Agree that detuning from competitors can be a growth factor for your IT company. By correctly submitting your strengths, you can increase the conversion from leads to sales, receive more recommendations from satisfied customers.
One of these advantages can be the creation of sites optimized for search engines and receiving traffic from them (compliance with the recommendations for webmasters Google and Yandex; the simplicity of receiving search traffic after launching the project).This article will discuss how to present an SEO-friendly site to a client in the form of a unique selling proposition when selling your services.
You will also learn:
- Who your team needs;
- How to change processes;
- What are the main mistakes encountered during the development process;
- What you can influence.
What is SEO-friendly website development?
There are basic features for any site that directly or indirectly affect the receipt of search traffic:
- logical structure;
- correct layout;
- fast loading;
- lack of technical problems.
For each of the points, the optimizer can give the necessary recommendations at the time of project development.By the way!
Through the development of SEO-friendly projects, you can not only provide additional services, but also be able to increase the amount of work in each project.
Let's start with who the team needs.
Who is needed in the team?
You need a specialist in website optimization to meet the requirements of search engines (aka SEO-specialist).What does such a specialist do?
- Implements recommendations of search engines on the project and further controls the entire implementation process;
- Tracks the correctness of more than 100 parameters that affect the potential for attracting search traffic from the project.
More than 30 of 100 parameters are critical, more than 50 are recommendatory in nature.
And most importantly - this person knows Google’s help for Webmasters, Yandex for Webmasters.Following the recommendations of search engines, the developed project will turn out to be an order of magnitude more promising in attracting free traffic.
Consider the reasons why you should involve an SEO specialist at the development stage.
- To prevent technical errors that adversely affect further advancement;
- Get recommendations on the structure of the project;
- To create the necessary functionality - to make changes during the development process is much simpler and cheaper than fixing an existing site;
- Reduce the number of possible improvements after the release of the site.
These requirements are very easy to ensure during the development process by adding this task to PM job descriptions, hiring an SEO specialist or delegating to partners.Important!
If you are not ready to hire a specialist or delegate optimization to partners, then a good option would be to contact an SEO agency that will offer one-time creation of checklists for website optimization.
In the current realities of SEO value
, the development of a checklist will cost about $ 500-1500, depending on the level of the chosen partner.
What needs to be changed during the development process?
To get the maximum effect, it is important that the SEO specialist is implemented at all stages of the development process.
The very first is the prototyping phase. The SEO specialist will definitely make sure that all the main conversion elements are laid down, such as:
- page title
- buy button;
- “Product in stock” (not an obvious thing);
- product code;
- Pictures in high quality (with the ability to scale);
- and so on (for example, an online store).
It is from the competent design of pages that may depend on how simply the site will receive search traffic.
In addition, all the “traffic” page elements are much easier to lay down at the prototyping stage.
We, in the Livepage, are constantly faced with what is necessary, already during the promotion of the project, to return to the very beginning of development. And, often, the more fundamental you need to return to, the more expensive the edits for the client will be.
That is why the prototyping stage is the most important, because when it is correctly executed, you can get rid of basic errors, which then do not allow sites to receive search traffic.
Structure is the next step. It is more difficult to influence it, because, often, the client structure thinks over the business structure. However, if you see some inconsistencies, you, as a team that is “rooting” for the result, and not just for the job, can give him recommendations.
Suppose you are contacted by an online shoe store.
When thinking over the structure of such a site, most likely, you can come to two options for its implementation.
The first is the structure of the form: “ shoe catalog
” => “ brand
” => “ types of goods
The second option is the structure of the form: “ shoe catalog
” => “ men's shoes
”, “ women's
” => “ types of shoes
” => “ brands
The second method scales better by an order of magnitude, it is easier to maintain, and it is more traffic in terms of the search engine.
That is why recommendations on a properly optimized structure will be a critical advantage over most teams on the market who either did not dive so deeply into the analysis of the site, or did not devote this time at all.
Before the project is released, the SEO specialist can spend about 80% of his time on the testing phase. He is looking for parameters that do not match Google help.
This is a very important stage in checking the site for its readiness.
If now you are not ready to hire such a specialist, then for a surface analysis of the site you can use tools such as Screaming Frog
, which even a project manager can work with.
Using this software, you can scan the site and thereby identify the main technical errors. By correcting them at the development stage, you will create a project that is already technically optimized in terms of search engines.
So, we have already figured out who you need and how to change the process. Now it will be logical to consider what exactly you can influence.
How a development team can influence site promotion
To explain how sites are ranked, consider a list of four critical sections:
- technical optimization;
- content and structure;
- viewing depth and usage time;
- citation / links.
As developers, you can influence technical optimization
This section can rightly be called the foundation.
Agree that on a shaky foundation, a sustainable building cannot be built. Therefore, if from the point of view of search engine optimization the work will be carried out poorly, then whatever efforts in the future, the marketing team, the client made, there is a chance that it will all be ineffective.
So, what errors can be made from the point of view of technical website optimization?
Development errors that will not allow the site to receive traffic
Let's discuss the main mistakes that prevent projects from reaching the “traffic” peaks and divide them into 2 groups:
- errors that may occur if you design a site from scratch;
- errors on already working sites.
On the example of developing an online store, the most basic errors occur with:
- Indexing, site visibility;
- Filters and sorts;
- Color / shape goods;
- Site speed;
- Hidden elements.
Let us consider in more detail each of these points and find out why they are errors that must be avoided even at the stage of creating a project.
Indexing and Visibility
To clearly explain the meaning of this paragraph, take forbes.com as an example.Who knows how forbes.com makes money?
The site makes money on advertising.
That is, the goal of the business is to get as much traffic as possible and display ads to visitors on these pages. To do this, they generate a large number of unique pages to receive search traffic.
The Forbes traffic development department decided to implement the “Quotes” section on their website. They have it presented as "Forbes quote of the day." For its filling, about tens of thousands of pages were generated by authors, by topic, etc ...https://www.forbes.com/quotes/
- section “Quotes”Do you think you can make good money on Quotes?
The answer is simple - you can earn a lot
on this topic.
If you look at the competitors of Forbes, then on the site alone there can be more than 27 million visitors per month.
However, the Forbes team developed its project on a platform whose contents are not visible / not correctly displayed by search engines.
Check it out is simple. If you open the “Source Code” page, then there are only twenty lines of code.
And this is a gross mistake. For sites to bring traffic, content must be visible to search engines.
Based on experience and observations, problems can be with:
How to check that everything is ok with your site?
- Angular js
To do this, you need to write a query in the Google search box of the form: cache: <URL to check>
Returning to the Forbes example, the project team needs to return to the beginning and take another platform / modify the current one for the implementation of the “Quotes” project. But, most likely, this will require enormous financial and time costs.
Filters and Sorting
This is a disease of all online stores. Incorrect work with filters and sortings leads to the fact that even in a small online store hundreds, tens of thousands of full or partial duplicate pages are generated.
For example, it can be sortings like: “red t-shirts” and “red t-shirts” - depending on the sequence with which the user chose between two filters.
The problem is that a huge number of pages are generated on the site and the search engine cannot choose which one to show to the user. By eliminating errors with filters and sorts, you can get an order of magnitude more search traffic.How not to make a mistake?
First of all, you need to understand what “important filters” are and what are “not important filters”.
Without an SEO specialist, it will be difficult for you to determine this because he looks at the filters in terms of potential traffic.
If these are shoes, then most likely the “types of shoes” will be important filters, but not important ones such as “size”, “width”.
For the convenience of the user, “not important” filters may be useful, but the search engine may attribute such pages to low-quality ones.
Another situation is when you have the opportunity to choose two or more filters. If any combination of them creates unique URLs, then such pages should be closed. Otherwise, an infinite number of results can be generated.
Add here sortings by “recommended”, “price”, etc. This is all users love, but for search engines these are all unnecessary pages.
And the logic is quite simple - how does a page sorted by price differ from another that is sorted by recommendations? Only the order of goods? For a search engine, this is a mistake.
The search engine loves to have one document accessible only at one URL.
Imagine your site is accessible both on https and http, with www and without, the URL can be written with a capital letter or with a small letter, with / at the end and without / - for the search engine these are all different URLs, and these are all duplicates must be closed.
Another interesting point when developing client projects on subdomains of your company’s website.
It’s a very realistic case when client projects that are developed on subdomains of your agency’s website then fall into the search engine index. For a search engine, it’s not clear: “Is the source of this site a subdomain of developers, or is it something that they rolled out?” Therefore, please close the development subdomains.
Such an unobvious problem can lead to the fact that the site after the release cannot begin to grow in search traffic.What to do?
There are 2 common ways to do this (two at the same time):
- Make access to the site by login and password;
- Close using robots.txt file.
For this, it is necessary to write the following lines in the document /robots.txt (corresponding subdomain):User-agent: *
This problem is related not only to the difference in goods in color. This may be any slight difference in characteristics between two or more products.
For clarity, for example, take the product - “Sneakers New Balance 574”.
For them, there may be 10 or more modifications, each of which at a different price. The problem arises when all these 10 pages are available for indexing.
But for a search engine, these are 10 identical products (color and price are not significant factors in most products, with the exception of premium smartphones).
Large online stores solve this problem by combining these cards into one by using the canonical tag on the general page of the product or its most popular version.
Missing this point, you can generate a huge number of pages that are not needed by the search engine.
At the moment, the site loading speed is an officially confirmed ranking factor in the Google search engine.
Therefore, now more than ever, the speed of loading a site matters. People do not like to wait.
An Amazon study said they increased download speeds by one tenth of a second and increased sales by more than $ 100,000 per day.
Therefore, speed is, of course, critical for users, but let's look at this from an SEO perspective.
Each site has a parameter called a crawling budget. These are the resources that the search engine is ready to allocate to work with a specific business, online store. And if your site is slowly loading, then this amount of the crawling budget will decrease, thereby leading to the fact that introducing some changes, making changes, the business will respond longer to their indexing.
A vivid example of the influence of the speed of loading pages on the indexing of a project.
At one point, the page loading speed dropped (due to site optimization) and from about the same time, more active indexing of the project began.
Therefore, speed is important not only for users, but no less for search engines.
Metadata (Title, Description H1) gives understanding to search engines about the page: what is its subject, what does it offer to a potential user.
This is another important point in site optimization, which is very often prone to errors in their implementation.What is metadata?
On each page of the site should be able to set the Title, Description, H1 tag, as well as place a unique text. Often, this is not implemented, and it is this revision that costs a lot of money.What page types do you need metadata for?
It is necessary to adhere to the recommendation that each page of the site has its own unique metadata.
In the case of an online store, these will be the following types of pages:
- General (about the company, payment);
- Category + Filter, Tags, Pagination;
- Information pages (blog, FAQ);
- Language versions.
This is especially true for large projects where it is important to implement this implementation on pages such as, for example, “category + filter”. If you will be laying this at the stage of development itself, then your site will be an order of magnitude more promising in terms of receiving traffic.
Change URL structure
Careless work in changing the structure of the URL can lead to disastrous consequences.
First you need to make sure that this change has a positive effect on the site as a whole and only then, preferably according to the recommendations of an SEO specialist, perform these manipulations.
But there are cases when the change of URL occurs by mistake on the part of the client or programmer who is engaged in technical support of the project.Important
! If there are recommendations on site corrections from an SEO specialist, during their implementation it is necessary to strictly follow the technical requirements received.
Traffic drawdown after error with URL and recovery after adjustment
In this case, all the pages on the site incorrectly changed the URL address. The fall in traffic began as soon as the search engine found it.
Detection of the problem and rollback of the address structure to the correct version occurred within 2 days. After fixing this error, it took more than a month to restore the traffic.
It is very important to respond promptly to detected errors, because in this case, delay could be very expensive for an existing business.
The Google search engine has sanctions for sites for hidden text (cloaking).
Cloaking is the difference in content for search engines and site visitors. That is, for search engines the site (or part of it) is displayed in one form (with its own elements, text, etc.), and for users in another.
A common mistake is when a programmer closes certain elements on a site page using the “display: none” style. In this case, the search engine algorithm may consider that you are trying to fake, and not that the layout designer just didn’t like something and he decided to hide it.
For such things there is a risk of getting sanctions from Google, so even such, at first glance, insignificant moments play an important role in optimizing the site.
How can I “sink” an existing business + several cases
It is very important to monitor when the customer asks you to “Let's change something on the site”, for example:
- URLs (their structure, appearance, etc.);
- Layout of individual pages or the site as a whole;
- Meta tags
- Delete one or more sections (arguing that it does not sell anything there);
- Adjust the structure.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the data from his (customer's) requests with real cases why this may turn out to be a problem in search engine optimization.
There is a case study for this item. Superficially, it has already been mentioned in the “Change URL structure” section of this article.
For one of the projects, we asked on the page to replace the URL and configure 301 redirects to another.
However, due to the particularity of the engine, when performing the task, the slug changed in this URL, which was contained in another 10 thousand pages. This led to the fact that instead of one address it turned out 10 thousand. The site continued to work, just for all 10 thousand pages the URL changed in one day.
As soon as the search engine noticed this, a traffic drop immediately began. This error was fixed within a few days, however, it took more than a month to solve this problem. And if this had not been noticed immediately, there is a chance that the traffic would not have returned already.
In good e-commerce, pages are not deleted at all. For an example, you can look at the Rosetka online store.
As you can see in the screenshot, the “Apple iPhone 5 16GB Black & Slate” page still exists and has not been deleted. Why? Because during the lifetime the page has gained citation (referring to links) or some people still want to buy iphone 5.
They go to the page and see that it is no longer for sale, but the store immediately recommends looking at the new models of this manufacturer. Due to this, visitors come to the site and remain involved due to recommendations.
As a result, such pages can still be beneficial.
Another argument not to delete old pages is that if you delete them in large quantities, then for a search engine this is a negative factor. That is why almost all major e-commerce sites never do this.
Change layout and meta tags
You need to be careful about changes in the appearance of individual pages or the design as a whole.
For example, take the well-known Amazon marketplace.
He, like many online stores, has such an indicator for goods as “In Stock” or, for example, “Product code”. If the status of the product were not “In Stock” but “Out of Stock”, this page would at least not have high positions, but at most would not be ranked at all.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that these tags work correctly on product cards and show relevant information.
To fix these and other errors that are discussed in the article (and not only), the Livepage team made a small checklist that will help to develop sites in accordance with the recommendations of Google, as well as have fewer errors on an existing project.
It can be downloaded at this URL
What else can you influence in your work?
Next, let's talk about some more things that you can also influence in your work on optimizing your site.
Reviews make the site more suitable for receiving traffic. Thanks to them, conversion increases and, most importantly, most likely, reviews generate a lot of useful, unique content. This is especially important for e-commerce sites, because often the SEO texts that are written on the pages of categories and product cards are of poor quality and absolutely have no value to users.
By implementing micro-marking for goods, you can get stars, ratings, see how much the cheapest product costs, etc. This distinguishes your result from the result of a competitor, thereby increasing the CTR of the issuance of your online store.
It’s all implemented quite simply. In just a couple of hours, with the help of a template implementation, micro-marking is implemented on all product cards. The result - tens of thousands of pages can get this advantage.
If you look at these results, then, in principle, it is clear that you do not even have to be in the top, so that they would like to click on your result more often.
Unlike offline business, attracting Internet traffic requires completely different marketing approaches and tactics. If you look at the sources of traffic for e-commerce sites, you can see that more than half of the users come from a regular search.
This means that search engines are the main source of traffic and, therefore, potential revenue. The more top positions the online store keywords occupy in search results, the more traffic and conversion it will have.
Therefore, it is so important when developing a new online store to follow the recommendations on SEO to get potential traffic immediately after the launch of the project.
For any questions regarding marketing, you can turn to the Livepage
.The main idea is that this potential traffic can be one of the unique trading offers that your team can give to the client.
And to the question: “How is your company different from others?” Now you can say that, in addition to experience in this niche and the development of similar projects, this business was also potentially traffic-intensive, and all marketing activities are much cheaper in the future.
Our SEO checklist for development teams, which you can download from the link, will help you to bring the development process in line with Google standards.Checklist for creating an Internet project without errors