Many clients come to us with the misconception that web development equates to an SEO-friendly website. They begin to wonder how it is possible that developers do not do that portion of the work after the first surprise (when they find that it does not). So, what exactly are we paying you for?
So, if you’ve come up with such queries, first and foremost, alter the client. The individual will clearly bother you about the work, which you are unfamiliar with. Another method is to pose this question: would you allow your hairdresser take care of your garden? Even if the duties appear to be comparable or even interwoven – which they undoubtedly are – the roles of an SEO professional and a frontend developer are extremely different. Sure, they both create your website or make minor changes to it, but what an SEO understands is nothing like what a developer knows, and vice versa.
Of course, we agree that there should be a clear distinction between the two jobs, but we wanted to offer you an idea of what an SEO performs. If you don’t want to be caught off guard the next time your customer asks how to get a high Google ranking, here are some SEO basics that every web developer should know.
Fundamentals of SEO for developers
It’s critical to emphasise from away that a set of criteria must be followed in order for a website to be well-ranked. These SEO fundamentals aren’t meant to turn a web developer into an SEO specialist; rather, they’re meant to educate newcomers with the basic requirements of an SEO-friendly website.
1. Establish a framework
If you work for a web design agency, the design files will most likely come from a web designer who has a well-defined framework. In this scenario, there is no need to work on it. If you’re a freelance developer, though, a web designer is frequently overlooked, so you’ll have to figure out everything on your own. First and foremost, remember that websites are designed for people, not machines. This implies that while designing a website for a customer, you must include the main menu, as well as its sections and subcategories, in a logical arrangement.
Your homepage will most likely have the most authority of all your website’s pages, and it should have tiny parts or summaries of all the most significant aspects. Featured items or services, reviews and testimonials, and blog excerpts are just a few of the aspects that should be included on your website.
When it comes to single pages, you must also ensure that the structure of each page follows a set of rules. Put the most significant page components first, followed by the information that is less important in terms of hierarchy. Also, ensure that the H-tags (headings) are ordered from most significant (H1) to least important (H1) (h2, h3, h4). Keep in mind that each page can only have one H1 tag, so make it the primary page headline. H2 tags are generally subheadings, whereas H3 tags are used for goods.
Extra tip: Inviting robots to your site is a good idea. Google’s crawlers must be able to access and index your website, even if you designed it for people. If you’re still working on the domain, it’s a good idea to lock it down before it goes online. The forbid directive in the robots.txt file must, however, be enabled when the site is online (without the forwards slash). If you enable it, spiders and user agents will be able to explore your website, and it will quickly find its place in the SERP. Another solution is to include the meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow” in the head> of each page.
2. Code that is correct
It may come as a surprise, but your HTML can become invalid at any time. And that’s perfectly OK since everyone makes errors. However, if the site goes live with mistakes in the coding, it may have a detrimental impact on ranking. Valid code is, in fact, one of Google’s ranking criteria, so you’d best get on it. Visit the w3.org validation basics page to learn more about this topic.
There are several online code validators, however W3’s code validator comes highly recommended. The tool has proven to be quite beneficial to all engineers, from juniors to mediors to senior and full-stack devs, and our SEOs adore it!
3. URLs that are easy to remember
A tip to generate beautiful URLs is the third item on our list. When creating a logical structure, developers frequently neglect to name the folders (categories) and subfolders (subcategories) in a generic way so that they reflect what they should. In this sense, we advocate focusing on phrases and keywords that define the goal of the page (such as domain.com/category/subcategory/product) rather than constructing generic URLs (such as domain.com/=item03568).
On the other hand, if you’re creating a multilingual website, you’ll want to make sure that the links are likewise translated into several languages. This implies that if you have a Spanish and English webshop, your product URLs should be as follows: domain.com/shoes/women-shoes/cat-heel.html in English, and domain.com/zapatos/mujer/zapatos-altos in Spanish.
4. Meta descriptions
You’ve undoubtedly heard of meta tags when it comes to other on-page SEO components. It is fundamentally not your responsibility to write meta tags and descriptions – this is something that the content and marketing teams are responsible for – but if you did, your client’s website would benefit greatly.
To begin, a page should have a clearly defined title that informs users and Google about the page’s content.
Second, meta descriptions should include a few phrases that entice the visitor to visit that specific page. For years, meta descriptions were limited to 156 characters, but now you may write descriptions that are up to 320 characters long.
Finally, image alt – every picture on a web page should have alternative text that describes the image and helps it rank higher in the SERPs.
5. Use of Schema Markup
Another crucial aspect to mention is structured data. Even while you are not required to know all Schema.org markups, we strongly advise you to do so so that you can assist your customer with all of the important microdata you integrate on their website.
Extra tip: If you’re still new to this and aren’t sure you’ll be able to apply schemas correctly, it’s best to avoid it. You can not only harm the website’s code, but you can also get a Google penalty. In such instances, it’s best to engage an SEO professional or consultant to assist you until you’re ready to dive into Schema.org markup standards on your own.
6. Make the switch to mobile.
The days of slow-loading websites are long gone. And in a good way. In the age of Google and the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (a.k.a. AMP), every website should consider mobile visitors who access it via a variety of devices, including tablets, phablets, smartphones, smartwatches, and any new devices that may emerge in the future. So, if you want Google to give your site a high ranking in the SERPs, make sure it’s mobile-friendly and that all page information is shown properly, providing a universally positive user experience (UX).
7. Page loading time
For a good rating, you must have a lot of speed. Pages nowadays must be incredibly light and quick to open correctly in Guatemala, Vietnam, Uganda, or any other country with a poor Internet connection. Because this section is so reliant on the development phase, you must ensure that the pages you code function in accordance with Google’s recommendations. Google’s PageSpeed Insights makes it simple to check your page speed. The findings will show you how your site performs on mobile and desktop, as well as some suggestions for resolving any issues that may arise.
This is a free list you may use if you need a complete checklist for increasing website speed and performance.
8. Analytical tools
The final but not least thing you can do to assist your customer in optimising their website is to use analytics. Every website that wants to rank well on Google should start using Google Analytics the day it goes live. Simply download the asynchronous tracking code and paste it into your website’s code, as explained in our Google Analytics Beginner’s Guide. Keep in mind that the platform is presently being rebuilt, so it may seem differently the next time you check in. Your customer will be able to track visits and create more website traffic from AdWords with the aid of this handy tool.
To summarise, these are simply the fundamentals you should be aware of. Nobody expects you to know everything off the top of your head. You may extend your expertise, become more competitive, and offer more on the market as long as you are interested in learning a whole new sector of employment. Not only will you benefit, but so will your clients.