There are plenty of mistakes to make in terms of SEO. We see it all the time when we bring on new clients. After all, if you don’t have years of experience testing what works and the ability to thoroughly research potential changes in Google’s algorithms, optimizing your site for search can feel like a daunting task.
There is one mistake in particular we’ve seen far too many times. If we could advise every business NOT to do this, we certainly would. So what is the number one SEO mistake you don’t want to make?
1. Deleting Pages on Your Website
It sounds harmless, but it’s not. Let’s say you have an e-commerce site and have removed products, so you can just remove the page so visitors can’t find it, right? Sorry, but no. This can be incredibly harmful.
As Google Certified Experts, we can’t stress this enough. Do not delete pages on your website.
Why is Deleting Pages Bad?
If the page you deleted was a page one search result, you just lost all your rankings, plus you lost all the page authority you’ve built for that page. You can also cause 401 Not Found errors which negatively impact user experience.
What to Do Instead
Of course we understand you won’t want to keep a page available for viewing that no longer matters to your business. Instead, have your developer 301 redirect the page to a page with similar products or services.
If the page in question is throwing technical errors and could potentially hurt your rankings, you can have your developer use robots.txt to prevent search engines from crawling the page; however, this is generally a last resort option. If the page has poorly written content, it is advised to update the content and conduct other optimizations to better the page’s performance in search.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to do something to your website that affects your search performance. With the majority of clicks going to sites on the first page, it’s very important to avoid creating these issues. For more information on mistakes to avoid, see: Top 9 Mistakes You can Make with a New Website or Site Redesign.