 404 page, or have backlinks to it, then a 301 redirect is probably the route to take.
If it’s not a Soft 404, the fixes are usually very similar. For example, you could have accidentally created a 404 through a faulty internal link that sends users and bots alike to a non-existing URL. The simple fix is to update the link. However, if it’s an external link that sends traffic and potential visitors to a non-existing page you have two options. Get the site linking to you to update their link, or create a redirect from the 404 URL to the intended page.
If you have removed the page in question, and it is reporting a correct 404 code to the browser, then all is well. However, you could also optimize it by changing this code to a 410, which will speed up how quickly search engines pick up on the fact that this is no longer a URL worth indexing and ranking.
We included 404’s in our Top 5 SEO Tips and Errors as it is a very common and normal issue to occur for most sites. Since there are so many variables changing the best course of action for how and when to deal with a 404, we advise you to check this more in-depth crawl error article.
It might sound sad, but some pages are without parents. Some are unlucky, and accidentally become orphaned, while others are cruelly destined to be that way.
It may sound slightly dramatic, but it’s also accurate. Much like 404 errors, there are different kinds of orphaned pages, and they need to be treated differently. While we wish to focus on universal solutions in our Top 5 SEO Tips and Errors, this is such a common error that it needed to make the list.
If the orphaned page is that way by design, then it’s all good. After all, there is a myriad of reasons why a page would be orphaned by design; special promotion, seasonal product relevance, or specific landing page from referrals, to name a few.
However, if your site has pages that have become orphaned accidentally, you ought to take action. An orphaned page is a page that has no internal links leading to it. This leads to the page becoming isolated from the rest of your site. While this isn’t inherently bad, you should actively deal with it. Either you should simply incorporate it into the wider structure of your site by providing internal links to the page, or you should simply remove it.
If the orphaned page is useful, link to it! Make it accessible; allow your users to reach it easily. On the other hand, if the page is useless, just remove it. Otherwise, you will have a page using crawl budget on something you are not investing in, and that’s just a waste. It’s better if crawlers focus on pages that you do want users to see.
Internal links are your friend, and has certainly earned its place on our Top 5 SEO Tips and Errors. They work by helping you to guide your visitors to the pages you think they’d most like to see and interact with. They also simultaneously send signals to search engines as to which pages on your site are the most important. While you should actively use them to improve the maneuverability of your site, you should be wary not to accidentally over-link and make your site look spammy. Use them only when they can help improve the functionality of your site, and when there is a need for them.
In terms of internal link errors, the most important things you need to do are to a) use them when you can, b) monitor them on a regular basis so that none are broken for long, and c) fix them once you see any broken internal links. While getting internal links right isn’t too complicated, it is a very common issue. This is usually a result of sites growing and developing naturally, while the required maintenance hasn’t really been in place in the meantime.
Neglecting your site
Lastly on our Top 5 SEO Tips and Errors is ignoring your site. It is understandable that many focus on having a “do-no-harm” policy for their small business website. Unfortunately, the wrong “do-no-harm” policy can quickly turn out to do just the opposite. It is important to realize that ignoring your website after its launch is a sure-fire way to diminish its value over time for the great majority of sites.
As you can tell by the above, a lot of the major common issues that pop up are due to insufficient maintenance and failure to keep up with the Google updates that are continuously changing how sites are ranked.
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