SEO is one of the most important tasks that you will undertake whilst developing a website and it is important for you to realize the importance of this so that you are able to make considerations for the certain processes required for successful SEO during the development stages. For any new website it is important for it to get some exposure to search engines so that you are able to start generating traffic; however, this won’t happen automatically and so it is down to you to undertake SEO to make your new website as appealing to search engines as possible so that you can be guaranteed a good placement in the search results for the keywords and phrases that are related to the purpose and content of your website.
As well as there being certain things that can be done under the hood with your website using certain code techniques, there are also external factors that will have a bearing on your overall search engine ranking, therefore making it imperative for you to focus on these once you are past the development stages. Although the time it takes for you to complete all of the SEO stages can vary, it can be definitively said that it will take a while for any real results to appear as you will have to take into consideration the fact that search engines only crawl websites periodically – and this period will be increased for newer websites, but will be reduced as they build up visitor bases.
What can I do to help search engines find my new website?
There are several different things that you can do for any new websites that you develop to help them become established and to achieve respectable search engine rankings; some of these processes include:
- Sitemaps – a sitemap is a generic map of your website’s structure and pages and not only can they assist your visitors with finding particular pages, but the also enable search engines to discover the entire structure of your website therefore allowing them to index pages that may not necessarily be linked to from other parts of your website properly – as well as developing a standard HTML sitemap for your visitors, you should develop an XML sitemap that search engines will be able to access to allow with the indexing process, they are fairly easy to develop and a majority of CMS applications come with this feature as standard and if they don’t, it is usually available as a plugin – it should also be noted that most search engines run services that allow you to submit sitemaps to reduce the time that indexing can take, a good example of which would be Google Webmasters
- Content – it is important for you to work on your content to compliment your SEO efforts as good SEO will only be effective if you have high quality content to promote through the search engines – for any professional web developer this should be a no brainer as effort should be put in to guaranteeing that all content has been spell-checked and is error free, but furthermore focus should be put on incorporating particular keywords and phrases that reflect the overall content and purpose of your website as it should be these that you wish to score high in when it comes to search engine rankings because these will provide you with the highest portion of returning visitors available – however, you need to ensure that your content remains of high quality as some search engines will reduce the rank of websites that have been shown to be using certain keywords excessively
- Backlinks – one of the most effective SEO methods available is known as “backlinking” which is the practice of establishing links from other, more popular websites to your own website – although backlinks may not be the best method available for building up high numbers of returning visitors, you can expect them to be effective if you choose to be linked to from websites that are similar to yours in terms of the content that they offer – search engines generally see backlinks as a measure of popularity as if your content is being referenced on a regular basis then you can conclude that you are producing high quality content that is of an informative nature and search engines will pick up on this, the result of which is likely to be an improved search engine ranking.
What methods can I apply during the development process?
When developing websites there are measures that you can take to help improve the SEO process once you have completed your project.
The first is the placement of meta tags in the ‘head’ section of your web pages as this will allow you to provide additional information to search engines and indeed most search engines do use meta tag information where it is available to construct web page placements.
A second useful tip to consider is the exact hyperlink structure that your website follows. Some dynamic website will follow the structure of having a query string following a page name, for example ‘product.php?name=Tea+Cup” with “product.php” being the page name and “?name=Tea+Cup” being the query string – the issue with this structure is that it isn’t very SEO friendly as it provides little information. A simple solution to this is to use a .htaccess file to provide you with a more informative permalink structure, something such as “/products/tea-cup” – many third-party content management applications include this type of feature by default these days.
In conclusion, SEO is an important of the web development process and shouldn’t be ignored when you are developing fresh web applications as you will notice the impact further down the line. It is important to remember that the benefits of an SEO strategy take time to have an effect as search engines don’t crawl websites on a constant basis; the frequency at which a search engine crawls your website will depend on its ranking and popularity, with more popular websites being rewarded with a higher crawl frequency.