3 reasons why every developer should know SEO
As a fully-fledged marketing agency (design, development and internet marketing) we know how important it is to know the fundamental points of SEO when developing a website. We often get asked to delve into sites developed by other agencies and it can be astounding at how often SEO has been completely overlooked. Before I dig into things, I would just like to clarify the difference between Technical SEO v Onsite SEO.
Onsite SEO – Elements that the user can see by looking at the source code
- Title Tags
- Body Text
- Image Alt text
Technical SEO – Elements that the user cannot see by looking at the source code
- 301 & 302 redirects
- Page speed
- HTTP headers
- Crawler Access
- IP detection and redirection
Now Technical SEO is great and all, but without solid Onsite SEO to back this up, all the work invested in Technical SEO could potentially be thrown down the drain. I now want to talk about the common Onsite SEO mistakes that I have encountered over the years:
1. Proper hierarchy of content tags (H1-H6)
Heading tags are extremely important when it comes to SEO, they tell search engines what is really important. A perfect webpage would have:
- A single optimized H1 tag to introduce your content
- Various H2 tags used a sub headings
- H3 tags used as sub-sub headings
If your heading tags aren’t formatted properly they can cause your page to not be indexed properly, or worse not be indexed at all. For example if the title of your blog post is wrapped in a H4, search engines will not see the title of your blog as important. If it is wrapped correctly in a H1, search engines know instantly that this is what your post is about.
It’s also important to note that Heading tags should only be used in page content and not in footers, headers and sidebars. It’s just as easy to style paragraphs to look like headings so there is no need to use SEO signals in common page blocks – just one to think about.
Ways not to use H tags:
Some other mistakes I have come across that have negative effect on page SEO:
- Heading tags used in omnipresent navigation elements that are repeated across multiple pages
- Logos or other images wrapped in H tags
- Brand names wrapped in H tags across multiple pages
2. Image Alt text
Alt text is a simple bit of HTML code that describes what an image depicts on your web page, these can be useful for those who use assisted tools on their computers, as well as search crawlers. It might not seem like an important aspect to worry about, but with SEO; every little helps.
For featured images it’s always good practice to have your page title as the alt text.
Some other notes to make
- Make sure that your image name includes the keyword you are targeting. For example if you are targeting the keyword ‘reasons why developers should know seo’ then your image could potentially be named ‘reasons-why-developers-know-seo.jpg’
- The path to the image should be short. For example ‘spiralmedia.co.uk/images/path-to-image.jpg’ and not ‘spiralmedia.co.uk/images/2014/January/category/this-is-a-sub-folder/another-sub-folder/this-is-an-extra-long-file-name.jpg’
- Include your image folder and images in your sitemap
- Allow search engines to crawl your images (Note: This may mean your images will be indexed in Google Images)
- File size of your images – Make sure your images resize dynamically for the screen size that is viewing it. When viewing images on a mobile, there is no need for an image to be 1200px wide image when a 320px image would suffice
- This also has huge effects on page speed which is know to affect page rankings
3. Keyword Stuffing
Huh? Am I reading this correctly? Is this not the exact opposite of what we have been talking about; developers not making sure that their code contains enough SEO signals for search engines to use at their will. In short… YES.
Keyword stuffing is not as common today as it used to be, however if your website is using old code (3 years and older) then you could possibly be stuffing keywords without even knowing it. A lot of people think that keyword stuffing is when you have 20 lines of keywords in white text, on a white background. Although this is one black hat trick, keyword stuffing is considered to be anything where there are keywords that only Google can crawl but the users cannot see.
If you would like to know if your website:
- Is Keyword Stuffing
- Doesn’t have alt text on all images
- Doesn’t have a correct Heading hierarchy
Or you would just like to have a chat about your Onsite SEO signals, please feel to get in touch :).