If your SEO problem affects a very small percentage of your overall website traffic, it may be best to let it go and focus on the bigger picture. However, if your site is not performing as well as it should be, experiencing a sudden and significant traffic drop, or having issues with the wrong pages ranking, you shouldn’t let it slide. The San Diego SEO specialists at Saba SEO share a few tips on how to debug technical SEO problems.
1. Pick a Few Example Pages
Choose a few webpages to focus on. Ideally, your sample pages should be representative of your website. If you only have issues with a few pages, go ahead and use those pages.
2. Determine If Google Can Crawl the Page
Next, you’ll want to see if the problem is because Google’s bots can’t crawl your page. There are four ways you can see if crawlers can access your site:
• Use Robots.txt – Check the robots.txt checker in Google’s Search Console to determine if your website is communicating with crawlers.
• Check with Googlebot user agents – Confirm you can open the URL for the page you are checking by opening Dev Tools. Also, make sure Google’s smartphone crawler is accessing your site.
• View Your IP address – Make sure you can get to your page with Google’s mobile testing tool. Just enter a URL to run the test.
• Try VPN – Use a VPN (virtual private network) to confirm your site is accessible to crawlers from other countries relevant to your marketing goals or business.
3. Look for Signs of Mixed Messages
One of the most common technical SEO problems stems from sending mixed messages to Google’s crawlers. For example, canonical tags tell crawlers which version of a page to index. If a page with a canonical tag also features a no-index directive, you’re telling Google this is the page that matters most for indexing purposes but you don’t want it indexed. Places to check for directive inconsistencies include:
• Your sitemap
• HTTP headers
• Google Search Console settings
4. Check for Consistency with Crawling
To make Google’s web crawling efforts more consistent, go to your log files to get an idea of what the search engine is seeing when it crawls your pages. With crawling patterns, determine consistency by:
• Plotting status codes to make sure Google is seeing the same codes you’re seeing
• Checking if Google is downloading all of the resources for the pages you’re viewing
• Comparing the maximums and minimums with your resources and pages to look for differences that suggest all page resources aren’t being downloaded
5. Determine If Google Is Seeing What You’re Seeing
Find out if Google is seeing what you’re seeing by using the Fetch & Render and Mobile-Friendly Test tools. Compare the results with what you usually see in your browser. A Diff Checker tool can make it easier to compare the results.
6. Get a Better Idea of What Google May Be Encountering
• Storing the rendered DOM (document object model) from Googlebot – Displays what went wrong with respect to technical SEO elements
7. Find Out If Google May Be Classifying Your Site with Other Ones
Not all technical SEO issues involve performance or ranking problems. Broaden your assessment and observe what’s showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs) when you look up your business.
A common issue is duplicate content, which can happen if you used content from another source without changing it or giving credit. Crawlers can also get confused if you have a competitor intentionally passing off some of your content as their own.
8. Check for Other Possible Technical SEO Problems
Lastly, complete the assessment of your webpages by looking at some of the other possible technical SEO issues that can affect how they’re indexed. Look for things such as:
• Improper HTTPS configuration (Google prefers sites that are secure)
• Poorly constructed or invalid HTML
• Issues with AMP implementation/configuration
If you’re still not sure how to pinpoint technical SEO issues, consider doing a full SEO audit. SEMRush and Moz are among the many sources you can use in your SEO assessment efforts. Many sites that offer audit tools include reports that make it easier to identify technical issues. If you continue to experience website/page performance problems after some DIY efforts, consider seeking input from search engine optimization pros.
The experts at Saba SEO, a leading SEO company in San Diego, can help you address all types of search engine optimization issues. By using state-of-the-art tools and models, we can conduct website audits, identify issues with particular webpages, and take prompt action to fix these problems. We also specialize in website redesigning, content development, search engine optimization, and social media marketing that can boost your online visibility and help you attract more customers. Whether you need a quick website assessment or a comprehensive SEO audit, we are here to help. Give us a call at 858-951-1717 to schedule an appointment with one of our SEO experts.