26.05.2020 r. Irena Zobniow

Why do SEO & Web Development go hand in hand?

web development & SEO

Elements that enable building a well-positioned website

Regardless of whether the website is just being created or is already running, technical SEO errors can completely block your search rankings. Many mistakes can be avoided thanks to the work on the web developer’s part planned by an SEO specialist. If you want organic traffic on your company’s website to be high, it is worth considering steps SEO specialists can take when working on its technical side. How does an effective cooperation between SEO and web development look like? What elements connect SEO and web development and should go hand in hand?

SEO & Web Development Specialists Cooperation

When creating a page

In the ideal situation, specialists in organic positioning are involved in the process of creating a website or online store from the very beginning. Thanks to this, they can propose SEO guidelines for developers regarding the technical elements of the page or the content that should be on it. Their work is needed at the stages of designing and implementing the website – they supervise whether all the elements have been prepared in line with best practices for development and will not negatively affect the positioning of the website.

Building any web solution: a Website or an e-commerce store in accordance with the search engine rules is a must, especially now. Elements such as headlines structure, URL-s, optimization of meta tags are a part of it and cooperation with an experienced SEO specialist is crucial.

Greg Rogoziński, CEO of Cut2Code web development company

When you plan to redesign a page

It often happens that in the redesigning phase of the site, one forgets to work on SEO elements. This leads to a loss of already achieved organic traffic results and search engine rankings, and even to a decrease in CTR.

A positioning specialist takes care of the right structure and keeps a close watch on the web developer to remember about the elements important from the SEO point of view, such as a correct URL structure or setting the preferred domain. It is important that the redesigned website is not only expanded with new sections or visually attractive, but still attracts organic searches.

When your site works, but you want to improve its visibility

If a page has already been created, even if you are not planning to redesign it, it is still crucial to pinpoint all errors it may contain. The best way to do it is to perform a professional SEO audit of the website. It identifies elements that need to be optimized to improve positioning of the business in organic search results.

Here, the SEO specialist, having prepared a special document with recommendations, maps out their implementation, both on his part and on that of the web developers who watch over the site from the client.

Web Development Elements that influence SEO

Every day, when working with web developers and clients, I pay attention, among others, to the following items that are associated with the position of the page in Google results. You can treat them as a checklist or a set of tips that will allow your website to deliver better results.

Website menu

The menu structure is usually not determined by the developer himself, but by the team responsible for the appearance and business goals of the site. However, in this area, the developer may also make some mistakes that are important from the point of view of SEO, such as the use of hostile link addresses or creating a menu which will not be visible to search engine robots in the html code. An SEO specialist will be able to quickly recognise such a situation and recommend a different solution that will not affect the functioning of the menu and its appearance, but make it fully available to robots.

Mobile First Development

Mobile First Development has an impact on the ranking – the correct mobile version contributes hugely to SEO efforts. The SEO specialist should pay attention, among other things, to whether the developer has applied responsive CSS styles and whether the mobile version is in a subfolder or subdomain, e.g. M.domain.com – this is not a mistake, but it can make positioning difficult. Such elements should be discussed before the developer starts working on the mobile version.

Structured data

The use of structured data on a website has a big impact on SEO, so a specialist should recommend which of them should be implemented, and then check the correctness of their implementation. Often, there are a lot of errors in implementation, which means that Google robots are unable to read them correctly.

Staging domain

During the creation of the site, most of the development works take place on the so-called staging, i.e. the domain or subdomain of the main address. This is a working and testing environment. A common error is incorrect migration of the live website with links to working resources, which causes 404 errors or other errors in the proper operation of the website.

For example, the domain staging.domain.com contains an image which is located under the following url: https://staging.domain.com/dowloads/graphic1.png.

After migrating a site with such absolute addresses at the destination domain.com, the image will refer to the wrong address, which will probably return a 404 error if the working environment is removed after migration.

It is worth noting that there is one more serious error associated with the working environment (staging). Namely, many developers “forget” to block staging before indexing and, after launching the site on the target domain, leave staging available for possible tests. As a result, Google has the same page in its index as staging.domain.com as well as domain.com, which is a classic content duplication error and can have devastating effects on SEO results.

An SEO specialist will always check if this is the case and react quickly enough to avoid this problem.

Images

The issue of photos on the site, in the eyes of the developer, may seem like an insignificant element, but it is really significant from the SEO point of view. That’s why the SEO specialist working with the web development team will make sure that the graphics used on the site have the optimal size that will not cause slower page loading. He will also ensure that the graphics are optimized for SEO: they have the alt element filled in and the correct address of the resource, which is extremely important especially in the case of e-commerce stores, where some organic traffic can be obtained from Google graphics results.

Page speed

Absolutely important element from the SEO point of view but sometimes overlooked by some developers. You want to ensure that the website works properly and in accordance with the guidelines, which is completely understandable, whereas in the long run neglecting the issues related to fast page loading will have an adverse effect on positioning. The SEO specialist, at the stage of creating and testing the website, will report problems related to loading the page and assist in diagnosing and removing their causes. They may result from the use of resources that block page rendering, the already mentioned lack of optimization of graphics size or the existence of unnecessary fragments of HTML and CSS code.

Metadata and headers

Another element that the developer may not pay attention to, and which has a significant impact on SEO, is the implementation of SEO-optimized title and description metadata, ultimately displayed to the user in search results.

Here, however, a great deal of the work is to be done by the SEO specialist who must prepare the content of metadata for each subpage and forward it to the developer for implementation.

The situation is similar with “H” headers. An SEO specialist should provide precise guidelines on how to mark individual headers appearing on the page in the HTML code or recommend adding them if he/she decides that additional content is necessary.

Effective cooperation between web developers and SEO specialists

The cooperation between web development and SEO specialists can be very turbulent. Each of them has their own goals and wants to achieve them in accordance with their own best practice. However, the success of such an undertaking lies in the cooperation and understanding of each other’s needs and a partnership approach, without insisting on own opinions and ignoring those of the other party. In my day-to-day cooperation with developers, I emphasize that such cooperation should follow the following pattern:

  • Step 1 getting to know the project – both in terms of appearance and structure of the new website. This is the stage at which an SEO specialist should ask questions about specific functionalities and technologies that will be used to make a particular element.
  • Step 2 determining the SEO areas to be changed – having analysed the website design and technologies, a SEO specialist prepares guidelines for the developer concerning SEO-relevant areas. It is important that these guidelines contain specific information about the effect of the application of the recommendation and what devs should pay attention to during implementation to avoid errors in other areas.
  • Step 3 developer feedback – the developer, having read the recommendations, indicates which guidelines are clear to him/her and possible to implement, and to which he/she has comments or questions.
  • Step 4 SEO specialist feedback – here, in turn, the SEO specialist comments on the comments. In practice, steps 3 and 4 can be repeated until the dev and SEO specialists agree on the final version.
  • Step 5 – verification of implementations – this is a very important element requiring scrupulosity from the SEO specialist and – from the developer – efficient communication with the SEO specialists. After each minor implementation, the developer should contact the SEO specialist so that he/she can verify its correctness and reply quickly so as not to block the developer’s work.
  • Step 6 – final countdown – this is the last step of cooperation between web developer and SEO expert before going live with the website. An SEO specialist is supposed to re-check the list of all recommended implementations and confirm to the developer that he/she has no comments on them.

– From the web development company point of view, implementing SEO tools and recommendations before publishing the website reduces the costs and time needed to implement changes after it has been launched. That is why cooperation with SEO specialists is so important at the stage of planning coding works and development itself.

Greg Rogoziński, CEO of Cut2Code web development company.

Take care of SEO on your website

I hope that now you know how effective cooperation between web developers and SEO specialists should look like and what elements are crucial for the success of the project. Remember this while planning a creation, redesign or optimization on an already functioning page. If you are curious whether your website meets all technical criteria that enable good positioning, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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