9 Steps Developers Should Follow For Better SEO
As a Full-Stack Developer working at a creative agency specializing in SEO services, my experience at Kaizen has been unique in that the skills I’ve brought have required me to learn quite a bit about SEO. Today it seems obvious to me how important it is for a web developer to understand at least the basics. Naturally, I’ve learned a lot while working on many projects with the SEO team, and I wanted to share just a few easy tips for any other web developers out there working adjacent to SEO.
Most websites out there are created with the purpose of improving the visibility and traffic for a brand. More consumers coming to your website means more opportunities to convert these prospects into customers.
Developers, however, usually do not know much about SEO. It’s not exactly the first thing you learn in the average computer science school or program out there. The following methods are not guaranteed to immediately make your website rank first on Google, but they are super easy to implement and will show results in time.
Build a meaningful structure for your HTML document
There’s a reason HTML has so many different tag elements, though most developers are familiar with only a fraction of them.
Search engines use these tags as prompts to recognise the page’s structure and build a better understanding of what this page is about.
Let’s have a look at the following example:
The below code explicitly tells search engines its header, navigation bar, main area, title, paragraph, and footer.
Whilst the same result can be achieved using only <div> elements, search engines will have a much harder time understanding the actual structure of our content.
Avoid using placeholders for meta data
Meta descriptions and page titles must be unique. It might seem sensible to use a generic bit of copy in place of the meta description whilst working in the dev environment, but placeholder text making it to the live environment will be flagged by SEOs. Leaving these fields defaulting to blank is better than placeholder text.
Don’t use HTML tags incorrectly
Using <p> tags for text which doesn’t contain body paragraph copy is confusing to web crawlers and assistive technology. Instead, for text which is decorative or not part of the content of the page, using simple <div> or <span> tags where appropriate is preferred.
Have meaningful title and description meta tags
The most important meta tags are the title and description.
The title should summarize the main idea of a web page and the description should provide a brief summary of it.
They are both displayed on the search engine results page (SERP) and therefore are very important for showing people that you can fulfil their search need. You should spend a bit of your time perfecting these tags.
Include great alt tags in your images
An alt tag is not just text that is shown if the image has not loaded. It helps search engine crawlers understand what’s in the image, and through that, understand in more detail the idea behind the page and the information the page provides.
Take a little time and do some research before inserting a generic alt tag, changing it is an easy way to engage search engines with the topic of your pages.
Optimise your images for the web
Web pages are measured by search engines to see how fast they load. In this world of fast-paced information, consumers do not want to wait for your page to load. Usually, the largest elements on a web page are images, therefore they should be optimised to load as quickly as possible.
As best practice, you should try to use images that are no bigger than 200KB.
Here are two methods to help you achieve that goal:
- Resize your images to the size you’ll actually use – do you have a limit (max-width) on the body of your page? Why not resize the images to that limit?
- Run your images through a smart compression tool before uploading them to your website. A great option is TinyPNG.
Make sure your pages are mobile-friendly
Test your website to make sure it is mobile-friendly; search engines consider non-responsive websites to be of lower quality and therefore favour other options.
The best tool to check your website is actually made by Google- Mobile-Friendly Test. Try it out, and act according to its results to make your website more dynamic.
Create a sitemap for your website
The sitemap helps search engines crawl your website and index your pages more effectively. This allows them to better understand your website’s content and rank your pages for more relevant search queries.
A sitemap is relatively easy to implement, does not need to be too design focused, and can help your website reach the next level in SEO. So why not implement it?
Include a favicon
Search engines use your website’s favicon on their results page. It appears next to the web address and above the meta title:
Search results with icons look more professional and immediately catch the eye of consumers. Favicons are super easy to implement and assuming you already have a logo for your website, it’s very easy to shift it to a shiny favicon.
Find out here how to create and define your favicon for Google to use.
That’s all, folks!
Looking at all the above methods, SEO guidelines stem from the ideal that it should not only improves your website’s readability and performance for search engines but for humans as well. As web developers this is at the heart of what we’re looking to achieve, so take time to up your SEO skills, which in turn, will ultimately create a better experience for your website’s visitors.
Get in touch with our team today to elevate your brand’s SEO in 2023.