10 SEO Basics That All Web Developers Must Know

Check out list of 10 must-know SEO basics for web developers, as well as some focus group conversations with SEO and development teams.

1. Security

Search engines are concerned about website security. Ensure that you have an SSL in place and that there are no issues.

That's where it all begins.

Have the essential protections in place to guarantee that the site is free of vulnerabilities that could allow for an injection, modified content, and so on. Hacking at any level degrades the user experience and sends out negative signals to both users and search engines. When using plugins, extensions, or tools to safeguard the site, keep site speed in mind (more on that later).

2. Response Codes

The server response codes is important.

There are often unique UX designs and techniques to get a page to render for a user that prompt some inventive dev implementations.

Regardless, ensure that pages are rendering 200 server codes.

3. Redirects

Redirects are an important aspect of the website migration and launch process when moving from an old to a new site. If you don't do anything else during your launch, at the very least, use redirects. We're talking about ensuring that all URLs from the previous site point to the most appropriate subject matter page on the new site using a 301 redirect.

If you're simplifying and upgrading content structure, this might be 1:1 old site to new site pages or many to one. Don't trust a page's rendering and think its fine, just as you don't trust server codes.

Verify that redirects are 301s using tools.

4. Robots.txt

Nothing matters in SEO unless the site is indexed and displayed in search results.

Don't let the robots.txt file fall by the wayside. In certain circumstances, default commands are too permissive, while in others, they are excessively restrictive.

Find out what's in the robots.txt file. Don't push the staging file to production without first double-checking it.

Disallowing all command from staging (to keep the dev site from being indexed) that was pushed to the live site has foiled several sites with great migration and launch preparations. Block low-value things like tag pages, comments pages, and any other variations your CMS generates.

You'll almost always have to examine a lot of low-value garbage, and if you can't stop the pages from generating, at the very least avoid them from indexing.

5. Sitemaps

Using XML sitemaps, we can ensure that search engines are aware of all of our pages.

Don't waste time and resources by allowing photos, insignificant pages, and other items that shouldn't be prioritized for concentration and indexing to get in the way.

Make sure that all pages listed in XML sitemaps return a 200 server response code. Keep them free of 404s, redirects, and anything else that isn't the intended destination page.

6. URLs

Good URLs are short, contain terms that are relevant to the page's topic, are in lower case, and contain no letter spaces, or underscores.

I like it when subfolder and page URL structures match the content hierarchy in the navigation and site structure.

What's three levels lower?

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

For ex: https://www.axattechnologies.com/blog/digital-marketing-for-any-type-of-website

7. Mobile Friendly

Remember that just because something works or appears well in a browser doesn't mean it'll work or look good in a search engine.

In terms of search, mobile-friendliness is important.

Make sure it's mobile-friendly by using Google's mobile-friendly tool.

Ensure that it passes.

Consider how the content is displayed in the mobile version. Google uses "Mobile first" indexing.

This indicates that they are viewing the site on their mobile device. Examine whether you're hiding or not rendering important content that you want search engines to consider in the mobile version for UX considerations.

8. Site Speed

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

The speed of your website is important. Slow page loads and sites have a negative impact on user experience and conversion rates. They have an effect on SEO performance as well.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving site speed. It all boils down to keeping your code light, utilising plugins and extensions wisely, having a well-optimized hosting environment, compressing and minifying JS and CSS, and keeping picture sizes in check. Any code, files, or other elements that can cause performance or stability issues are a risk.

Include any content management protections so that a 10MB image cannot be uploaded and cause a website to crash. Alternatively, a plugin update that slows things down goes undetected.

Site speed should be measured, monitored, and improved on a regular basis.

Web.dev or Lighthouse in the Google Chrome browser dev tools are my Lead Developer's favorite tools.

9. Heading Tags

For search engines, heading tags are important context information. Keep in mind that these are content shortcuts rather than CSS shortcuts. Yes, you should link your CSS to them, but do it in the order of relevance.

Subheadings on a page should not be H1s, and the first, largest page heading should not be an H5.

There's a lot of discussion about the impact (or lack thereof) of headings on SEO performance. In this article, I'm not going there.

Just be as specific as possible when it comes to the hierarchy and how it's applied. Wherever possible, use them instead of other CSS. If possible, limit the number of H1s on a page to one.

Work with your SEO team to understand the general strategy for headers and on-page content.

10. Content Management & Dynamic Content

As already said, CMS functionality may cause problems on even the most well-designed development projects.

Think about how much control you're giving away.

Understand the site's long-term content strategy and requirements so that content writers have the power they desire while not compromising site speed or any of the SEO on-page features. Having as many dynamic elements as possible, such as tagging, XML sitemap generation, redirects, and more, can save you time and keep your site and code stable.

Final Thoughts

The interaction and collaboration between SEO experts and site developers is important. For technical SEO and other things like enterprise scaling of on-page objects, SEO relies on best practises. Understanding SEO fundamentals can help developers collaborate more effectively and get better SEO results.

Additionally, it may result in fewer rework or "SEO-specific" adjustments and demands, resulting in more efficient website development work.


Tags: SEO, Google Search, Search Engine Optimization
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