1. Pick a Few Example Pages
Start with one or two pages that are representative of the problems you’re seeing with your site. You can always go through this checklist again with the other pages as you search for technical SEO issues. On the other hand, if the problem is only relegated to a few pages, focusing on those pages might be all that’s necessary.
2. Determine if Google Can Crawl the Page
It’s possible to experience technical SEO issue simply because Google is unable to crawl certain pages. There are a few ways you can find out if this is the problem:
• Check the robots.txt validator in Search Console
• Verify you can open a page’s URL with Googlebot Mobile and Googlebot (in Dev Tools)
• Use the mobile testing tool to verify you can access the IP address
• Use a VPN (virtual private network) to make sure your site is accessible from other countries (if you’re also targeting visitors outside of the U.S.)
3. Look for Conflicting Indexing Directives
Let’s assume Google can actually crawl your pages. In this case, the problem could be conflicting indexing directives. For instance, a page might have a canonical tag that tells Google to crawl it and a no-index tag that tells search bots to skip it. Some places to look for indexing issues include:
• HTTP headers
• Google Search Console settings
4. See if Google Is Consistently Crawling Pages
Get to your log files to see what Google is seeing and how bots are accessing your webpages. Check crawling patterns by plotting your status codes over time. Make sure Google is downloading all resources associated with each page. Look for differences between maximums and minimums for your pages and resources that may suggest Google isn’t downloading all resources.
5. View Pages Through Google’s Eyes
Use the Fetch & Render and Mobile-Friendly test tools to see what kind of errors Google may be seeing, then use the Diff Checker tool to compare results from the Fetch & Render and Mobile-Friendly tools with what you’re seeing in your browser.
6. Find Out if Google Is Seeing Something Different Than What You’re Seeing
7. Determine if Google Is Confusing Your Webpages with Similar Ones
Sometimes, Google runs across pages with duplicate pieces of content. When this happens, bots may get confused. For example, you might have a competitor intentionally copying and using your content. An effective way to identify this problem is do to an exact match search (e.g., placing quotes around a large piece of content and performing a search to see if matching content shows up).
8. Check for Other Possible Technical SEO Problems
Look for other possible technical SEO problems that may be affecting your webpages, which means taking a moment to check for things such as:
• Poorly constructed or invalid HTML
• Lack of an XML sitemap
• Incorrect/missing robots.txt
• Slow page speed
• Incorrect rel=canonical
• Multiple URL versions
If you can’t find the problem after running through this checklist, try website testing tools to see if any technical issues you may have overlooked can be identified. Even if you’re not yet seeing any signs of technical SEO issues, it never hurts to be proactive by keeping track of your site’s performance so problems can be discovered and resolved as quickly as possible. If you’re still not having any luck, an SEO professional should be able to dive into the inner workings of your site to see what’s going on. Look for a trusted agency that provides high-quality SEO services. San Diego businesses and many other companies across the globe have relied on Saba SEO to assist them with a wide array of SEO-related issues. If you’d like to learn more, call us today at 858-277-1717 to schedule an appointment.