For just about any business developing their website, one of the most important factors when selecting a web development firm is to verify the technical abilities of the firm and the amount of resources that the firm can devote to them. However it is also essential to make sure the web development firm follows good web development practices that will also go a long way towards benefiting the website in terms of SEO management.
The importance of optimizing a website from the SEO perspective cannot be stressed enough. This is of more importance when developing a website since the website can be developed keeping in mind that it needs to be in line with the SEO requirements and restrictions.
Important tips for Digital Marketing Analyts/Professionals:
Clear traces of test version of website online:
During the course of the development of a website, it often happens that there is a need to obtain feedback from the client. In order to speed up development and also to test the website in a real environment the best solution is almost always to upload on a test domain or sub domain. Hence this way the website can be viewed by the client no matter where they are located. In addition to which any changes or suggestions made by the client are also immediately reflected, making it easier and faster for the client to make a decision.
But there also a downfall to this. Once the website has been developed there are now two versions of the website online, one on the main website domain and the other on the test server. This can case many issues as listed here:
Can cause Goggle to raise the duplicate flag since it will find two versions of the same content while crawling.
The page rank of the main website can be dramatically affected resulting in the testing website ranking higher than the real one. This would be a disaster.
The users searching for your business can be redirected to the test website which may contain out dated information or wrong contact information. Thus causing a loss of business.
Steps to save guard yourself against such careless practices
It is advisable to use a firewall to restrict access and block search engine spiders from the very start as far as a test server is concerned.
It is also beneficial to create a ‘robots.txt’ file and place it at the root of the development server. This file should be setup to make sure it does not allow any pages to be crawled by the search engine.
Another method of discouraging spiders is to make the website password protected.
Once the website has been developed and transferred to the main server, make sure any reference to the website on the test server is removed.
It often happens that redirects are put in place for some or the other reason. This could be for making sure the visitors are transferred to the new page of a product or content, or even to redirect visitors from deleted pages.
At times this is necessary when the domain name is changed. Redirecting is necessary for both, the visitors as well as the search engines.
There are three main issues that can occur and should be avoided while redirecting in this way:
Care need to take when implementing the 302 redirect. This is the code used when permanently moving a page. What happens here is 302 implements temporary redirect pass no link value to target page. However the 301 implements permanent redirects sacrifice only 1 – 10 per cent of value.
Redirect hops should be avoided at any cost. Implementing multiple redirects in a chain will cause multiple request and load on the server. Hence the server will take longer to respond. This will slow down the delivery of the page. Furthermore if you develop a chain that consists of 5 or more hops the search engine will abort its operations and ignore the pages. This is bad news from the SEO perspective. Another factor to consider is that for every redirect that you have, you are losing the overall link value of the website.
Excessive redirects are also an issue. Using a large number of redirects in the website will have a negative effect and also impact the performance of the website.
The main purpose of canonicalization is prioritising a single page as the authoritative source of the page’s content. The conditions when this does become a big issue is when the same content is found on multiple web pages and the main source is not clear.
Hence the vital inbound links which are targeting a specific content, now do not have a clear target Instead they have multiple targets this reducing the efficiency of your efforts.
A quick example of this is the default setting of Apache as per which the following URLs will display the same content:
A quick and easy solution to this issue is to put in place a 301 redirect rule for duplicate URLs of this kind. Besides which the link with a trailing slash and one without also point to the same content and can be an issue.
Thus it is necessary to maintain consistency in terms of the links on the website. In addition to which it is also possible to create a 301 redirect rule to direct the users sway from such pages. It also helps to optimise the internal URLs since this can maximize the link values.
Designing for mobile:
Web Development and mobile app development are two different things. However more number of Internet users are not using their mobile devices to access the Internet and surf websites for information and ecommerce.
In fact the recent statistics show that the total number of mobile Internet users have exceeded the number Internet user on any other platform making the mobile platform the hot target.
There are several other reasons why you need to design for mobiles:
Most search engines including Google give more preference to websites that are mobile ready or responsive.
There are more mobile Internet users hence if your website is not mobile ready, that means closing the door on a large number of Internet users.
Maintaining a special website for a mobile site in a subdomain can be quite expensive. This would mean devoting additional resource for development and maintenance.
Furthermore a special mobile website also means duplication of content.
There are many other factors that need to be considered when developing website to make sure it does not adversely affect the SEO efforts than may be performed at a later stage. Besides the ones mentioned above here are a few more:
Optimizing the websites for speed since this matters to in terms of a good Google page rank and also makes sure the users do not simply close the website and load another one.
Using correct HTML elements is important as is using the HTML tags properly. Doing so will ensure the website is not adversely affected due to bad HTML tags or badly formed HTML tags
Managing errors of the kind when a page is not found or moved can make a big difference. In addition to which it is also possible to capitalize on custom 404 pages.