Website Development Mistakes That Hurt SEO

Google is constantly updating its indexing algorithm. They are hard at work looking for ways to get better and more effective at pulling out the best content for search results on the web, while simultaneously closing up loopholes and inefficiencies that some people take advantage of (knowingly and unknowingly). If Google is always changing, that means SEO practices are always changing, too.

Whether you haven’t yet dipped a toe in the SEO pool, or you have tried and true SEO methods you’ve been relying on for years, the truth is, you might be making mistakes that don’t just fail to boost your SEO, but actively hurt your ranking with Google.

Here are some development mistakes to avoid, which can negatively impact your Google indexing and ranking:

Image Anchors

From a design perspective, it might be tempting to use images instead of text for links to other pages on your site, or even for your main navigation. However, you should resist that temptation. When google scans your pages, they are looking for links as text, and can’t read the images as effectively. So, whatever good you are doing for your SEO by having links between pages on your site is essentially being negated by having those links be images. When you do need to use images, make sure you provide alt text so that search engines can get an idea of what those images are.

Broken Links

Whether because of typos, organizational problems or things just slipping through the cracks, links can be fragile things. No matter the reason, make sure you are vigilant about checking and double-checking all of your links. Google doesn’t know if those broken links are just mistakes, or if there is something fishy going on. Either way, they aren’t adding anything of value to the internet, and Google doesn’t want them around.

Bad 404

The 404 error page is a staple of the internet for a reason. It’s unrealistic to think that nobody on your site will ever come across a 404 error. Especially when it comes to site re-designs, it’s so easy for pages to get lost in the shuffle. But there’s no need to let 404 errors sink you, or your Google rank. By coming up with a creative and useful 404 page that includes a link back to your home page, a contact form, or even an ebook download, you can make the 404 an error in your favor.

Heavy Footprint

It could be because of inefficient or poorly written code. It could be because of server issues or bad hosting. Whatever the reason, if your website takes a long time to load, it isn’t just annoying to your visitors and likely to drive them away, it’s also bad for search engines. Google doesn’t want to direct people to pages that take a long time to load. Google, like everyone, wants the internet to be fast.

Unresponsive

Consumers spend 69% of their time on the web on mobile devices. So, these days, web design is responsive design. We’ve talked about the importance of responsive design before. As of March 2015, Google has started demoting websites that aren’t mobile friendly. So, in addition to the importance of having a mobile-friendly website to your customers and overall brand, it’s also important for SEO. 

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