SEO for developers

Since my beginning in the web, I’ve been working as much as developer than I have been working as web marketer. Entrepreneurship, large accounts, platform creation, ads campaigns management, everything in various contexts (Ecommerce, high traffic, highly competitive…). My experiences learned me how to switch between development and web marketing and especially how to combine both of them.

I’m not going to speak about H1 tags, alt attributes and other stuff web developers already know.

SEO is the crux of search visibility and the key for SEO is content. But without a team of writers it’s pretty hard to get it. One of the solutions is to get content directely from your users. It’s called user generated content.

Set up a SEO strategy based on user generated content is complex. It’s hard to make your users create this content and above all to control the final result. The problem comes mainly from UI/UX and conception. An example will be a craiglist-like website. To post an ad the user must select a category, give a title, a description and eventually a price.

The first problem comes from the choice of category. It’s not always obvious and users can pick-up the wrong. Title is a critical element. We want to avoid useless words like “sell” and “buy”. Description needs a little effort. People tend to give unaccurate or too short description. Beat these problems that impact SEO require flawless technique. You’ll have to create a smooth and fluid UI, easy enough to understand, leading your users step by step and most of all a process that do not demotivate them.

Web marketers often say we need to limit interactions that need “cognitive load”. Don’t let your user think when he doesn’t need to. To do so we need to spot every part of the whole process that can be frustrating/in need of cognitive load and find a way to get it easier. Machine learning can be a solution. Instead of asking your user to choose a category why don’t you try to guess wich one it could be? And instead of asking your user to give a title, ask a more specific question like “What are you selling?”. Don’t hesitate to use placeholders as example of answer. Users will naturally imitate the structure you’re showing. Answers will be used to generate titles and formated to eliminate undesirable keywords, replace some and add others. For example if you have location data like a city, you can use an algorithm to detect if it’s an important city and if necessary replace it by a nearby most important city. Regarding the description users are often uninspired and in lack of time. Don’t hesitate to split the description into questions that will alow users to know what to write and give them the feeling to progress. Animations and a fluid UI will help (thanks to frameworks like Vue.js, React or Angular).

Don’t forget, the way you ask something is as important as what you ask.