12/25/2013 Common errors that can damage a site ranking

Other articles by:Niti Niti

As a content developer, you write decent informative articles. You expect they will deliver new visitors and ranking potential to the site.  Instead,  the site ranking fell and our new content is not even in the search engine indexes.

When a search engine crawler (bot) comes across a website littered with coding errors and serious structure and design problems, it may abandon its effort to crawl it. If that happens, no matter how good the content might be, it will never be listed in the search engine index. Let’s get into a few of the common site errors and what you need to know to avoid their damaging effects.

Invalid mark-up code

  • ·         Does your file contain a document type declaration (DTD) statement? (It’s not absolutely required for early versions of HTML, but you’ll need to have it for XHTML documents.)
  • ·         Are all of your tags closed properly? All of your paired tags must have corresponding openers and closers. The paragraph tag, <p>, for example, is one whose closing tags are often omitted. If you are using XHTML, are you closing single tags correctly? (add a forward slash before the closing greater-than sign to close tag, as in <br />).
  • ·         Are your tags written in lower case letters? It’s not required for HTML, but it is for XHTML, so it’s now considered a best practice.
  • ·         Are all of the tag attribute values, even numerals, as in <table border="1">, enclosed in quotes? While this is not required for earlier versions of HTML, it’s certainly a best practice and is a requirement in XHTML for creating well-formed code.
  • ·         Are the tag attributes used in your code valid? HTML has changed over the years, and some attributes have been deprecated with the introductions of the latest specifications of HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.1. An example of this is <table align="left">, where the standards dictate that the newer style attribute should be used now instead of align.
  • ·         Are you using deprecated tags? Again, changes to the standards have seen some tags become obsolete. For example, the <u></u> tags for underlining text was deprecated in HTML 4.01.
  • ·         Are your tags positioned in the right place in your code? For example, <meta> tags can only be used within the <head> tag. Make sure you are placing your tags correctly.
  • ·         Are your tags nested correctly? If <tag1> precedes <tag2>, </tag2> must be closed before </tag1>. Remember this: first opened, last closed.

Remember to test your pages in multiple browsers. One may be far more tolerant than another.

The last issue I want to mention is the use of 302 redirects. 302s are only temporary redirects. Unlike with 301s, no link credit is passed to the redirected page. Using a 302 redirect is not a coding error but a strategic error from the perspective of SEO.

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