Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
When it comes to SEO it’s important to remember that the search engines look at all aspects of your website when determining rank. A website may look beautiful and be easy to navigate, which is important from a user perspective, but what’s going on on the outside of the site doesn’t always accurately reflect what’s going on on the back end of the site which is really what the search engine spiders are seeing. If you’ve incurred a penalty, you will obviously need to conduct a technical SEO audit to figure out what went wrong but it’s recommended to conduct an audit on a regular basis to try and prevent a penalty from happening in the first place.
Here are 4 important technical SEO items to be aware of:
If you have duplicate content on your site (different URLs that have basically the same content on each page) it appears to the search engines that you are trying to dominate the search results by creating multiple pages that include the same keywords. Most of the time, site owners don’t even realize that this duplication is happening since it’s something that originates from how the site was set up during the web development process. It doesn’t affect the usability of the site and visitors probably don’t even notice it, but the search spiders do. A common occurrence is when the homepage is duplicated unknowingly. Some websites have the homepage.com version, a hompage.com/index version, and a homepage.com/default version. In addition to creating a duplicate content issue, this can also hurt SEO because it is splitting the links to the site. If a duplicate content issue is found, be sure to redirect to one of the pages so that some of the link trust can be preserved.
Broken links are bad from a search engine perspective and a user perspective. If a search engine spider lands on a broken link, it’s like a dead end. This conveys to the search engine spider that your site doesn’t have good usability. When conducting a technical SEO audit, generate a list of all of the broken links and implement 301 redirects to existing pages that are related.
The Penguin update targeted sites that had “unnatural” link portfolios. Over time your site will build links naturally and it’s important to be aware of what kinds of sites are linking over to you. If you find any links that you don’t want associated with your site, you can request that they be removed.
It’s important to be aware of what kind of anchor text is being used to link to your site. If you run a report and find that the majority of your anchor text links are associated with one or two of your important keywords, this could be a red flag to the search engines. It could appear as if you are trying to manipulate the results for those keywords. An anchor text link portfolio should be natural and include branded keywords and long tail variations.