The 15 Most Common Technical SEO Issues Unveiled in a Study of Over 1 Million Domains

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As with all online businesses, BigCommerce merchants will encounter their share of technical SEO challenges, such as slow page speed, content loading errors, or search engine crawlability issues. However, it’s essential to address these challenges proactively. Doing so will enhance user experience, bolster search engine rankings, and sustain the long-term health of your online store.

But have you ever wondered which problems are most prevalent? In a recent study, researchers at Ahrefs performed a technical SEO audit of over 1 million domains to identify the most common issues. In this post, we offer a condensed overview of their findings and guide you on how to resolve these concerns.

The Most Frequently Reported Technical SEO Issues

The number in parenthesis next to each item indicates the percentage of domains where issues were found on at least one of a website’s pages. 

  1. 3XX Redirects (95.2%): While most sites use redirects, it’s essential to watch for redirect loops or excessively long chains, as they can negatively impact crawling and indexing.
  2. HTTP to HTTPS Redirects (88%): A majority of sites redirect from HTTP to HTTPS (the secure version of HTTP), which is great. However, watch out for redirects going the other way, as this can lead to security issues.
  3. Missing Alt Attributes (80.4%): Missing alt attributes are accessibility issues that may also lead to legal problems. To address this, ensure your main content images have alt attributes.
  4. Meta Description Tag Missing or Empty (72.9%): The meta description tag tells search engines what your page’s content is about. If it’s missing, add one to improve the click-through rate, especially for high-traffic pages.
  5. Slow Pages (72.3%): Slow-loading pages can deter users and negatively impact rankings. Monitor Core Web Vitals and Google PageSpeed Insights to assess and improve page load speed.
  6. Page and SERP Titles Do Not Match (68.5%): The Google Search Console allows you to check for mismatched page titles and SERP titles. Ensure that your page titles accurately reflect your content to improve search visibility and user click-through rates.
  7. Page Has Only One Dofollow Incoming Internal Link (66.2%): To boost the ranking potential of important pages, consider adding more internal links to them.

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  1. Title Too Long (63.2%): Check if your title tags are being cut off in search results, particularly on mobile devices, and adjust them accordingly.
  2. Meta Description Too Short (59.2%): For important pages, extend your meta descriptions to offer more information. This can help entice users to click on your page within the search results list.
  3. H1 Tag Missing or Empty (59.5%): Without an H1 tag, you’re missing the opportunity to tell search engines more about the content on your page. Fill in missing H1 tags that are consistent (but not identical) to your page title.
  4. Page Has Links to Redirect (62.7%): This is not a significant issue if redirects resolve to another page and the chains are not too long. However, it’s beneficial to link to the final page for better SEO health and user experience.
  5. Open Graph Tags Incomplete (56%): Open Graph tags control how URLs are displayed when shared on social media. While not directly related to SEO, they can help enhance social engagement.
  6. Meta Description Tag Missing or Empty (Non-Indexable Page) (50.8%): To save time and effort, avoid spending time on adding or improving metadata for pages that cannot be indexed.
  7. Multiple H1 Tags (51.3%): Multiple H1 tags are allowed in modern HTML, but it’s wise to ensure that they are all relevant to the page’s content.
  8. Meta Description Too Long (54.5%): Similar to improving short meta descriptions, consider shortening lengthy ones for better user engagement.

How to Prioritize Issues from a Technical SEO Audit

Navigating the maze of technical SEO issues can be complex, especially when you’re trying to prioritize what to tackle first. Ahrefs, one of the tools you can use to audit your site, categorizes these issues into three levels—Warnings, Issues, and Notices—each signifying a different degree of urgency. 

While this can help guide your focus, fully grasping the intricacies and implementing the right solutions can still be challenging without specialized knowledge. Given the varying levels of impact and the effort involved to resolve each issue, it’s wise to rely on vetted professionals. You can contact our team to get started.

Let Our Experts Improve the Technical SEO for Your BigCommerce Store

All websites, regardless of their size, industry, or what they offer, can encounter technical SEO challenges. The silver lining? You possess the power to address these issues and propel your site to new heights of performance.

We’re an Elite BigCommerce development agency with a proven track record helping hundreds of merchants across industries in all stages of growth. Get started with your complimentary site performance audit to see what areas of Technical SEO need attention on your site. 

Send us a message or call us at 866-901-4650 to discuss how we can help your business succeed online.

Get a Complimentary Site Performance Audit

Get a live consultation on the technical factors impacting your website's speed and performance.

    Andrew is a BigCommerce BigDev-certified Frontend Developer at IntuitSolutions. His expertise in web development, analytics, SEO, and content management helps our clients achieve impactful results from their ecommerce websites.

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