A good web developer cannot be understated. They’re crucial in building a website that is functional, easy to navigate, good design, and easy to update. And because every business needs a website in today’s world, plus websites need SEO to be found, these two things go hand in hand.
But just because you’re excellent at creating an incredible and beautiful website, you might not be quite as savvy in the SEO realm. That’s why we created this quick guide for web developers to reference as they build a website. These items will help you optimize a website, whether it’s an existing site or a new one and have it ready for SEO. Read our can’t miss SEO checklist for web developers that offer key tips you need to succeed.
Table of Contents
- Properly Set Up Tracking
- Create SEO friendly robots.txt file
- Create and upload sitemap
- Implement a responsive design
- Optimize for efficient site speed
- Don’t use overly large images
- Style the header tags for SEO
- Optimize the meta information
- Assign image alt text
- Add structured data
- Fix broken links
- Enable breadcrumbs
Why Should Web Developers Care About SEO?
Good website developers should absolutely care about SEO because it’s the next step in the process. It’s not enough just to build a website. You want to make sure that it’s optimized so that people can FIND the website you worked so hard to build. Adding SEO services and creating an already SEO-friendly website provides you a much more competitive and unique offering, essentially giving your web developer firm the advantage.
Essentially you should care about SEO services because it means customers don’t have to seek professional help from numerous agencies or sources to optimize a site once you’ve built it. You’re the one-stop shop for all needs in the world of websites, providing the expertise in all areas of a customer’s website in one location. Out of convenience, you’ll gain more customers. They already trusted you to build their website, now they’ll be happy with you optimizing it as well. PLUS, SEO offers you an additional revenue channel as a web developer.
So if you’re not sure where to start with SEO, or just need something to reference as you create new, optimized websites, read our SEO checklist for web developers below. All websites need the following items in order to succeed in SEO efforts on launch and into the future.
SEO Checklist for New Websites
1. HTTPS is necessary
First things first. Any website today needs to be HTTPS. This really should go without saying, but Google penalizes websites that are not secure. HTTPSwill be a continued emphasis with the upcoming Page Experience Update, along with Safe-Browsing. And honestly, it’s just good sense. Users want to know that they’re information is safe and secure and they won’t be tracked or compromised. As a web developer, you should know how to set up a HTTPS certificate and include it automatically with any website build. It’s simple, but the first step to website and SEO success.
2. Properly set up tracking
The next step to SEO success is to be able to track it. You need to properly set up tracking for all the websites you create. That’s why this item is so far up in the SEO tips for web developers list. You can’t measure success without a way to measure it.
You need to use 3 things in particular:
- Google Tag Manager. A best practice for web developers is to filter all other tracking codes and scripts exclusively through Google Tag Manager (GTM). Then you just have the GTM script on the website, which can help improve numerous things on the site including site speed and other Core Web Vitals. Also, GTM can be an extra security measure if a code wreaks havoc on the website. It’s much easier and more efficient to troubleshoot through GTM rather than the backend code.
- Google Analytics. This is one of the best ways to track patterns, traffic, pageviews, time on page, and so much more in order to see what’s going on with a website. Implement this through GTM if possible for reasons listed above.
- Google Search Console. This tool allows webmasters to check the indexing status and optimize visibility of a website. Google Search Console can be verified with the GTM script registering on the website. This is a great tool for measuring website performance, fixing various issues, and understanding how Google views a particular website page.
Of course there’s other methods of tracking like SEMRush for keywords or even behavior tracking tools like VWO or Hotjar. But consult with each client about how they’d like to move forward with tracking. Those are extra items beyond the core 3 listed above.
3. Create an SEO-friendly robots.txt file
Setting up a website for SEO success shouldn’t be a scary process. Creating an SEO-friendly robots.txt file might sound scary at first. However, it’s easier than you may think. First, it’s important to make sure you’re allowing the web pages to be indexed properly. One way of checking for this is to exclude any valuable page by mistakenly adding them into the robots.txt file. You can do this by marking it as a dis-allow or no-index. Creating an SEO-friendly robots.txt file is important and needs to be done with the right steps.
4. Create and upload the sitemap
No website should be cluttered and messy. Creating an organized sitemap will help improve the quality and value of your website. When starting, be sure to create a sitemap for your website that’s clean and organized. This isn’t just a map for you, but it’s also a map for the spiders that crawl your website. This digital blueprint helps spiders understand your website and better analyze and articulate it. Another additional step you should take in creating and uploading your sitemap is uploading it into the search console as well. Adding the sitemap into these places helps the spiders better understand your website.
5. Implement a responsive design
The next step in our SEO Checklist for Web Developers might not seem like the most important compared to the code or the content, but it’s right up there on the list. You need to implement a responsive design that is mobile friendly, and easy to navigate UI/UX. This means the design works well no matter the platform, browser, or screen size.
Mobile responsiveness has been a huge ranking factor ever since it started rolling out in July 2019. Websites that don’t have a mobile-friendly component will not rank well. It’s just that simple. As more than 50% of all web traffic comes from a mobile device now, it’s understandable why Google puts such an emphasis on mobile responsiveness. People want easy to navigate design whether they’re coming from a computer, a tablet, or a phone.
6. Optimize for an efficient site speed
Did you know that people lose interest in something within a matter of seconds if it doesn’t capture their attention right off the bat? That’s why site speed matters so much. Technology has come far enough that people will lose patience and turn to something else if a website doesn’t load in a matter of just a second or two.
And not only from a user experience standpoint, Google also emphasizes good site speed with the Page Experience Update. Core Web Vitals takes on site speed and many other factors in this update. Google measures LCP, FID, and CLS with Core Web Vitals. This means that the main content of the page, like a text block or an image, needs to load in less than 2.5 seconds. And a page needs to respond to the user’s interaction in 100 milliseconds or less to get a good score. Site speed and page speed matter more than ever for good UI/UX, and to be seen well in the eyes of Google. Make sure to optimize for an efficient site speed to set your client up for good SEO in the future.
7. Don’t use overly large images
While overly large images can seem visually appealing, it’s never appealing to your SEO strategy. Image optimization includes using smaller image files and PNG’s on websites. When you have smaller images, the better effects it has towards your website such as faster loading times and higher resolution photos. Having smaller images helps reduce the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) outlined in the Core Web Vitals. While using PNGs isn’t a bad thing to use, JPGs are more SEO friendly. Overall, the smaller the image, the more SEO friendly your website will be.
8. Style the header tags for SEO
While headings may seem trivial to organize, it’s actually very important to be friendly to your SEO. Your headings should follow a proper header hierarchy if possible. That means H1 being the largest, then H2, then H3, etc. Your H1 header should include your main keyword to help your SEO. Doing this holds the most value in your SEO strategy and you should try and include them in the H2 and H3 as well. Organizing the page structure is equally important for both SEO’s and web developers.
9. Optimize the meta information
As a web developer, you also need to pay close attention to each page’s meta title and description. If it’s a WordPress site, the Yoast plugin allows you to enable meta titles based on things like the page title and content. This makes it easy to generate meta titles immediately. However, there’s always room for improvement. You can update these manually to better capture a keyword or phrase or explain what is included in the page. Yoast can be a great option for big websites. But every web page, blog post, image, video, or element going into a website should have a meta description or an alt tag to help Google understand what the item is and why it matters to the website.
10. Assign image alt text
Like we just mentioned in the previous SEO Tip for Web Developers, alt text makes a huge difference for both SEO and ADA compliance. Every item, be it an image, a video, or some other element, needs to have alt text with keywords implemented. This helps Google understand the image if it can’t crawl the text. And it also matters to ADA compliance that helps those with limited accessibility to understand the content of a website if they can’t see it. Alt text with specific keywords sets up your website for success.
11. Add structured data
While some structured data can be very specific and sometimes tricky, there are some options that can be implemented early on that are valuable but not so specific:
Schema.org provides a great resource for understanding structured data, how to create it, what each field means, and how to find the right schema markup for each individual website’s needs.
12. Fix broken links
For anyone who’s ever visited a website, you know how obnoxious it can be to click on something just to take you to a broken link or somewhere that seems to be irrelevant to what you thought you would get. This SEO tip for web developers is especially important if you’re re-doing a website or improving on something that already exists rather than building from scratch.
Implement 301 redirects for all broken links when the website launches. Broken links registering on the website are bad for SEO and for the user experience. Work with your client or SEO partner to map out which pages are best for a user to be redirected to if a page no longer exists or has dramatically changed with a whole new URL structure.
13. Enable breadcrumbs
The last step in our SEO Checklist is to implement and enable breadcrumbs. This might not be a mandatory step. But we highly recommend it. Breadcrumbs provide a valuable option for providing a strong user experience that improves navigation and improves SEO. It helps people visit more pages, see additional options, decrease bounce rates, and so much more.
How Can White Label SEO Partnerships Help Web Developers?
Web developers and SEO are very closely related, but they obviously have major differences as well. SEO can drastically help your clients to grow their website once you’ve done the work to build it. And while our list will help, that definitely doesn’t mean that’s all there is to the SEO process.
Enter, white label SEO services. As we mentioned, SEO can provide an additional revenue stream to your business that works very well with what you already provide. Your clients already trust you, so it makes sense to continue to optimize their sites as well with SEO. Adding a white label SEO provider allows you to add on this high-yield, high-revenue product without having to learn the extra steps to make SEO successful, or without having to hire extra staff to do the work.
Selling SEO through a white label reseller can elevate your services by helping you with keyword research before you even start building the website and helping optimize as you work.
Why our SEO Checklist for Web Developers?
SEO doesn’t stop. Google regularly releases algorithm updates and puts heavy emphasis on improving content with E-A-T guidelines. That requires work long after a website launch. That’s why adding on an SEO product through a white label SEO reseller is a perfect way to diversify and add to your product portfolio.
We do that here at Boostability! Learn more about our SEO Partner Program that can have you ready to sell in less than a week and make significant revenue in a short amount of time. We do the work, you get the credit. Get started today.