The moment we hear “technical error” when it comes to SEO it’s easy to hit the overload button and ignore everything else. But, in reality, there are a number of things that are really fairly simple, and if it’s beyond your knowledge, any webmaster worth their weight will know how to lend a helping hand.
We’re going to look at the top 3 and explain them in simple English.
1. Can Google index your website?
There’s a quick test to check and see if this is an issue. Go to Google (Google.com) and in the search bar type “site:yourowndomainname.com” — putting in your domain. Google will return a list of all the pages it has indexed for your site. If you see your site pages, great! If not, keep reading.
There’s a file behind the scenes called the robots file. WordPress makes it easy to update that file and either give Google and other robots access or deny access. In the admin area go to: Settings > Reading and make sure there’s no check in the box “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”.
If the box isn’t checked but you’re not seeing your pages in the search noted, feel free to reach out, we’ll help identify the problem and you can pass it on to your webmaster, or make the change yourself.
2. No HTTPS Security (no SSL)
Back in October of 2017, Google rolled out a change that showed a “not secure” warning on all websites that weren’t running with SSL. Most hosting companies have a free SSL certificate available (and those that continue to charge when there’s a free version… shame on them) that meets the requirements of being secure.
Note, if you’re running an eCommerce site, you do want to pay for a SSL certificate to get the higher level of security.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate set up, reach out to your hosting provider to see if they have a free version available. If they don’t, you’ll want to purchase one (all hosting companies offer them for sale). Once they set it up on their end, you’ll need to make a few changes on your website so it will use the SSL certificate.
WordPress has a number of plugins to make the process easy. We recommend the here’s a good tutorial on moving from HTTP to HTTPS from our friends at WPBeginner — scroll down until you get to Method 1.
3. You don’t have a Sitemap
Google search robots depend on a sitemap in order to find the initial list of pages for your website. Most SEO plugins for WordPress will create a sitemap and, in the settings, give you the link for it.
Test to make sure you’ve got a sitemap set up: Type in your URL and add /sitemap.xml after it — i.e. https://yourdomainname.com/
- Do you have an SEO plugin installed? If not, we recommend Yoast SEO. The free version works great for the basic needs.
- If you do have an SEO plugin installed, double-check the settings to make sure the sitemap feature is activated.
We want to see you thrive! Take advantage of our completely free in-depth website review. This is not a thinly veiled sales pitch to get you into a new website, just solid feedback with no strings attached. Even if we built your current site, let’s take the time for a review to make sure it’s in focus with where your business is now.