When designing, developing and launching websites, the same mistakes are often made. For new sites, this threatens with a longer appearance in the search results. For existing ones, if a redesign was carried out – a decrease in the search results. Search engine promotion is a complex of measures, and following all the recommendations from this article will not necessarily save you from contacting an SEO specialist. This article is for designers and programmers to show them how to improve SEO together.
The first thing to do is to request the Google Analytics counter codes from the client. Add a site to Google Search Console. If the site is new and there are no counters yet, you need to register accounts and send them to the client.
Optionally, you can add Facebook pixels to this list, as well as counters Liveinternet, Rambler, etc. We advise you to use Google Tag Manager to connect.
All <title> </title> on all pages must be specific and unique. The title should actually give a name to the content of the page. Ideally, a full match of the most important keyword. For product pages in online stores for product cards, this could be, for example, “Buy [product name] at a bargain price” or “Order [furniture name] by size.” The region of work and the name of the company will also be a plus.
Here you need to understand that without a compiled semantic core it will be difficult to “hit the bull’s eye”. As an example, as an option, you can take the successful sites of competitors from the top 3 search results.
The recommended title length depends on the search engine. For Google its 30-70 characters.
For the developer: it is very important to leave the ability to change the titles of static pages, or set title templates for product catalogues and other dynamic information.
The title must not match h1 and description.
3. Headings h1-h6 are important
H tags are taken into account by search robots when indexing a site. It is imperative that they match and describe the content of the page. That is why the use of headers in the design is not allowed. Do not use h2-h6 headers when coding site templates in visual elements (for example, site menu or catalogue elements).
The h1 tag is the most important one. A separate article could be written about it, because there are so many ways to screw up. Here’s what you need to know when developing:
h1 must be present on the page.
h1 should match the text and describe it in a concise manner.
h1 must be up to 50 characters long.
h1 and title must not be the same.
h1 must be unique across all pages on the site.
The h1 heading should only be 1 per page.
There is no period at the end of the heading, and the rest of the punctuation marks should be used in the minimum amount.
For Developers: It is important to ensure that these rules are respected. For example, very often h1 and title are formed according to the same template or are put from the same variable on the page.
Typically, h2-h6 are used to structure content on a page.
4. Title, description, h1 are present on all pages and are not duplicated
As you read above, h1 must be specified. The same rule applies to titles with descriptions.
Here you need to know that all three parameters should not coincide both within the framework of one page and with other pages of the site.
The Description must be between 150-160 characters.
5. All images must have alt and title attributes
All pictures, no exceptions. Often, the necessary attributes are assigned to pictures in the product catalogue, news articles, service sections, and some technical images (social media icons, company logo, etc.) are ignored. Filling in alt and title has an obvious profit: site images will be included in the search results by images.
API: Whenever possible, use the background property for design elements instead of <img> CSS tags. All remaining images must have an alt and title description. You can use special services to check the site.
6.CNC for site pages
All pages on the site should have (if possible) short URLs describing where the visitor is at the moment.
Already at the link address, we (and the search robot that indexes the page) should be able to guess where we are on the website.
If the site address does not tell anything to a customer, then this is a bad option.
7. Correct robots.txt
The robots.txt file contains the rules for indexing the site. It must be at the root of the site.
A host should point to the address of the main mirror. Sitemap – to the address of the sitemap file.
Allow directives can be used to specify which sections and pages are available for indexing. Disallow – respectively, to prohibit indexing.
As a rule, for test domains on which the site is being developed, a ban is placed on indexing by search engines (disallow: /). This is no longer a bad thing.
But often, after transferring a site from a test domain to a production domain, a lot of people forget to remove the ban on indexing. Well, the site quickly stops being indexed and disappears from the search results (or does not appear in it at all).
8.Formed and correct sitemap.xml
sitemap.xml is a special file that helps search engines determine how the content on the site is arranged.
Strictly speaking, this file is optional. Search engines are quite successful in indexing a site without it. The file exactly helps search engines.
It should be used in several cases:
A large number of pages. For example, large online stores.
Large archive of unrelated pages. For example, news.
Newly created site.
For developers: you need to know that most of the popular CMS contains tools for automatically generating sitemap files. It is enough to set up the formation rules.
9. 404 error is being processed correctly
Everything is simple here. There are only two rules:
When you go to a non-existent page on the site, a special page with a description of the 404 error should open. The content of the page is not important. We can only advise you to place blocks on the page that will help the user find the information he needs.
When you go to a 404 page, there should be a 404 server response code – “Page not found”. Often, instead of 404, a 200 code is returned – “OK”. This is critical and prevents search engines from identifying non-existent pages.
10. There should be no broken links
This problem is super relevant when redesigning when there is a need to change the structure of the site. Older news, articles and promotions may contain links to migrated pages and sections. As a solution to the problem: specifying 301 redirects from old pages to new ones, or removing broken links.
11. Only A tags should be used to navigate between pages
Modern websites are over-saturated with interactive elements. Well, at least flash is a thing of the past. It is a very big temptation to implement transitions between site pages in JS. This will prevent search engines from following the links, which will negatively affect the indexing of the site.
12. Priority mobility and https
Sites with the correct mobile version and with an SSL certificate (https) are better ranked by search engines. If there is no mobile version, you get a whole bunch of problems, and the first recommendation of any local SEO specialist will be to implement a mobile layout (responsive design). This is not something worth saving on when creating a website.
With https is the same situation, but easier to solve. Without exception, all hosting services provide an opportunity to purchase SSL certificates. You buy a certificate – the hosting does the rest, and your site starts working via https.
13. Social meta tags
This item has no direct relation to the promotion of the site, but it has an indirect one. Social media activity affects search engine rankings, specifically Google. In order to increase activity, you need to prepare the content of your site for publication on social networks.
In order for the links to the site to be displayed well, it is necessary to form special meta-tags on the page. As a result, when inserting a link to any page of the site, social networks should form beautiful rich links.
In fact, in this article, we deliberately bypassed a lot of issues, such as micro-markup, page load speed, and image optimisation. Some questions are too simple to be singled out as a separate item, while others, on the contrary, deserve separate articles. In any case, here we have collected exactly the recommendations that every team of a web developer and a designer/project manager should follow together in the process of working on the site.