Conducting a large-scale SEO audit can bring to your knowledge a great deal of problems that were earlier either hidden or were un-noticed, which might cause catastrophe on a site indexing millions of pages. The sorriest part comes in play when you find out that those hidden details were putting you out of position from the Google Webmaster rules and regulation which can surely cause a penalty to you.
It must be kept in mind that no matter how honest your mistake was you are always going to be penalized by search engines as they have no mechanism that your mistake or violation was voluntarily or involuntary. So as you can see this creates an urgent need to check your website for those fault lines and get them removed as soon as possible.
- Messing up rel= tag Usually this command is used with a simple one line command which is referred as rel=canonical but it can really mess up if misused or not rightly utilized. Its common with sites with indexing of tens of thousands pages. Ultimate result would be destruction of ranking and in turn your organic search traffic. A simple example can be seen by the name of post how one line of code could destroy SEO.
Remedy Now the best way is not to implement rel=canonical strategy if you don’t know how to do it. But with its efficiency kept in mind you must adopt it but before doing that make sure that you consult and excellent SEO. Use rel=canonical only on duplicate pages and don’t replace it where a 301 redirect is required. Don’t forget that it might seem single line code but it can bring havocs to your own website if not handled with care.
- Inappropriate Sitemap NEVER. Yes, NEVER feed search engines with URLs that are provided with errors like 404, 302 or 500 etc. otherwise you might end up comprising the fate of your website when a new algorithm update rolls in or may be even before that.
Sites with such URL have a sitemap called “Dirty sitemap” which makes search engines to lose trust upon the whole sitemap. Duane Forrester from Bing told in an interview with Eric Enge:
“Your Sitemaps need to be clean. We have a 1% allowance for dirt in a Sitemap. Examples of dirt are if we click on a URL and we see a redirect, a 404 or a 500 code. If we see more than a 1% level of dirt, we begin losing trust in the Sitemap.”
With this said it should be needless to say that only canonical URLs should be provided in XML sitemaps.
- Non Directing 301’s It would be highly unlucky that you worked on revamping your whole website or migrating your website. You worked with full zeal to make a 301 redirect plan and implemented it efficiently and checked it with your developer as well to make sure a smooth re launch. But when you were about to extract better traffic it reversed and starte4d dropping. Crash Check over.
Suddenly you release that most of your 301 redirects are not working rightly and they start landing on to errors like 404(page not found)
Simplest solution lies in checking back your redirects on regular intervals even after re launch and addressing the issue as soon as you the first 404 error.