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For developers: SEO Cheat-Sheet Part 2

For developers: SEO Cheat-Sheet Part 2

1.Traffic Tracking Tools

This might seem obvious but you have no idea how many people mess up when setting up traffic tracking tools. This may lead to many discrepancies in your analytics data and following the progress of the SEO strategy will be pretty hard. Make sure all of the snippets appear only once on a page, that they’re placed in the right section ( < head > or < body > ) and that the requirements of each tool are fulfilled. Make sure that you have only a Google Tag Manager snippet or Google Analytics snippet, as installing both will probably lead to duplicated data. We would recommend using Google Tag Manager as it allows more advanced functions that might be useful if you want to track different events on your website.

2.Robots.txt

A robots.txt file helps robots who crawl your website by navigating them where they are allowed and expected to go, and where they are not. It should be regularly updated if you are making changes to your website. This should be easy through the CMS or if you are using WordPress, there are plugins which will generate your robots.txt file automatically and make sure it’s up to date.

The file follows Robots Exclusion Standard (RES). Google has created a great article where you could read everything about creating a robots.txt file. Robots.txt file should be found at location https://example.com/robots.txt

Syntax

Robots.txt files control the behaviour of a user-agent by ällowing”or “disallowing” a behaviour. The syntax should follow:

The syntax for blocking all possible URL paths for all agents:

3.Redirects

Redirects are an important part of any user experience. Making sure that your users land on the right page is quite necessary for achieving the goals of your website. They also play a great role in maintaining your domain authority. If you do not use the right redirects you risk losing link juice, a wrong page being crawled and served as a result by Google Bot and user experience, which would be average at best. Here are some guidelines for using redirects:

Make sure all similar URLs redirect to one. You have the freedom to choose which one you like best, however using 301 redirects, all of the following should redirect to only one URL:

You should also have this in mind when you have URLs with */*. One should lead to the other. Some sources say they prefer the URLs ending with */* to be the main URL and the other has to be 301 redirected.

Maybe you’re wondering whether you should use 301 or 302 Redirects? 301 is “permanent redirect” and 302 is “temporary redirect”. There are few reasons that might determine which one you should use. 301 redirects are better for your SEO, because they pass all of the link juice to the new webpage. It is advised to use 301 redirects for any similar URLs or if you are removing a page from your website permanently.

302 redirects are a good fit if you are testing a new domain or if a webpage is just temporarily not available to your users. Google suggests that they treat 301 and 302 redirects the same way, however you link juice might not be passed as successfully when using 302 redirects. However, the authority of the original page will be stored, so it is a good option if the redirect is temporary. It is very important to not mix 301 and 302 redirects, though, as it might become quite an SEO disaster.

4.Mobile First Development

SEOMobile friendliness is a must when developing a website nowadays. Soon Google will be implementing mobile-first indexing and we need to be ready.

This means that your content will be assessed based on how it appears on mobile devices even if we’re talking about ranking in a desktop search. First of all, your mobile website should be quite similar as your desktop version so Googlebot can rank it similar to the desktop version.

The responsive approach is a good choice if you do not have the time to develop a mobile website, and it is definitely better than losing content or some of your desktop site’s value. Do not forget that mobile site speed is a huge percent (about 40%) of your website’s mobile friendliness. Make sure that you are reaching a good site speed using Google’s Page Speed Tools.

Best practises advise to not use flash or any pop-ups in your mobile version. Also, it would benefit you if you did not block CSS, images or JavaScript. That is because Googlebot likes to see the same as your users would and much content that is hidden would never be good for your SEO.

You could also read read “For developers: SEO Cheat-Sheet Part. 1”. Comment if you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them!

Theodora Palikarska

Marketing Expert at Dreamix

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