The reality in the development world today is that SEO counts. If you are seeking to increase your marketability as a web developer, engineer, and or architect you better learn the fine points of search engine optimization. The website platforms of tomorrow will require the fundamental SEO foundation before passing quality assurance testing. In this article I will run through the first of a series of fundamentals you will want to add to your skill set.

First and foremost the URLs have to be search friendly. Search friendly means the target keywords must be present in the leftmost portion of the URL. If for performance reasons you need to pass a parameter in the URL use something abbreviated for example P-1890 to indicate productID. This should be placed at the end of the URL though with the product name placed immediately after the first /. This is a customer friendly URL that also provides more context for the search engines.

One of the other fine arts of SEO is handling pagination. Pages where there are multiple products for example in an eCommerce site often require pagination. The issue with pagination is typically there is a change in the URL, but the content outside of the products is the same as you page through. The search engines do not like to see common content on the same pages and will often deduct the value of the primary page. To counter this you can place a no index, follow attribute on the page numbers or manage duplication risk by assigning parameter rules in Google Search Console . This will tell the search engines to ignore the pages for the purpose of indexing, but to follow the pages so they crawl and index the products. As a safety measure always insert a canonical URL on the pages that points back to the base URL. I recommend multiple approaches to accommodate Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, and Naver.

The order of the code is the next up to bat. Certain elements in the code require placement as close to the head tag as possible. Page title for example should be the first element after the head tag wherever possible. Following the page title you should insert meta description. Preferably in the body tag as close to the top of the tag as possible you will want to insert a heading tag (H1). With H1 tags it is important that only one exists on the page and that should correlate with the topic of the page. For example for a product page on an eCommerce site the H1 would be the product name. On an article or content-based site you will want to add a H1 tag to the article name.

The last in this series is handling third-party search. With larger sites both eCommerce and content related, often you will find an enterprise search solution in place. Providing search for the website though is typically only one aspect of the software. Many of the internal search platforms provide navigation support to include refinement navigation. Typically these refinement links can create duplicate pages and again create penalties in the search engines. Evaluate the pages from the refinements and if you do not have the ability to differentiate each refinement page with content then place a no index, follow on the refinement link, a meta robots noindex, follow statement in the HEAD of the document, and in each refinement page be sure to add a canonical URL reference to the base URL.