10 Must-Know SEO Basics For Web Developers

10 Must-Know SEO Basics For Web Developers

You know the struggle … you just need these four or five tickets to be careful and it would mean a lot to your SEO goals for the month.

But how do you get started with your web developers?

How can you help them understand the urgency of your SEO needs when they have so many other competing priorities on their plate?

Fifteen years ago, I myself could do about 90% of my SEO work for a particular client.

Those days are over. SEO is now based on content creation, UX, code development, IT, different layers / approval levels and more.

I’ve written many times about how SEO can’t be done on a silo and I’m glad it’s a discipline that now focuses more on alignment to create a quality experience for website visitors.

Throughout my career, there has always been a need for support from web developers.

That meant going down the aisle of my agency or working with an external developer hired or hired by my clients.

In any case, gaining acceptance and support for web development is critical to SEO.

Even better is when developers understand the principles of SEO.

It is much more efficient if the developers know the basics and take them into account in their compilations and site maintenance, avoiding any further reworking.

Take a look at the top 10 SEO basics for web developers and also some focus group discussions with my teams of SEO specialists and developers.

1. Security

Website security is important for search engines.

Make sure you have SSL in place and error-free.

This is the starting point.

Beyond that, have the necessary safeguards to ensure that the site does not have vulnerabilities that allow an injection, manipulated content, etc.

Being hacked at any level harms the user experience and signals of trust for users and search engines.

However, be aware of the speed of the site (you will lose more) when protecting your site with any add-ons, extensions, or tools.

2. Response codes

Server response codes are important.

There are often ways to get a page displayed for a user and unique UX designs that trigger some creative development implementations.

Regardless, make sure the pages represent 200 server codes.

Source and update any 3xx or 4xx code. If you don’t need redirects, please delete them.

3. Redirects

Speaking of redirects, they are a critical part of the process of migrating and launching your website from an old site to a new one.

If you don’t do anything else in your launch process, at least implement redirects.

We’re talking about making sure all old site URLs have a 301 redirect to the most relevant topic page on the new site.

This could be 1: 1 from old sites to new pages or many to one if you are streamlining and updating your content structure.

As with previous server codes, don’t trust a page to render and assume it’s fine.

Use tools to validate that redirects are 301.

4. Robots.txt

Nothing matters in SEO if the site cannot be indexed and shown in search results.

Don’t let the robots.txt file be a later idea.

Sometimes the default orders are too open and in other cases too restrictive.

Find out what’s in robots.txt.

Do not blindly push the production preparation file without checking it.

Several sites with large migration and launch plans have been thwarted by a ban on all staging orders (to prevent the development site from being indexed) that was sent to the site live.

Also, consider blocking low-value items such as tag pages, comment pages, and any other variations that your CMS creates.

You should usually consider a lot of low-value junk and, if you can’t stop the pages from being generated, at least block them from being indexed.

5. Site maps

XML site maps are our opportunity to ensure that search engines know all of our pages.

Don’t waste resources and opportunities leaving images, insignificant pages, and things that shouldn’t be prioritized for focus and indexing.

Make sure that all the pages listed in the XML site maps represent a server code of 200.

Keep them clean and free of 404s, redirects, and anything other than the landing page.

6. URL

Good URLs are concise, include keywords relevant to the topic of the page, are lowercase, and have no underscores, spaces, or hyphens.

I love seeing a URL structure of subfolders and pages that match the content hierarchy in the navigation and site structure.

Three levels down?

Then “example.com/level-1/level-2/topical-page”.

7. Mobile Friendly

Again, just remember that just because something works or looks good in a browser doesn’t mean it’s ideal for a search engine.

Mobile compatibility is important to look for.

Please validate with the Google Mobile Adapted Tool.

Make sure it happens.

Beyond that, think about the content that is represented in the mobile version.

Google uses “mobile first” indexing.

This means that they are looking at the mobile version of the site.

Whether or not you’re hiding important content that you want search engines to consider in the mobile version for UX considerations, think twice and know that content may be missing from what Google sees.

8. Site speed

This is number eight on the list, but possibly the most important thing after making sure your site can be indexed.

Site speed is important.

Slow page loads and sites hurt UX and conversion rates.

They also have an impact on SEO performance.

There is no single set of ways to optimize site speed.

It really comes down to keeping the code light, being careful when using add-ons or extensions, having an optimized hosting environment, compressing and minimizing JS and CSS, and keeping image size under control.

Any code, files, or issues that may cause changes in performance or instability are a risk.

Incorporates any protection for content management controls so that a 10 MB image cannot be loaded and a page closed. Or a plug-in update is not detected as it slows things down.

Base, monitor and improve site speed continuously.

My main developer’s favorite tool is web.dev or Lighthouse in Google Chrome browser development tools.

9. Header tags

Header tags are great contextual clues for search engines.

Note that they are for content, not CSS shortcuts.

Yes, link your CSS to them, but keep them in order of importance.

Don’t have the first major page header as H5 and the subtitles of a page as H1.

There are many comments about the impact (or not) of headers on SEO performance.

I will not go into this article.

Be as literal as you can in the hierarchy and how they are used.

Use them wherever you can instead of other CSS.

You only have one H1 per page if you can.

Work with your SEO resources to understand the plan of the headings and the content of the page in general.

10. Content management and dynamic content

As noted above, CMS functionality can damage the best development implementations.

Be smart with the control you give.

They understand the content plan and the ongoing needs of the site so that content creators have the control they want and need, but they can’t alter the speed of the site or any of the elements of the SEO page.

Having so many dynamic aspects like tagging, XML site mapping, redirects, and more can save you time and protection for your site and code to keep everything stable.


The intersection and collaboration between SEO professionals and web developers is important.

SEO is based on best practices for technical SEO and other things like the business scale of page elements.

Developers who understand the basics of SEO can go a long way toward successful collaboration and SEO performance.

In addition, it can make website development work more efficient and the need for fewer re-works or “SEO-specific” updates and requests.

More resources:

Featured image: baranq / Shutterstock

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