Hey guys, in this article, we will discuss what a starter web developer should know about SEO. So keep reading.
Today, websites are in fierce competition to get more traffic through better Google rankings. Businesses have realized that a well-designed, professional-looking, and informative site may not be enough to achieve this anymore; it also needs to fulfill a myriad of other criteria brought forth by Google’s algorithm. This is done by SEO or search engine optimization.
While SEO and web development may be seen as two separate entities, the fulfillment of many of those aforementioned criteria actually falls within the scope of web development.
Successful SEO begins at the very foundations of a website, that is, in its code. The importance of the efficient collaboration of web developers and SEO experts thus cannot be emphasized enough.
The best way to get the most out of your SEO efforts is by conducting an SEO audit from an SEO consultant such as Digital Cornerstone to make sure that all SEO bottlenecks are detected and addressed. This way you have an SEO expert alongside you to give yourself the best chance to rank highly in the SERPs.
However, what if there is no outside help at your disposal but you still need to make your website perform at its best?
Having at least some basic knowledge of SEO will come in handy, both in these cases and in your future career in general. Here’s what a starter web developer should know about SEO.
Put yourself in a customer’s shoes. When you need an answer to your question, you want it instantly. You will hardly have the patience to wait for a slow-loading site.
This already gives you a good impression of just how important website speed is for SEO. Slow speed is not only bad UX, but it’s also directly signaling Google that your site is not worth users’ time, with the less than impressive bounce rate that it will result in.
Check your website’s speed with Google’s Page Speed tool and dive into optimizing if the results leave a lot to be desired.
Mending Errors Promptly
The next important thing you should know is that errors may have a more detrimental effect on SEO than one would think.
An invalid HTML can, indirectly though, affect your ranking, so it’s highly recommended that you run a final validator check on your code before it’s live.
Something that can be even bigger of a problem, though, is critical crawler issues: HTTP status errors like 400-level and 500-level ones.
Try to mend these as soon as possible since being met with such an error is a sure way to lose a visitor to a competitor.
Keeping The Structure Organized
A website needs to have a logical structure, both for better crawling and for a better user experience. If the webpage looks too chaotic and finding the information in its content is challenging, customers will move on to the next search result.
Clear, concise menus will make content easier to find, so it’s likely that visitors will spend more time on your site.
In fact, a well-organized structure will also be to your advantage when search engines create direct site links to your menus on the results pages, saving time for users and thereby boosting UX even further.
Improved URLs And Title Tags
The next critical point to be made is one concerning URLs and title tags. Similar to your website structure, you want to keep these neat.
Short and descriptive is the best. URLs should communicate where they will lead instead of just containing a jumble of letters and numbers that hardly suggest where the user will end up by clicking it.
As for titles, a similar rule applies. Since these are what will show up on search engines, keeping them concise and meaningful is paramount for persuading users to click them.
Try to keep them to 60 characters, and avoid having the same title tags for multiple pages (which can lead to crawlers ignoring your content.)
Optimizing For Mobile
Mobile-friendliness is one of the most important ranking factors of Google today. No wonder, since more than half of all internet traffic is now accounted to our shiny smartphones.
While developers often primarily focus on desktop, failing to optimize for mobile will lead to poor ranking, so you shouldn’t skip or neglect it.
It’s important to note that there are several ways to achieve mobile friendliness today. A responsive design will require the least effort while bringing the best result.
If you want to be sure of your site’s mobile-friendliness, you can also request an audit. Experts in SEO from Sydney will be able to advise you on what you need to change.
Meta tags and descriptions provide additional information and are important SEO elements of a website. We already mentioned titles and their functions.
Similar to them, concise but informative meta descriptions also make your website more “clickable” among search results. Next, implementing the robot’s meta tags gives you better control over what Google crawlers do on your site, so use them strategically.
If there are unimportant pages, preventing indexing can be a good idea. Finally, consider the power of alt descriptions.
Since Google’s image search is a potent tool in SEO, adding alt text to each image will boost your website’s chances of being discovered this way.
Adding Schema Markups
Structured data is a relatively new thing and it’s undeniably an area worth exploring. Schema markups on search results pages boost user experience.
They provide additional information with zero clicks, which is the future of online searches. Implementing structured data gives your website the best chances at exuding authority and communicating the most important information even if no further clicks are achieved.
Some examples include ratings, publication dates, and frequently asked questions right under the search result. If you’re not too well-versed in coding structured data, be sure to use Google’s structured data testing tool before going live.
Web development and SEO undeniably go hand in hand together. As a web developer, you’ll never be able to get away from SEO, at least not as long as it’s prominently ruling the world of digital marketing.
It’s very likely that you’ll need to work together with SEO specialists at some point, and understanding where their requests are coming from will make this collaboration much smoother.
Getting acquainted with the basics of SEO will allow you to do a better job by yourself, too. Hopefully, this article of what a starter web developer should know about SEO gave you some insight into what a large effect minute details can have on your website’s ranking and performance.