15 SEO Tips Every Front End Developer Should Know in 2016

Web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) go hand by hand in today’s world.


Web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) go hand by hand in today’s world. Google develops their SEO to preference, good design, and frequent updates. But, what exactly is SEO? Well, SEO helps in driving organic traffic to your website, and bringing customers to you and your employer’s business. No matter how beautifully designed your website may be, if your website does not rank well in SERP (Search Engine Results Page), it will likely go unnoticed.

Year after year, web design and SEO become more of a joint package that business owners are seeking. When selecting an agency, clients prefer to give their project to agencies that offer both of these services. Hence, it is important for the modern Front End Developer to have be ‘SEO savvy’.

Here are 15 SEO tips every Front End Developer should know in 2016:

Simple and User-Friendly Design

The greatest designs are the simplest. If you want to attract visitors to your website, build a website with simple and user-friendly design. After all, a good site structure means a greater user experience. Your website should be visually appealing to both your user and Google bots. The better your site structure, the better your chance of ranking higher in the search engines.

SEO Friendly URL Organisation

If you want to have an SEO friendly website, then you need to have clean, logical, and straightforward URL structure. Having an SEO friendly URL structure is one of the most important factors to consider in your SEO strategy.

The first step to have an SEO-friendly URL structure is to consolidate your www and the non-www domain versions. Choose the domain version you want to use for your site. For instance, if you have chosen non-www version then, you need to 301 redirect your www domain version to non-www version. The second step is to avoid dynamic and relative URLs where possible.

Don’t use “ugly” URLs like: www.example.com/?p=586544

Use semantic URLs with meaningful names: www.example.com/topic-name

Note: You can include your target keywords in topic-name.

Site Speed Matters

Page loading time of your website is the key factor, which determines the staying and returning of users on your site. In this fast-paced world, no one wants to waste their precious time waiting for a website to load. According to survey done on page speed loading time, nearly half of web users expect sites to load in two seconds and leave the page if it hasn’t loaded within three seconds.

79% of online shoppers mentioned that they never visit the same site and shop again if they have experienced poor website performance. So, if your website does not load quickly, you are not only going to lose valuable traffic, but, you are also going to lose your potential customers. Page Speed Insights is a great tool by Google to test your page speed. It also provides necessary suggestions to improve your site speed. Follow them!

Clean Code

As a stable house cannot be built on a weak foundation, overall website optimization is impossible without clean code. Well organised, minimal code is the key.

Simplify Navigation

Making an easy and simple navigation not only leads to greater user experience, but it makes it easier for search engine crawlers to track your site. Make sure that your menus are functional and easily understandable. Also, don’t forget to have internal links to every page on your site! It is advisable to avoid putting too many navigation options on a page. Too many navigation options lead to too many internal links.

Use JavaScript Sparingly*

JavaScript may help designers to build beautiful websites, but too much use of JavaScript and jQuery in static websites may lead to negative SEO. There are ways to use CSS to do the same work, which you can easily find out. Search engines prefer very limited use of JavaScript by static websites. JavaScript can make it harder for search engine crawlers to crawl the page, which ultimately affects the ranking of the site. For JavaScript frameworks, there are partial solutions to solve this problem.

Mobile-Friendly Rules

Today, mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales. More than 67% of users claim that they are likely to purchase from mobile friendly websites. The increase in mobile usage and Google’s mobile friendly algorithm has even made mobile-friendly design the highest priority. Design a website which is both appealing to eyes, and at the same time responds to all sized devices. This is what’s known as ‘responsiveness’. In today’s age, it is unacceptable to design a website that is not responsive.

Content, Content, Content

It’s common for content to come last in the web design process, but that is a mistake. In SEO, content is king! Content is the new SEO these days. Now, you might have some ideas about how important content is. Having some knowledge on how content looks, and how it should be structured is crucial. Have someone put together a content management strategy, including how you will deal with meta-tags, headlines, body, and keywords. Be a better designer by spending some time getting familiar with copywriting.

Optimize Images

You may not have realized the important role an image plays. Images can generate tons of traffic from image-based search engines like Google Images, and can also affect an overall site loading. Here are few image optimization tips that you should really know:

  • Always add an alt-tag (alt=”this your alt tag”) to your image tag. An alt tag can preferably be a keyword you want that image to rank for.
  • Make image files as small as possible. Tools like Image Optimizer are always at your service.
  • Before uploading your image, give it a descriptive and keyword rich file name.

Say No to Flash

Many pros have recommended to stop using flash. If you are still using flash, then, now is the time to quit. Most of the search engines and devices have decided not to be flash friendly due to its insecure nature, which thus negatively impacts your overall ranking. These days, there is no need to apply flash in your navigation and text.

CSS Image Sprites

A CSS Image Sprite is a collection of images merged together to form a large one. It is quicker and easier to download one big image than several small images. Using CSS image sprites reduces the stress on server, improving site loading time. Google Analytics Page Speed Insights specifically suggests using the CSS image sprites to increase the page speed.

Sitemaps for Both User and Search Engine

An XML sitemap informs the search engine crawlers about the pages of the site that are available for crawling. It is one of those important SEO tricks, which is often underestimated. There are tons of free XML Sitemap generator tools online; you can use any of them. Personally, I would like to recommendXML Sitemaps Generator.

A sitemap for user is different from an XML Sitemap. An XML Sitemap is for search engines, while a HTML Sitemap is for users. An HTML sitemap allows users to easily navigate a website and find the page they are seeking for. Note one thing, HTML Sitemap is only for user experience.

A Better Call-to-Action (CTA)

The main purpose of business owners investing money in website design and development is for increasing leads and, ultimately, conversions. The most effective way to boost a website conversion is by creating Call-to-Action buttons on your website. A CTA can include any of these: call, fill, request a demo, subscribe, register, buy, donate, etc. Design a CTA that inspires your user to take an immediate action. A webpage should have at least one CTA button.

Printer-Friendly Design

Some of your site visitors might want to print your web page for further reading or reviewing at their leisure time and having a printer-friendly web design gives them freedom to do so. It leads to a greater user experience. And with CSS, it is not a big deal to have whole page printed. Just make sure that your content is readable.

Don’t Miss Social Media Integration

It has already been proven that social media is very powerful and has a huge positive impact on a website’s ranking. So, integrating your site with social media is one of the top priorities these days. Add your social media icons on easily accessible part of the website without having to scroll; an ideal place to place social media icon is on the top right side of the header. Don’t forget to enable social share buttons to your blog so that your readers can easily share your content. The more your content is shared, the more beneficial it is for you.

Summing Up

There are always new trends and demands in web design and development. People always look for something extra. With these 15 SEO tips for Front End Developers and designers, you can easily rock both web design and SEO. Now, go forth and design some SEO-friendly websites! :D


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