Google shares 3 tips for identifying technical SEO issues
Local businesses, in today’s digitally-driven world, must ensure their online presence is optimised for search engines. Google recently shared insightful tips on addressing technical SEO issues, which are crucial for enhancing your website’s visibility. These potential issues mostly revolve around indexing and search engine ranking.
Businesses can use their Google Search Console account to identify and troubleshoot these 3 areas, which are:
- Identifying whether the page is indexable or not
- Identifying if the page is a duplicate or canonical of another page
- Reviewing the rendered HTML for code-related issues
1. Ensuring page indexability
Understanding whether your website pages are indexed by Google is crucial. The URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console is instrumental here. It can quickly tell you if the page is indexable or not. If it is not indexable, Google will likely offer a suggestion for why Google may be facing trouble indexing the page.
If a page isn’t indexed, it might be due to issues like improper redirects, server errors, or blocked resources. The tool offers insights on why a page might not be indexed and how to fix it, making it easier for local business owners to quickly fix the issue.
For local businesses, ensuring every critical page is indexed is vital. Regular checks can prevent business-critical pages from being overlooked by Google, ensuring they appear in search results.
2. Dealing with duplicate content
Google’s handling of duplicate content involves selecting a canonical URL, which is the version it considers most representative. If your content is marked as duplicate, it’s not necessarily a penalty, but it does mean that Google has chosen what it considers the most relevant page.
According to Google:
“The next thing to check after crawling is if it’s been ignored as a duplicate and the canonical URL is on another one most of the time this is fine.
Even if this might not be the canonical URL you expected, the content is indexed and will be able to show up in search results, so this is generally fine.”
Google also advised against the cache or site search operators for troubleshooting and debugging purposes:
“Don’t use cache or site search operators and features because they are not meant for debugging purposes and might give you misleading outcomes when trying to use it in debugging.”
Local businesses need to audit their content to ensure uniqueness. This could involve rewriting product descriptions or creating unique content for each location page to avoid duplication.
Apart from ensuring each product or location page is unique and not merely a duplicate of another, make sure that no page that you want to appear on in search results canonicalize another page.
3. Reviewing Rendered HTML
It is important because checking rendered HTML is different than checking the HTML via the source code. If you want to see what the Googlebot sees, you need to review the rendered HTML.
“Check the rendered HTML and the HTTP response to see if there’s something you won’t expect. For example, a stray error message or content missing due to some technical issues on your server or in your application code,” says Google.
Regularly checking the rendered HTML of the important pages on your site can uncover hidden issues like missing content or broken layouts that can affect how Google and users view your site.
How these tips may help local businesses
1. Improved visibility
By ensuring pages are indexable and unique, local businesses can improve their visibility on search engines, attracting more customers.
2. Enhanced website performance
Identifying and resolving technical SEO issues leads to better website performance, directly impacting user experience and engagement.
3. Competitive edge
Staying updated with Google’s guidelines gives local businesses an edge over competitors who might overlook these technical aspects.
Technical SEO might seem daunting, but it’s a crucial component of your digital strategy. By following Google’s tips, local businesses can significantly improve their online presence and search engine rankings.
If you want to watch Google’s video on debugging technical SEO problems, you can do so here: