SEO shouldn’t be done in a silo. And these days web development can’t be seen as an entirely separate entity. Between technical optimizations, schema, content creation, user experience, code development, IT, maintenance, and everything else, SEO is intertwined with web development more than ever.
Not too long, an SEO at the introduction of a free online coding 101 course possessed enough skills to be dangerous. Today, websites are a bit more advanced than what we used to see on GeoCities, and search engine algorithms are becoming more and more convoluted every day. As priorities change for users, clients, and professionals alike, aligning your development and SEO is more important than ever.
What’s even better is when there is absolute buy-in and support from all parties from the very get-go. Processes become so much more efficient when developers know the basic SEO principles and can factor them into builds from the beginning.
From sitemaps to site speed, Voltage President Corey Morris pulled insights from focus groups with SEO specialists and web developers to write his article, “10 Must-Know SEO Basics For Web Developers”, for Search Engine Journal. In the article, you’ll learn what SEO basics that web developers should know including:
A secure site is a known ranking factor. And nothing is going to drive visitors away from your site quicker than a “this site is not secure” alert. Adding an SSL certificate is free and easy so there’s no excuse not to have one.
“That’s the starting point. Beyond that, have the necessary safeguards to ensure the site has no vulnerabilities that allow for an injection, manipulated content, etc. Getting hacked at any level hurts user experience and trust signals for users and search engines.”
A month after the new site launches, your client calls asking about a dramatic decrease in organic traffic. After some digging, your SEO finds that your robots.txt file is blocking search engine crawlers from accessing your site. The file was never updated when the site was pushed live from staging.
“Several sites with great migration and launch plans have been foiled by a disallow all command from staging (to keep the dev site from being indexed) that was pushed to the live site.”
Your site looks like a Ferrari but drives like a mini-van. Don’t let the allure of bells and whistles overshadow functionality and performance. In the end, for SEO and web development excellent user experience is the ultimate goal. If your page can’t be loaded quickly (or at all), you’re hurting UX and conversion rates.
“It really comes down to keeping your code light, being judicious in using plugins or extensions, having an optimized hosting environment, compressing and minifying JS and CSS, and keeping image sizes under control.”
Heading tags are important pieces of the puzzle to help search engines contextualize content. When coupled with CSS, they also help establish a hierarchy on a page. As you’re building out your templates, place an H1 tag on the main header, H2s on subheaders, and continue with your H3-H5s.
“Don’t have the first, biggest page heading as an H5 and subheadings on a page as H1s. There’s plenty of commentary on the impact (or not) of headings on SEO performance. I’m not going there in this article.”