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Last updated on 9/2/20

Remove technical errors to improve crawlability

Avoid Redirects

Google detects when it's automatically redirected from one page to another. In practice, it may be necessary to redirect your visitors from one page to another if the URL has changed or the page no longer exists. In that case, you have to put in a 301 redirect, also called a permanent redirect.

Redirects become a problem when there are several of them in a chain. You should limit intermediate redirects between page A and page B. It's better for visitors, because it speeds up their browsing experience, and it's better for Google.

Why would I have so many redirects on my site?

It's common! Let's look at a concrete example.

If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, you must redirect all HTTP URLs to HTTPS URLs.

If you already had a redirect from an old page, http://mysite.com/page-a, to http://mysite.com/page-b, you must ensure the visitor is not redirected twice: once to a new HTTP page and then, because of the HTTP to HTTPS change, to an HTTPS page.

Optimize Your Canonical Tags

As you know, the meta robots tag, as well as the meta title and description tags, are important for your website’s SEO.

However, you must also learn about another type of tag in the header: the canonical tag.

Canonical Tag

It tells Google which page to index as the main page when multiple URLs for the page exist (e.g., https://mysite.com/page and https://www.mysite.com/page), or which pages containing very similar content you don't want indexed:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://monsite.com/page" />

Does the main page have to reference itself with this tag?

It's not required, but it is recommended by Google!

What's the difference with a 301 redirect? Why use a canonical tag?

After a redirect, you can’t access the contents of the page. You are directly redirected to another page. The canonical tag indicates the main page to index. So, if you change the URL of a page, you should use a redirect.

If your visitor needs to access both similar pages, use the canonical tag on the main page to be indexed.


You own a website that sells clothing: example-clothing-shop.com.

You sell blue dresses which are accessible two different ways to allow your visitors to filter by color or type of clothing:👗

  • example-clothing-shop.com/blue-clothing/blue-dresses

  • example-clothing-shop.com/dresses/blue-dresses


These pages are exactly the same, but they are both necessary.

Place a canonical tag on both pages:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://exemple-vente-vetements.fr/vetements-bleus/robes-bleues" />

This shows Google that you want this page to be used as the main page for indexing. You will not be penalized for duplicating content.

Things to Avoid

Be careful of the following:

  • Check that the URL is written correctly (no typos, with or without final slash).

  • Check that there are no successive canonical tags (page A points to B points to C).

  • Check that you don’t have a loop: A to B and B to A.

  • Check that the URL in the tag is accessible (no 404 error).

  • Do not use a canonical tag if you can eliminate duplicate content or use redirect.

Optimize the Structure and Design of Your Website

One of the most important SEO points is clear and easy-to-follow site structure and content for visitors. Good architecture has several advantages:

  • A better experience for your visitors, who can easily find content that interests them.

  • Improved Google crawl.

  • Sitelinks are displayed in search results.

Example of sitelinks for Netflix
Example of sitelinks for Netflix

Here are two good ways to achieve this:

1 - Prioritize Your Content and Create the Corresponding URLs

Information is organized in a hierarchy and should be simple and logical as it will become the structure for your website.

  • Try to limit the number of categories to 3-7 and balance the number of subcategories. Your URLs should reflect the path users take to access the information.

  • Avoid going too deep:

    • Organizing your content is good, but too many subcategories are bad.

    • As a general rule, all pages should be accessible in less than three clicks.

Let us consider the Zendesk customer support software website
The Zendesk customer support software website

Notice there are two menus:

  • A small menu at the top-right for existing customers.

  • A simple main menu with six categories and a Start button.

The interface is simple and straightforward. 👌

2 - Create a Menu in HTML / CSS, if Possible

Avoid generating your menu with JavaScript, which would slow Google's crawl, as you will see in Part 3 of this course.

Keep Your Pages Light

Google spends a lot of resources crawling and indexing your pages. The heavier they are, the more resources Google needs. It can never be said enough: keep your pages as light as possible!

We've devoted an entire chapter in the second part of this course to the topic.

Let's Recap!

  • Avoid unnecessary redirects.

  • Select main pages in case of duplicate content, and set your canonical tags.

  • Use a straightforward site architecture.

  • Keep your pages light.

Congratulations! You have almost completed the first part of this course. After the quiz, go to the next chapter to learn how to improve the speed of your website.

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