SEO – best practices? [Not-so-kirby-related]

Hey @ all,

today I’m gonna spam you with a totally not Kirby related post, but a more general question – the best SEO practices.

A client recently asked me why his website doesn’t show up in Google search results, and after analyzing the existing site (only two years old and my own work) we came up with rewriting most parts of the site. Now everything is going to an end, but after reading the Kirby Kosmos #2 (read it! Really, do it! Just do it!) and inspecting http://gethead.info I was confronted with some totally new information (at least for me) – that the meta-tag keywords isn’t recommended anymore. A quick search didn’t provide me with a reliable answer, and as there are so many other different things to be aware of, I just wanted to ask you guys what you are doing for SEO (from a developer’s perspective only).

I will just start with a quick list and my most obvious things regarding SEO (I’m by far no SEO professional/expert, more like Kreisliga ;)):

  • Semantical-corrrect, well-written HTML
  • Using descriptive elements (article, section, figure, header, …)
  • Headlines are structured and ordered from H1-H6
  • alt-Tags for images
  • If possible: image captions
  • Descriptive filenames for media files
  • Perfomance-optimized page (using lazyloading, caching, gzipping, all that stuff)
  • Using SSL certificates
  • Meta-tags (most of all correct title and $page description – I’m using the SEO plugin by @jenstornell)
    • Question to all of you: are you using the keywords-tag? Does anybody of you have deeper knowledge why one should use or not use this?

Just some of the things which came to my mind – I guess you have some more things you want to share? :wink:

I don’t do anything special either and that’s fine. Create good content and an accessible content and markup structure and search engines will like that as well.

Regarding keywords: The large search engines all ignore the keywords tag for a few years already as spammers were adding in all sorts of irrelevant tags that don’t actually describe the page. Not having such a tag may actually improve the ranking.

I found https://varvy.com/ the best source for performance and SEO optimization information. It has really well written articles and hands on examples and code snippets.

In the development process I don’t overthink all that stuff with h1 to h6 headlines, semantic tags etc. The most popular framework (bootstrap) in Version 3.x.x is using nothing but div-containers… so I guess it can’t be that bad :slight_smile:

In my opinion the highest effect to ranking comes from the content itself.

2 Likes

I’ve been working with SEO as a profession since 2007.

Matt Cutts, head of Google SEO spam team

Semantical-corrrect, well-written HTML

According to Matt Cutts it does not. But I recommend to always write good code anyway.

http://www.theshortcutts.com/question/does-googlebot-care-about-valid-html

This is a really good site in general, which gives fast answers (by Google) to SEO questions. If you want more explanation you can watch the videos as well. Or search for a question you have.

http://www.theshortcutts.com/

Moz

If you prefer long meaty texts, I can recommend this site:

https://moz.com/blog

Google Pagespeed test

Make sure you are green in Google Speed test:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Google Webmasters Tools / Google Search Console

You can find errors and some SEO data in:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

AMP - Accelerated Mobile Pages

This might be a future ranking factor:

Structured data

To make Google present your site better in the rankings, it’s possible to add structured data. That can increase conversions and that can lead to higher rankings.

http://schema.org/

No keywords tag

are you using the keywords-tag?

No, like @lukasbestle said, they are removed several years ago.

Robots are like humans, nowdays

Search engines now read the pages almost like we do. The content on top of the page is more important than at the bottom. h1 is more imporant than p. Google can even read Javascript to some extend these days. even Ajax. If you have a page about cats, make sure the word cats is in the text.

Robots

Make sure you don’t block Google out in the robots.txt.

Links

Don’t forget the links. Without incoming links the pages have a very hard time to rank. If you link to them yourself, make sure the site you link from is not a spam-site. Else you might be in trouble.

Screaming frog

To make sure everyting is good with titles etc, crawl the site with this tool. It’s great at what it do. Too bad Java is required. But it’s worth it.

I can probably write a book about it but this is what I can give you right now.

6 Likes

Some great links Jens, thanks for sharing!

Something that’s incredibly useful and takes only a few minutes to do is to set-up a Google + Page for your website. A website gets crawled almost instantly and starts appearing on google searches on day 1, with no links pointing to it. Amazing!

Thanks for this post. Just to add …

Another very useful resource, especially for performance tuning is
https://gtmetrix.com

Much simpler, less useful, but a bit more fun, is