Common Technical SEO Mistakes That People are Still Making in 2023

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You know search engine optimization (SEO) is important to get your agency’s content seen, but staying on top of it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

One area that sometimes gets overlooked in the process is technical SEO. 

Technical SEO explores ways to improve your site’s crawling, indexing, and performance through technical aspects of your site, like optimizing your site’s speed, structure, and navigation.

To help, we explore 13 common technical SEO mistakes still being made in 2023 and how you can fix them.

1. Poor website structure

Websites that are easy to navigate provide a better user experience, which search engines value. So when creating your website, you want to give a clear and organized website architecture or structure. 

Your site’s structure is created based on the internal links between pages. These internal links also help search engines understand which pages are related. The more organized it is, the easier it is for search engines to discover and rank pages. Plus, it’s easier for visitors to use.

An organized website structure typically will group related content together, organize these groups in a logical hierarchy, and highlight the most important pages.

This can also help keep a user’s click depth or a search engine’s crawl depth at a minimum, meaning they can access key information in fewer clicks. So they don’t have to work hard to find the information they want.

To help, you’ll want to create a strategic plan using internal linking to help search engines understand your site’s structure.

2. Misusing your headings

For years there has been a debate about whether having more than one H1 heading will negatively impact your SEO. 

You want to make sure you’re using H1s, H2s, H3s, etc. effectively for your page. Because this helps readers better understand and consume your content and can help show the organization of your page.

So when it comes to headings, you’ll want to use best practices such as:

  • Keeping headings accurate to what they refer to
  • Incorporate keywords naturally
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Avoid adding links to your headings

Ultimately, when it comes to headings, you want the information to provide value to your reader and help structure your page and content.

3. Slow page load speed

Load speed or page speed is how fast the content on your page loads. If your page speed is too slow, visitors will bounce — quickly. 

This can negatively impact your SEO because it suggests to search engines that your site may have a poor user experience or not provide value to visitors since they’re leaving so fast. This information works against you since search engines want to deliver quality and easy-to-access resources in their search results.

You’ll want to monitor your page load speed time to help with your technical SEO and ensure this isn’t impacting your SEO results. There are various tools, like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, available to help you evaluate your page load speed. These tools can also help you understand the cause of the problem, such as if it’s due to image sizes being too big.

4. Missing or duplicate meta descriptions

While you may read varying opinions about the impact of duplicate or missing meta descriptions on SEO, these problems lead to less helpful SEO — even if you’re not directly penalized by Google.

Ultimately, meta descriptions provide useful information for potential visitors and cause them to click to your site, improving your click-through rates from search results. But if this information is missing or duplicated across pages, it can hurt your site and how you show up in search results.

For instance, if your meta description is missing, the search engine will fill in that information for you. As a result, you have less control over what people see about the page. Plus, the search engine may not choose the best or most optimized information, which can reduce clicks to your page.  

In addition, duplicate meta descriptions across pages can also cause problems. For instance, if you have more than one page with the same meta description or title, these pages will compete with each other when it comes to search results. This can be confusing for search engines and may result in a lower ranking. 

5. Ineffective use of robots.txt

Robots.txt lets search engine crawlers know what they should and should not crawl when they visit your website. Robots.txt is helpful because it can prevent engines from crawling duplicate sites, specify the location of your sitemap, and more.

So if you’re using robots.txt, you’ll want to optimize the file to get the best results. For instance, you’ll want to:

  • Ensure the pages you want indexed are allowed to be crawled, especially important pages
  • Check that duplicate content are disallowed so those pages aren’t crawled

6. Broken links

A broken link occurs when a hyperlink points to a page that doesn’t exist. For instance, the page the link directed someone to may have moved or been deleted without a redirect being set up.

Broken links can indirectly impact your SEO because they can result in poor user experience leading to less time spent on your site and higher bounce rates.

Broken links can also signal to search engines that your site may be outdated, which can more directly impact your SEO.

Automated tools can help you find broken links. Once you’ve found the broken links, you’ll need to fix them. 

You’ll want to fix broken external links by either replacing the nonworking link with a valid one or removing it altogether.

When fixing broken internal links, look to see if the problem is related to a typo, consider whether you want to recreate a deleted page (if that was the problem), use a 301 redirect to point to a page with relevant content, or delete the broken internal link. 

7. Not using HTTPS

Websites using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) work like a HTTP but add an additional layer of security. It gives your website (and, therefore, your visitors) extra protection because the information submitted to and from the server is encrypted.

This step can help minimize the ability of someone to hack, steal, or view visitors’ private data. 

So how does this help with SEO? 

Visitors are likely to spend more time on a more secure HTTPS site than a HTTP one. Having a longer dwell time is important for SEO because it lets the search engine know the website pages have value.

HTTPS sites often load faster, which is another factor search engines like Google look for. HTTPS also builds trust with your visitors.

If your site doesn’t have HTTPS, you’ll need to install a SSL certificate, ensure your old HTTP URLs are not in use, add a redirect in case someone lands on the old URLs, and then add your new HTTPS URLs to Google Search Console.  

8. Failing Google Core Web Vitals on mobile

Search engines want to return search results to sites that provide valuable content and a quality experience. Google Core Web Vitals measures a user’s experience with interacting with a web page separate from the content’s value.

The Core Web Vitals considers load time, visual stability, and the amount of time from when a user performs an action on your site until the browser responds. 

Poor responses to these measures suggest a poor user experience — making it more likely a visitor will bounce. As a result, Google will be less likely to prioritize or rank these types of pages in search results.

If you fail Google Core Web Vitals, you’ll want to fix it — not just for SEO purposes but also to ensure your visitors have a quality experience. Often, the problem will be found in your technical SEO, such as slow overall page speed, slow loading images, unnecessary third-party scripts slowing your site, and more.  

9. Not using XML sitemaps

XML sitemaps assist search engines like Google in discovering your site and finding all the pages, which is important to help your pages rank. Sitemaps essentially help the search engine understand your site’s structure, which can lead to more accurate information on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that has your content.

Having a sitemap can be especially important for:

  • Large websites
  • Websites with poor internal linking
  • Sites with few external links
  • Websites with lots of video, images, or media files 

10. No image alt text

When you don’t provide an alt text for your images, you can hurt your SEO and the accessibility of your page for visitors using screen readers.

For instance, search engine bots and some internet users won’t see your images, so optimizing images with appropriate alt text is essential. Alt text is essentially a detailed description of what the image shows. 

It initially began to aid visually impaired or blind individuals’ online experience so the screen reader could share what the image was. And it’s still used for that purpose. However, it also ensures your website images are accurately indexed by search engine crawlers, which helps your SEO.

This text also helps explain any images to readers when a browser doesn’t load an image correctly.

When writing an alt text, focus on describing the key element of the image or what is happening in the picture. Avoid keyword stuffing, and keep alt text short.

11. Ignoring canonical tags

Search engines don’t like duplicate pages because these programs don’t want to repeat the same information in a search result. But often, websites have duplicate or nearly identical pages. In this case, the search engine will determine which of the pages it deems the primary or canonical version, and that will be the page it prioritizes during indexing and ranking.

But it may or may not select the page you want used.

So you can influence which page it selects by using canonical tags or canonical links. (However, search engines may sometimes ignore the information.) 

You add the canonical tag, rel=”canonical”, in the <head> section of a webpage’s HTML source code — not the body. You can use the tags to point from an alternate or duplicate page to the preferred page. And use a canonical tag that points to its own URL, called self-referencing canonicals.

These tags can also help if you have syndicated content since it can tell the search engine which website has the original version. Additionally, canonical tags can improve how efficiently your pages are crawled and indexed, which can help your ranking.   

12. Not implementing structured data (Schema Markup)

Structured data or schema markup are essentially tags or code that you add to your HTML to enhance how your page is represented on the SERP and how search engines read your content. It improves the rich snippets displayed beneath the page title on the SERP.

Google understands 33 types of schema, including Book, course, logo, recipe, review snippet, and more. For example, a review markup can help tell the search engine to include the star rating to your results page entry or the product markup will ensure additional information, an image, and details about your products appear on the SERP. 

That said, Google may not display rich results for every page with structured data. But using schema markup on your website will improve the chance of receiving a rich result. And the more information a reader sees, the more likely they are to click on your link.    

13. Ignoring crawl errors

When a search engine crawls your website, it’s discovering your pages and determining if the content is worth being indexed — making it eligible to turn up on search engine queries.

But if the search engine encounters crawl errors, it can negatively impact your search engine rank or how well your website is indexed. It also can result in users having a poor experience on your site. So it’s important to fix these errors when they arise. 

Crawl errors can be site errors or URL errors. They can involve difficulties with DNS, robots.txt file, and server connectivity. Some examples of crawl errors include:

  • 404 errors
  • Soft 404 errors
  • Access Denied
  • Not Followed


Mastering technical SEO doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. By eliminating these common pitfalls, you can significantly enhance your site’s visibility, speed, structure, and overall performance. 

Remember, it’s not just about being seen, it’s about providing a seamless and enjoyable experience for your users! 


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