Not many know that Google and its search engine pals are actually rolling out updates to its search algorithm infrastructure on a daily basis. Most of these are very minute changes that you won’t even notice while a few can be absolute game-changers. From Panda in 2011 to Fred in 2017, there have been 8 major changes in the way Google ranks websites. These major changes are the result of misuse of both on- and off- site SEO techniques. If you’re not fully cognizant of these changes, you run the risk of having your ranking downgraded. To help you device a plan to improve your ranking, here are the top 5 on-site search engine optimization problems that you have to watch out for and ensure they don’t occur in your website.
1. Duplicate Content
One of the fundamental reasons why the first Google on-site SEO update was rolled out in 2011 is duplicate content. One of two websites is known to use content that has already been published elsewhere. The update was rolled out in response to duplicate content as well as thin and plagiarized content, keyword stuffing, and user-generated spam. The issue was again addressed in the Hummingbird update of 2013 where low-quality content was the main culprit. It was again emphasized in the 2015 RankBrain update, singling out shallow content. The latest update, Fred in March 2017, again targeted thin or ‘low quality’ and duplicate content as well as ad-centered or affiliate-heavy content.
Having duplicate, thin, spammy, low-quality, and shallow content can significantly affect the positioning of your website. This is an indication of failure on the part of websites to provide more meaningful, more relevant, more unique, and more compelling content for their respective target audiences. As such, it is important to invest in high quality, original content if you want to improve your ranking. If you’re having issues with how to do this, you can always secure the services of an SEO professional.
2. Missing Alt Attributes
Another common on-site search engine optimization problem is related to the inclusion, or omission thereof, of Alt tags. In fact, 45% of all websites have missing Alt tags while 1 in 10 sites have broken internal images. This can also affect a website’s visibility in search engines as the different graphic elements of the site don’t have the necessary and appropriate signs to signal its presence to crawlers in the virtual world. Many of these websites contain generic image file names instead of a more relevant name that somehow tells crawlers what it is. In effect, the image is evaluated as nothing more than the usual content stuffing. It is thus, crucial to understand how to make Alt tags more ‘readable’ for crawlers to factor into the search engine.
3. Issues with the Title Tag
Did you know that the title of your content matters, too? It provides readers with an idea of what they are going to get. More importantly, it signals to internet crawlers what the content is all about especially if it’s worded properly. Unfortunately, 35% of all websites have duplicate title tags while 15% have title tags that have way too much text in it. Two out of 25 websites don’t even have title tags while 1 out of 25 sites don’t have enough text within their title tag. Getting a professional to make sure you have appropriate and original title tags should help you score highly in search rankings.
4. Issues with Meta Description
Meta description is a snippet of your page’s content. It contains no more than 160 characters that are shown in search results only if it contains a phrase that is being searched. It should be relatively easy. However, many websites still fail miserably in their meta descriptions. Indeed, 3 out of 10 websites contain duplicated meta descriptions while 1 of 4 don’t even have meta description. This means that 11 out of 20 websites suffer from issues with their meta descriptions. This can factor in greatly in search rankings as the signals that are needed for online visibility are either faulty or not present at all. Finding help with your meta description should not be a problem as there are on-site search engine optimization companies like Unofficial to help you.
5. Broken Links
Link-building is an on-site SEO strategy that aims to build a relationship with other equally credible and reputable websites. Unfortunately, many websites misunderstood the implications of link-building in such a way that more is better. Many believed that by getting as many websites link back to their own sites, they will be ranking highly in the pages of search engines. This paved the way to the wanton inclusion of links in the page content regardless of the relevance of the link.
These were targeted in the Penguin update of 2012 alongside manipulative links as well as those with unusually over-optimized anchor texts. Also included were broken links. As a matter of fact, 7 out of 20 websites have been shown to suffer from internal broken links, 70% of which return with 4XX codes. This often occurs if the website’s URL structure has changed. Additionally, 1 of 4 websites also has broken external links. These occur for a variety of reasons. It is possible that the website the link is connected to is simply no longer available. It is also possible that the website being linked has moved but failed to provide a redirect.
You need an SEO provider who understands the implications of broken links if you want to rank high in today’s search engines. Getting these fixed is only a short-term solution, though. Learning how to prevent such occurrences should help you sustain your online visibility.
Thankfully, addressing these on-site search engine optimization problems should not give you a major headache. You can always secure the services of an SEO professional in managing these problems. At Unofficial, you can count on their expertise in both on- and off- site optimization to help you land higher in search engine rankings, empowering you to reach more of your target customers.