Long gone are the days where a website could stand a chance of ranking highly on Google through strategically scattering target keywords throughout a web page, whilst building backlinks of questionable quality.
Thankfully, Google has gotten much smarter over recent years, with design, user experience and a well built website now playing a substantial role in how well a site ranks within search engine results pages.
But building (and maintaining) a user and SEO-friendly site requires solid technical knowledge, experience and skills, and even the best SEO strategy can be completely meaningless if there’s nobody with the required skill set around to implement it
Now that SEO has advanced to such a degree, does no web developer mean no SEO? Quite possibly! Here are just a few areas where a web developer can improve SEO.
Page speed is a critical factor in a websites conversion rate, not only does it impact user experience, but page speed is a known factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. Google even provides helpful tools to test your site speed, as well as providing PageSpeed Insights offering an in depth report on how to improve your site speed.
However, making your website faster is no easy task. Your page speed problem could be down to anything from poorly written code, to image compression issues and large page elements, all of which are not always simple fixes. The knowledge and skills of a web developer will be invaluable when it comes to improving site speed, which is essential to SEO.
Like site speed, Google also values website security highly, and even issues a warning to Google Chrome users if a website is deemed ‘not secure’.
Not only is site security important when it comes to Google, but with users becoming more and more aware of their sensitive information and personal data when using the web, making your website secure should be a top priority.
Google has stated that SSL is now a ranking factor in their search algorithm, meaning if your website doesn’t have one, you may be outranked by those that do.
Implementing website security features such as an SSL certificate can be much easier with the help and advice of a web developer.
Mobile usability is of huge importance from both a user experience and rankings point of view. If your website is not mobile friendly, then you’re likely to be at a huge disadvantage from Google. But even more crucially, you’re probably not providing your mobile visitors with a great experience, either.
Google provides a useful tool to test how mobile friendly your website is, assessing how easily a visitor can use your website on a mobile device.
If your website doesn’t pass this test, you’re going to need a responsive website design. This means a website that responds based on a users device, its screen size, platform and orientation. You’ll almost certainly need a skilled web developer (and designer) if you’re looking to create a mobile friendly, responsive website!
A website’s ‘code’ can be scary if you’re not a developer, but it’s something that is so important to SEO, with Google reading a website source code to determine what a site is about, whilst picking up ranking signals from specific elements of code.
With basic knowledge of HTML, you might be able to optimise title tags, write meta descriptions, and include header tags. But for some of the more advanced elements of a websites code, you’ll probably need a web developer.
Code needs to be validated so that search engine spiders can crawl and index your site correctly, code should also be clean, tidy and well written. You can use the W3C Validator to check the markup of your site – any errors or warnings need to be addressed to ensure you’re providing a positive site experience to your users and search engines.
Aside from the above, having a web developer on hand to help with 301 redirects, crawl errors, canonicalisation, and more can save a lot of time and headaches. That’s before we’ve even mentioned rich snippets, code and database optimisation, schema.org, URLs and pagination strategies!
Finally, whilst undoubtedly helping with many SEO ranking factors, the expertise of a web developer is incredibly valuable when it comes to making site changes that benefit user experience, conversion rate, and driving the revenue a website generates.
Here at Run2, we have a team of experienced web developers on hand to help ensure all of our clients websites are SEO friendly. Our web development team work closely with our designers and SEO team to deliver websites that are not only beautiful, but are search and user-friendly as standard. Get in touch to find out more!