Earlier this week in The Relationship of SEO and Development, Part 1 I mentioned some topics I would further discuss in part 2. While not everything may affect SEO, the point of this isn’t to get the number one spot on a search page, because I am not even getting into strategies for that. As a developer there are certain things you can do to develop web sites so that search engines can read them, and index them easily.
Do not use spaces in URL’s or Filenames
While it may be easier to read URL’s and filenames with spaces, for a human, the web doesn’t read them as easily. Spaces get converted to %20 which can make it difficult for some browsers to render the pages properly. When a browser does render them, the URL will look like http://this%20is%20a%20url%20spaces Wouldn’t you agree, it would be so much easier to read http://this-is-a-url-with-spaces.
Keep important content in the main areas of a page
While you can still place phone numbers and address in footers, it’s best to have them in a separate page as well. Search engines can index this page making it easier when searching for companies to be found, because their address and phone number will be displayed in the search results.
Avoid duplicate content with the use of Meta Robots
Duplicate content is likely to cause issues for search engines. Search engines cannot always decipher which content is the most relevant and which they should index. Both get indexed, and this causes issues with search results for the users, as well as some of the content indexed could be an older version that isn’t relevant any longer.
Why would you have duplicate content? I’m betting you believe it would be better to remove the older content. Well, in terms of SEO, what if this older content was still valid and getting search results that resulted in customers for a business?
Use 301 Redirects and Meta Robots
We talked about this in part 1, but that was in relationship to broken URLs. What about URLs that are still valid but we don’t want indexed in search engines? This is where you could use the Meta Robot to tell search engines not to crawl this page any longer, but instead to reference the new page with the 301 redirect. Not only are you saving your already earned rankings, but you are also keeping the site from being penalized for duplicate content.
As I stated before, this post wasn’t about getting your site to the top of the search results. I am not an SEO strategist, nor do I want to pretend to be one. However, as a developer, I can make it easier for those who are, to do the work they need to without having to fight issues caused that could have been prevented had we developed with SEO strategies in mind.