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A Complete SEO Guide for Web Developers

March 2nd, 2022 . 9 minutes read
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In today’s world, technology evolves much faster, and anyone who wants to become a successful website developer must clearly understand that.

For a website to rank higher, one must focus on writing all the code. You must remember that your website optimization will begin with efficient and streamlined coding.

In addition to coding, you, as a developer, will also need to be aware of other important factors for SEO – (Search Engine Optimization).

What Do We Mean by SEO for Website Developers?

While developing a digital marketing strategy, you cannot leave SEO behind. It involves several methods and tactics that business people use to improve the visibility of their company website on top search engines like Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.

For website developers, SEO means learning efficient coding for each web page. So, if you want to work with any search engine to get relevant clients to your website, it is necessary to know the fundamentals of SEO.

For this, we have come up with this quick SEO guide for web developers-

A quick SEO checklist for web developers!

Going through the following SEO checklist for web developers will help you achieve productive results at the end of your campaign.

•   Understand the Search Process

First, you must try to understand how search engines actually work. While the exact working principles of the search engines are not available in the public domain, SEO is undoubtedly a key deciding factor.

You must also understand how users interact with Google, Yahoo, or Bing to find solutions to their questions.

Users start their search by entering keywords. Once the results appear on the SERP (search engine results page), they tend to click on the results that come on top. However, if they find a particular page taking too much time to respond, complicated, or not providing their answers, they will immediately leave the site and look for other options.

Therefore, as a developer, it will be crucial to use efficient code to have an impressive loading speed in browsers. Not only that, but the website’s overall design must also be communicating enough for your target audience.

Keep in mind that the website needs to be simple yet catchy.

•   Allow Crawlers to Access to Your Web Pages

This is one of the essential SEO guidelines for any web developer. It will be good to use a simple architectural design so that the crawlers find it easy to analyze all the pages.

As a developer, you will also have the option to modify your robots.txt file to prevent several engines’ crawling of some pages.

•   Write visitor-friendly URLs

You must note that URLs will be effective only when they are descriptive, concise, and easily readable. Both users and search engines appreciate this quality, and thus it will be a brilliant idea to make the most out of it.

To write bot-friendly URLs, you can follow the steps below-

  • Add keywords: If the keywords fit naturally in the URLs, add them without hesitation. However, be careful about using too many keywords. Also, the URL must not belong.
  • Use a single domain and subdomain: Sometimes, using a subdomain delivers mixed results. So, sticking with a single domain will be a good idea, wherever it is possible.
  • Use hyphens: If you need to separate words in the URLs, use hyphens instead of spaces.
  • Remove unsafe characters: Characters like carats, spaces, and tildes can affect your website’s traffic. So, it will be better to avoid them.

•   Know Your Redirects

You may need to move and shift content on your website, and that is why it is important to know your redirects. While there are several redirect types, the most common two types are 301 and 302 redirects.

  • 301 redirects: You can use this type when you have to move a page to another place or help users go to an original page while removing duplicate content. 301 redirects improve the SEO value on the destination page, which stops individual web pages from competing against each other on search engines. It, in turn, helps a website rank higher on SERPs. 301 redirects are often called ‘temporary redirects’.
  • 302 redirects: If your site’s address is changed or a page becomes unavailable, you have to use this redirect. While the pages do not transfer or retain their SEO value, any previously-earned links can guide visitors to visit your new website. Another name for 302 redirects is ‘permanent redirect’.

•   Consider Your Site Tags

Site tags will help users and search engines understand the context of your page. So, it will be necessary to know how you can use them effectively.

The two most important tags include title tags and meta description tags. These are nothing but the first lines of contact between a search engine user and your website. They will likely click if they find the tags relevant to their query.

On the other hand, using duplicate tags on multiple pages affects website traffic. The reason is that it makes search engines confused about determining the intended destination page.

For URLs, make sure the tags are as concise as possible. You must use proper keywords, brand mentions, and actionable language so that users and search engines can easily understand what they will see after visiting your website.

•   Make Sure the Page Load Speed Is Fast

Page loading speed is essential for SEO. Search engines will only send users to your website if the pages load quickly and provide relevant answers to the user queries.

Thus, if another website loads much faster than yours and supplies the required information, you will never get the priority despite having rich information. Having good page load speed will reduce your website’s bounce rates, which will, in turn, help you rank better.

•   Add a Sitemap

Even though search engines are made sophisticated, you must remember that search engines do not go through a website as a human being does. You have to provide them with clues about how all the pages of your website are linked to each other. Adding a sitemap will help you fulfil this requirement.

When the site is under indexation, the bots will check every link to find out where the links are taking them to.

Search engines will find it easier to crawl the whole website when you have good internal linking when you have a sitemap. Adding sitemaps prove beneficial when large websites need to be indexed.

Image source – searchenginejournal

•   Check the robots.txt File

The job of the robots.txt file is to set rules for how web crawlers should crawl different parts of a website. Even though it is a small code, its impact can be significant.

As a developer, you must check whether a robots.txt file blocks web crawlers from crawling your website because it can be harmful to your SEO.

Sometimes, developers use robots.txt file when they want to stop a page from being crawled. Sometimes, a page expected to get a lot of traffic does not get it. In that case, a rogue robots.txt file can be the main culprit.

Image source – elliance.com

•   Understand and Implement Structured Data

Understanding structured data is found to be a little challenging for many SEO people. But, if you successfully get the point right, there is a chance to make immense progress.

As a professional developer, you know very well how to format a page to deliver smooth flow and high readability.

If you can use structured data properly, Google will quickly know exactly what is present on every web page. Not only that, but structured data can also help Google understand what questions your website is answering.

Type of Schema we can make for better structuring of data-

  • Person Schema Organization
  • Organization
  • Author (Schema property)
  • Reviewed By (Schema property)
  • Citations

Learn more about data structuring and Schema here!

•   Create Google Webmaster Tools and Keep Google Analytics on Your Website

Google Analytics and Google webmaster tools are used by a large number of websites to monitor traffic. While other options are always there, tracking programs will do no good if the configurations are incorrect.

If you do not have the code or account on your website, you will miss various SEO aspects and the site traffic in the webmaster.

•   Mobile-Friendly Website Development

About 54.4% of internet users in the world use mobile to access the internet. Thus, building a mobile-friendly website has become more crucial than before—the more mobile-optimtized the website, the more traffic.

•   Staging Site Domain Check

When the development process is on, a staging site is created to test new code, fix any major issues before the website goes public, and test previous site versions.

A common mistake made by most developers is not checking the staging site domain while preparing for the site launch.

But if you run this check, you will be able to remove errors, including images not loading correctly and 404 errors.

•   Correct Common HTML Errors

Typical HTML errors can result in the poor rendering of the website on a variety of platforms, eventually leading to poor site speed and user experience. These things will affect your site performance and its ranking on a search engine page result.

Though HTML errors do not directly impact the site’s search engine ranking, there may be an indirect impact, the same as what happens when you do not use W3C valid code.

W3C validation is used to check the code of a website to find out whether it follows the specific formatting standards. If you cannot validate all the web pages according to those standards, you will not receive the desired traffic.

Using better coding techniques also helps search engines understand any site more easily.

•   Site Speed and Server Configurations

When it comes to site speed and server configurations, it is necessary to take several common issues into account. Server issues lead to multiple bottlenecks, but it will be your responsibility to check which blockages result from the server issues.

One of the common problems is poor site speed, which you can quickly check using Google’s Page Speed Testing Tool. The best thing is that information about most of Google’s page speed and other insights are now available in the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.

Summary

The whole process of developing a website can bring a lot of fun and excitement. But it comes with great challenges at the same time. You will be required to deal with plenty of issues in the coming years, and if you are not careful, your website performance is bound to be affected. The best thing to solve the website problems is a comprehensive website audit.

If you follow the website development steps discussed in this guide, you can take your website to great heights from an SEO viewpoint. Another thing to keep in mind is that the competition has also become more challenging in the SEO field in the last few years.

With the number of mobile internet users increasing every day, mobile-friendly website development and focusing on site speed will be the winning strategy in the coming years.

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Author: Neeraj Sharma
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