SEO for Designers and Developers
First of all, Do not worry, This Article isn’t going to teach you SEO. But to help you to help your clients, learning these steps are must. Note that, you do not have to be an SEO expert to follow these steps.
Web development is an art. A website which is designed well will yield repeated visitors and in the case of a business website, good customers too. Apart from a good design a site should be developed with clean coding with all necessary semantics followed and the overall site structure should be organized. To sum it up, the way a website is developed and designed decides the future of the website.
When you code, make it ready for search Engines
Any website is to create business opportunities. There are many ways to promote your website. And SEO is one of the primary techniques to promote your client’s website, even if did notask you to make it SEO ready.
Not just for the sake of the look and usability of the website, even for the effectiveness of SEO, your website needs to be designed and developed with some basic aspects which are necessary even before your site is actually optimized for SEO.
301 permanent redirection:
This is something people tend to forget and all it needs to add a simple line of code in .htaccess file. Search engines consider these as two separate URL’s:
(Example) http://www.example.com and http://example.com . But we all know its the one and the same site.
This is an SEO killer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once the link promotion starts the domain popularity will goto only one URL, which is the key for organic success.
So while development make sure redirection is done to a single URL.
It’s recommended to be redirected to http://www.example.com. Apart from this you can set the preferred URL in Google webmaster tools.
2. No more Underscores, Just Hyphens from now on. Please.
This is official from Google itself. Underscores acts as a joiner and hyphens acts a separator. So it’s the hyphens that will provide the correct meaning for key phrases to search engines.
Please use Hyphens for inner pages and no underscores for the sites to be developed in future.
Google considers this as “buycamerasonline”, single word.
Whereas http://www.example.com/buy-cameras-online , here Google understands this as “Buy Cameras Online”, which is exactly what a site owner needs.
Most of the Opensource platforms will allow SEO friendly URLs and they are easy to setup.
3. No follow , No index for sites under development:
Sometimes DEMO sites get cached in search engines and the site may get penalized for this. Please make sure DEMO sites are shielded by a <no index, no follow > or you can have a robots.txt file uploaded din the root folder which clearly says search engines not to crawl them.
And once the site is made LIVE these tags can be removed in the websites pages. But in the demo url’s let these no follow tag be permanent.
<META name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”/> (This is the tag to be added permanently in the pages of the demo / sites under construction).
So, next time when you show your milestone based updates from your or clients production server use No Index an No follow – AND Do NOT forget to remove it when you make the site live.
4. No Duplicate META tags:
Please add the page name or product name in the META titles, till that page is optimized with keywords. Kindly do not copy the METAs of other pages.
Sometimes developers for get change the META tags while creating a new content page since most of them copy from a previously created page. This is not going to take much time.
5. Never change or rename the URL names before crosschecking:
URLS are backbone of SEO. For long term SEO campaigns and if a site is doing very well its only because of the domain popularity and that’s the reason still many websites still retain their old sites.
The URL names of a website should not be changed before checking whether the site is optimized for SEO. Even if a client insists, make sure you warn the client mail stating that the traffic will be lost, before making the change.
This could be a DISASTER and may spoil the entire online efforts a business puts in.
6. Contact Forms:
In terms of development it may be the small thing but from the business perspective of a site, this is the MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR. We should make sure the forms work perfectly with the client’s email ID and crosscheck with the client. Especially when a client is involved a costly advertising campaign this could become a catastrophe.
7. No Egos
Ask questions with your SEO team. Consult them and make sure that the site comply on SEO standards. You do not need to do Keyword research, But make sure that the code you make is clean, Even if the client isn’t ready for SEO, remember that they might come to you in future.
These are some main factors and more good practices are coming up in part 2.