So you are a seasoned web developer that has a bunch of Jira tickets falling on your head every day. And you have recently noticed that SEO and marketing teams have been pushing you to complete specific SEO-related tasks asap, and no one can actually explain the necessity of those tasks or the reason for the rush.
Indeed, this can affect your general workflow, evoke workplace conflicts, and delay project delivery. But there is no need to stretch the truth as search engine optimization and web development are intertwined in the current digital terrain. Therefore, it is crucial to get acquainted with the work "on the other side" and understand the importance of your involvement.
This article aims to spill the beans about SEO for developers. From it, you will learn why successful SEO is impossible without developers getting involved and what you can do to help everything come up roses.
What Should Developers Know about SEO?
You've probably found a myriad of definitions of SEO that describe it as the process of refining a website's visibility in organic search results. But let's go beyond and explain SEO basics in a way that will make sense for web development professionals.
Thus, search engine optimization refers to performing particular actions and implementing certain techniques to make a website meet the requirements and essentials of search engines. As search engines utilize ranking algorithms to arrange web pages in search results, making a site search engine-friendly is essential to help it gain lucrative ranking positions and drive more traffic.
Simply put, there are three main SEO processes: on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO. While on-page optimization covers keywords selection, content optimization, and other on-site improvements that impact the user experience, off-page SEO is about enhancing website authority and obtaining a relevant backlink profile, brand mentions, and reviews. And technical optimization makes a website fully accessible so that search engine bots can seamlessly crawl and index its pages.
As a savvy SEO developer, you can utilize Google Search Console, Lighthouse, Data Studio, Google Analytics, PageSpeed Insights, and other related tools to investigate the performance of the sites you build and maintain.
However, do not neglect all-inclusive SEO checkers that provide deep insights into the website's quality and performance. Tools like SE Ranking are time-savers as they allow you to run a comprehensive website SEO test to thoroughly analyze the site's on-page, off-page, and technical SEO status within a single dashboard.
What Aspects of SEO Require a Web Developer?
SEO for developers primarily covers the technical aspects of creating, maintaining, and deploying search engine optimization approaches. Web development knowledge and expertise are essential for retaining website security, structure, navigation, responsiveness, speed, and performance.
Moreover, web devs are also indispensable for troubleshooting SEO issues that require coding, such as:
- broken links,
- sitemap or robots.txt file errors,
- page speed problems,
- incorrect use of canonical tags.
Additionally, SEO developers help manage dynamic content on the website so that search engines can access and index such content and perform pre-checks after site updates and enhancements in order to ensure its optimal performance and SEO-friendliness.
7 Essentials to Master SEO for Developers
The following SEO basics for developers aim to help web professionals properly get started with search engines and make sure their websites correspond to crucial search engine optimization practices.
1. Crawling, Rendering, and Indexing
Crawling, rendering, and indexing assemble the backbone of proper website visibility for Googlebots and users, and web developers are the only crew to deal with these essentials.
Firstly, you need to enhance site structure and handle duplicate content to ensure an accurate crawl budget so that search engine bots are fed with valuable content only. Opt for proper internal and external linking and create and manage HTML and XML sitemaps to help search engines access the entire website ecosystem and navigate it seamlessly.
Thirdly, use the noindex tag to instruct search engines on what pages to circumvent and settle robots meta tags on necessary pages or create a robots.txt file to guide search engine robots on content crawling and indexing. Developers also execute page headings, metadata, and content adjustment strategies prepared by SEO experts.
2. Response Codes
As a developer, you know how important it is to have correct HTTP status codes showing the interaction between the browser and the server. And the thing is that these response codes are crucial for SEO as they are meant to represent a website's health to search engine bots.
To avoid website crawling and indexing issues, HTTP status codes like 404, 500, 301, and 302 require special attention and swift intervention. Remember that 3xx codes identify redirection matters, while 4xx and 5xx codes represent client and server errors. Your primary mission is to strive for an HTTP 200 status code defining successful page rendering.
3. Loading Speed
Poor website speed and slow-loading pages can lead to diminished rankings, a miserable user experience, and dropped conversion rates. Therefore, your paramount mission as an SEO developer is to monitor and improve the loading speed.
Enhance your toolkit with Squoosh, TinyPNG, Chrome DevTools, the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console, UglifyJS, and CSSNano to facilitate managing the above.
4. Mobile-Friendly Design
According to Statista, the percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide reached 58.33% in the first quarter of 2023. Mobile traffic has surpassed the 50% mark in recent years, which demonstrates its importance. This makes every unresponsive site that is not ready for mobile a dead duck.
Responsive, entirely mobile-friendly websites have a high SEO potential as they provide an exceptional user experience for those preferring mobile web surfing, as well as increased mobile site traffic and rankings.
So make sure the website layout easily adapts to multiple resolutions and screen sizes, refine clickable elements with extra room to avoid misclicks, check font size and text readability, enable seamless mobile site navigation, and eliminate intrusive pop-ups.
5. Structured Data
To enrich content on website pages with additional context easily recognized by search engines, you need to implement structured data, also known as schema markup. Structured data is vital for obtaining rich snippets, advanced search results, and better online visibility. It also helps to prepare your website content for voice search and virtual assistants' processing.
SEO for developers involves utilizing relevant schemas for each type of web page content. You can check Schema.org for markup examples. Also, remember to test your structured data via Rich Results Test or Schema Markup Validator.
6. HTML Formatting and Metadata Issues
Metadata and HTML formatting represent your pages in search results and impact user experience, which makes them critical for SEO.
To improve metadata on the website, add the original title and meta description for each page, wisely implement canonical tags to manage content duplicates, and settle language attributes to inform search engines about page content language.
To ensure proper HTML formatting, employ accurate page structure with heading tags, keeping their hierarchy from H1 to H6. Remember to hold only one H1 heading on each page. Also, ensure the correct use of lists and paragraphs within the site's body content and provide Alt text for images, as these essentials help site visitors and search engines better perceive the page content.
7. Code Cleanup
Keeping website code clean is your shortcut to faster loading pages, refined crawlability, streamlined website maintenance, and, most importantly, enhanced user experience.
SEO for developers is simple if you desire to use your expertise and knowledge to aid the team in achieving the main goal — fruitful SEO performance. Just follow the SEO basics from this guide and remain open-minded to stay on the same page with other teams striving for collaboration and online success.
Andrew Wilson is a skilled writer with experience in content marketing, technologies, digital marketing, branding strategies and marketing trends. All this helps him to deliver professional articles to an audience and build a strong feedback rate through the readers. In case of any offer or suggestion kindly feel free to reach out to him at [email protected].