When developing a website, what do you think are the most important considerations? You may feel it is a clean website design, ease of use, or even color scheme and branding. Though all of these are important, it is crucial to consider SEO as well.
Even though SEO is vital to website development, it is often taken for granted. Without proper search engine optimization strategies, your website will not be found—no matter how well designed it is. This is why it is so important that the team leading the project and developers are aware of the technical requirements to ensure SEO success.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to properly employ SEO strategies during your website development or migration, this blog will give you everything you need to know.
Ecommerce SEO Requirements
SEO is often overlooked during website development. Many think they can just insert some keywords on a page, add the meta data, and they’re good to go. This is not the case. There is so much more to consider.
We have found it interesting how many times we have been brought onboard to support SEO and ecommerce marketing launch of a new ecommerce site that has already been in development, only to find many technical issues that mean SEO failure. These issues could have been prevented if the right requirements were known upfront.
The following SEO components can help you avoid these pitfalls when developing your website.
A sitemap is a file with information about the pages on your website as well as the relationships among them, allowing search engines to find and crawl them. Having an SEO sitemap is important for Google because it tells what pages and files you consider important on your website as well as provides important data about these files.
You only want to include relevant pages in your sitemap; therefore, you want to avoid non-canonical pages. Some other pages you want to exclude are paginated pages, duplicate pages, and archive pages. Instead, you want to include any pages that are important to your website, such as pages with high quality content.
A robots.txt file tells search engines which pages bots can crawl on your website. It manages crawler traffic on your website and is in the source files of most websites. It helps avoid overloading your website with requests.
The robot.txt file is important to SEO because it sends good signals to search engines since it communicates crawling preferences.
Did you know URL structure is important to search engine optimization? This means the way you name your URLs have a direct relation to search engines finding your website. It is common, especially for ecommerce websites, for the default URL structure to contain a string of numbers – often related to the product detail page or the page node, but this can be problematic for rankings. A good way to boost rankings is to have SEO-friendly URLs that match the URLs to page titles, helping search engines index your website.
A tip for customizing your URLs to improve SEO is to write them clearly and concisely. You want to remove any words that are not necessary. Words that do not add meaning should be removed. Additionally, use hyphens to break up words to increase readability.
HTML Product Pages
We know that the speed of your website is important for user experience, but it is just as important for SEO. Implementing website optimization best practices, such as using a CDN, avoiding code bloat and optimizing assets can help Google know that you offer a good user experience and deserve to rank well. Shopify has its own CDN, but for WooCommerce websites we recommend implementing Global Edge Security (GES), which not only speeds up your website with Cloudflare CDN, but also provides extra security protection.
Website Migration SEO Best Practices
Once you know that you have built your website so that it is positioned for SEO success, assuming you had a previous website in place, you will also want to take note of these SEO migration steps.
The first and possibly most important step is to make sure you have a strong 404 page with action links. A custom 404 pages allows users to continue navigating your site even when landing on a page that no longer exists. Creating actionable links on these 404 pages keeps users on your site, continuing to find relevant information.
301 Redirect Map
Creating a 301 redirect map allows new URLs to transfer link authority from the old pages. You always want to redirect old pages to new pages that are a 1:1 match. If there is not a 1:1 URL match, you should instead use a 404 page.
An hreflang annotation tells Google that there are several versions of a URL for different languages or countries. The URLs from the same language or country are typically grouped together.
Update Google Analytics
Do not forget to update Google Analytics conversion tracking and enhanced ecommerce funnels with new URLs.
Submit New Sitemap
You will likely need to create a new sitemap for your new website. During migration it is important to submit the new sitemap to Google Search Console. This allows web crawlers to search through your new site.
Lastly, you will want to run a technical audit post-launch to find and resolve any migration related issues.
Your SEO Journey Starts with Us
Enilon offers SEO solutions that will ensure your website is seen by the right people. Wherever you are in your website development, we at Enilon are here to help. SEO is no longer optional; it is a requirement.
We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our digital marketing solutions.