1. You can’t find your own site on Google
If you’re looking for your own site and still can’t find it, something big is wrong. This is worst case scenario for a web site; if you can’t find your own site, none of your target audience will be able to either. If you’ve typed in your company name or something else specific to your brand you should be at or near the top of the results.
2. Your visitors aren’t doing what you want them to
Your site has a specific purpose, whether it’s sales or to generate a lead through a contact form. If your site is receiving traffic, but that traffic isn’t using the site like you intended, there are probably issues with the way your website targets your audience. In other words, you need to refocus your SEO to allow the right people to find you. Another problem may be with your web site’s usability. If visitors are unable to use it as you intended, your site has some serious problems.
3. Browser incompatibility
This is a design flaw that isn’t always noticed, but is crucial for the user experience. Your web site may look great in the browser you personally use, but different browsers render sites differently. Your site may look great in Firefox, but terrible in Safari.
4. Duplicate or nonexistent page titles
Page titles, the text shown in the top left corner of your browser, are one of the biggest factors in how a search engine finds your site. Each page’s title should accurately reflect the keywords you’re targeting for that specific page. Your pages won’t appear anywhere near the top of the search results without effective page title usage.
5. Excessive use of images in place of text
Text rendered as an image can often look more appealing to the eye, but it can hurt your search rankings. If you use images in place of text, you’re missing a major opportunity to help search engines figure out what your site is about.
6. Main navigation isn’t persistent
Certain page elements should be present on every page. The most important is your main navigation. This might be tabs that are at the top of every page, or a list of website sections on the side of the page. Regardless of how users navigate through your website, you should never leave them guessing about how to get to more of your content.
7. Excessive use of Flash
Creating a site exclusively with Flash can look impressive, but it is nearly impossible to rank highly in search results by doing this. Flash can be used to enhance a site, but it shouldn’t make up the entire site.
8. Websitegrader.com gives site a score less than 25
Website Grader is a free tool that measures your site’s marketing effectiveness. It analyzes the amount of traffic you receive, your SEO efforts, social networking popularity, and technical factors to produce a score from 1-100. Scoring below 25 would signify major problems in several areas of your site.
9. Intro pages
An extensive introduction may look nice, but intro pages can also detract from the user experience. This is especially the case for your most valuable user – the repeat visitor – who may not want to sit through the same intro every time they visit your site.
10. Page URLs aren’t human readable
Your URLs should be simple and say what each page is about. For example, www.dogs.com/dalmatians is better than www.dogs.com/show.php?breed=11. This helps search engines better index your content and your users stand a better chance of remembering how to get to your content.
11. Site contains excessive text
Too little text can keep search engines from understanding what your site is about, but too much text can drive away visitors. Follow the rule of thumb that nobody on the web wants to read; users should be able to quickly find and use the information they are looking for without reading anything unnecessary. Limiting your text also helps you focus on the most important words, too, and this helps search engines figure out what your site is about.
12. No contact information is present on the site
This is obviously easy to remedy, but also a problem that some sites forget about. You need contact info to receive both leads and feedback on areas to improve your site.
13. Slow load time
Internet users are impatient. The longer they wait, the less likely they are to use your site. Significantly slow load times can also negatively impact your rankings in the search engines, resulting in less web traffic to your site.
14. Your site is designed for small monitors
As computer hardware advances, your website needs to also. A site designed for 800×600 screen resolution may have been state of the art in 1997, but today users expect your site to utilize their entire screen. A width of 960 pixels is optimal these days.
15. Canonical URL issues
http://www.sampledomain.com and http://sampledomain.com (no www) should 301-redirect to one variation of the domain name. You need to choose with or without the www. This way you can ensure no link juice is wasted on the less popular variation of your domain.
16. Too many navigation choices or too many clicks to get there
Your site has to be easy to navigate. Too many options on the home page are overwhelming; will spend too much time reading through all the options. At the other end of the spectrum is excessive page depth. Forcing users through a seemingly endless train of pages is a sure way to get them to leave. As a rule of thumb, users should never have pick between more than 7 navigational options per page and they should be able to get to any page in at most three clicks. All pages should also link back to the home page.
17. Single column display format
This is simply an outdated feel and looks unprofessional as well. Make use of all the space presented to you. Single column formats lead to excessive scrolling. Don’t make extra work for the user.
18. Site has no Compete.com data (after six months of existence)
Compete.com is an online tool used to measure traffic against your competition. If your site has existed for a substantial amount of time and has yet to be noticed by Compete, your site is likely getting very minimal amounts of visitors.
19. There are specific on-page browser recommendations
These should be unnecessary because as previously stated, your site should be usable in all browsers.