Google receives tens of thousands of searches every single second of every single day.
Maybe that’s news to you, maybe it’s not, but it obviously shows that there’s a tidal wave of competition out there. Whether you’re a blogger, an online retailer, or a service provider, you probably want people to be able to find you easily.
This means everyone is clamoring for the best SEO-optimized website, but in order to beat the rest, you have to use every tool you’ve got. And that’s why we’re going to discuss the importance of coding in search engine optimization today.
The Basics: Source Code and SEO
If you’re wondering what search engine optimization (SEO) is, then you mostly need to know that it’s the relationship between a website and search engines.
Search engines use algorithms to determine what a website is about and what it contains (as well as the strength of that content). Then, a search engine spits out results of what it thinks somebody is looking for.
Everyone understands the importance of content writing for SEO, such as using the best keywords for a blog post. After all, if you’re trying to reach someone who’s searching for “Florida car dealership,” you aren’t going to write content with words like “New York speedboats.”
But you can’t forget the importance of SEO coding when it comes to achieving high ranks in search results.
If you’re trying to learn Python or other coding languages, then you know that source code is the language a web browser uses to interpret a webpage. When you land on a webpage and see an image, a paragraph of text, a table, a video, etc., it’s all contained within a specific format in the source code.
Search engines use that source code to determine what the page is about. Therefore, SEO elements in source code are the backbone of any good SEO strategy.
Let’s talk about some simple ways your coding can make an SEO-optimized website.
1. Clean Up Your Code
First, we’ll talk about a general way that you can help with search engine rankings.
As you may know, clean code isn’t 100% necessary. Unless something is actually broken, messy code can still ultimately work.
But that doesn’t mean that clean and tidy code can’t make it better.
Think about reading a book. If you read a page that has multiple lines of blank space between words, is it readable? Technically, yes. But is it easy to read? Probably not.
A similar principle applies to good SEO coding. The cleaner your source code is, the easier it is for search engine crawlers, such as Googlebot, to read that code.
Some common examples of messy code would be:
- Excessive spacing between characters
- Broken or unpaired tags
- Broken links
Website coding can even become messy over time, such as when undergoing overhauls of designs or changing or applying many themes. Complex WordPress themes, for example, might be appealing, but they can cause issues in the code.
This is why it’s so important to not only write clean code but to perform a checkup once in a while. Just like your own body needs to be occasionally assessed for health, you need to analyze your code and make sure it’s clean.
Don’t make it any harder on a search engine crawler to get to the right information on your website.
2. Title Tags
Cleaning up your code is something you can apply everywhere for various benefits, but title tags are a more direct way of affecting SEO.
When a search engine crawler or algorithm has to figure out what a webpage is about at a glance. That means that it tends to only absorb the important information, and what’s more important than a title?
Imagine browsing for a movie or TV show on a streaming service. Sure, cover art might play a big part in what you choose, but you’re also looking at movie titles to give you a good idea of what it’s about.
The same goes for making title tags as easy for a search engine to understand as possible. Make them descriptive and to the point. A title tag that’s a paragraph long is not only unreadable for a person but can hurt ranking.
3. Header Tags
Header tags are similar to title tags. They break up the content on a webpage and make it easier to follow and understand.
Look at this very article you’re reading. You’re following along with content that is grouped and separated by headers, and search engines will pay attention to header tags just as much as title tags.
It’s crucial that you make sure your header tags are as descriptive and succinct as your title tags, but also make sure they’re clean and go in order. For example, from most important to least important, header tags go H1, H2, H3, etc.
4. Meta Tags
Just like when we compared title tags to a movie or TV show title, think of meta tags like the synopsis or a blurb.
Assuming the cover art and title have caught your eye, a synopsis might just seal the deal. Meta tags are similar in that they are what you believe will grab the reader’s attention and get them to click on your website.
Meta tags don’t actually play a direct role in an SEO-optimized website. Rather, when a person finds your website in search results, the meta tag will be the description they usually see underneath the title of the page.
5. Alt Tags
Images make your website attractive, but search engines can’t “read” images. This means you should use alt tags to help describe an image to the search engine.
Just like many of the SEO elements we’ve talked about here, it’s important to be brief, clear, and focused when writing these tags. They should add to the strength of your search engine results rather than make it more confusing.
How Coding Makes a Better SEO-Optimized Website
In a world where most people turn to the internet to shop, learn, and find what they need, we’re all in pursuit of the best SEO-optimized website.
While good SEO content writing is crucial to improving search engine rankings, coding is sometimes an overlooked part of the equation. Cleaning up your code and improving HTML tags is a great place to start.
If you’d like to see how well your website currently stacks up in search results, feel free to check out our free ranking check tool!