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Sitemap rules for multilingual websites:
URLs should reflect the site’s structure and content of each page, and using SEO friendly web addresses will enhance the readability of the URLs for both the website’s audience and search engine crawlers. While most CMSs automatically generate URLs, web developers should follow these best practices:
Google’s recommended tool for evaluating a page’s performance on both mobile and desktop devices is PageSpeed Insights.
Developers should also include the location of the sitemap or sitemaps associated with the domain in the robots.txt file:
While most CMS automatically generate the Sitemap.xml file, or multiple Sitemap files dedicated to different types of content, web developers should be aware of the following best practices:
Handling Multilingual Websites (Subdomain? Subdirectories? ccTLD?)
Locale-specific URLs translate in simply keeping the content for each language on separate URLs, with the following SEO-friendly options:
The alternate method to using the hreflang annotations is customizing the Sitemap to tell the search engines about all of the language and region variants for each URL.
With the introduction of Mobile-first indexing, developing for mobile with SEO in mind is more important than ever.
Always add hyperlinks to other language versions of a page to give users the option to click on their preferred language.
Structured data provides explicit clues about the meaning of a page to search engines. It is coded using the in-page markup (JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa) on the page that the information applies to. It can be used to enable special search result features and enhancements, like breadcrumbs, carousels, social profiles links, recipes, articles, etc.
robots.txt file is a text file used for instructing search engines through allow & disallow rules on how to crawl the website’s pages. Unless crawlers are causing severe server load issues, developers should not limit the crawl rate using the robots.txt file.
HTTP Status codes are issued by a web server in response to a client’s request made to the server. From an SEO perspective, websites should only include 200 OK Status Code pages–the standard response for successful HTTP requests. But we all know that changes happen and 301 Moved Permanently Status Code internal pages are bound to appear.
The value within an hreflang attribute identifies the language (e.g. en, de, zh). You also have the option to identify the regional dialect (en-gb, en-us, en-au) of a locale-specific URL. Add elements to each page header to tell Google all of the language and region variants of that page. Use x-default to match any language not explicitly listed by the hreflang tag on the page.
Learn more about optimizing multilingual websites for search engines here .
SEO-Friendly Site Structure & URLs.
And while search engines will not crawl or index content blocked through a disallow rule created in the robots.txt file, search engines can still find disallowed content in other places on the Internet and still index it.
The site structure of a website should follow a pyramid structure, with all inner links being accessible within 2 to 3 clicks from the homepage. From an SEO standpoint, creating a site structure with an extensive crawl depth (over 3 clicks from the homepage) can seriously damage optimization efforts. That’s because users and search engine crawlers are less likely to reach pages buried too deep in the website. Another factor to keep a close eye on is links interconnectivity or internal linking – web pages that are not linked from anywhere in the site will be overlooked by search engines and Internet users alike.
While using permanent redirects (301, 302 or 308) is viable in most situations, the optimal process is to do them correctly and to keep them to a reasonable minimum on-site. Two of the most common examples of incorrect redirect usage are redirect loops and chains, which have a negative impact on user experience, crawl budget, site speed, and consequently, rankings.
Google strongly recommends that web developers use HTTPS encryption by default in order to increase the overall security of the World Wide Web. Moreover, using a secured protocol for transferring data between the Internet users’ browser and the website is an SEO ranking signal.
While the vast majority of Structured data is designed to render on Desktop and Mobile devices alike, the Software App (BETA) markup can be coded in the body of a web page to better display your app details in mobile search results.
Safeguard SEO Rankings by Optimizing Page Speed.
Some of the most common mistakes to avoid when developing for mobile include:
In 2018, Google announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches, with the caveat that the update will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users.
When developing multilingual websites, SEO best practices say developers should use local-specific URLs along with the hreflang attribute and sitemaps that indicate which pages apply to which locations or languages. Avoid using IP analysis to automatically redirect the user to the preferred version of the site based on the user’s perceived language.
On the other hand, from an SEO perspective, there is no difference between using www vs. non-www in URLs. However, when developing large websites — including websites with several subdomains and/or cloud-hosted sites — www is considered by most to be the best option, because of caching and cookie-ing users. It is also vital to use 301 permanent redirect rules to redirect the non-preferred domain to the preferred domain.
The meta robots tag must be used instead, through the parameter noindex, that instructs search engines not to index the page, and not to display it in search results. For preventing PDF files from being indexed and rendered in search results, use the X-Robots-Tag instead, by editing the .htaccess file associated with the domain. Learn more about robots.txt and how to customize it here.
Content types that qualify to appear in rich results include Article, Local Business, Music, Recipe, Video, and much more, and must be bound to the following guidelines. The compliance with technical guidelines can be tested using the Structured Data Testing Tool.
This SEO guide was written by an SEO expert working with web developers on a daily basis, and it’s intended to address some of their most frequent questions and comments: “What does coding have to do with SEO?”, “This will cost us x hours in development, do you really need this?”, “I thought SEO was dead” :)) etc.
Why would a company choose SEO Web Design alone instead of an ongoing SEO campaign? The simple answer is budget. SEO requires a higher level of commitment from both the client and the SEO Firm; therefore, the cost of such an undertaking is sometimes intimidating to prospective companies. It is for this reason that we also offer SEO Web Design as a standalone service, as its price is generally less than a third of an ongoing Search Engine Optimization campaign.
There is a fundamental difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and SEO Web Design. Quite simply, SEO is defined as an ongoing process that should be continuously performed. SEO, however, entails SEO Web Design at the outset, which is the process of properly structuring and programming a website through a series of on page optimization techniques, and should always take place prior to the ongoing work such as landing page creation, link building (expertise), continuous code & content optimization, search engine submission, and other techniques which define the broader parent category of Search Engine Optimization.
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The best analogy to describe the fundamental difference between the two is to imagine SEO Web Design as the process of engineering and building a very highly sophisticated boat, taking it to the dock, and setting it to sail in the ocean. On the other hand, ongoing SEO is equivalent to not only building the boat, but also staying on board to staff and captain the ship in the open waters of the sea.
"Whether or not you need a captain for your voyage, we’ll point you in the right direction."
We have had great success with our SEO Web Design service. Clients regularly see dramatic increases in their rankings. When this occurs, they see the potential of ongoing SEO, and often desire improved rankings for a larger number of keywords. Once their website has been properly structured, it is easier for our SEO team to come back to the project and move the site forward in rankings.
eLink Design, Inc. 400 E. Vine Street, Suite 301 Lexington, Kentucky 40507 859-927-3811.