Search Engine Optimization a.k.a SEO [Part 3]
by Goran Kovačić, May 26, 2020
In our last blog post on this topic, we discussed the types of search results and how SEO works. Now let's talk about SEO friendly web design.
In essence, SEO friendly web design is the practice of creating fully accessible and indexable websites.
As you already figured, SEO friendly websites have a higher chance to generate more organic traffic than websites that ignore search engines. SEO friendly web design must not ignore the user, as the user comes first. By creating a great user experience, all the extra traffic generated by good SEO will most likely generate new customers. In short, to get the most out of your product, you must keep user experience and SEO perfectly balanced, as all things should be. (*wink*)
With that in mind, let's see what is considered SEO friendly web design
One of the most important things to do is to make your content fully indexable by Google. How can you make sure that happens?
Let's start with Alt Text. You see, Google isn't very good at identifying images, meaning it won't understand what an image is. We can tackle this problem by providing an alt text attribute to the element.
Google recommends to "Provide a descriptive filename and alt attribute description for images.”
The "noindex" meta tag
In order to tell search engines NOT to index a page, we connect a "noindex" meta tag to the associated page in the Robots.txt file. We can use the "noindex" meta tag for pages that are currently under construction or for pages specifically designed for internal staff.
First, to clarify what website architecture is. Web architecture is a mechanism that determines how application components communicate with each other. In other words, it shows how all of the pages on your site are linked together.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's see how it affects SEO. In general, you want to keep your website architecture as simple as possible. This way you'll make Google's job of finding and indexing all of your pages a breeze.
If your website is a maze of pages, Google will have a hard time finding and indexing all of your pages. So that's a big no-no.
Always remember the golden rule, keep it simple, stupid.
If there's one thing Google hates, that's duplicate content. Google hates it so much it stated: "...the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results."
So, in order to keep Google calm, you should have unique content on every single page on your website.
Easy to say for a blog website, but what about an e-commerce site with 10k product pages?
The same rules apply...
The canonical tag
Don't worry, there is a solution. In case you have several different pages that have similar content, but you want ONE of them to rank, you use the canonical tag.
The canonical tag tells search engines that this particular page is worth indexing. The rest of the similar pages are just variations of that page, so don't index them.
By using the canonical tag, your content won't be in danger of being tagged as a duplicate content.
The only downside is, well, the other pages won't get indexed...
Most of the people put no thought into their website URLs. They end up with something similar to this:
Search engines and users struggle with long, confusing URLs. Google looks at your URL, along with your meta tags and on-page content, to determine your page's topic.
So to make Google's life easier and your ranking higher, keep your URLs as descriptive as possible.
Number of pages
You should limit the number of pages on your website. Fair and simple.
The reason you should limit the number of pages on your website is the potential issues that may arise through some amount of time. Some of those issues are duplicate content, thin content, outdated content, and more.
Google says: "You should optimise your site to serve your users needs. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content."
We've already covered that part, so it's time to focus on the human users. Why is awesome user experience important for SEO?
Google measures UX signals. If Google notices users are enjoying your content, your website will rank higher up in the search results. This is processed by a Google algorithm called RankBrain.
In order to rank higher in the user experience department, you must follow the following rule.
More than 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. Taking that into account, it makes the most sense to create a website that is made for mobile devices. After you've taken care of that should you go on and worry about the desktop users.
Google now runs a Mobile-first index that only looks at the mobile version of your page.
In short, if your website is optimized for mobile devices, it will surely satisfy Google, and most importantly, the users.
This concludes our SEO blog post trilogy. As you can see, there's a lot to learn about SEO, search engines, and whatnot. But, considering how much organic traffic SEO can bring, it's totally worth the time and effort.
I hope you enjoyed the ride.