Technical SEO and Link Building: Why You Need to Tackle Them Together
- When it comes to your link building strategy, technical SEO is essential for maintaining the value of your off-site SEO and marketing efforts.
- It’s advisable to have your technical SEO ironed out before ever embarking on your link building strategy, but for already established sites the two should go hand-in-hand.
- One of the biggest ways that poor technical SEO creates obstacles for effective link building is broken links and redirects that all point to the homepage.
- Other items to think about are site speed, duplicate content, and site structure.
At its core, technical SEO is about making sure your site is working exactly how you want it to work. You could compare it to ensuring your restaurant is running smoothly, capable of delivering what customers want. It’s not only a very necessary first step when first building a website, but an ongoing process that needs to be monitored constantly.
When it comes to your link building strategy, technical SEO is essential for maintaining the value of your off-site SEO and marketing efforts. To continue the restaurant analogy, think of how it harms your business if you change your reservation phone number without setting up a redirect from the old one that’s on all the flyers you’ve handed out over the years. Or if you remove a menu item without updating the various take-out sites, and end up having to make a lot of complicated phone calls to unhappy customers about why you don’t make a certain dish anymore.
While minor issues might not be enough to sink your business, it all adds up. Not to mention the time and marketing spend that gets wasted from having a link building strategy that’s not running at 100%.
It’s advisable to have your technical SEO ironed out before ever embarking on your link building strategy but for established sites, link building and technical SEO are two processes that go hand in hand and should be tackled together.
Let’s take a closer look at the links between technical SEO and link building.
Movable pages, broken links, and the dreaded 404
One of the biggest ways that poor technical SEO creates obstacles for effective link building is broken links, AKA the dreaded 404 error. This happens when a page has been moved, removed, or had its content repurposed. It will thus appear under a new URL, the problem being that the internal and external links that point to it will now just deliver the user to page with nothing but a big 404 error sign.
The best way to fix this is through conducting a technical SEO audit or using a tool such as Check My Links which reviews your pages for broken links and gives you the opportunity to remedy them. As pages and content moving around is quite a regular part of site optimization, performing regular checks for broken links is a key part of technical SEO best practice.
The obvious remedy to the previous issue is to have the old URL redirect to a new URL. However, this process, if done infrequently, can end up being long and laborious and the lazy or time-poor might look for quick-fix shortcuts, e.g. simply redirecting to the homepage. However, for users, this can be extremely frustrating, as they’ve been promised something in a link but now it goes to a completely unrelated page and they don’t have the patience to search through your whole site to continue their train of thought.
This customer journey, however, is also your sales funnel and redirecting someone to an unrelated page is like asking a customer to walk out the door and come back in again. Taking the time to focus your redirects to related pages is a basic technical SEO hack but one that delivers results.
Cleaning up duplicate URLs and content
Duplicate content is another major issue that can hamper your link building strategy. It can often happen when landing page content is duplicated for different campaigns, but then abandoned and left drifting in an online wilderness yet still tethered to your site by virtue of its URL.
This becomes a problem for link building strategy as search engines don’t like non-original content. They punish it in their rankings, so if you’ve been trying to boost a certain page it can lag considerably because of the virtual driftwood that’s holding it back. Tools like Copyscape can be used to locate duplicate content on your site so it can be removed or reworded.
Accelerate your page speed
As we’ve looked at before, page speed is becoming one of the most important elements of technical SEO that site owners need to be aware of. As it is included in Google’s ranking algorithms, a whole link building strategy focused on one of your major USPs can get completely derailed because of the relatively simple fact that your pages are taking too long to load.
There can be a number of reasons for this, such as a large amount of high-res images, broken media, or overly complicated code, but whatever the cause, you need to sort it out. Use a site speed tester, such as Google’s helpful Test My Site tool. To locate lagging pages and find out what you need to do to sort them out.
Site structure and internal linking
Scaling your web presence can be a lot more difficult than it seems. You start off small and you get bigger, but that enlargement process generally leaves a raft of legacy issues in its wake and sometimes we can be too busy adding to a site to go back and fix the things that weren’t done right in the first place.
Internal link building is one of these issues, either because we didn’t think to do it at the time or because URLs have changed, one of the most useful tools in any link building strategy can be left underperforming. Conducting a focused internal linking drive, including identifying broken links and the pages with the most ranking authority to build the strategy around, can help you to internally link your way to success.
At Redefine, we embrace every aspect of digital marketing with the core deciding factor being to use whatever will work best for our clients. As such, we are adept at spotting the links between different strategies and delivering multi-focus solutions that combine our experience, understanding, and technology. To talk to us about finding the perfect digital marketing strategy for you, simply get in touch with our team.