Creative agencies and marketing firms spend so much time researching SEO – and for good reason. If you’re working on a web development project for a client, they’re holding your creative agency accountable for success based on web traffic and/or conversions.
It makes perfect sense.
But SEO is a massive topic. Good SEO results in traffic, but due to recent updates with Google’s algorithms, keywords and verbiage aren’t mutually exclusive from the “user experience”.
The gap is closing between browser-focused and user-focused SEO tactics as artificial intelligence and browser bots are ranking and adjusting website domain authority based on much more than simple keyword choices.
But of course, none of this is news to you.
How Development Immensely Affects SEO
You’ve kept up to date on latest SEO practices via webinars, podcasts, blogs, and coworker updates that you hear on a daily basis. But creative agencies often only hear one side of the story – the side that focuses on keywords and user experience. Rarely are marketing companies informed on the massive effect that quality of development services has on the SEO of a website or web application.
So you do everything in your power to keep the SEO of a client’s project at its best without realizing that the true bottleneck lies in the hands of a developer who is out of touch with the accountability for “results” that your client is holding you to.
Why and how does the development process have such a major impact on the SEO of your web application projects?
Cleanliness of Code
Yes – Google’s artificial intelligence is doing a great job of attempting to look beyond the code and focus on the end result; the “user experience”. But at the end of the day, the code is responsible for rendering your website visible to an automated bot in the first place.
As development has progressed, developers have looked for quicker and more efficient ways to work – visual builders, bootstrap solutions, and a gallimaufry of community forums with quick-and-dirty code solutions for projects they’re working on.
None of this is inherently “bad” on its own, and many of these solutions can be used without negative SEO effects, but efficiency is often at opposition with quality of work. All the extra code and “stock solutions” that go into making tools quickly accessible to developers often means a not-so-clean end result for their clients. These can cause damaging effects on SEO, as it messes with site speed and readability, which leads to our next points…
This walks hand-in-hand with the last point. Website and web application speed is directly reliant on the code it’s built from. The same web application produced by two different developers can run at completely different speeds based on the approach they took to coding it.
Unfortunately, speed is a major ranking factor for SEO with Google. Since site speed and response time ventures into the realm of “user experience”, Google places much of its SEO ranking focus on page load speed and user response time.
Many of the shortcuts that grant efficiency to the developers result in loads of unnecessary and disrupting code for the user. This leaves creative agencies incapable of delivering on promises of conversions and traffic for their clients simply due to the disregard of key SEO practices on the part of the developer.
Website Attributes, Meta Descriptions, and Tags
Most creative agencies understand the basics of HTML tags and attributes and how they influence SEO. Google looks to special tags such as <a> tags, and the various <h1>, <h2>, and other header tags for how a page should be rendered in search results. It looks at code in the header, the amount of CSS used, how many scripts are referenced, and the meta descriptions and tags for each URL for ranking purposes.
You know as much as the next person that these SEO rules on code are rather straightforward, so we won’t dive into depth on how heading structure, HTML attributes, and meta tags should be used on a website. However, the end “user experience” can be developed through a variety of ways, and many stock development solutions used by developers put the completion of a project directly in the crosshairs at the expense of the SEO benefit of code restructuring.
Wrapping It Up
Development has a lot to do with the SEO performance of a website or web application, but most creative agencies only focus on the key components in “their lane” when taking on a client development project.
If you’re struggling to find a developer who thinks like your creative agency – a developer that follows you from beginning-to-end of a client’s project and understands the accountability you’re being held to – reach out to us. KudosCode was built as a solution for the disparity between developers and creative agencies, and we would love the opportunity to hear how development can further the success of your and your clients’ projects.