Most people don’t go beyond the first page when looking at search engine results. This makes it all the more necessary for businesses to land on the first page of these results if they want to reach wider audiences.
This, however, is easier said than done. It’s a huge ask for any business to get to the coveted first page, and requires it to get a number of things right in order to improve its chances of getting there.
Web developers need to understand how search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo work to rank higher on them. Applying SEO techniques while developing a website will lead people to find your website organically through search engines.
Here are a few valuable tips that every web developer should apply to every Web-based application they develop to rank higher on search engines:
1. Integrate Social Media
Social media is critical to your SEO. Therefore, incorporating social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. into your website will help you rank better in search engines. Include sharing buttons at the bottom of each web page.
Promote Google + button on your website as well. It may not be the most popular social platform but many experts believe that Google pays considerable attention to it.
Make sure you place the social sharing buttons on your site strategically so that your visitors find it easy to share information within their networks.
2. Set up Web Analytics Tracking
Tracking what visitors do when they visit your website has a direct bearing on your organic ranking. It will help you understand what makes them stay and what makes them exit your site. Analyzing the specifics of your visitors will help you enhance user experience and thus improve your SEO.
For monitoring and tracking your website’s effectiveness, use Web analytics tools like Google Analytics. These tools provide valuable information like the number of visitors to your site, the click through rates, the bounce rates, the time spent on the site, the exit pages, the visitor flow, etc. So be sure to set up analytics tracking for your website to ensure you don’t lose any data.
3. Use a Search Engine-Friendly URL
Search engines use automated processes known as spiders to index websites, so make sure your URL makes sense to these spiders. Search engines cannot make sense of URLs with dynamic and session id names.
For example: http://www. example.com/?id=12345 is not an SEO-friendly URL as it does not help the search engine determine what the page is about. A good example would be: http://www.example.com/seo-friendly-url.
SEO-friendly URLs let search engines identify the content of the page with its URL. It is important for a website to use a keyword-rich URL for better SEO. Also, make sure you use hyphens instead of underscores in the URLs.
4. Make the Website Accessible
The very basic requirement of any website today is that it should be accessible to all your visitors. It must be viewable on all browsers, devices and operating systems that are used to surf the Web these days.
If your website is not completely accessible, it will affect your conversion rate and ultimately ranking within search engines.
5. Include a Site Map Page
Mainly there are two types of sitemaps: sitemap.xml and sitemap.html. Sitemap.xml is for search engines whereas sitemap.html is to help visitors with navigation.
Sitemap.xml plays a significant role in making your site crawlable. It is a structured list of URLs intended for search engines to find all your web pages and index them easily.
Spiders can’t index pages that can’t be crawled. A sitemap.xml will help spiders find all the pages on your website and help understand your site hierarchy. This is especially essential if your site has a hard-to-crawl navigation menu.
If you are updating your website, make sure you keep your site map up to date as well so that it makes it easier for search engine spiders to index your website correctly.
6. Configure Google Webmasters Tools
Webmaster Tools provide you with detailed reports that help you evaluate your website’s visibility on search engines. Google Webmasters Tools show you how Google crawls and indexes your site to help you diagnose problems. These tools give you a complete idea about errors, indexed status, and search queries.
Even though these tools are highly technical, they are easy to use. They also flag issues that the search engine may detect; case in point, if your site or Web-hosting provider has been hacked or compromised.
7. Check for Broken Links
If your page has a broken link i.e. a link pointing to content that doesn’t exist, it will probably never be found. Broken links are thus bad for user experience and SEO. Search engines penalize sites with many broken links, so run your code against the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) validators to find such links.
W3C Link Checker checks the markup validity of website pages and shows you all the errors and/or the broken links that your website has. By clearing the mistakes and errors, you can make sure that search engines are able to crawl your site easily.
Set up a 301 redirect for dead pages on your website. The 301 redirect is the most efficient and search engine-friendly method for webpage redirection. It allows you to redirect your customer to the new pages. This ensures you don’t lose visitors because of the dead pages. Make sure you tell the search engine spiders where your content has been moved to.
8. Use Canonical URLs
Canonicalization is essential to proper SEO. It refers to those web pages that can be easily loaded from multiple URLs without creating a duplicate content error.
For instance: If http://www.ezqconsulting.com and http://www.ezqconsulting.com/home, both these URLs have the same content, Google will consider it duplicate content.
Implementing canonical tag for multiple pages that have the same content but different URLs will help search engines know which page to index and assign link equity to. Canonicalization will ensure you don’t get penalized for duplicate content.
In a nutshell, search engines love well-structured websites with clean code that is easier to crawl and index. So keep these points in mind while developing a website to build search engine ranking authority for your website.