Many websites are facing serious or severe on-site SEO issues, SEMrush reveals in an audit of 100,000 websites and 450 million pages. In fact, 6 of the 10 most commonly-found problems are considered to be of the most severe variety, ranging from duplicate content and title tags to broken external links.
The most common problem is duplicate content, found on half of the websites sampled. While this doesn’t carry a penalty, SEMrush notes that it does affect choice of pages to rank for as well as the overall consumer experience.
The next-most common problem is the presence of images with missing ALT tags, with 45% of sampled websites having this problem. While not a severe problem, these can affect image search and are an important consideration now that visuals are taking a greater role in content marketing.
While not as prevalent an issue, the audit also found a more serious problem with images: 1 in 10 had broken internal images. Together with the more than one-third (35%) of sites with broken internal links and the quarter with broken external links, the results show that this is a fairly common issue that can affect page rankings and user experience.
On the topic of links, a recent study from Stone Temple Consulting suggests that they’re more important to SEO than might be thought. Indeed, while content quality is obviously critical, links are also a crucial ranking factor.
Returning to the SEMrush study, other severe issues found on websites include:
- Duplicate meta descriptions (on 30% of sites);
- Missing H1 (on 20%); and
- Missing title tags (8%).
The full list of problems found can be seen in the chart above, with more details laid out in the SEMrush post accessible here.