Ultimate Search Engine Optimization Guide for web applications

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ultimate seo guide 2023

There are over 8 billion searches globally on Google every day. This excludes the searches on Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and other popular or upcoming search engines. A well-optimized web application/website can tap into this potential to drive organic high-quality and relevant huge traffic to its platforms. There are many factors that contribute to SEO performance. However, the nature of website structure and development determines how search engines crawl and rank a website in search results.

SEO growth is a journey on its own but it can be broken down into parts/milestones like meta information, page quality and structure, link structure, server configurations, and external factors.

Meta Information

All metadata describing the webpage and the entire website should be defined in meta tags within the <head> tag. The meta tags should include keywords, descriptions, etc. It is highly recommended to include additional meta tags to open graph properties like og: type, og: title, og: image, and og:url among others. 

The meta-description property should take a maximum of 150-180 characters with notable keywords related to the webpage. Be brief and precise straight to the point. Additionally, the title of a webpage should not go beyond 72 characters.

A valid canonical link should be well-defined within the tag as well e.g. <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://your-site.com/product”/>

It tells search engines that this webpage is the original source of content in case the same content is duplicated on several sites. This gives a webpage a higher chance of being ranked higher in search results.

Page Quality and Structure

The doctype HTML 5 and language should be set properly on top of the webpage. Ensure the webpage has proper heading level tags where necessary in order of h1, h2,h3, etc. All images must have a short description in the mandatory alt attribute.

There should be zero instances of content duplication and typos in the body of a webpage. Finally, minimize the number of CSS and JavaScript files requested on page load for optimal performance. Still, on this, avoid CDNs if you can.

Link Structure

It is recommended to avoid subdomains(if you can) in your URL structure. Again, the domain name should have fewer characters, 8-12 characters at optimal.

Adopt a clean URL structure like https://demo.com/movies.jsp?movie=1234.Luckly, Modern web frameworks sort this by default. However, in the fortunate (Yes, I said fortunate) event you are not using any framework, you can still clean URLs using Apache .htaccess rewrite rules as shown below:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^movies/([\w-]+)$ movie.jsp?movie=$1 [QSA,L]

The URL slug should include keywords instead of numerical IDs or random strings. For instance, https://demo.com/movies/oppenheimer will rank better than https://demo.com/movies/12345.

Server Configurations

Avoid using X-powered HTTP headers and use GZip for compressed data transmission.

The robots.txt file in the root directory of your domain tells search engine crawlers about which URLs they can access on your site. It is the entry point for search engines to your website. Allow search engines to crawl your website and define your sitemap e.g.

Sitemap: https://demo-site.com/sitemap_index.xml

It is important to include the “lastmod” tag in your sitemap. It indicates the last time the web pages linked by the sitemaps were modified. This information guides search engines in determining how frequently to crawl your site and to decide which pages to index and which to leave out.

External and additional factors

Backlinks to your site determine how your website ranks in search results. Ideally, backlinks from sites with a higher domain authority come in handy. Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score that was developed by Moz to estimate how likely a website can rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Most publications and social media platforms have a domain authority above 50/100 which is good for a start. Get several backlinks to your website.

After implementing all that, ensure that your website has a valid SSL certificate to encrypt data. Some search engines do not compromise on this. Sites that run on HTTP will certainly rank lower than those running on encrypted HTTPS protocol.

Submitting sitemaps

Finally, you can verify site ownership and submit sitemaps in the Google search console, and Bing Webmasters among others.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s truly astonishing to contemplate the sheer volume of daily Google searches, and the immense traffic that a finely-tuned website can harness from them. What I find particularly helpful is how this guide is structured into distinct components or steps, which greatly enhances its accessibility and usability.

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