For years, search engine optimization (SEO) specialists and web developers were at opposing ends. Your own company’s experts may have been waging wars against one another until recently. As both aim to create a strong web presence and ensure that visitors convert to long-term clients, they finally realized how much they rely on one another and buried the hatchet. Now, SEO consultants share lists of terms to build the site around, offer their input to influence the naming of files and internal navigation elements, and provide advice on practices that attract search engines. These, in turn, help developers create plans that satisfy clients’ short and long term goals.
To ensure that your relationship with the SEO/web development team is profitable for both of you as well as your clients, share the following changes related to your fields.
eMarketer reports that 2015 is when mobile search will reach the tipping point, i.e. the point where most of the organic traffic and paid clicks are from smartphones and tablets instead of traditional desktops and laptops. According to its U.S. Mobile Search Ad Spending 2013-2018 graphic, mobile search ad spending was $12.85 billion, which is 50.1% of digital search ad spending. In 2016, it’s expected to reach $17.87 billion (62.9%); $21.73 billion (70.5%) in 2017; and $25.69 (76.7%) by 2018.
Developers and SEO experts need to collaborate to make their client’s websites more mobile friendly and responsive on all devices. Only then will Google rank the site higher along with the tagline ‘mobile-friendly’, attracting the millions of mobile device users browsing the web or shopping for their needs. Developers will also have their hands full since they need to expand their knowledge on mobile e-Commerce, integrate mobile payment and mobile customer relationship management (CRM), and work alongside mobile designers and mobile marketers to implement their recommendations.
Not many web developers know that naming different pages can affect user experience and SEO. According to Moz’s The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet, URLS should be short and easy to read thanks to descriptive keywords. Developers also need to exclude dynamic parameters whenever possible and place content on the same subdomain in order to preserve authority. So, aim to create URLs such as https://example.com/blog rather than https://blog.example.com.
User experience is expected to play an important role in web development and SEO from 2015 onwards. Now you may be wondering why this is highlighted, especially considering the fact that everything you do is for the sake of end users. However, Google is now more focused than ever on the importance of delivering value to its online users. Therefore, developers need to plan how to make the site more user-friendly, easy to navigate, and interactive enough to keep visitors for longer periods of time. Only then can SEO specialists achieve better rankings for clients’ sites, especially since traffic and duration on the site are two important criteria for Google.
Google is looking for signals that can’t be manipulated easily, which is why it’s taking website speed and functionality into consideration. Website speed is a clear ranking factor, driving many websites in 2015 to redesign and reconsider their site navigation. So, in addition to ensure that your site is mobile friendly, you need to make it fast. The second aspect to consider is functionality. Website developers have started cleaning their previously over-designed websites, improving functionality and speed simultaneously. These further improve user experience and lead to better site rankings.
With security becoming a growing concern, many web developers are working hard to shift from traditional HTTP to HTTPS. However, it wasn’t until last year that Google revealed that sites with HTTPS encryption enjoy better ranks on search engine result pages. Keep in mind that the search engine mogul counts this as a “very lightweight signal” in its overall algorithm. Yet there’s a chance that it may decide to strengthen the signal since it wants to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
Now this migration is quite tricky. On one hand you have the benefits of this step, which include more traffic, more referral data, and added security. On the other, there are many moving parts to migrate, increasing the chances of overlooking important details such as canonical tags and important URLs. You’ll also have to deal with costs and speed issues. Therefore, consider auditing the website first and analyzing every element thoroughly before taking this step.
Now many believe that they can tackle structured data on their own. However, familiarity with HTML code is vital despite the abundance of webmaster tools like Google’s Structured Data Helper. For starters, this aspect requires extensive back end web experience. Moreover, developers have a good idea of the site, allowing them to deliver results quickly and before the rest.
With these six in mind, you can never go wrong when creating sites in 2015 and beyond. Just remember to collaborate on them right away to reap the benefits before your clients’ competitors do so.