5 SEO Guidelines for Web Developers

SEO Guidelines for Web Developers

This essay is partial of an SEO array from WooRank. Thank we for ancillary a partners who make SitePoint possible.

If you’ve motionless that we are going to rest on organic hunt engine formula (as against to paid hunt trade or arrangement advertising) as a primary motorist of trade to your website, we need to take that into comment when coding pages. SEO is about many some-more than keywords, synonyms and calm selling — there are a lot of technical aspects going on behind a scenes that assistance establish where a page ranks in hunt results.

The initial step is to make certain your page is permitted to hunt engines, and that their robots can see a page content. In Google Search Console, use Fetch as Google in a Crawl territory to see how your page appears to hunt engines. Remember, crawlers can’t entrance iframes and are limited when indexing calm in Flash or Silverlight, so if you’ve got critical content, keep it in HTML.

Fetch as Google

Once your site basis can be seen, crawled and indexed by hunt engines, use these discipline to make certain robots can scrupulously figure out what your pages are about, how they report to keywords and what arrange of user knowledge they will provide.

Write URLs for SEO

Clean URLs

A page’s URL is an constituent partial of a user knowledge and SEO. In fact, it’s a initial thing hunt engine crawlers see and, ideally, it tells them a lot per a page and a content. That means your URLs need to be clean, easy to read, detailed and giveaway of URL parameters. Take dual URLs for example:



The initial URL has nonessential parameters that are expected to upset robots and people given they can’t see what difficulty or product a page is for. In this case, people are many reduction expected to share or click on this URL, and hunt engines will have difficulty last a aptitude to a keyword. The second URL is many some-more preferable. It’s easier to read, tells we what difficulty and product we will find on a page and doesn’t enclose any treacherous parameters or query strings.

You mostly breeze adult with URL parameters due to analytics and tracking programs, and when your CMS serves energetic page elements like filters and sorting. If you’re regulating an modernized CMS, like WordPress, we can rewrite your URLs by changing a permalink settings in a admin categorical menu.

Permalink underline in WordPress

Optimized URLs

The structure and difference we use in your URLs are also unequivocally critical for SEO. The URL’s trail helps hunt engines know a page’s charge and significance to a rest of a site. The difference used in a URL tells them how applicable that page is to a sold subject or keyword. A well-optimized URL structure has a following elements:

  • Short and descriptive: Ideally your use of keywords will report a page content. If, for whatever reason, we don’t use keywords in your URLs, keep a trail as fit as possible. Use as few difference as probable and equivocate stop difference (the, a, of, on, etc.) altogether.
  • Hyphens instead of underscores: When separating difference in URLs, always use hyphens. Search engines use hyphens as word separators, so they are means to commend urls-written-like-this. They don’t use underscores to imply anything, so they don’t commend them. That means they’ll see urls_written_like_this a same as urlswrittenlikethis. If we write URLs like that, they’ll unequivocally onslaught to appreciate them and commend keywords.
  • Keywords used during a beginning: Put your many critical keywords during a commencement of a URL. Search engine crawlers allot some-more value to these words. This is another reason to keep your URLs short: The fewer difference in a URL, a some-more value hunt engines place on any one. However, it’s positively critical that we use keywords naturally. Otherwise your page could come opposite as low peculiarity or spammy. If you’re targeting a longtail keyword, cruise stealing your difficulty and sub-category names to keep your URLs short.

Optimizing URLs regulating keywords also creates it some-more expected that a anchor calm for your links will use applicable keywords.

Meta Tags

Your formula is critical not customarily since it creates a peculiarity page for users. Search engines also demeanour during meta tags to learn things about your page. Even if we don’t write your meta tags yourself (this is mostly finished by marketers), we should still know how they work for SEO. There are 3 meta tags that are generally critical for SEO:

Title tag: The pretension tab is one of a many critical on page SEO signals. They are maybe a strongest spirit we can give to hunt engines about your page’s topic. Therefore, use your many critical aim keyword during a commencement of a pretension so hunt engines can see if a page is applicable to a given search. A well-optimized pretension tab is no some-more than 60 characters, including spaces and punctuation, with 50-60 being a ideal length. If we use some-more than one keyword or embody your brand, apart them regulating pipes (the | character). Your pretension tab should demeanour like:

titleSEO Guide for Developers | SEO Best Practices | SitePoint/title

If you’re optimizing for internal search, use your aim location, business and attention in your pretension tab as good as your keyword. So your internal pretension tab competence be something like titleSmith Sons | Construction | Toledo/title.

Meta description: Meta descriptions aren’t used directly as a ranking signal, though they are still critical for SEO. Search engines still infrequently demeanour during them to assistance establish a page’s subject and they’re total with pretension tags to form your hunt snippet. Search snippets are a title, couple and page outline displayed in hunt results. They radically work as a giveaway calm ad for your page, with keywords relating hunt queries displayed in bold. Having a transparent and accurate meta outline will assistance boost click-through rate (CTR) and diminution rebound rate, both of that demeanour good to hunt engines and can assistance urge your rank. If relevant, embody difference like “cheap,” “sale,” “free shipping,” or “reviews” to attract in-market searchers. The meta outline tab looks like this:

    meta name="description” content=”Your brief page description, no some-more than 160 characters.”/

Robots: The robots meta tab is used to tell hunt engine crawlers if they can or can't index a page or follow a links on that page. This meta tab will keep hunt engines from indexing pages they find by following links on other sites, that would not be prevented by your robots.txt file. The robots meta tab looks like this:

    meta name="robots” content=”noindex”/

You can also forestall hunt engines from following a links on your page by adding a “nofollow” value to a calm attribute. This would be advisable if your page has a lot of links that we don’t unequivocally wish to pass value, or if your page includes several paid links around local marketing. A robots meta tab regulating “nofollow” would demeanour like this:

    meta name="robots” content=”noindex, nofollow” /

Note that disallowing pages regulating a robots.txt record does not annul your need for a robots meta tag. While Google won’t index these pages, they competence still uncover them in a hunt results, replacing a meta outline with ‘A outline for this outcome is not accessible since of this site’s robots.txt’. If you’re regulating a meta robots noindex tag, make certain we don’t also nullify a page in your robots.txt file, as this will forestall a crawlers from ever saying it.


Developers need to pierce calm around a site all a time, mostly hosting it during a new URL and environment adult a route to send visitors to a new page. Redirects are good for your SEO since hunt engines like when there’s one authorized chronicle of something. So if we have dual or some-more paths to get to a same destination, like if you’ve temporarily changed calm to a new folder or copied pages to a subdomain, they tend to get a small confused and will yield your pages as transcribe content.

Using redirects on your aged pages indicating to your new pages will make certain that users not customarily breeze adult in a right place, though that hunt engine spiders do too. If we don’t use redirects, we risk hunt engines portion a wrong page in hunt results, and assigning trust and management to old-fashioned URLs.

One of a biggest advantages of regulating 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary) redirects is that they pass full couple extract on to a finish page. This allows we to pierce calm but pang many in terms of ranking and traffic. It’s softened for users as well, since they won’t have to understanding with passed links and 404 pages.

Note that until comparatively recently, it was SEO best use to use 301 instead of 302 redirects since a latter didn’t pass couple juice. That’s no longer a case. Google treats 302 redirects as if they were 301s and passes full PageRank to a finish page. Also, equivocate regulating some-more than one route in a row. Search engines unequivocally don’t like route chains, and it’s unequivocally emasculate for your server as well.

If you’re formulation to do a site emigration where a URL strings will sojourn a same, use a .htaccess rewrite methods shown above to save we time.

Schema Markup

Schema.org markup gives definition to a calm on your page in a approach that hunt engines can understand. You can use it on your About Us page to compute between address, opening hours and prices, for example. It’s used by Google in a Knowledge Graph abounding snippets and it’s a outrageous boost for your SEO. If we wish to see schema markup in action, customarily hunt for your favorite recipe. In a hunt formula you’ll see a title, URL and meta outline customarily like a normal hunt snippet. But there will also be a pattern of a plate and expected a star rating.

Recipe abounding hunt results

When hunt engines can some-more simply know a calm on a page, a easier it is for them to establish what a calm is about and how it relates to opposite topics. The softened they know page content, a some-more expected it is to arrange rarely for searches associated to your keywords.

Semantic markup also helps assistive applications like shade readers, creation for an softened user knowledge for your site’s visitors.

Mobile Friendliness

Earlier this year Google expelled a mobile hunt algorithm — a time that many referred to as “Mobilegeddon” — and introduced a new ranking vigilance knows as “mobile friendliness”. Mobile friendship is totalled by several opposite criteria. If you’ve already combined a mobile chronicle of your site, find out if it’s mobile accessible regulating Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to get an thought how your site is behaving and where we should urge to raise your mobile user knowledge and SEO.

Find your site’s mobile friendship regulating WooRank’s website audit. Find issues that could be spiteful your site’s mobile friendship such as calm size, embedded objects regulating Flash or suboptimal daub aim size.

WooRank SEO review mobile friendliness

Mobile Page Speed

Page loading time is a outrageous partial of mobile friendliness. 40% of users will desert a mobile page if it hasn’t installed in 3 seconds, while Google expects your page to describe above a overlay (ATF) calm in no longer than one second. After a normal routine of DNS lookup, TCP handshake and HTTP ask and response, you’ve unequivocally customarily got about 400 milliseconds to bucket your ATF content. Optimize your mobile page speed by:

  • Optimizing picture size: Don’t use HTML to revoke your picture size. That customarily changes a coming of a image. Use an picture editor, like Photoshop, to revoke a distance of your images.
  • Relying on browser caching: Leverage browser caching to revoke a series of HTTP requests.
  • Minimize ATF calm size: The initial TCP tie isn’t means to wholly exercise a connection’s bandwidth on a initial roundtrip, that means a series of packets it can send is unequivocally limited. In sequence to describe your ATF calm it needs to be 148 kb or less. Keep your server adult to date to equivocate serve tying a series of packets we can send in a initial connection.
  • Minifying code: Remove unconnected characters from JavaScript and stylesheets regulating YUI Compressor or JSMIn. Minifying formula can urge caching and revoke bandwidth usage.
  • Using Google AMP: Google stores pages regulating a Accelerated Mobile Page markup in a dedicated cache and serves them scarcely now from there. Read some-more on how AMP can impact your SEO here.

If you’re struggling with your page speed, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. PageSpeed measures a opening of your page as both mobile and desktop user-agents and evaluates time to describe ATF calm and a time to describe a whole page. Or use browser collection like Developer Console in Chrome, Web Console in Firefox or Tools Console in Internet Explorer to find bottlenecks and errors on your page.

Mobile Site Structure

You have 3 options when structuring a mobile chronicle of your website. You can use manageable design, mobile subdomains and energetic design.

  • Responsive design: This is Google’s endorsed approach to emanate a mobile site. It doesn’t need any changes to your stream formula other than environment a viewport meta tag. The viewport tells browsers to arrangement a page formed on device shade size. The viewport meta tab for manageable pattern looks like this:

    meta name="viewport” content=”width-device-width, initial-scale=1.0”/
  • Dynamic Design: This process requires some-more time and bid than manageable design. It requires detecting a user-agent and portion opposite HTML formula to mobile and desktop browsers. Use a vary: user-agent HTTP header to tell hunt engines that we will be portion opposite HTML formed on user-agent.

To supplement change user-agent in Apache, supplement this formula to your .htaccess:

    Header attach Vary User-Agent

If we use WordPress, supplement a following formula in functions.php:

    duty add_vary_header($headers) {
    $headers['Vary'] = 'User-Agent';
    lapse $headers;
    add_filter('wp_headers', 'add_vary_header');

To set change user-agent around PHP, supplement this code:

    header("Vary: User-Agent, Accept");
  • Mobile subdomain: This will need many some-more time and bid than a prior dual methods, as it requires building an wholly apart mobile website and hosting it on a subdomain, customarily mobile.example.com or m.example.com. Googlebot won’t be means to tell that these pages are indifferent for mobile users, so you’ll need to use a rel=”canonical” tab to uncover a charge between any transcribe pages we have. This process is difficult and costly compared to a other two, generally for vast sites. It’s generally not recommended.


At a finish of a day, hunt engines aren’t out to get you, no matter how many it competence seem like they are. All they wish to do is yield their users with a best probable pages formed on their hunt queries, that is unequivocally your idea too. And while there’s never any pledge that you’ll get a series one ranking, if we optimize your URLs, use redirects intelligently, exercise schema markup and make your site user friendly, you’ll be good on your approach to high rankings and increasing hunt traffic.

Does your site have any elements that could be restraint crawlers from accessing your content? Is it structured for SEO? Audit your site with WooRank to weigh a opening opposite some-more than 70 technical and on page criteria.