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Saturday, 3 May 2014

7 Common Technical SEO Issues and Their Solutions

Technical SEO Factors, Problems & Tips, Understand and Know How to Resolve

In our day-to-day SEO training in Kolkata, we used to come across different learners from different educational and professional backgrounds. Some of them are students, some of them are working SEO professionals and some of them are coming from business backgrounds. Again many of our students are from non-technical backgrounds like Bachelor of Science or Commerce or even from Arts with a very limited or almost no knowledge on Search Engine Optimization. Though SEO learning doesn’t require any type of prerequisite skills on any particular technology but it is better if a student knows HTML. But very surprisingly many times we have seen that even working SEO professionals (not everyone) with two + years’ experience, do not know or understand some of the technical issues of SEO which happen very often on a website.

If we do an SEO technical audit then we can easily understand what types of technical problems are arising and on which webpages they are actually happening. There are lots of free SEO technical audit tool in the market which can be used to explore and identify such technical SEO factors.

In this article we will see 7 such SEO technical problems which happen and stay unnoticed and unresolved on websites often.

Please note, to identify, understand and rectify those technical issues of SEO you don’t have to possess some high SEO technical skills even you don’t have to be from an engineering or technical background. These are just some problems which can be solved by any well trained search engine optimizer.

SEO technical factors and tips

1. WWW and Non WWW Version of a Website

Most of the websites suffer from this SEO issue. This is a typical SEO example which happens very very often and without any question this is a severe technical problem & should be resolved as early as possible.

In this problem a site loads with both www and non www version of its domain. Like if website opens with both and on a browser then the site is facing this problem.

What happens when this issue occurs? Obviously both of the www and non www version of a website refers to the same page but the problem is that search engines do not look at it similarly as humans do. Google actually sees two different URLs within a website with same content which is a canonical issue.

Many a time we see websites with four different versions of their home page with same contents. Like
Naturally these four URLs will actually take you to the home page of a website but leads to the ‘Canonicalization’ issue.

To resolve this problem you can do two things. Use Google Webmaster Tool or/and use .HTACCESS.

Google Webmaster Tool Solution

You can specify your preferred version of the domain in Google Webmaster tool Preferred Domain section.

A] On the Webmaster tools Site Dashboard
B] Click the gear icon and then click Site Settings
C] Then from the Preferred Domain section select either the www or non www version.

Once you do this Google will use your selected preferred version for all future website crawling and indexing.

Remember Google Webmaster Preferred Domain section only works for Google but if you want to notify all other search engines about your preferred version then you have to use a 301 permanent redirect using .HTACCESS (mentioned below and recommended).

.HTACCESS Solution with permanent redirection (301)

If you want to use the non www version of your website then use,

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond % ^ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

In case you want to use the www version, then use the following

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond % ^ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

Note: If you use a home button or link on your website which points to your website home page then do not link it to (or rather just link it to (or

To find this problem you do not need any SEO technical audit tool or it does not even require any high end SEO technical analysis and evaluation. Just open a website in a normal browser and check whether it is opening with both versions or not. If there is a home button or link then check the actual URL it is pointing to and do the needful accordingly.

2. Permanent (301) and Temporary (302) Redirects

These are two different kinds of redirects and should be used for two different reasons and conditions. 301 and 302 redirects are those SEO technical terms which need to be very clear from the very beginning of an advanced and technical SEO training. Remember that both these redirection work similarly at the user’s end but for search engines they are completely different.

301 is a permanent redirect where we tell Google and other search engines that an URL has moved to a newer one permanently. Whereas a 302 redirects tell search engines that the redirection to the new URL is temporary for the time being.

301 permanent redirects should be used in cases –
  • You have taken down a page or moved a page somewhere (new URL) permanently and you want your users and search engines to land on that new page. 
  • You have some duplicate contents in your website and you want to redirect search engines to the original version of the content.
301 permanent redirects pass the link juice to the new URL it is pointing to.

302 temporary redirects generally used when we are moving a page or domain temporarily to a new URL or domain and pointing that to the search engines and users.

302 temporary redirects do not pass the link juice of the old URL to the pointing new URL.

If you are migrating to a new domain then you should use a page to page 301 permanent redirects not page to domain redirects.

3. 404 Page Not Found HTTP Header Code

404 is a HTTP Header code which tells search engines and users that the requested page not found. It generally happens when you deleted or moved a page to a new URL without using a permanent redirection. In general it does not affect SEO but if it happens regularly on some old and indexed pages then overtime Google may de-index them and if this happens eventually those 404 pages will stop coming on SERP. In eCommerce search engine optimization, 404 page not found HTTP header errors happen very often.

The best solution is to use a permanent 301 redirect to those 404 pages to their new URLs and if you have deleted some of the indexed pages then use .HTACCESS to redirect users and search engines to a custom 404 page.

RewriteEngine On
ErrorDocument 404 /custom-error-page-404.html

404, 301 and 302 redirects are very common technical SEO interview questions and if you are SEO job seeker then consult different technical SEO job descriptions to have clear ideas about the questions and prepare yourself with the accurate answers.

4. Website Speed and Loading Time

Website loading time is a major factor for search engine optimization and user experience (UX). If a site loads slowly then surely it is not good for its SEO and conversion. The pain point is that there are very limited measures a search engine optimizer can actually take to resolve this problem. A website may load slowly for several reasons. Due to its coding, multiple scripts, high resolution pictures, unorganized & scattered HTML, uncompressed HTML & images etc.

There are couple of things an SE Optimizer should check and report to their client or their technical SEO manager.

A] Scripts written in between head (<head> … </head>) of HTML code. In general Javascrpts load immediately and sequentially and when they load, browser stops loading HTML which eventually delays site loading. So it is better if we can write down all of our javascripts just before the body end (</body>) tag. Or use asynchronous javascripts.

B] Do not use multiple javascripts or CSS files rather write (if possible) all scripts in one javascript file and all styles in one CSS file, this way you are actually minimizing HTTP requests which results in fast site loading. Always use minified CSS and javascript files.

C] Do not use high resolution and big images rather use thumbnails and show the bigger image when the respective thumbnail gets clicked. Use CSS Sprite to minimize the number of image requests and the overall size of the images.

D] Use GZip file compression to compress your HTML, scripts and CSS files.

E] Use good and reliable CDN (Content Delivery Network) to distribute your web content or data in different geography virtually. (Use CDN cautiously with proper guidance)

F] Use web & browser caching.

These are some of the technical SEO tips for fast website loading. Read this very good article on website speed optimization on MOZ.

5. URL Structure and Parameters

URLs are very important for Good SEO result. In general URLs should represent the topic of the page it is pointing to. There are several factors which can result in an un-optimized URL.

Dynamic URL with query parameters and session ids are very much difficult to read and index by search engines. Query parameters are mostly used for sorting of dynamic data and most of the time they result in duplicate contents and canonicalization issue. We can see these problems mostly on eCommerce websites.

Un-optimized URLs like are not good for users and search engines both. These types of URLs are difficult to remember and link to. Rather rewrite this URL as

Javascript links are all bad for SEO. Search engines do not (or really fight to) understand scripts. Many times we see links in a website which use javascript functions (, window.location=”URL” etc.) to navigate from one URL to another. This type of linking should be avoided.

Burried URLs are those URLs with lots of subfolders. These types of URLs are also not good for search engine optimization.

SEO friendly URLs should be short, easy to remember and link to. Use .HTACCESS file to rewrite search engine friendly URLs. Always remember to use keywords in URLs and make sure that you are using dashes (-) to separate words in an URL. It is better to use all lower-case letters in URLs.

Remember, if you are changing your current URL structure then be sure to use page to page 301 permanent redirects so that users and search engines do not land on a non-existing (HTTP Header Code 404) or unwanted page.

6. Errors in Robots.txt File

A website’s Robots.txt file is used to tell which search engines or search bots can crawl that site and which pages or folders search engines (crawlers) should not crawl and index. If it is not written properly or if there is any error in this file then there can be a crawling error which eventually results in non-indexing of webpages.

7. Sitemap Files

Sitemap files are very important for proper site crawling and indexing. There are two types of sitemaps. First one is sitemap.xml and the second one is sitemap.html. Sitemap.xml files are used by search engines to locate new URLs of a website and accordingly they crawl those newly built pages (URLs). Whereas sitemap.html file is for human users to identify and understand the website’s directory and linking structure.

One sitemap file can contain maximum 50K links and if your site has more than 50K links then you have to create a second sitemap file and maximum you can submit 50K sitemap files (previously the limit was 1K sitemap files) to Google.

These are some of the technical SEO checklist and factors which can be found if we do a proper technical SEO audit. In our SEO training in Kolkata we teach our students how to do a proper SEO audit for a website and we also train them how to resolve those SEO problems on live websites practically. Our continuous and rigorous in hand practical training makes our students ready for any type of technical SEO interview questions and many of our past students are currently working as Technical SEO Specialist in many reputed organizations.

So by now if you are planning to learn SEO in Kolkata then you can contact us for the same. We teach industry designed, ethical and basic to advanced Search engine optimization in Kolkata which can boost your career in SEO industry.

SEO Training KolkataHarish Chandra Dutta Road, Panihati, Sodepur,Kolkata, West Bengal 700114098 04 457170