A sleek looking and well designed website is important to both web developers and business owners. However, the main goal of any website is to earn traffic from qualified business leads.
Not all website developers are savvy enough to keep up with all the ever changing SEO best practices that will help a website be seen in Google and other search engines. I'm writing today to share a list of SEO tips for web developers that will help to ensure that your impressive development work gets the web traffic it deserves.
The main goal of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to help drive potential customers to your website. SEO accomplishes this by properly optimizing websites for both robots and human users. The tips I will present below are a working guide to help you properly optimize the website you've developed.
Robots (Google and other search engines) and human users see websites differently. HTML optimization allow for robots to see what is intended for human users. One of the nice things about HTML is that it can be read and understood by web crawlers unlike other scripting languages like Java. In the section below I'll outline important HTML best practices that will help drive SEO results.
A title tag is important for SEO because it gives a title to each page on your website. These tags are important for user experience because they are visible in the search results and often one of the first things a user interacts with when deciding whether to click on your website.
Best practices include making sure that each page on your website has a unique title tag. Make sure to include a noindex,follow tag to prevent any duplicity issues. Canonicals are also appropriate in some situations. More on that later.
Best practices for title tags
• Title tags should be between 50-60 characters in length.
• Title tags should include keywords, but only if they are natural sounding.
• Avoid keyword stuffing in your title tags, try to limit it to 1 or 2 primary keywords.
• Include your brand name at the end of the title tag with a | separating the keywords from the brand name.
The main purpose of the H1 tag is tell search engines what the most important keywords on the page are. Be sure to include just one H1 tag per landing page. Make sure the keyword is relevant to the topic of the page. It is important to write your H1 tag for your website users first and foremost, so make sure it is natural sounding and not catered to robots.
URL best practices
URL's should not be taken for granted for by developers. Well-structured URL's are important to SEO because they give a clear explanation of the order of the site to the robot crawler.
Listed below are a few URL best practices, as well as examples of good and bad URL structures:
2. Keywords are fine, but don't overdue it
3. Use dashes or underscores as word separators over spaces because of how they render
HTTP status codes
There are several HTTP status codes that every developer should be aware of, especially when performing a site migration.
A 200 status code means all systems are go.
When performing a site migration, you need to migrate both content and SEO link equity. A 301 redirect will preserve most link equity from the old domain to the new domain.
A 404 means the page is not found. Your page is missing or dead. A 404 error can create a bad user experience for anyone viewing your website so be sure to try and address why this error is happening.
Your server is experiencing an error however your there is nothing wrong with your website.
Cannonical tags alert a search engine to the preferred URL to display in their search results. Without canonical tags, similar pages and content start to fight each other for superior rank, which can harm your site's overall visibility in the search engines. This happens commonly with eCommerce pages. Properly using the canonical tag should be a skill to master for every web developer.
One of the prime ranking factors in the Google search rankings is site speed. Site speed is key to improving a user's experience with your website. Because of this Google rewards sites with better site speed.
Googles PageSpeed Tool is a wonderful tool for developers to test their site speed and find suggestions from Google on helping your page load faster. They also provide field data reports that shows how your page speed compares to other pages in their index over the past 30 days.
I hope these tips that I've outlined leave you better equipped as a web developer to properly optimize for SEO. If you have any follow up questions, me or my team of Chicago SEO experts would be happy to answer them.