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Is Your Website’s Code Hurting Your SEO?

Written by:
November 17, 2015

seo development

So you’ve just launched your beautiful new website and you’re feeling great about it. You’re proud of your easy-to-use, eye-catching interface and well-written, informative content. But a few months later you type in some keywords related to your business into Google and, much to your chagrin, your site is nowhere to be found! What happened?!

There could be a number of issues hurting your Google search rankings, from the keywords in your content to possible black hat practices. In this article, we’ll cover the issues related to site development and web programming.

Get Your Visual Elements Found

Google and other search engines look at a variety of factors when it comes to indexing and ranking a website. But what they value above all is the actual content and its relevance to the searched keywords. Though search engines are growing in sophistication every year, they are still at a point where text and HTML are seen much easier, and non-HTML elements like images and flash movies can be demoted in importance or even ignored.

What if your site is heavily image-based? Are you relegated to the depths of Google search results? Not at all! If your website uses a lot of photos, icons, or other images to create its user experience, incorporating alt tags in your coding can help improve your search visibility. The alt tag is an html attribute that can be applied to an image to denote alternative text to display in the event the image can’t be found or fails to load. Google likes these attributes as they give the search engine a textual description of the image, which web spiders can only see as a line of code. Ensuring that all of your images are tagged with relevant keywords will go a long way to helping your SEO.

Example:

<img src=”seo.jpg” alt=”search engine optimization”>

Bonus Tip:

Make sure you also name your image files descriptively to give search engines additional clues. Seo.jpg is way more informative than DSC125875.jpg.

Put Thought Into Title Tags

When you look at Google search results, you can see that each indexed page has a title that links to it. This title is generated from the page’s title tag, which is set using HTML. A title tag should be a brief description of the content of the associated page. Typically, search engines will only display the first 65-75 characters of a title, so its important to limit the length of your title to be within that range. To increase SEO value, make sure to include relevant keywords that you think your potential customers might search for. It’s best to have your keywords in the beginning of the title versus the end. It is also important to come up with a good title tag because it will accompany your website if it is shared via social media.

Example:

<title>Is Your Site Development Hurting Your SEO?</title>

Don’t Ignore Meta Tags

Similar to title tags, meta tags are used to tell search engines more about your site or a specific page. But unlike title tags, meta tags are not visible to the end user (unless they look at your source code). There are several different types of meta tags, including Meta Robots, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords.

Meta Robots tell search engines how and if to crawl your site and index pages. Using the index tag tells Google to place your page into its search engine results, whereas noindex tells it to ignore it. A follow tag tells the crawler bot to crawl the links on a page while the nofollow tells it not to. To ensure that your site is being indexed properly, noindex tag shouldn’t be used on the important pages. By default all pages are indexed and the links are followed, unless you or your web developer specify otherwise.

A meta description is used to give the search engines a short description of your site’s content. Although search engines don’t heavily rely on keywords in meta description for ranking, this description appears under the link to the page and can be an excellent marketing tool. A well-written meta description will give users a clear idea of your page’s content and entice them to click.

Example:

<meta description=”Several web development issues that could be affecting your site’s search engine rankings.”>

Meta keywords used to have more importance in the SEO world, but their value has significantly decreased over time due to spam and abuse by site owners and SEOs. Still, it doesn’t hurt to include a few meta keywords on some pages just to help nudge search algorithms.

Reconsider the URL Structures

Have you ever tried to relay a web URL to your friend only to find that it ends up an indecipherable mess? Part of best SEO practices is giving your website’s pages easy-to-read, memorable, and informative URL structures. Ideally, you should make your URLs as short as possible while still getting the information across. Most of the time, you should be able to mimic the title of the page, but if it gets too long, just cut out some unneeded words such as articles and prepositions. Additionally, if there are multiple words in your URL, use a dash (-) to separate them.

Example:

Bad: http://www.advantageim.com/blog.php?id=55

Good: http://www.advantageim.com/site-development-hurting-seo

These are just some of the techniques you can use to improve your SEO by changing the code of your website. For more tips on how to rank better in Google search results and for professional SEO and web development services contact Advantage Internet Marketing today.

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