The Technical SEO Cheat Sheet for Webmasters and Developers

Whatever your level of expertise, search engine optimization (SEO) is a complicated field. As a webmaster, you have to keep track of code-level changes, content specifications, and design choices.

Wouldn’t it be convenient to have a resource on hand that reminds you of what steps to take?

The following SEO cheat sheet can guide webmasters and technical web developers alike through the particulars of optimization. Bookmark this page and glance over it when you need to jog your brain and run through an SEO checklist!

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1. Basic technical meta tags

SEO-friendly meta tags are one of the nitty-gritty details that enrich technical optimization.

Consisting of HTML code, your meta tags can have a positive effect on your click-through rate (CTR) and spruce up your appearance on both the search engine results page (SERP) and your actual page destination.

The on-page meta tags to remember include:

META TAG PURPOSE HTML FORMAT
Title tag The title tag sets your page apart in the SERPs and displays on browser tabs. <title>Your Title</title>
Meta description The meta description also appears in the SERPs under the title. It’s a sneak peek of your content. <meta name=”description” content=”[your text]”>
Alternative text tag The alt tag explains the contents of images through text. <img src=”[your picture name].png” alt=”[your image description]”>
Header tags Header tags organize your content in levels of heading text size and prominence for search engines and users. H1 and H2 are the most important header tags to insert in your page code. Header tags cascade downwards to H6. <h1>Header</h1>

<h2>Sub-heading</h2>

<h3>Sub-heading</h3>

<h4>Sub-heading</h4>

<h5>Sub-heading</h5>

<h6>Sub-heading</h6>

Language tag The language meta tag clarifies the language of your site for search results.
<html lang=”[your language abbreviation]”>

2. Social media meta tags

You may not utilize social media meta tags as rigorously as basic on-page tags, but they can still make a difference and impact social media engagement. For generating off-page attention, social metadata is powerful.

Social media meta tags allow users to easily share what you publish and spread the word about your high-quality content. The online word-of-mouth can give you a surge of backlinks, traffic, and mentions, which in turn, can help your SEO efforts.

Which social media meta tags should you include?

The Open Graph protocol is a system that joins website pages to social media networks, and it’s useful for adding metadata like summaries, images, and video.

On Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media networks, you can promote your content with a readable format to attract more visitors.

Here’s your social meta tag checklist for SEO:

Social Media Meta Tag Purpose Format
Title Your title sets the title of your social media post. <meta property=”og:title” content=”[your title]”>
Description Insert a description for your social media post. <meta property=”og:description” content=”[your description]”>
Images Include your desired image for your social media post. <meta property=”og:image” content=”[your image]”>
URL Insert the URL so users can follow it to your page. <meta property=”og:url” content=”[your URL]”>

3. Mobile optimization

Catering to mobile device users is necessary for SEO.

With 81% of Americans owning smartphones, the mobile screen sees a lot of activity.

The main task to check off your SEO checklist is mobile responsive design.

Configuring for a variety of screen sizes and styles makes your site suitable for high Google rankings and an influx of traffic.

The two elements of mobile responsive design are the “viewport” meta tag, which scales pages, and media queries. Media queries have several uses, like altering the font size, orientation, and breakpoints.

For example, the viewport tag looks something like this: <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=[value]”>

4. Canonicalization

You might not set out to create duplicate content, but errors can lead to multiple URLs representing the same content, which ends up hindering your SEO efforts. It’s best if one URL holds the authority for content so it can climb the rankings for a relevant keyword.

Watch for variations like these to see if you have multiple indexed and ranked URLs:

  • https://thisisnottherighturl.com
  • https://www.thisisnottherighturl.com
  • https://thisisnottherighturl.com/index.html
  • https://www.thisisnottherighturl.com/index.html

Canonicalization resolves this issue by pointing Google and other search engines to your preferred URL.

You can enter the following to establish the preferred URL:

<link rel=“canonical” href=“your preferred URL” />

5. Robots.txt files

Web crawlers or bots can process and index insignificant pages that don’t need to appear in the SERPs. But if you use robots.txt files, you can deter web crawlers from wasting time on your thank you pages or admin login pages.

Put the Robot Exclusion Standard to work to inform search engines about your most valuable pages.

Disallow bots from crawling your chosen pages with the following directive:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

The user-agent is the web crawler you’re attempting to block, like Googlebot, and your page gets flanked by forward slashes. Robots.txt directives aren’t practical for clocking CSS or JavaScript files, so stick to other purposes for them.

6. Structured data

Structured data or Schema markup is a tool that takes name and value pairings to more fully grasp content. It’s geared toward search engines for crawling and indexing, but it can also gain clicks and visits with distinct accents.

Structured data markup through Schema can build rich snippets that enhance results. They display extra features, like starred reviews and recipes, right in the SERPs below page titles. If you want to use rich snippets, structured data is a prerequisite.

You can add the following Schema features to your page:

  • Products
  • Events
  • Authors
  • Location
  • Contact information
  • Rating
  • Schedule

Breadcrumb lists are another kind of Schema markup you can implement, and this increases user experience so visitors can navigate around your site, starting in the SERPs. The website hierarchy is straightforward with an arrowed breadcrumb feature nearby.

If you use structured data, keep in mind that it’s not a guarantee that Google will use it. Google will determine what’s relevant or useful to users, and if it finds that structured data isn’t for a particular search, it won’t use it in the SERPs.

Gain an expert SEO strategy with WebFX

Technical SEO is tricky, and if you’re a web developer or webmaster, it’s nice to get a refresher through an SEO cheat sheet. Keep this on standby to reference when you need an SEO checklist!

Another helpful resource for your website efforts is WebFX’s SEO services. With our focus on real results, we are indispensable for your website projects. We provide SEO strategizing and monitoring to bring high traffic volumes and revenue to your site.

Over the past five years, we’ve generated $1.5 billion in client revenue, and you can become a part of our success. Whether you’re looking to earn more leads, in-store visits, or online purchases, our award-winning team can build a custom strategy to achieve your goals.

Just call us at 888-601-5359 or contact us today to speak with an expert about growing your business with SEO!

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