A Developer’s Checklist for Search Engine Optimisation

by Thanh Pham | Aug 03, 2020 A Developer’s Checklist for Search Engine Optimisation

Anyone with a website needs an effective Search Engine Optimisation strategy to ensure they have increased visibility on the internet and high ranking in the search engines. However, many businesses, especially startup and medium-sized businesses, struggle to get it right given SEO is a combination of various elements. Optimizing your website starts from the coding process and stretches through the content in your website. That is why developers have to be conversant with SEO and implement proper SEO strategies for improved website performance and ranking.

Here is a checklist developers can follow to implement SEO in their web development projects effectively.

1.  URL structure and tags

A short and descriptive URL made up of relevant keywords and underscores is ideal. Most developers make a mistake of having a long and overly descriptive URL, which minimizes the chances of being picked up by the search engines. Further, every new page should have its unique link for optimal page landings and displays.

2.   Use https

With cybersecurity being a top concern today, an SSL certificate is an essential requirement to assure yourself and your site visitors their safety. Search engines will overlook sites using Http and display those with https.

3.   Responsive web design

Creating a responsive web design is part of the SEO process. Developers must create websites that are responsive and friendly to the different types of devices and their specifications. The links, texts, videos and images size and resolution need to adjust automatically as per a user’s device.

The reality today is more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices than desktops. You, therefore, need to make your code flexible and adaptable for all platforms. The more versatile it is, the more traffic you can generate and, consequently, higher conversion rates.

4.   Use optimized images

Over time, there has been a shift from conveying messages via plain blocks of texts to using more visuals. It is inevitable to add images to your website if you aim to have a wider reach. But that presents a challenge; the images have to be optimized as they affect the speed of your website.

With an estimated 53% of users unwilling to wait for a website to load for more than 3 seconds, you need to pay more attention to improving your website’s speed. Image optimisation entails choosing images of the right name, size and format for your website. JPEGs, for instance, are SEO-friendlier compared to PNG formats. Also, keeping image size at 100KB helps to maintain high loading speed and overall responsiveness of the website.

Adding image titles and descriptions with keywords are also part of the image optimisation process.

5.   Video Optimisation

Similarly, videos on your website should be optimized. Videos have larger files sizes and that has implications on the responsiveness and speed of your site. An increasingly popular alternative is posting your videos on other platforms, say YouTube and embedding it on your website.

It is also becoming increasingly important to create videos that have engaging thumbnails and subtitles.

6.  Gold content

The content of your site needs to be excellent, starting with the titles, meta descriptions and the content.

Title: The titles for your web pages should be short, concise and include keywords.

Meta descriptions: These are summary descriptions of the overall message on a webpage. They should also be of high quality and contain keywords.

Content: Your website should invest in creating high-quality, engaging and informative content. The content should be well-written and well-organized for easy consumption by the site visitors. To optimize your content, use high-impact keywords that users are likely to use in a search engine. The keywords should also be well-distributed throughout the content without watering down the message being delivered.

7.   External links and redirects

One of the SEO strategies that is often overlooked but important in adding credibility to your website is adding back-links. Your content should include links to other reports and statistics that give further proof of the point you are passing across. When combined with your well-crafted content, it gives your site better ranking and increased credibility.

8.   Targeting social media

Social media took the world by a storm, and for over a decade, the various platforms have proven more effective in reaching a wider audience. You should link your website to your official social media sites for improved SEO ranking. Your social media audience should be able to access your content without necessarily having to open a browser and type your URL.

It is also important to optimize your social media platforms. Social Media Optimisation entailed ensuring your profile and the content you share is complete, reliable and of high quality. The rules of content optimisation, like the use of keywords in captions and posts, also apply to social media posts.

9.  Server configurations

Even if you get all the items listed above right but your server is not configured correctly, you may not enjoy the positive results of SEO. Server issues can cause some bottlenecks if not checked.

Ensure your server uses GZip compressing to compress files and improve the speed of the website. Also, ensure the first-byte time is short for improved responsiveness.

10.   Constant review and updating content

Strategies for Search Engine Optimisation evolve continuously. You, therefore, should always be on the lookout for the latest trends and strategies for improving your rankings on social media platforms. It would be best if you were flexible enough to adapt and incorporate the changing strategies into your web design.

Bottom line

Everyone is fighting for the top spot in the search engines. Everyone is fighting to be the most visible online. With the hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of websites available, you should take SEO seriously in your web development if you are to improve your ranking and visibility.

Web development and SEO cannot be separated any longer. While SEO has many different elements that make it a challenging process to navigate, all developers need to be conversant with the various strategies. And beyond following this checklist, a decent developer needs to be proactive enough to be acquainted with the latest trends and strategies, and implement them through their development projects.

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