Another common, but often overlooked problem is that the search functions in new sites all too frequently create duplicate pages. This is problematic in a lot of ways. Obviously it tends to create duplicate content, which in the grand scheme of things is not terribly devastating. This also, however, tends to create duplicate meta-descriptions and meta-titles, which are potentially disastrous to SEO efforts. What’s more, this can create all sort of issues when the search engine bots try to do a crawl, multiplying page errors, slowing page speed, and hiding valuable SEO content in a sea of duplicate pages. These issues are often difficult to identify and diagnose. This is a tricky issue that even SEO experts can struggle to identify and remedy.
Some web designers have created catastrophic and well hidden landmines that can take down your SEO rankings indefinitely. We have seen occasions where designers have misused “no follow” links, essentially hiding pages of the site. More devastating, we have seen web designers “no index” huge sections of a website, causing almost all of the optimized pages to suddenly become unreadable to the search engines. Predictably, SEO rankings were destroyed. An XML sitemap can help immensely identifying this, and it is just one of the reasons we recommend all sites have an XML sitemap.
Finally, we have seen occasions where web developers bring over all of the “visible” components of each page of the site in tact. On the surface, everything appears OK. Behind the scenes, however, all of the meta-data is either deleted, or set to a single default. That means every page of the site has duplicate meta-descriptions and meta-titles. As already pointed out, that is a big problem.
Let’s be honest. A site redesign is a major undertaking. Making an omelet that big is going to involve breaking a few eggs. Some errors are bound to occur, but without an experienced pair of hands digging into the dark corners of your website, these things can lay dormant forever, and wipe out all SEO rankings.
Written By: Derrick De Yarman – Director of SEO