Critical errors damage your website’s credibility, usability and accessibility. You should carry out regular audits so you can an easily find and fix issues as soon as they arise. In this article, we show you how you can find and fix your website’s critical issues.
When a website grows quickly, and changes and modifications are constantly made, the probability of errors is always higher. Depending on the type and frequency of the errors, the accessibility and usability of your website can be severely restricted. If your website errors remain unsolved, you can expect a loss in rankings, and therefore visibility. If your users don't enjoy using your site, this will send negative signals to Google, and this will be reflected in the SERPs.
An important part of website optimization is therefore to detect critical errors and correct them as quickly as possible. Some common critical errors include server errors, broken pages, and broken images.
With Ryte, you can easily find and fix technical errors on your site. The errors are ordered into 40 different issue reports and listed on the dashboard according to priority, so you know what errors you need to fix first. For every issue report, we provide a detailed explanation of what the issue is, and how to fix it.
Find the list of issues on the Website Success Dashboard:
Figure 1: The list of issue reports in the WES overview
What issues can you detect in Ryte's issue reports?
The 40 issue reports cover every website quality, SEO, and content issue that can affect your website. Here is a quick overview.
These reports enable you to find and fix all errors that are affecting usability, and indexability in search engines. Issues such as broken pages, links to suspicious sites and unsecure technology can give the impression of a badly maintained website, and can cause a loss of trust.
These issues help ensure you are providing your users with relevant content, which is vital for website quality and rankings, as Google rewards websites that provide users with sufficient added value. Duplicate meta descriptions and page titles affect your click through rate on Google, and duplicate content can lead to confusion from search engines and users regarding what the most important page is, meaning a less important page may rank higher. Ensure every page has unique content, and a descriptive and unique meta description and title. Get higher rankings, a better click through rate, and ultimately more traffic and conversions.
Figure 2: Duplicate content report
Correct multilingual settings ensure that the right version of your website is displayed in different countries, particularly important for ensuring a successful internationalisation strategy. The reports regarding multilingual settings show your broken hreflang attributes, and hreflang tags with errors, so you can ensure the correct version of your website is displayed to users.
A good link structure ensures your pages are easily accessible to both users and search engine crawlers. Find pages with internal nofollow links, with few internal incoming links, and pages with a long click path that are difficult for users to access.
According to Google research, 53% of mobile site visitors leave if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your page speed is fast. We show your pages over 1MB, pages loading more than 1 second, and pages without compression to help your find the root causes of slow page speed so you can fix them before your users notice.
All error messages with the status code 4xx indicate a problem with an incorrect request by a client. For example, the requested document cannot be found by the server (404 not found) or the server denies access (status code 401). The server might also output the code 401. In this case, the resource has been deleted or is no longer available. An accumulation of 4xx errors can lead to a negative user experience, resulting in increased bounce rates and a short dwell time. For Google, these negative user signals can indicate poor website quality.
So now you’ve found your critical errors, how can you go about fixing them? If you have any broken pages, you should first check whether your server delivers the correct page in this case. Then you could redirect the pages concerned to a more current or suitable URL via 301 redirect. It also makes sense to have an individually designed 404 error page that encourages your users to stay on your website. Here we have presented a few solutions for 404 pages.
A 5xx status code indicates a server error. The user or the Googlebot then receives this error message and cannot access your page. The usability and crawlability of your web project are therefore strongly affected, which can have a negative effect on your rankings or even the indexing of your URLs. You can also monitor the availability of your server with Ryte. You can find the report "Server Monitoring" in the Website Success Tool.
If there are errors with the server, there are different possibilities about how to go about solving the problems. Firstly, you can check the configuration of the .htaccess file. Errors in the text file can lead to possible 301 forwarding or other instructions not working and to server errors with the code 5xx. However, incorrect configurations on the server are also possible. If you do not maintain your server yourself, you should contact your webhoster if your server is frequently unavailable.
Images increase the usability and attractiveness of a website. If these images are missing or if a client can no longer access them, functionality and user friendliness are restricted. For Google, defective images, similar to inaccessible links, can be an indication of a poorly maintained page and a poor user experience. The result could be a downgrade of your website.
If browsers or the Googlebot can't find images, the link to the image source is often broken or the corresponding resource is no longer available. With the image report in Website Success, you can check the status codes that output your picture files.
Although search engines are now able to read data from Flash files, very few browsers automatically support this file standard. The majority of mobile phones and tablets cannot display Flash at all. If Flash files are used on a website or the entire website is even based on Flash, this means a very negative user experience for the majority of visitors. For Google, Flash pages mean a very low text-to-code ratio, which ultimately makes the site of inferior quality.
If your page is based on Flash, we recommend switching to HTML. This allows you to design your site responsively for all end devices and to optimize it perfectly for search engines and users. You can now replace individual Flash elements with HTML5.
Websites are dynamic entities that require appropriate technology to function. Problems with the server or unreachable URLs and resources can always occur. It is important that you recognize them early. With the Ryte Critical Error Report, you have the right tool to quickly find and fix the most serious website errors, ensuring your users have a happy experience on your website.
Find and fix your critical website errors with the Ryte free accountTry it now!
Published on 10/18/2020 by Olivia Willson.
Who writes here
After studying at King’s College London, Olivia moved to Munich, where she joined the Ryte team in 2017. She is in charge of product marketing and CRO, and also helps out with SEO and content marketing. When she's not working, you can usually find her outside, either running around a track, or hiking up a mountain.
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