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11 SEO Traps On On-site Optimisation

Most webmasters pay too little attention to on-site optimization or have insufficient knowledge. SEMrush, the professional for digital marketing, has carried out a global study on this topic. Real data was used for this, more than 100,000 domains and approx. 450 million pages were analyzed and the 11 most common on-site problems were identified.

Onsite Error 1: Duplicate Content

Google defines duplicate content as “large blocks of content that correspond to or are noticeably similar to other content on the same or a different domain”. According to the SEMrush study, 50% of websites have duplicate content. This problem occurs particularly frequently and is in the first place.

In the current Google Q&A session, it was pointed out that there is no duplicate content penalty. With duplicate content, the webmaster can no longer decide which page should rank and which should not, which is a landing page and which was created for the visitor. In addition, search engines prefer those sites that offer unique content.

Brief Tips And Solutions:

  • Merge the same pages or delete duplicates;
  • Use the “rel = canonical” tag if no technical interventions are possible;
  • 301 use redirect;
  • “Noindex” meta tags;
  • Disallow in robots.txt;
  • Google Search Console (parameter setting).
  • Important: The points should not be combined with one another.

Further tips:

The correct spelling of the links is probably the most common source of errors. If you have selected the main domain without “www” in the Search Console, the address without “www” must also be specified for the internal link. Better yet, use the relative paths. One should not copy texts from others (except for quotations). The content must be unique and no plagiarism.

Onsite Error 2: Missing Alt Tags or Nonexistent Images

Images are an important part of content marketing. They are also a part of the SEO strategy. 45% of all pages have no or an empty alt tag. The images do not exist on 10% of the pages. Alt tags are used to display an alternative description of the image if it could not be loaded. Alt tags influence the image search where they are only one of the many ranking factors. That is the reason why you should build the keywords into the alt tags. In addition, the non-existent images can have a negative effect on the conversion rate in the case of an online shop.

Brief tips and solutions:

  • Generate alt tags automatically or have them written manually;
  • Always scan for missing images (important for online shops);
  • Use plugins, addons etc. depending on the CMS.

Also Read: SEO Myths You Need To Stop Believing Today

Onsite Error 3: Title Tag

The title tag provides search engines with information about the subject of the page. Google actively uses it to determine the relevance of the page to the search query. In practice, the content of the tag is very often displayed as a heading in the search results. At this point, you should neither overestimate nor underestimate the weighting of the title tag in the algorithm or fill the title tag with keywords.

The results of the study show the 4 most common mistakes in the title tag:

  • 35% of the sites had duplicate title tags;
  • 15% title tags that are too long;
  • 8% no title tags at all;
  • 4% title tags that are too short.

The title tag is one of the most important factors for ranking and influences the CTR in the search results.

A few tips and solutions:

  • With double title tags, the cause is often the duplicate content (see 1st point);
  • Title tags should not be too short (e.g. one word) or too long (over 70 characters desktop, mobile can be less);
  • Write meaningful and relevant title tags;
  • The main keyword should be close to the beginning of the title tag.

Onsite Error 4: Meta Descriptions

This meta tag describes the content of the individual page. It should not be longer than 160 characters. For blogs, the length may be shorter because of the article date and for some languages ​​because of the width of the letters. Meta Description has a direct effect on the CTR and has no real significance for the ranking. According to the SEMrush study, 30% of the pages had duplicate descriptions and 25% of the pages had no descriptions at all.

Further tips and solutions:

  • Proceed with duplicate descriptions as with duplicate title tags;
  • Do not write the descriptions longer than 160 characters (including spaces);
  • Create an interesting and relevant description of each page;
  • The keywords are not necessary in the description.

Onsite Mistake 5: Dead Links

With websites that are growing all the time, dead links can become a major problem. The problem becomes even worse when there are a lot of broken links and the 404 pages is not set up properly. According to the SEMrush study, 35% of the examined pages have dead internal links, with 70% of these being 404 links. The outbound links are incorrect on 25% of the websites.

Dead links clearly have a negative impact on the visitor experience. Nobody wants to find out when clicking a link that the page doesn’t exist. They can also have a negative impact on the distribution of link juice. Linkjuice is a collective term for link strength and is one of the factors for calculating the relevance of the page. A non-linked page cannot be indexed either.

Brief Tips And Solutions:

  • Crawl the website regularly and fix all 404 errors;
  • Pay attention to the correct spelling of the links;
  • Contact technical support if there are 50X errors.

Also Read: SEO: The Current Trends For Startups

Onsite Error 6: Low Text To Code Ratio

The text to code ratio shows the ratio of text content to source code on a single page. 28% of all examined pages have a text-to-code ratio that is too low. A low text-to-code ratio has no direct impact on the ranking of the page. However, it can be a possible signal of the clean code, user experience, and relevance. Because more text has a better relationship to the result and theoretically a higher probability of relevance to the visitor’s search query. However, this problem should not be overstated. For example, the online shops often have a very low text-to-code ratio and that does not affect their rankings.

Brief Tips And Solutions:

  • Check source code. Preferably with the W3C validator;
  • Manually review the content on the pages. This can have a positive effect on the user experience and thus probably also on the conversion rate.

Onsite Error 7: H1 Headline

20% of the analyzed websites have several H1 headings within one page. For the other 20%, the H1 headings are missing and for 15% the title tag and H1 are identical on a single page. The H1 heading is a structural and marking element for the content on a single page. The H1 heading is one of the possible factors that search engines can use to determine the relevance of the document to the search query. It is also an important element in the visitor experience, as the visitor is often the first to see it.

Brief Tips And Solutions:

  • Don’t write pure SEO headings;
  • Make the headings clear and understandable for visitors to understand;
  • Keywords are allowed, but not required;
  • If possible, use only one H1 heading per page
  • H1 heading and title tag should ideally be similar (identical is also not a problem)

Onsite Error 8: Too Low Word Count

This metric counts the number of words within a page. The results of our study show that around 18% of web pages have too low a number of words on some individual pages. The question here, which is probably also relevant for the Panda update, is whether or not the word count is too low on most of the pages on a website. If this is the case, it could be an indication of the poor quality of the entire website. If it is in a healthy proportion to the total number of pages, then there is no need to worry. However, the question still remains whether the visitor is no longer provided with relevant content.

Brief Tips And Solutions:

  • Create good and relevant content;
  • It is best to write about one topic rather than all topics;
  • Do not inflate the texts artificially with filler words.

Also Read: Visibility Through SEO: Optimized Texts Are Only One Factor

Onsite Error 9: Too Many Outbound Links on a Single Page

As the heading suggests, it’s about the total number of all outbound links on a single page. The number of links has an effect on the so-called link juice. Put simply: The more links there are on a page, the less Linkjuice is passed on to the individual linked pages. 15% of websites have too many outbound links on a single page.

Google used to recommend a maximum of 100 links in its guidelines. Nowadays this guideline is no longer relevant. If the entire site was not created as a spam project and the links were structured and placed for the sake of the visitor experience, there is nothing to worry about. So it remains a question of wise use of the links.

Brief Tips And Solutions:

  • Check the pages with too many links (above average);
  • It is not uncommon for them to be technical errors;
  • Often there are double links (above in the menu and below in the footer).

On-site Mistake 10: Incorrect Language Definition

As our study shows, 12% of the websites examined either provided incorrect information or no information at all. The language definition in the <head> area of ​​the website gives the search engines an indication of the language of the website or an individual document.

Like the W3C declaration <html lang = “en”> there is also the ahref lang attribute advertised by Google. This information is particularly important if you operate a website with a lot of international content. If the information is missing, the search engine tries to recognize the language automatically.

Onsite Error 11: Permanent (301) And Temporary (302) Redirects

The redirection is a signal for the search engines that the page can no longer be found under the old but under the new address. 301 redirect is permanent. 302 redirect is temporary. If you use the 302 redirects, it is a signal to Google that it is time-limited. This then has the consequence that the old address of the page is not removed from the index and the new page is not indexed at all. Even if there are numerous discussions on the topic of 302 redirects. Play it safe! Use the 301 redirects only if the page has really moved forever.


There are still very many websites that are affected by critical on-site errors. If your website is affected by one or more of the errors described above, you now know what it is about, what effects it has and what you can do about it. Danger recognized danger averted!

Also Read: Digital Marketing: What Is Local SEO In A Nutshell?

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