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16 Top Website Mistakes to Avoid in 2021 [+ 16 Easy Fixes]

Technical SEO
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16 Top Website Mistakes to Avoid in 2021 Since 86% of consumers rely on the internet to find local businesses, having a website is a no-brainer regardless of your business type. Although building a website is great for business, you'll want to avoid making common mistakes that will stop you from getting the most out of your investment. All of these mistakes are easy to identify for free using a handy tool called Website Grader. In this post, I'll show you the most common website mistakes we've seen here at HubSpot and exactly how to fix them if they apply to you. 1. Lengthy Page Title A page title, like the one in the Google search result below, tells visitors what a page is about. Search engines and browsers may cut off your page title if it's too long. From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, a concise page title yields the best reader experience. If your page title is too long, it will dilute the importance of each term in the title. This might even prevent you from ranking well on the search engine results page (SERP). It's best practice to keep your page title under 70 characters so that the reader can see the entire title and make a decision to click through to the post. Website Fix #1: Use a Headline Analyzer Tool to Write Concise Headlines Use a tool like Coschedule's Headline Analyzer to draft a concise and keyword-rich description of your...

The Quick & Easy Guide to Fixing 504 Gateway Timeout Errors

Technical SEO
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The Quick & Easy Guide to Fixing 504 Gateway Timeout Errors If you've ever visited a website that served you an error page, you know how frustrating it is. One of the worst things you can do as a brand is not meet your audience's needs and expectations. If your website visitors see an error page when they're looking for help or information, they could get frustrated and lose trust in your brand, permanently damaging your reputation. The 504 Gateway Timeout Error is one type of error that can hurt the user experience in this way. To help you avoid losing brand sentiment and consumer trust, we’ve fleshed out exactly what this error means and what its most common causes and solutions are. Here's how a 504 Gateway Timeout Error might appear in your user's browser: Image Source 504 Errors Wording The screenshot above depicts how a 504 Gateway Timeout Error appears in one server. Below are some other common ways a 504 error might appear, depending on the server, operating system, or browser you're using. In Google Chrome, a 504 error will appear as HTTP ERROR 504. This code will appear below a message that reads something like: “This site can’t be reached. _____ took too long to respond.” Image Source In Windows-based programs, a 504 error will appear as ERROR 504, HTTP_STATUS_GATEWAY_TIMEOUT, or “The request was timed out waiting for a gateway message.” Here's how it may appear when using...

500 Internal Server Errors: What They Are & How to Fix Them

Technical SEO
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500 Internal Server Errors: What They Are & How to Fix Them Troubleshooting an HTTP 500 internal server error is like solving a mystery. You don't know what exactly happened or why it happened — all you know is that something's wrong and you need to fix it. To guide you through the hassle of troubleshooting the dreaded HTTP 500 internal server error, let's go over what it exactly means and its most common causes and solutions. Here's what your 500 error page might look like in your browser: How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error Unlike other server-side errors like a 502 code or a 503 code, a 500 internal server error is it doesn't immediately tell you what the problem is, nor does it tell you how to fix it. If the error persists for too long on your site, it could even negatively impact your SEO. So, let's dive into a few potential causes of the error. Then, we'll present some solutions so you can try to fix the issue. Potential Causes of a 500 Internal Server Error A 500 internal server error is, as the name implies, a general problem with the website's server. More than likely, this means there's an issue or temporary glitch with the website's programming. Some potential causes of a 500 internal server error include: Corrupted or broken .htaccess file A permissions error Faulty third-party plugins or themes The PHP memory limit...

The Parts of a URL: A Short & Sweet Guide

Technical SEO
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The Parts of a URL: A Short & Sweet Guide If your website is like a house, then your website’s URL is like that house’s address. It defines where your website lives online, similar to how your home address determines where you live in a neighborhood, helping your visitors easily find your site. URLs also help Google understand what your website's pages are about. There are technically five elements of a URL, and they’re discreetly important for optimizing your site’s user experience (UX) and SEO. To help you develop a concrete understanding of every part of a URL, let’s explore each of them in detail. Below is an illustration of the different parts of a URL.  Let's break down this URL structure below.  URL Structure Scheme The scheme tells web servers which protocol to use when it accesses a page on your website. Nowadays, HTTPS — which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure — is the most common scheme. It tells your web browser to encrypt any information you enter onto the page, like your passwords or credit card information, so cybercriminals can’t access it. This security protocol protects your website visitors and implementing it will help your site rank better on Google. That's why implementing SSL is a must-do on any technical SEO guide.  Other schemes you might see are mailto://, which can open your computer’s default email service provider to help you draft an email to the email address you entered in the URL, and ftp://, which...

What Exactly Is Semantic Search (& How Does it Affect SEO)

Technical SEO
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What Exactly Is Semantic Search (& How Does it Affect SEO) Ten years ago, SEO strategists across the world followed a relatively similar process. Step one, conduct keyword research. Step two, randomly write those keywords into the text on a page approximately five billion times. And step three — rank number one for that keyword. I hate to break to you, but that isn't the case anymore. Several algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain brought about a new concept: semantic search. While this may remove jobs for black-hat keyword stuffers, SEOs who prioritize the importance of providing a good customer experience can sigh in relief that Google is now on their side. Google and other search engines are continuously striving to satisfy the searcher with the most accurate results — which is precisely where semantic search comes in. In other words, it connects search intent with the context of your content to provide the most relevant and helpful results. With these updates in place, how does this affect search traffic? And what do SEOs need to consider moving forward? That's what I'll cover in this article. What is semantic search? To start, let's dive deeper into how semantic search works. Semantic search is the process search engines use to try to understand the intent and contextual meaning of your search query in order to give you results that match what you had in mind. In other words, semantic search aims to know why you are searching for these...

The What, Why, and How of Canonical Tags & URLs

Technical SEO
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The What, Why, and How of Canonical Tags & URLs "That's canon!"  You might've heard this phrase used to describe a creative piece that stays true to an original piece of work or fictional universe. If you're familiar with canon, you are well on your way to understanding canonicalization and how it impacts web pages. Here, let's explore what canonicalization is, why it matters for SEO, and how to add the tag to your own website. What is canonicalization? Canonicalization declares an original or preferred web page, which helps consolidate duplicate pages for crawling. Without naming a canonical URL, web crawlers could crawl and index multiple versions of your web page. Google indicates that it will crawl non-canonical pages less frequently to reduce the crawl load on your website. Less frequent crawling of low-quality, duplicate pages means more important pages can be prioritized for crawling, instead. Okay, but why would we purposely have duplicate content? Well … ever post your content on your website and also on Medium? Or, perhaps after guest posting you place a version of the blog post on your website, as well. To do so, you should reference the original version as the canonical URL. Canonical URLs can reference different domains — meaning the canonical can be on another website. Even if you aren't actively creating duplicate pages for cross-channel promotion, duplication happens naturally due to the different parts of a web address. Does your website use a secure protocol, like HTTPS? Then...

Your Cheat Sheet to Google’s 200 (Known) Ranking Factors

Technical SEO
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Your Cheat Sheet to Google's 200 (Known) Ranking Factors If you're an SEO, I know you can relate to the following scenario. You do thorough keyword research and create super awesome content that ends up performing well — score! You are riding the waves of growth in SERPs and feel like you're on top of the world. And the next day, there's an algorithm update that comes along ... and just like that, your rankings have tanked. Regardless of whether an algorithm update rocks or destroys your world, they're an inevitable occurrence. So it's time to face the facts, and take the changes in stride. As difficult as ranking in the coveted number one spot may seem, there is a list that'll help you get there: Google's 200 known ranking factors. This list serves as our guide in a field that's constantly evolving. In 2006, Google declared that it was using over 200 ranking factors. While that's certainly the most comprehensive perspective, I've pulled all the known ranking factors together in one post and shared my personal top 10 to make it a bit more tactical. But before you jump in, understand that everything is arguable in SEO, and there have been some controversies concerning these "200 known ranking factors". SEO's often differ in their perspective on which ranking factors matter the most — or whether they're important at all. Nevertheless, user experience is one thing Google continually improves for their users. If you want to create more helpful content for...

How to Effectively Disavow Links & Protect Organic Ranking

Technical SEO
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How to Effectively Disavow Links & Protect Organic Ranking If you're confused about when, why, and how to disavow links — you aren't alone. We all know that backlinks are critical to your SEO success, but the quality of those backlinks can make all the difference in that success. This post will help you understand when and how to submit a Google disavow file, which is important for protecting your domain. Let's dive in — but first, what is the disavow tool? What is the disavow tool? The disavow tool gives you the opportunity to ask Google to ignore low-quality backlinks to your website. When you submit a disavow file to Google, you are asking them to ignore certain links that are pointing to your domain. There is no obligation for them to respect your request, but if they do, those links won't be used in determining your ranking in search results. It's important to understand, however, that disavowing backlinks doesn't remove them from your backlink profile. Do you actually need to use the disavow tool? Google has made it clear that they only want you to use the disavow tool if you need to. They recommend using it if you have a manual spam penalty, or if you knowingly took part in link-building practices that might be harming you. In 2019, Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller talked about the disavow tool during Google Webmaster Central office hours. He says, "I think for most websites out there, pretty...

The Modern, Inside Scoop on Google PageRank In 2021

Technical SEO
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The Modern, Inside Scoop on Google PageRank In 2021 If you have been in SEO for a while, you may remember the days of working hard to increase the PageRank of websites — it was the metric every SEO cared about and wanted to improve. Improving PageRank meant improving your authority (usually with backlinks), which in turn could result in higher rankings and more traffic.  But what happened to PageRank? It's rarely talked about anymore.  Believe it or not, PageRank is still used as a ranking signal for Google, even if you haven't heard it mentioned in a while. Here, we'll explore what you need to know about Google PageRank in 2021. What is Google PageRank? Google PageRank is a very complex concept, but we are going to try and break it down to make it easy to understand. PageRank uses a mathematical formula to score the value of a page based on the quality and quantity of the pages linking it to it.  The PageRank formula will look at the number of inbound links, external links, and the PageRank of those links to determine authority. The formula will create a score using a logarithmic scale with values ranging from 0-10.  The higher the PageRank score of a page, the more authoritative that page is. You can get more in-depth information about the PageRank formula in the original paper that was published back in 1997. The PageRank Toolbar Years ago, there used to be a toolbar that could show...

302 Status Code: What It Is + Its Impact on SEO

Technical SEO
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302 Status Code: What It Is + Its Impact on SEO If you've spent any time on the internet, chances are you've encountered an HTTP status code. In simple terms, HTTP status codes are standard response codes that show the relationship between all the things that go on in the background when you travel from web page to web page. Things like the user agent (i.e., your web browser), the server, the web page you're trying to load, and any third-party web applications you might be running. Because of the complexity of how all those elements interact, there are many possible HTTP status codes you can run up against. HTTP status codes identify and diagnose the particular blocker preventing you from loading a resource, and can give you information about the journey you took on the way to a page. In this article, we'll cover what you need to know about the HTTP 302 status code – jargon-free. For starters, it's helpful to know that all HTTP messages with 3xx are redirection messages. Say blog.hubspot.com no longer exists, and the content is now permanently housed on blogging.hubspot.com. This would trigger a 301 status code, which indicates a permanent redirection from one location to another. The 302 redirect, on the other hand, is only temporary. A good example of when to use a 302 status code is for localization and language purposes. For instance, if you visit a clothing website based in the United Kingdom but you are located...