When it comes to SEO, everyone raves about content. What should you talk about, how and why? There’s much buzz in the fields of copywriting and editing to produce vast amounts of content for the masses to consume, while rendering all of it as SEO-friendly and compatible enough to land your website on the first page.
That’s all well and good – but what about the technical aspects pertaining to SEO? Doesn’t that play a role in determining how successful your overall SEO efforts are? Or does maintaining rich and engaging content suffice in today’s increasingly competitive digital world? Web development in Sri Lanka for example doesn’t just cater to the design and development of the everyday website; many agencies now offer supplementary services to keep brands thriving online, ideally via SEO services.
So what entails such services? Is it just a stream of quality content, or a technical trick or two as well? Once again, this question arises out of the need to maintain a healthy balance between the two. Contrary to the current buzz that thrives around content alone, adopting the right coding for your SEO endeavours makes all the difference between a webpage that is suited to both crawlers and users.
As for technical expertise? While some tasks require the professional competencies of a programmer, many others can be performed by those who don’t possess any skills in programming such as content managers and editors. A little bit of knowledge on how to operate the back-end of your website’s CMS is all that’s required to keep the ball rolling. If you are an SEO technician, you may have a certain level of programming skills available in order to conduct your daily duties, but the help or supervision of a dedicated programmer may sometimes still be required.
There’s no doubt that a healthy combination of content and coding is essential for SEO to be successful. However, many are unaware about the benefits of both, or how much each factor relies on the other for intended results to finally take effect. With plenty of discussions already happening in the world of content and how it applies to SEO, this article will now focus on the importance of coding for optimising your webpages (and impressing search engines). Therefore, here are some aspects of coding that apply to successful SEO – and why your brand or business should be at the forefront of these tasks too.
Time and tide waits for no man – and search engine crawlers don’t, either.
Slow page load can hamper search engine results for your website or specific webpages. That’s why it’s important to fix the issue(s) that could be causing this. A Page Load Speed test is the best way to get started, as it gives you detailed insight on how slow your page loads are and what could possibly be causing the problem. ViewState (code that depicts stats and the nature of how users have interacted with your website) can also accumulate over time, creating a lag in terms of page load.
Segregating/organising code, optimising images and reconfiguring hosting details are solutions to common problems. As for ViewState, avoiding it all together or transferring it to the very bottom of the code pile can help. All of these require the supervision of a professional programmer though, which means you need to have someone relevant in your team to do the needful.
It’s like advertising – but free.
Meta descriptions have been frequently spoken about in core SEO topics, and a little more so when it comes to content marketing. However, this point of discussion is just as relevant to the coding category, especially since it blends in with the remaining code to finally determine the overall ranking of your page.
What’s more, it’s a default feature in the back-end CMS of any webpage/website. Sticking to the character limit and typing in a relevant blurb about what your page entails is a good way to attract search engine crawlers as well as users.
A picture can say a thousand words – but only a few are needed for your brand to be seen.
Whoever thought that pictures could interact with search engine crawlers? This has long since been the case, especially after Google rolled out the ‘Visit Site’ feature via Google Images. Image alt tags don’t only help search engine crawlers make sense of the images you have on your site and subsequently determine whether they are relevant to a search query, but they also help blind users understand the contents of any image.
That is why even popular social media platforms such as Twitter now enable their users to add alt tags to their images. As for custom websites such as yours, this can once again be conveniently carried out from the CMS back-end. As for a level of difficulty, this can be an easy task for any non-programming team member once training is provided on how to access the source code via the back-end and do the needful.
If you want search engine crawlers to work for you, why not help them a little?
There was a time when grey to black hat SEO link building preyed on unsuspecting websites to build search engine rankings for their own pages. This was done by adding comments to articles and blogs, along with a URL of the target website. Nofollows were then introduced so that website administrators could tell search engine crawlers to ignore external links on the page as ‘backlinks’.
The advantage that Nofollows present is that it renders your webpages as less spammy, as you have specified which links matter and which don’t in the context of indexing, to crawlers. This is something that can ideally be pre-configured by a programmer, so that updates to the website can take place as usual without it ever impeding on spam quotients.
Too much ‘Flash’? Here’s why simple is better.
Have you ever seen messages about having to install or upgrade Flash in order to view a website? As inconvenient as it feels, search engine crawlers have long since picked up on this and have lowered the rankings of many websites that present Flash updates as mandatory. This is why text is best when it comes to usability as well as SEO, nowadays.
While you could get your programmer to prepare a text version within the source code itself so that the Flash version can function as is over the front-end, it presents the added hassle of having to update the same piece of information multiple times, every time a change needs to be done. At best, it’s wise to avoid Flash all in all, as it doesn’t delight users upon having to download and install something extra just to conduct basic interactions with your website.
If the content doesn’t belong to you, search engines wouldn’t want to credit rankings to you either.
Frames are parts of webpages that display content from an external third-party website. Since the content doesn’t belong to you, you won’t be rewarded with much of a ranking as well. So what can be done? Ideally, avoiding Frames all together is wise if you wish to enhance the SEO of your website. If Frames are an absolute must, moving them to a non-indexed area of your website is a great alternative.
Does doing everything by the book contribute to better SEO?
Not always, but it will never hurt. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) maintains a protocol when it comes to website codes. However, adhering to these guidelines shouldn’t be done just to garner better search engine rankings. These protocols are sure to streamline your code, so that it runs more efficiently. In turn, this can also improve search engine indexing, enhance page load and drive usability, thereby making it a holistic approach towards cleaner code and eventually, better SEO.
In the world of SEO, it isn’t just content alone that’s king. Coding matters just as much too, and knowing a few technical tricks up your sleeve can make all the difference between mediocre rankings and an excellent one. As a matter of fact, they both work hand-in-hand to ensure that your webpages are visible across search engines, even in the wake of unexpected changes pertaining to search engine crawlers.
This is one of the primary reasons why web development agencies and digital marketing agencies work together, preferably under the same roof. Operating in silos can lead to lags in terms of staying abreast with the latest in what’s been going on, as well as compromising on rankings and usability. While a significant part of SEO requires a stream of quality content that’s regularly updated, it also requires a few nudges through codes that are robust and effective.
In turn, programmers and editors need to work in harmony for the purpose of enhancing visibility via search engines. While much is abuzz about content in general, there isn’t a lot that’s said about coding requirements for SEO. Unless you’re an SEO technician, many of us are unaware about the necessity of coding. So for those of us who are marketers, editors, business owners or pretty much anyone with no programming knowledge, what coding requisites do we need to know when it comes to SEO?
Starting off, page load is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining search engine rankings. Slower page loads can drastically hamper rankings, leading to poor visibility among users. This however is something that needs to be taken care of from a programming standpoint, by either organising codes better, optimising images or re-configuring hosting systems.
Next, meta descriptions are crucial too, as they help crawlers identify what the page is about and then display it to a user who types related keywords. While this has long since been made a topic that pertains to content, it equally applies to codes too as technical knowledge/training is needed under the hands of a professional programmer to publish and edit meta descriptions via CMS back-ends.
Image alt tags, while quite similar to meta descriptions, enable greater exposure for images and subsequently, to the brands that showcase them. They also assist blind users to understand the contents of images, thereby making them versatile features to embrace, either via a rich text back-end or a source code one.
Add to this Nofollows, another useful feature that helps websites regulate their spam quotient by telling crawlers to ignore third-party links in blog comments as ‘backlinks’. Nofollows can ideally be embedded in the website’s source code, so every blog/article is spam-free and reviewed positively by crawlers.
Moving on, Flash has been another element that has negatively impacted search rankings, even though Google claims that it isn’t necessarily against the plug-in. While a text-based version of the same content is best embedded within the source code, it is always a hassle to maintain it (not to forget the endless frustration experienced by users to download and install Flash in order to conduct simple interactions with a webpage).
Frames, albeit dynamic in nature, prove to have negative SEO abilities owing to the fact that the content within isn’t proprietary. In turn, having frames in major webpages that are indexed is a no-no, but they could be added to non-indexed pages if they are absolutely required. Last but not the least, adhering to the protocols laid out by the W3C may or may not guarantee positive search rankings, but can still ensure that your code runs smoothly, pages load swiftly and overall usability is maintained for your website.
In conclusion, while the right content will motivate users to engage with your brand, establish trust and identify what resonates on a sentimental level, none of this will be possible if such content isn’t displayed strategically enough across the web, particularly over search engines – for which the right coding technicalities are essential.