The Developer’s Checklist for SEO
Developing websites is a complex job. There are so many variables to deal with, and each element plays an equally important part in a site’s performance and functionality.
One of these elements is SEO (Search Engine Optimization): the use of text and other tools to generate organic hits through search engines and attract as many visitors as possible.
Having a Developers SEO Checklist is hugely helpful for developers to ensure that all the bases are covered. Effective use of SEO can result in more visitors browsing the website; and the more that happens, the better the site ranks in search engines like Google. Developers have to work through both internal and external SEO components—the three key ones being:
1. Technical SEO factors
2. On-Page SEO factors
3. External SEO factor
There are several elements that fall under each of these labels. Developers need to address every single aspect, which is why a checklist can come in so handy.
1. Technical factors
A website will only attract visitors if it’s accessible. The first fundamental step for developers is to use SEO to get their site on the map, and this involves a number of things:
- Appropriate URL Structur
A good SEO strategy starts with a website’s URL and tags. Short, punchy URLs are effective, and using the most relevant keywords is a must.
The most important keyword must appear in your title tag.
- Image Optimization
Long loading times are off-putting to users, and excessively large images are often to blame. Image optimization means reducing the size of pictures to make accessing a website easier.
- Using HTTPS
HTTPS is HTTP, but with an added security factor built into it. Communication through the Internet is encrypted using TLS or SSL when you use HTTPS. This plays an important part in improving a website’s ranking on SERP (search engine results pages).
- Make it mobile-friendly
- Check for duplicate content
Developing a mobile-friendly website can sometimes bring up the problem of multiple URLs that display the same content.
2. On-Page factors
On-Page SEO factors relate to the content of a site, including text, keywords, titles and meta descriptions. Context, as well as content, is important when looking at these factors.
Topics, keywords, and content
A lot of research and analytics are necessary to develop and maintain a website with a good SEO strategy. Developers need to follow trends and keep a close eye on the target audience. SEO is a field involving a high degree of accuracy—quality rather than quantity is the goal.
All text on a page should be constructed with SEO in mind if a website is going to perform well. Apart from that, keeping a site updated regularly (through blogs, for example) is vital to attract visitors.
3. External factors
External SEO factors (also known as Off-Page factors) can easily get overlooked. But developers should ensure that they have taken them into account.
Setting up links on a page does wonder for your site’s performance. Before doing this, however, a developer should do some research into the link profiles of similar sites and/or competitors. A tool like Backlink Analytics lets you delve into any website’s link profile.
Some people aren’t fans of social media, but for many internet users, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are their first port of call. Linking a site to social media pages boosts SEO performance, as long as the link is functional and the social media page is regularly updated.
Some essential checkpoints:
1. Critical Crawler Issues—“Crawl Errors”
One basic item on the checklist must be to run through the site, checking for 400- and 500-level HTTP status errors. Crawl errors indicate Google is having difficulties accessing a page on your site.
2. Set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
Part of a successful SEO strategy is evaluating how your website is performing. The Google Search Console is free and can show developers which keywords are attracting traffic, as well as fixing errors on the site. Bing Webmaster Tools is a similar service (also free).
3. Set up Google Analytics
This is another free tool that analyzes data from a website, such as the number of visitors it receives and what kind of visitors they are.
4. Double-check for broken links
This is a no-brainer—nothing annoys users more than clicking on something only to find it doesn’t exist. There are numerous tools that can help—free online link checkers, such as Dr. Link Check or Free Broken Link Checker, are two examples.
5. Assess your site’s loading speed
Online programs can help here too. How much traffic your site gets depends partly on how fast the pages load, neither too fast nor too slow is the goal.
6. Create and submit a sitemap
Having a good sitemap ensures that visitors are alerted to the most relevant page on your site via the search engine they use. So make sure you create and submit XML sitemap to search engines.
This is not an exhaustive SEO checklist, but rather a framework to work from. Developers have a responsibility to keep up with the industry, and designing SEO-friendly sites is part of what they get paid for
A site without SEO isn’t the valuable asset it should be. Building a comprehensive SEO strategy into every website is a non-negotiable in today’s digital-driven age.