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Bridge the Gap: Developer's Role in Technical SEO

Bridge the Gap: Developer's Role in Technical SEO

As a developer, you've likely encountered situations where marketing or SEO (search engine optimization) professionals approach you with concerns about the website's lack of SEO optimization. While SEO teams play a crucial role in ranking websites on search engines, developers are equally responsible for helping them achieve better performance.

Gone are the days when SEO teams could simply fill pages with keywords to rank higher. Today, creating a compelling user experience on a website requires collaborative efforts from both development and SEO teams.

Developers should prioritize implementing technical SEO best practices to effectively bridge this gap and ensure your website ranks well while providing an exceptional user experience. By optimizing website speed, enhancing mobile responsiveness, improving site structure, and resolving technical issues, developers can contribute significantly to the overall SEO strategy.

Read on to enhance your website's SEO performance and user experience.

Understanding Crawling and Indexing

To effectively contribute to technical SEO, developers must understand crawling and indexing. Web crawlers visit new and updated pages on the internet to add them to their index. Once a page is crawled, the data is collected and stored for accurate and quick information retrieval.

The crawling process follows these steps:

  1. URL Sources: Crawlers start by finding new or updated URLs through sitemaps or links on other pages.
  2. Crawl Queue: The listed URLs are prioritized and added to the crawl queue.
  3. Crawler: This system grabs or reads the content of the pages.
  4. Processing: These systems handle canonicalization and ensure crawled pages are sent to the renderer while rendered pages move forward for indexing.
  5. Renderer: Here, a page is loaded as a browser would, allowing crawlers to understand how users experience the page.
  6. Index: After crawling and rendering, the pages are stored to be displayed in search results.

Robots.txt: Rules for Site Access

The robots.txt file is a plain text file containing rules for search engine bots and crawlers, specifying which URLs they can access on a site. Developers can use this file to "disallow" or "allow" the behavior of user agents (crawlers). For example:


User-agent: msnbot

Disallow: /


This instruction prevents the msnbot crawler from accessing any URL on the website. 

Mobile-First Indexing

Google has prioritized mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor and plans to switch all websites to mobile-first indexing as of 2021. This means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a website's content for indexing and ranking in search results.

Developers play a crucial role in optimizing websites for mobile devices. Google recommends implementing the following:

  1. Responsive Design: Ensuring the website's layout adapts to different screen sizes.
  2. Mobile Page Load Time: Optimizing the website's speed on mobile devices.
  3. Structured Data: Implementing structured data enhances the display of information in search results.

Google provides tools to check if a website is mobile-friendly, and Google Search Console offers insights into mobile-related errors and optimizations.

Structured Data

Structured data is an organized way of presenting information about a web page. It enhances search result displays, known as rich snippets, which provide additional information beyond the standard link and meta description.

While structured data does not directly contribute to a website's ranking, it offers benefits that can indirectly improve rankings. Google provides a comprehensive list of schema markups developers can use to enhance the presentation of various types of information.

Other Technical SEO Factors

Beyond crawling, indexing, mobile optimization, and structured data, developers should also consider the following technical SEO factors:

  1. Meta Tags: Meta tags help search engines identify key aspects of a page, playing a significant role in search result ranking.
  2. URL Structures: URLs should be simple, understandable, and uncluttered.
  3. Sitemaps: Sitemaps assist search engine crawlers in identifying all pages on a website.
  4. Image Alt Tags: Alt tags provide context for images, helping crawlers better understand the content on the page.
  5. Traffic Tracking: Monitoring website traffic and user behavior using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console is essential for optimizing and improving SEO efforts.

Bridging the Gap

This content piece merely scratches the surface of technical SEO. As you delve deeper into each aspect, you'll gain a more comprehensive understanding of its importance. While mastering every SEO factor is a significant undertaking, it is crucial for developers to comprehend how SEO works to bridge the gap between web development and SEO.

By collaborating with SEO teams and implementing technical SEO best practices, developers can contribute to creating websites that provide an exceptional user experience and rank higher in search engine results.

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