5 Top SEO tips for Web Developers
June 30th 2022 | By Steve Grant
If you work in the world of web development, you’re going to know how vital it is to stay on top of ever-evolving technologies. But search is constantly changing too, and the importance of building a website that’s SEO friendly from the ground up can’t be over-emphasised.
Because the success of any website you develop ultimately rests upon how well that site performs in the search results, it’s vital to be aware of the top best practice SEO tips that will make your sites competitive. With this in mind, we’re happy to share our best SEO tips for website developers.
Aside from code and its impact upon how well a site shows up in the search results, there are dozens of factors that play a part in search engine optimisation from a web development point of view.
Here’s a rundown of SEO tips for web developers to help you create sites that have the crucial foundations for search engine success.
1. Know how the search process works
It’s really important to know how people use search engines and how they interact with the search process in order to find the answers to their questions.
Google is racing ahead with its search technology. It’s now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand the intent behind search queries, and to help deliver rich results to users. It’s been through a few technologies to date, from RankBrain and neural matching, to BERT and the more recent MUM, it’s all about improving the search process and achieving a more intuitive experience.
For developers, this means factoring in search that involves the use of images, voice and virtual and augmented reality, as well as basic text queries. Visualiser tools are becoming more widespread, allowing users to try virtually before they buy, and it will soon be a competitive necessity to include such technology within a website as search evolves in line with the evolution of the Metaverse.
2. Let web crawlers access your pages
Web developers have control over the pages that are indexed by the search engines.
A simple architecture will make it easier for crawlers to analyse the pages. A sitemap listing all the site’s pages will help crawlers find all the relevant information on the site. And structured will show search engines what the page is all about.
Markup code, or structured data, lets search engines understand the content of a website, allowing them to check relevancy in line with the search query. It’s important to give structured data markup to the search engines in a certain way, so that they can understand it in their code-driven way, and so that it translates well for web users. And that’s why the likes of Schema Markup have become so popular.
3. Craft reader-friendly page URLs
Search engines are looking for concise, descriptive and easy to read page URLs. And users appreciate them too.
It’s important to include researched, relevant keywords into your URLs, but only where they fit naturally. But don’t use too many, and don’t make your URL too long, otherwise it’s going to look spammy. Make sure your URL sounds natural, and that it’s relevant to the content on the page.
Also be sure to use hyphens to separate words. Search engine robots prefer them to spaces.
Finally, ditch any ‘unsafe’ characters like spaces, punctuation and accents. These can literally stop web crawlers in their tracks, so be sure to avoid them.
4. Get your redirects right
As a web developer, you’re going to be regularly moving content around on a website. From an SEO standpoint, it’s really important to use proper redirects, otherwise all sorts of problems could arise, from loss of Page Rank, to reduced traffic.
There are many different types of redirects, the most popular being 301 and 302 redirects.
301 redirects, also known as ‘temporary redirects’, are used when you take a page down or move it somewhere else, or guide users to an original page when you’ve removed duplicate content. A 301 redirect makes sure that pages aren’t competing against each other in the search engines, giving a site a better chance of ranking.
302 redirects are used if a page is unavailable or if your site has changed address. The pages don’t retain or transfer their SEO value, but any previous backlinks that you’ve earned will still send users to your new site. This type of redirect is often referred to as a ‘permanent redirect’.
5. Be mindful of your metas
Meta tags put pages into context for the search engines.
Title tags and meta descriptions are the first point of contact between your website and a search engine user. If the tags are relevant to the user’s search query, then they’ll be more likely to click through.
It’s vital to avoid using duplicate tags across multiple pages, because it will only serve to confuse the search engines as to the intended destination page, and they may ignore your pages altogether, so users won’t even get to see them.
Be sure to follow current meta tags best practice for SEO for all tag types, including the title tag and meta description, as well as others such as robots, refresh, viewport, Open Graph and Twitter Card meta tags.
Need help with SEO for web developers?
At Figment, whilst we work directly with a host of clients as an SEO agency serving London and Surrey, we also support web developers, partnering on a team basis so we can pool our expertise and work together to bring the best possible value to clients.
We have an extensive, proven track record in results-driven SEO, with a string of awards and 5-star reviews.
If you’d like to learn more about partnering with Figment, we welcome you to get in touch.