I'm unsure if people acknowledge how SEO best practices impact Web Development in today's digital world. I'm not even sure if most people know what SEO means. In case you're one of those, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it's responsible for taking your page from the depths of the internet and positioning it within the first results of Search Engines.
Although there's no magical recipe or an easy paved road to achieve the first page results, you can follow a series of practices to promote better positioning among SERPs. If you're ready... Let's climb up.
What is SEO?
First of all, let’s talk about SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves the quality and quantity of website traffic from Search Engines to websites. It targets "organic" results rather than direct or paid traffic. Therefore, it aims to increase a website's visibility in Search Engines, which leads to more traffic and better business outcomes. SEO involves various techniques, including optimizing the technical aspects of a website, creating high-quality content, and building links to the website from other reputable sources (domain authority).
SEO Technical Terms
So far, I’ve mentioned many terms that, for starters, may be rather confusing. Let's learn some basic SEO definitions.
Basic SEO Concepts
SERP, stands for Search Engine Results Page, it refers to the pages a Search Engine displays in response to a user's search query. The SERP typically displays a list of web pages relevant to the user's query, along with other features such as advertisements, featured snippets, and knowledge graphs.
Indexation refers to the process by which Search Engines crawl and analyze web pages to determine their content and relevance and then include them in their index or database of web pages.
Crawlers, also known as spiders or search robots, are automated programs Search Engines use to discover and index web pages on the internet. Crawlers work by following links from one web page to another, analyzing the content and structure of each page they encounter, and adding them to the Search Engine's index or database of web pages.
Types of SEO
Technical SEO involves a website’s optimization so Search Engines crawl and index it easier (don’t worry, I’ll talk more about crawling and indexation further on). It involves work on on-page elements like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and SSL/HTTPS.
Off-page SEO involves a set of optimization techniques and strategies (link building, partnership marketing, and outreach relationships) implemented outside of your website to improve its visibility and authority in Search Engine rankings.
On-page SEO, or on-site SEO, consists in implementing practices directly on a website to improve its visibility and ranking in Search Engine results pages (SERPs). It involves optimizing various elements like HTML tags, using internal linking, looking for broken links, and more.
What are the SEO Best Practices for Web Development?
Working on SEO involves more aspects than you think. Right now, we’re going to delve on the aspects you can enhance during the Web Development process.
1. Mobile-first approach
It's been a while since Google considered mobile users over desktop users. It's not surprising, as mobile phone traffic is bigger than any other traffic coming from digital devices. Mobile-first indexing is the process of Google indexing and ranking a website based on its mobile version rather than its desktop version. It means that you may better consider your mobile version of a website as the primary version of how rankings are determined. In other words, ensuring your website's mobile performance provides a great User Experience is crucial. If you do so, I'm sure your website will improve its visibility in search results and generate more traffic.
2. Quality Content
You might say, "This doesn't have much in common with coding!" Yet, as well as using relevant keywords and long-tailed keywords (specific and detailed phrases people use to search content), quality content is crucial for SEO. It doesn't matter how well-improved your page is. If it doesn't offer quality content your users want to consume, you might be throwing all your work overboard. better.
Content is critical in a well-thought-out SEO strategy. Creating high-quality content requires understanding your target audience and industry, and it can take many forms, such as blog posts, videos, social media posts, ebooks, and more. It's the cornerstone of SEO efforts; you shouldn't skimp on it just because it doesn't have anything to do with Web Development.
3. Alt Text for Images
Alt text is crucial for SEO and accessibility because it provides a text alternative when users cannot see images. It should be descriptive, specific, relevant. By adding Alt Text into your images you can enhance the User Experience for your users. It can also improve the chances of images appearing in image search results as it enables Search Engine crawlers to index them correctly. Depending on your CMS, you can add Alt Text to images in HTML or by filling a picture description.
4. Headings and Subheadings
You must always consider implementing a proper heading structure. Using heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content makes it easier for users and Search Engines to understand the hierarchy and organization of your information.
Tip: You can use as many subheadings as you want. However, there’s always going to be just one H1 tag. Having more than one confuses crawlers and generates duplicate content, which at the end is counterproductive for proper indexation.
5. SEO-Friendly URL Structure
You must try to use descriptive and keyword-related URLs that accurately reflect the content of each page. Avoid using long, complex URLs with unnecessary parameters or numbers. If you have a pet store's website working on an article about Adorable Tuxedo Cats on the Internet, your SEO-optimized URL should be like: www.petstore.com/adorable-tuxedo-cat.
Pay attention next time you're creating a page because by leaving slugs like 4d0r4bl3-7ux3d0-c47, you're just making it difficult for crawlers and Search Engines to find your site.
6. Clean Code
●Indentation and formatting. Your code must be consistent in indentation and formatting, which makes it easier to read and understand. It makes it simpler for Search Engine bots to parse and index your website.
●Semantic HTML. Clean code uses semantic HTML tags to represent the structure and meaning of the content accurately. It helps Search Engines understand the hierarchy and context of your website's content.
By following these clean code practices, you can create a website that is well-optimized for Search Engines and provides an UX/UI.
How Does SEO Impact Web Development?
Knowing SEO's crucial role in Web Development improves your website's overall performance and makes it stand out in the eyes of Search Engine Crawlers, which is a secondary goal. At the end of the day, you just want ranking higher so users will likely consume your content and know more about you. Here are some of the perks why running an SEO-optimized website is important when building your first website, or even better, if you have already created websites before, consider it to improve your future websites.
Search engine bots rely on clean code to understand and index your website's content. Messy or error-filled software products can make it difficult for bots to crawl and index your site, potentially leading to lower your search ranking.
Faster Load Times
Some aspects of SEO are way too simple for web developers and technology companies, but others may be harsh. Efficient coding, although is not impossible, optimizes your website's performance, resulting in faster page loading times. Page speed is a crucial ranking factor, as Search Engines prioritize websites that provide a quick and seamless User Experience.
Better User Experience
It also contributes to a smoother and more efficient UX/UI. When your website loads fast and functions properly, visitors will likely stay on your site, engage with your content, and potentially convert.
Knowing how the little details affect rankings can help you maintain your website more easily when you build a website. It's great to know this, especially when different developers are involved in updating or managing your website.
Well-organized and structured code simplifies making changes, fixing issues, and adding new features, saving time and effort in the long run.
Now you know the secret behind the best practices for having a successful website from an SEO standpoint. Several factors can influence your organic rankings. So, remember that in an effective SEO strategy, you can bend the rules; not everything is stone-written, and what functions for me doesn't work the same way for others. Consider the rules, apply the ones you think will serve you better, and let the internet do its magic.