10 SEO Fundamentals Every Web Developer Should Know
You are aware of the difficulty… You only need to take care of these four or five tickets, and it will make a huge difference in your SEO goals for the month.
But how can you persuade your web developers to join you?
How can you help them comprehend the importance of your SEO needs when they have so many competing priorities?
Years ago, I could accomplish roughly 90% of my SEO work for a particular client on my own. Those were the days. SEO now increasingly relies on content generation, UX, code development, IT, and multiple layers/levels of approvals, among other things.
I’ve written many times about how SEO can’t be done in a vacuum, and I’m glad it’s a discipline that now prioritises alignment in order to provide a quality experience for website visitors.
There has always been a demand for web developer help throughout my career. That meant meetings with my inhouse team or collaborating with a third-party developer hired or contracted by my clients.
In either scenario, gaining web development buy-in and support is crucial for SEO.
It’s much better when engineers grasp SEO fundamentals. It is far more efficient if developers understand the fundamentals and incorporate them into their builds and site upkeep, preventing any rework later.
Check out the ten must-know SEO essentials for web developers, as well as some focus group conversations with my SEO specialists and developers.
Search engines care about website security, check that you have an SSL installed and that there are no issues.
That is where we begin.
In addition, having the required measures in place to guarantee that the site is free of vulnerabilities that could allow for an injection, modified content, and so on. Hacking at any level degrades user experience and sends out negative signals to users and search engines. When securing the site using plugins, extensions, or tools, keep site speed in mind (more on that later).
2. Response Codes
Server response codes are important. There are many ways to get a website to render for a user, as well as distinctive UX designs, which motivate some inventive dev implementations. Regardless, ensure that pages are displaying 200 server codes. Any 3xx or 4xx codes can be sourced and updated. Remove any redirects you don’t need.
Redirects are an important aspect of the website migration and launch process when moving from an old site to a new one. If you only perform one item in your launch process, make it redirection. We’re talking about ensuring that all URLs from the previous site redirect to the most appropriate subject matter page on the new site using a 301 redirect.
If you are simplifying and changing content structure, this could be one to one or many to one.
As with the server codes mentioned above, don’t trust a page’s rendering and think it’s fine. Use tools to ensure that all redirects are 301s.
Nothing counts in SEO unless the site can be indexed and displayed in search results. Don’t let the robots.txt file fall by the wayside. Default commands can be overly permissive in some circumstances and too restricted in others.
Understand what’s in the robots.txt file!
Do not send the staging file to production without first double-checking it. Several sites with excellent migration and launch preparations have been thwarted by a prohibit all command from staging that was pushed to the live site (to prevent the dev site from being indexed).
Consider banning low-value things such as tag pages, comments pages, and any other variations generated by your CMS. You’ll normally have to consider a lot of low-value garbage, and if you can’t stop the pages from being created, at least stop indexing them.
XML sitemaps are our opportunity to guarantee that search engines are aware of all of our pages. Don’t squander resources and possibilities by allowing photos, irrelevant pages, and items that should not be prioritised for focus and indexing to be prioritised. Make certain that all pages listed in XML sitemaps return a 200 server code.
Maintain them by removing 404s, redirects, and anything that isn’t the destination page.
6. URLs (Uniform Resource Locators)
Good URLs are short, feature words relevant to the page’s content, are in lower case, and contain no letters, spaces, or underscores. I LOVE seeing URL structures with subfolders and pages that correspond to the content hierarchy in the navigation and site structure.
Three steps down? After that, type “example.com/level-1/level-2/topical-page.”
7. Mobile Compatibility
Remember that just because something works or appears well in a browser does not necessarily indicate it is suitable for a search engine. Search engines value mobile friendliness. Use Google’s mobile-friendly tool to validate it. Make sure it passes. Consider the content rendered in the mobile version as well.
Google indexes “mobile first.”
This indicates that they are prioritising the site’s mobile version.
If you’re hiding or not rendering crucial content in the mobile version that you want search engines to evaluate for UX reasons, think twice and be aware that the content may be absent from what Google views.
8. Site Speed
This is the eighth item on the list, but it is possibly the most critical after guaranteeing that your site can be indexed. Site speed is critical. Slow page loading and sites harm user experience and conversion rates.
They have an effect on SEO performance as well. Unfortunately, there is no single method for optimising site speed.
It all boils down to keeping your code light, utilising plugins and extensions sparingly, having an optimised hosting environment, compressing and minifying JS and CSS, and keeping picture sizes under control.
Any code, files, or elements that can cause performance or stability alterations provide a risk.
Include any protections for content management restrictions so that a 10MB image cannot be uploaded and cause a website to crash. Or a plugin update goes unreported because of how it slows things down.
Ongoing benchmarking, monitoring, and optimization of site speed.
My Lead Developer’s favourite tool in the Google Chrome browser dev tools is web.dev or Lighthouse.
9. Heading Tags
Heading tags provide excellent context signals to search engines. Remember that they are for text, not CSS shortcuts. Yes, link your CSS to them, but do it in the order of significance. Don’t use H5 for the initial, largest page header and H1 for page subheadings.
There has been a lot written on the impact (or lack thereof) of headings on SEO performance.
In this article, I’m not going there. Just be as literal as possible with the hierarchy and how it’s used. Use these instead of other CSS if possible. If possible, limit the number of H1s on a page to one. Work with your SEO personnel to grasp the general strategy for headers and on-page content.
10. Dynamic Content and Content Management
As previously said, CMS functionality can derail even the greatest dev implementations. Take care with the power you grant. Understand the site’s continuing content plan and requirements so that content writers have the control they desire while not jeopardising site speed or any of the SEO on-page aspects.
Having as many dynamic aspects as possible, such as tagging, XML sitemap generation, redirects, and more, can save you time while also protecting your site and code and keeping everything stable.
The interaction and coordination between SEO professionals and site developers is critical.
SEO is based on best practises for technical SEO as well as other factors such as enterprise scaling of on-page content.
Understanding the fundamentals of SEO can go a long way toward good collaboration and SEO performance.
Furthermore, it can lead to more efficient website creation work and fewer re-work or “SEO-specific” upgrades and demands.
If you are a web dev looking for help for a clients’ site, or you have an inhouse dev team but NO specialist SEO function in your marketing team, let’s have a chat about how I can help with your search efforts!