Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

Myth: If an SEO tool finds a problem with my site, it absolutely has to be fixed

If you run an SEO audit tool against your website, it will undoubtedly find many issues for you to fix. However, most problems uncovered by SEO tools aren't issues that need to be fixed. There are a wide range of issues reported that won't change your sites search engine rankings at all.

There are a few main reasons that this happens:

  1. Google changes all the time. Rules that check for things that used to matter to Google are often not be removed from tools.
  2. There may be several ways to mitigate an SEO issue. Tools often check for a specific solution to a problem rather than identifying a different fix.
  3. SEO audit tools may not work the same way as search engine bots. They may look closely at pages that search engine bots ignore. They often cannot crawl pages powered by JavaScript even though Googlebot can do that pretty well these days.
  4. SEO audit tools have to find problems so that people feel they get their money's worth from them. This gives the developers of the tools an incentive to report minor issues as "must fix," especially if the item is easily actionable.

Before you spend lots of time fixing issue found during an SEO audit, it is worth doing research and finding out more about that type of issue.

  • Why is this an SEO issue?
  • Is the tool giving me outdated advice?
  • Are the mitigating circumstances for my site in this case?
  • Is the page on which this is reported important to my search engine strategy?

That isn't to say that SEO audit tools are junk. Most tools find problems that are worth fixing. But you shouldn't try to fix every issue found by the tools.


This article was written as part of a series about SEO myths.

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