Developing a website is half the battle; the rest is about making it visible and friendly for search engines as well as users.
Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of SEO for developers, along with the basic SEO skills that every web developer should learn.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO refers to the process of optimizing the website’s presence to perform well in search results. By employing strategic SEO to a website, one can improve the site’s visibility and rank in search results.
Why Learning SEO Is Crucial for Web Developers
The codes that web developers write become the foundation of the creation of a website. Web developers and programmers with deep understanding on how SEO works can efficiently apply the best SEO practices at the early stages of site development.
Here are the major benefits when web developers create SEO-friendly websites for their clients.
- Improves user experience
- Boosts site visibility and ranking
- Increase ROI and conversions
Considering the benefits mentioned above, you may have now realized the significance of learning SEO even as a web developer.
Understanding the Basics of SEO
On-Page SEO means optimizing each web page within a website for users and search engines. This includes the content and the HTML source code.
Off-Page SEO refers to the optimization strategies that are done outside of the website to improve its visibility and ranking. This includes link building, social media, ads, and other external signals.
During website development, we focus on optimizing the on-page aspects of the website.
SEO Skills Every Web Developer or Programmer Should Know
Let’s delve into some technical aspects that web developers should take into account while building a website. The following are some basic SEO skills that should be learned by web developers.
Write Relevant Meta Tags
Meta tags comprise meta titles and meta descriptions of a web page. The meta title is essentially the title of the page while the meta description serves as the summary of the content of the page.
When a user searches for a term in search engines like Google, the meta tags are the first ones that a user sees in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, you want your page to rank for the search term “storage lockers North York.” You should create a unique, compelling, and relevant meta tag for that keyword on your page. Furthermore, adding that keyword into your meta tags will signal search engines that your content is relevant to that keyword.
Optimize URL Structures
URLs give an overview of what the page is all about. By adding your target search term to URLs, search engines will know when to pick, match, and display your content in SERPs. In a similar way, users will have an idea about the content of the page even before clicking the URL.
Take a look at these two URLs: https://www.domain.com/blog/id=12345 and https://www.domain.com/seo-skills-for-developers/. By comparing these two, you can clearly see which URL the search engine will match to a particular search term.
The idea here is to make your URLs friendly to both search engines and users. How? Make your URLs clear and relevant to the search term that you want your page to rank for.
Develop Responsive Design
The number of smartphone users rapidly increases as time goes by. Along with this, more people are using the search button via their smartphones. Seeing this trend, Google has set up the bar and included the site’s mobile-friendliness as a factor for user experience.
Experts even suggest developing and designing a website for mobile phones first before making it responsive to other devices, like desktops. If you’re not keen on designing a website for smartphones, you can ask for help from reputable web design firms in Toronto.
Improve Page Speed
Page speed can mean both the “page load time” and the “time to first byte (TTFB).” The former means the total time it takes to completely load and display the content on a page; while the latter means the time it takes for the browser to get the first byte of information from the server.
According to Google, the ideal page load time is under two seconds while the ideal TTFB is under 200 ms. To boost the page speed, you can compress images, use a content delivery network (CDN), minify codes, and use a faster hosting service.
Create Meta Robot Tags
Meta robot tags are code instructions that tell crawlers how to crawl or index the information they find on a page.
Index or Noindex tells the crawlers whether or not to crawl the web page. It looks like this: <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex” />
Follow or Nofollow tells the crawlers whether or not to crawl the links on the page. Like this: <meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow” />
These are just some examples. As a programmer, you should learn how to communicate with crawlers so that you can control what part of the site needs to be crawled and indexed without hurting your SEO.
Generate XML Sitemap
A sitemap serves as the blueprint of a website. It contains the list of all the content in a website as well as the relationship between them.
Search engines find it easier to crawl and index all of a website’s content through XML sitemaps. Not only because it contains all of the site’s content, but also because it tells search engines some details like when it was last updated or how often it changes.
Sitemaps can be generated easily. You can use generators, like https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ to get one for your website. After that, submit the XML document on Google Search Console. Google will scan your website within 48 hours.
Enable Website Security
Security is a top priority. For Google, HTTPS is an official indicator that the website is secure. Meaning, it is safe from data breach or loss. Plus, it adds value to the site’s trustworthiness and authoritativeness.
Search engines prefer crawling websites with HTTPS over their HTTP counterpart. As a programmer, it would be ideal to create websites that are secure to save time from migrating the site from HTTP to HTTPS in the future.
SEO is not just about content and marketing. As a web developer, your code serves as the springboard for the overall success of the website. Keep in mind the ultimate goal of the website you’re creating. It’s a source of information, lead generator, and powerful marketing tool.
Learn and apply the best practices of SEO at the early stages of website development. Let its existence be known to crawlers. Make it user-friendly. Soon, you’ll be proud of yourself for bringing that website to life.
Cheer up and explore the world of SEO!