The SEO should be present in all phases of a project, from initial plans and objectives to increase content every day. And despite this, many times we leave it for too late and we find that our website presents technical problems that affect its positioning and that are difficult to solve.
To avoid this problem, the key is to integrate SEO into back-end and front-end development from the beginning. To help you out, here are 10 keys to SEO-friendly web development.
10 Tips To Integrate SEO Into Web Development
1. Plan The Page Structure Of The Site Well
At a minimum, all pages should meet these requirements:
- Have a single H1 tag. Admittedly, the H1 tag doesn’t necessarily affect ranking, but H1 is the easiest way to represent the top level of hierarchy on every page and not confuse search engines. Therefore, create an H1 tag that automatically uses the page title and does not include other elements.
- Have multiple H2, H3 and H4 tags for content creators. You can go even further, but these 3 are more than enough for most places. Let the person creating the content decide how many of each type to use, as long as the result makes sense.
- Use the <p> element to separate the paragraphs from each other . Sometimes content creators introduce double line breaks and hinder changes in front-end development, so it’s best to avoid it from the start.
- Use structured data when relevant. At a minimum, the web should include structured content for places, products, reviews, and people. This will make it easier for you to appear prominently among Google results.
2. Think Mobile
As you probably already know, years ago Google switched to a ” mobile-first ” approach to index pages. That means that SEO positioning depends exclusively on the mobile version of the page, even if the user is doing a search from a desktop computer.
There are several options to create the mobile version of your site: duplicate URLs, dynamic publishing, responsive design and AMP. In general, the last two are the most recommended, but if you opt for duplicate URLs or dynamic publishing, make sure your mobile site meets these requirements:
- Have the same content as the standard site.
- Have the same titles and meta descriptions as the standard site.
- Have Hreflang links that correctly connect the web and mobile versions in different languages.
- Have the robot.txt configured with correct instructions and that is the same for both versions of the web?
- Correctly use the elements rel = “canonical” and rel = “alternate”
3. Optimize Page Loading Speed
We know that one of the main criteria to determine the SEO positioning of a web page is the loading speed, and as is logical in this aspect, good development influences a lot. In addition, according to studies of user behaviour, on average they leave a web page if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
To optimize the upload speed to from the development phase, but these recommendations into practice:
- Avoid duplicate code.
- Be careful with code comments: try to leave only the necessary ones, which are not too long and are removed before going into production.
- Eliminate unnecessary calls to the database.
- Simplify the code whenever possible.
- Avoid using too many files and take care of their size.
- Use the Chrome console to analyze Time To First Bite and solve problems with files that take a long time to load.
4. Configure The URLs Well
The URL structure is a fundamental aspect of SEO on-page, so it must be taken into account when developing the web. Take note of these tips:
- Make sure the home page has a single URL. For example, if your website is www.zapatos.com, you should make sure that all internal links go to that URL and not to www.zapatos.com/index.html, www.zapatos.com/default.aspx or others. variants.
- Please do not use robots.txt or meta robots to hide duplicate content as this affects the link structure of the page, does not hide the content and negatively affects the authority of the site.
- Set the preferred domain in Google Search Console.
- Make the links to the first page of a list go to the URL without tags, for example,/blog/shoes.com and not /blog/shoes.com?page=1
- Use rel = canonical to avoid duplicating pages if necessary (although it is best to create the site in such a way that there are no duplicate pages).
5. Don’t Just Install Google Analytics, Configure It
Today, the vast majority of backend development features adding Google Analytics to the website. But sometimes we treat it like a simple copy and paste when in reality there are several key aspects that should be set up right from the start:
- Track searches on the site. The terms that users search for on the site are a very valuable source of information, which can help us improve both SEO and user experience. So make sure you have all that data from the start.
- Track all brand domains and subdomains. If your business uses multiple domains or splits content across multiple subdomains, follow users across all of these properties.
- Filter IPs to exclude users from your own company and the competition. This will prevent your visitors from “messing” the data.
- Monitor events within the page to save time later.
6. Implement All The Necessary Web Analytics And SEO Files
As we have just seen, it is important that Google Analytics is well configured from development. But for the job to be complete, you should also include the following elements of SEO and web analytics :
- Robots.txt: to give information to search engines to correctly crawl and index the web.
- Sitemap.xml: to report on the pages, videos, and other files on a website and the relationships between them.
- Google Tag Manager: to correctly implement and manage site tags.
- Google Search Console: one of the essential Google tools, which provides a lot of data on the positioning of a website and helps to solve errors as they appear.
7. Organize Labels Well
As a general rule, these are the labels that you should keep in mind in the back-end development of the site:
- Title: fundamental for the positioning of the page in the search engines.
- Meta description: Although it is not so important for positioning, it can influence users to click from the results page.
- Canonical: to redirect URL if necessary.
- Doctype: so that the search engine knows what type of content it is.
- Alternative text: to ensure that images are taken into account when crawling.
- Hreflang: essential for websites in multiple languages.
- Nofollow: to prevent Google from crawling certain pages.
- Prev / next: to organize paging.
8. Be Aware Of User Experience
To achieve the best results, SEO and user experience must go hand in hand. These are some aspects of front-end and back-end development to consider so that the UX benefits:
- Optimize page load time, both for desktop and mobile versions.
- Take care of the design of the top navigation menu and the footer.
- Put intuitive names to internal links.
- Create attractive titles for elements H1, H2, H3 and H4.
- Design a friendly web structure, so that users easily find the information they are looking for.
9. Avoid “Thin Content”
The ” thin content ” are those pages of your site that have very little content and very little unique information, such as:
- Links type “send to a friend”.
- Member pages with blank biographies.
- Empty review pages or “great product!” Content.
- Empty and paginated photo galleries.
- Label pages with only one content.
All this can be avoided from the back-end development, for example, making the biographies of the members have a minimum duration or avoiding creating links to a page until it has a certain amount of content.
10. Take Care Of The SEO Of Your Ecommerce
Finally, let’s take a quick look at some SEO challenges for online stores that can be solved from front-end and back-end development:
- Structure: Keep in mind that product category pages may end up working as landing pages for PPC or social media campaigns.
- Navigation: It is essential to include detailed product filters and correctly link the results pages. Use the canonical tag if necessary.
- Structured data: the different products should have a semantic markup so that search engines can identify elements such as price or reviews.