Every other company wants to rank among the top SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) but not everyone knows the right pathway to reach that position. Do you know that Google uses more than 200 ranking algorithms that too, keep changing? And as a web developer, you need to ace them all. Well, in 2022, it gets even more challenging to compete. Whether you avail of website development services or are a developer yourself, it’s necessary to ensure that SEO is much more than keywords.
To give you a headstart on these never-ending periodic optimization activities, we have prepared a checklist that needs all your attention.
Let’s take you through the best practices.
1. Work on Mobile Optimization
Since 54.4 percent of website traffic is generated from mobile phones, you need to ensure a smooth experience for the users. Whether it’s loading time, layout, CTA positions, or popups, the accessibility has to be on point. You can check your website loading speed via a mobile-friendly test and correct the possible errors suggested by the test results.
Many web developers also opt for a mobile subdomain which is a completely new page to manage and can be challenging for new developers. However, if you are experienced enough, such a step can be a game-changer for your website.
2. Ensure Website Security and Structure
Secure encryption between your website and the server gives you extra points for SEO ranking. Whether your site is newly built or is old, you need a secure sockets layer (SSL) to have a verified HTTPS protocol that no other resource can creep in. And especially if you own an e-commerce website development or any platform that involves forms, personal information, or transactions, security is a must.
Additionally, the shorter and more organized your URL structure is, the better your position is. Make sure the URL ranges between 60 to 75 characters, contains the keyword, and has words separated by hyphens and not underscores.
Overall, keep a frequent website backup, choose your hosting resource wisely (it shapes the user experience), and keep changing your password for better security.
3. Use the Right SEO Plugins
Plugins are the extra features that customize your functioning and give a broader perspective of search engine rankings. For instance, content readability, caches, redirections, image optimization, broken links, plugin makes everything visible on your WordPress dashboard. But since there are tons of plugins, as a developer, you should know which ones are necessary for your site. Using the right SEO plugins on WordPress can be a wonder. In contrast, bombarding them can cause slower speed and a few of them can also create blank pages that will make your overall website heavier.
4. Check Indexing and Crawlability
Suppose you built a website and posted tons of relatable content and despite months of hard work, Google doesn’t see your website as suitable for the search engine. What possibly could go wrong? Your pages could be blocked by robot.txt, noindex tag, or X-Robots-Tag in the HTTPS header. It means your pages are not crawlable and Google cannot index the content.
To have a heads-up, go to Google Search Console and look through the Search Engine’s eye. Go to coverage report and by using the Website Auditor function here, you can know the exact pages that are either restricted or blocked. Also, don’t forget to upload your XML sitemap to help the search engines navigate through your pages easily.
5. Apply Nofollow Attribute to Comments
Comments are a great source of boosting engagement rate and knowing your audience better. But at the same time, these can bring unauthorized links to your website and hold you liable for Google’s penalty. It further takes away the link juice. To cope, you can enable comments on your blogs and apply a nofollow attribute to those comments. It is an HTML tag that tells search engines not to notice the link or give any ranking benefits.
If you’re not taking any website development service and want to explore yourself, you can right-click anywhere in the comments section and select inspect. Then, click on the element tab and see the HTML code.
6. Use Defined Canonical URL
Canonical URL is basically an indication that your page has original content and is used in the head section. The HTML tag has such a format:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”CANONICAL-URL”/>
It shows your authority over the content and despite others plagiarizing your efforts, it tells the search engines the original source. A single site can also have duplicate URLs. For instance, you have an e-commerce website that has inner pages with quite a similar URL but different colored products.
Here, by adding a canonical tag to https://www.ecommerceexample/products/bag, you can dictate the original page to be included in the SERPs.
7. Fix the Broken Links
Broken links give the worst image of your website to the search engines. Additionally, the links that lead users to nowhere, increase the bounce rate. You can conduct a site audit and list down all the 404 errors (it means the page doesn’t exist). It can be due to the discontinuation of any product or a sale page that exists no more but people still have the URLs. You can access those pages by redirecting them with 301 HTML tags to another link. But in case you have never-ending redirects, start customizing the same pages and let the visitors stay for some related essential information. Fixing broken external links is fairly easy. You’ve got two options, just remove the link completely, or replace the link with a valid link.
8. Add Schema Markup Code
Schema markup, rich results, or rich snippets, all are the same and aim to rank your site at the top box in a search engine. It is a structured way of communicating the same data present on your website, in an easily interpreted language for the search engines.
As a user, we’re sure you too click on the first featured box. Such markups help with e-commerce products ranking, FAQs, voice search, product/service ratings, definitions, graphs, or other highlighting parts of an article, and many more.
To add schema markup code, you can initiate by checking your existing website structure. And if needed, you can choose the right schema type, add the HTML code and run a test to ensure reliability. If you still find the process confusing, you can work with a website development services company and give your best shot.
SEO is a never-ending process. If you think you’ve ranked on the first page and your job is done, you’re still in the myth bubble. Your competitors are continuously in the run of outranking your website and for that, you need the right execution. Similar to the process, the SEO checklist is also never-ending, and the ones we have mentioned are the most important areas to cover. To add more, you can keep digging deeper and never stop finding the treasure. Always know that it takes time to rank so be patient, SEO is all about patience! However, if you feel like optimization is getting even more challenging, take help from any website development service company. Choose the one that knows how to flatter Search Engines.
And if you’re new in the business, our humble advice would be to work with experts who can guide you well with every other aspect of digital marketing.