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A step-by-step guide to SEO for web developers

Search engine optimization (SEO) is often considered an art in its own right or part of a broader marketing strategy. So you might be wondering – what do web developers have to do with keywords, backlinks, and all the elements of SEO?

As search engines and their ranking algorithms become smarter and more complex, they require technical excellence, and that’s where web developers come in… and save the day.

That’s why we’ve put together a short SEO guide for web developers, covering all aspects of SEO you need to perfect to help your marketing and SEO team boost site performance and get the top positions in the search engine results (SERP). Before you start reading this guide, we invite you to activate a special Semrush free trial to start putting the knowledge into practice!

SEO for Developers: The Basics You Should Know


As a web developer, you don’t need to know about the ins and outs of search engine optimization. You can freely skip some parts and focus only on what you need more – technical SEO.

But it is useful to at least understand the basics of SEO and its key elements.

The idea behind SEO is simple – search engines have a certain ranking algorithm that takes into account certain criteria when defining which SERP position your page should take.

This is important as users tend to never go past the first page (or, usually the first 10 search results that include ads), which means you only get the traffic you need if your pages have top rankings.

So the goal of site optimization is to adapt to these algorithms that consider:

Technical SEO – or, the way bots crawl and index your site, as well as its core functions. These include page loading speed, mobile friendliness, site structure, and so on.

On-page SEO – or, how your page content aligns with target keywords. Also, user experience (UX) is also a big part of the equation here.

Off-page SEO – or, essentially, how many sites link to yours, which shows that your site has the authority and reliability to rank highly in search engine results.

Your web development skills are needed to nail the technical SEO side of the equation, as well as UX. This means that your web dev magic powers can affect two of the three elements of SEO success. Read on to find out what exactly you can do to boost site performance.

7 Things Web Devs Can Do to Boost Site Performance

Create a Clear Site Architecture

Every great website starts with well thought out site architecture.

This helps web crawlers index your site and see which pages should be ranked. In addition, it helps users to easily navigate through the site and reach the pages they want to visit. So both from a ranking and UX perspective, a clean website structure is the way to go.

This is what your site architecture should not look like:

This means that you have to make sure that your web pages are well linked and no page stands alone without internal links leading to it.

Pro tip #1: Add a sitemap that will guide the bots through the site and make sure that every page that you want to be indexed is scanned and viewed. If you want to hide some pages, make sure to specify this in your robotst.txt.

Pro tip #2: Double check if any pages are missing internal links. There are a few website auditors that help detect technical (and not just technical) SEO issues and internal linking issues per se. You can use Semrush’s site audit tool, as it is one of the most comprehensive and powerful site health checkers on the market (you can give it a shot with this free 14-day trial).

Image Source: Semrush Site Audit Tool (internal link report)

Build (and Maintain) a Clean Code

Every time you choose a way to build a site, a web page, or simply add something to them – go for the simplest approach that does not put an extra burden on the code.

Keep things simple and think UX over everything, because search engine algorithms are wired to give their preferences to sites that are friendlier and lighter.

Ensure a Lightning Fast Page Load Speed

No heavy image or video is worth an extra second of page load speed. Load times are a crucial ranking factor. A second of delay can cost you your SERP position and, therefore, visitors.

This is increasingly important in the era of mobile-first experiences where speed, convenience and UX play a major role in site performance.

A page that loads in 2 seconds has an average bounce rate of 6%.

If you double the load time, the bounce rate jumps up to 24%, meaning a quarter of your hard-earned visitors leave the page before it loads.

If your pages take more than 6 seconds to load, you are losing almost half of your traffic.

So it’s not just about the ranking algorithms, it’s about losing the visitors that your marketing and SEO teams have worked hard to get. Additionally, it sends negative user experience signals to search engines, indicating a potentially irrelevant match for users.

Pro tip: Be sure to run website speed tests through tools like Pingdom or Semrush’s Site Audit tool. These will not only reflect the loading time of your page, but also give suggestions on what to do to improve your speed (for example, minify JavaScripts and CSS, enable the browser cache, and so on).

Image Source: Semrush Site Audit Tool (Site Performance Report)

Make Sure Your Site Is As Mobile-Friendly As It Gets

In 2021, 66% of all traffic was mobile, and that number is likely to increase in the coming years.

Combine this with Google’s move to mobile-first indexing – meaning that search engine bots now crawl the mobile version of your site – and you’ll see that your job is to provide an impeccable mobile experience first even think about the desktop.

Pro tip: If before some sites could even ignore the arrival of the first mobile, today, this is no longer an option. Be sure to run your site through Google’s mobile test and use the unique Site Audit check that helps optimize your site for Core Web Vitals, a useful feature you should consider if you want to be ready for Google’s latest. Updating the Page Experience.

Image source: Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Improve Your Redirects

The bigger the site becomes, the more problems you can face. After all, as a web developer, you have constant requests to update content, move web pages and add new features and elements.

Your job is to make these transitions smooth and minimize the SEO impact. But things can be lost along the way – for example. you may forget your temporary redirect or have a broken page that you didn’t notice.

And these issues affect how users and search engines see and rank your site.

The correct use of redirects can negate any potential problems that arise from all the development of the site, so be sure to use the right ones when you do. The most common and preferred redirects are:

301 redirect: This is how you tell search engines that you have moved your page somewhere else, permanently. This is a good SEO strategy to use as you will also move most of the link juice (aka page authority) to the new web page.

Redirect 302: this implies a temporary redirection which means that your move is not permanent. You should typically use this when updating or restructuring something on the website while keeping the equity of the link intact.

Pro tip #1: Be sure to update your internal links and add the new URL if you’ve made a permanent page move.

Pro tip # 2: Avoid two of the most common redirect problems – redirect loops and chains. These are bad for UX and SEO, as your visitors may end up never reaching the page they wanted to visit. It is often difficult to discover these so you can use your site auditor and easily detect any problems on this border.

Image Source: Semrush Site Audit Tool

6. Help the Search Engines Read and Understand Page Content

Unlike users, search engines use HTML and metadata to analyze what the page is about and to determine if it is a great match for someone’s search query.

As a web developer, you can make sure that Google understands that your page is the best fit.

How? Through title tags, header tags and metadata.

Make sure your title comes with a title tag, and use subheads.

Each page should have a proper meta title and meta description – this helps to indicate to search engines that your page is relevant to the query, also helping to improve your CTR, as Google often displays your metadata in the search results.

Add image alt text to all visuals on your pages (this can also help your visuals appear in image searches).

Image Source: Semrush Site Audit Tool

7. Trigger Rich Results by Adding Relevant Structured Data

SERPs are full of rich results, or special formats for displaying additional information – reviews, recipes, etc. Their main benefit is that they increase your clicks so you can give your site an additional competitive advantage.

Rich snippets appear thanks to structured data (schema markup) – and as a developer, you have the key to add relevant structured data, and thus enable rich snippets for your pages.

Pro tip: Use or Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to write the codes and add them to the HTML of your page. Next, you can use the Site Audit tool to monitor your structured data and fix it if necessary.

Image Source: Semrush Site Audit Tool (Markup Report)

SEO for Developers: Catch A Special Bonus

A large part of SEO work for web developers has to do with detecting all the things that potentially hinder the site’s performance in terms of technical SEO and UX, and solving them. (Also read: 10 Things Every Modern Web Developer Should Know.)

Now, if you have a small site, you can get away with a manual control. But when your website grows beyond a few tens of pages, you need help from a site auditor who will take care of the hard inspection part for you. So be sure to take advantage of our Semrush free trial which opens up access to their site audit tool which, as you can tell, can help you every step of the way.

C’est quoi un compte Google My Business ?

Google My Business is a tool that allows you to improve your visibility on the Internet. Thanks to the information entered on the forms (address, telephone, opening hours, reviews, website), your establishments will appear on the Google search engine thanks to the local pack, which will boost your SEO referencing.


Quels sont les outils de référencement ?

The 10 best SEO tools

  • Google Search Console. Search Console is a free tool offered by Google. …
  • Ahrefs. …
  • SEMrush. …
  • Google Keyword Planner. …
  • Frog screams. …
  • Ubersuggest. …
  • GTmetrix. …
  • Page Speed​​​​Insights.

What are the 3 pillars of SEO? Use the pillars of SEO (technical features, compelling content strategy, and off-page elements) to strengthen your company’s approach to visibility, relevance, and visibility when connecting with search engine users.

Quels sont les 3 piliers de référencement naturel ?

The referrer is led to expand his network of partners or service providers on a daily basis which will allow him to control all the levers of natural referencing. These levers are three in number: on-site technical optimization, content and off-site through netlinking.

Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire SEO ?

For this, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or natural referencing whose primary goal is to bring qualified and free traffic to a site from search engines can help you! SEO is the art of optimizing a web page and overall a website for search engines.

C’est quoi le référencement organique ?

Natural referencing or organic referencing (often called SEO or Search Engine Optimization) encompasses the techniques implemented naturally to allow a site to appear as high as possible in the list of search results carried out on a given subject.

Where are the natural benchmark results? The SERP or the display of results The answers proposed by the engine are then displayed in what is called in natural reference the “SERP”, an acronym in English that means the search engine results page or the results page of search engines.

Pourquoi le référencement naturel ?

Natural referencing is the solution to position yourself well in the search results. In effect, it’s a strategy that allows you to target relevant, accessible and praiseworthy keywords and then pull different levers to outperform your competitors.

Pourquoi le SEO Est-il important ?

SEO allows you to attract qualified traffic to your website because your content responds to the visitor’s current search. The objective of SEO is to improve the trust that you accordent les internautes and Google. This translates in practice into better visibility in search engines.

Quels sont les objectifs du référencement ?

The objective of your actions in Natural Referencing is to generate new growth opportunities for your company. In other words, bring in internet users who would not have otherwise found you via a traffic source from search engine results.

Pourquoi le référencement ?

The advantages of Internet SEO increase the visibility of the website. position your website on relevant keywords or phrases related to your business, generate targeted traffic

Pourquoi le SEO est important pour les entreprises ?

This is very important because customers and, especially, prospects will be able to quickly find your website during their searches. The respect and good application of SEO rules allow you to be real visible on the network over the duration and thus build your image de marque.

Pourquoi le SEO est important ?

Doing SEO allows you to attract qualified traffic with high conversion potential. Implementing a traffic acquisition strategy is a good thing, but if the traffic obtained is not qualified, this will not increase your sales and therefore your turnover (in the context of an e- trade).

Pourquoi mettre en place une stratégie SEO ?

SEO SEO builds trust and credibility Google evaluates many elements to judge a site’s authority. This authority is established in particular by: the quality of the link profile (backlinks, incoming links) the quality of the internal links to your site (netlinking, internal meshing)

Quel est le plus important en SEO ?

According to the professionals polled, the three most important factors in SEO are links from authoritative sites, keywords in the title relevant to the query, and central content that is also relevant to the search of the internet user.

Pourquoi 1 FR ? is essential for all SEO experts. In particular for the semantic analysis aspect which allows you to create an exhaustive lexical field and push your content strategy to its maximum.

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