SEO programming is often an overlooked endeavor today that can provide a cost-effective boost to the organic search performance of a website. It is a method that small and mid-sized businesses that lack resources for a massive link-building campaign can leverage.
If you have a business or professional website, chances are that you want it to be found by those looking for the kind of service you render. Search engines represent an effective channel where you can get in front of your audience at the right time.
The processes involved in getting your website in front of relevant searches on search engines are known as search engine optimization (SEO).
You would agree that all websites run on codes, whether custom-coded or built on a content management system (CMS). Because of this, how a website performs on search engines is directly affected by the codes on the website.
Now we know that there’s a direct relationship between SEO and programming, the next question is, how?
In this article, we will look at how coding can improve your SEO and determine whether a coding skill is necessary for an SEO.
What Is SEO Programming?
SEO programming is the process of writing and re-writing the codes on a website in a way that makes it easier for search engines( like Google, Yahoo, and Bing) to crawl, read, and index your website content. Search engines do not read the content on your website to understand what they contain. However, the codes on your website guide them on what to crawl, index, and serve.
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to technical aspects of a website that can be optimized to improve its ranking and visibility on search engine results pages. Technical SEO tactics can include indexing, rendering, and website architecture with the goal of making a website faster and easier for web crawlers to find and understand.
If you’re working at a smaller company or on a consulting basis, it’s more likely that you’ll be required to make technical adjustments to your web pages yourself. While keywords and content are often the biggest piece of the SEO puzzle, there are other factors—like page loading times, lazy loading comments sections, HTML tags, metadata and microdata, and so forth—that also have an impact on SEO.
In situations where you don’t have a webmaster to rely on, you may be required to go in and make these changes yourself.
But whether you’re fussing around with code or simply communicating directions to others, as an SEO Specialist, you should have some basic familiarity with HTML and even CSS—again, not necessarily at the high level of a Developer, but enough to understand the factors involved in your SEO strategy.
How Can Coding Improve Your SEO?
Technical SEO and programming are becoming more and more intertwined. As Google’s algorithms continue to evolve, SEOs must also be able to understand and work with code. Whether you’re working with a developer or without one, coding skills can greatly improve your SEO.
From being able to communicate to web developers in a language they understand to being able to alter a website structure to improve SEO, coding skills will always improve your SEO.
The following are ways coding can improve your SEO.
It Helps You Understand Your Website Better
As earlier established, all websites are built on code, and having coding skills will help you understand your website. With coding skills, you can tell search engines where to crawl on your website and where not to.
It Helps You Find Problems In Hidden Code
Because most sites are templated, the errors are duplicated across every page that shares the templated structure. Learning how to use an HTML validator is straightforward, but understanding HTML is important for interpreting the results.
Coding errors can be glaring and obvious, like omitting a closing bracket (>).
Or it could be subtle, like the use of a non-standard character in the code, like a smart quote, the curly type of quotation mark (“ ”) instead of the expected straight form of quotation mark (” “).
Helps You Communicate Better With Developers
Developers do a majority of the work on a website, and many of them do not understand the first thing about SEO. The success of your SEO campaign depends largely on how well you’re able to communicate what you want to achieve to the developers.
Having coding skills help you speak to developers in their own language, and even lets you spot errors where needed and recommend solutions.
It Helps In Breaking SEO Stalemates
In highly competitive niches where everyone uses great SEO strategies. The competition between the websites is in a stalemate, with no side having a clear advantage over the other.
An SEO with coding skills can break this stalemate, swinging the results in his favor.
With coding skills, an SEO can provide a ranking edge to any website he’s in charge of and can be used to improve user experience beyond what a template offers.
It Gives You Better Control Over Your Website
When you are working in a corporate or educational environment where the templates are locked in, and you can’t plug in your way out of a predicament, having coding skills can accelerate the otherwise painful process of publishing web pages.
Whether one works in a Drupal or WordPress environment, having the ability to keep a cheat sheet of code snippets saves so much time, even with something trivial like changing a link without having to go through 10 steps using the native interface.
It Helps In Optimizing The Speed Of Your Page
One tool for improving your pagespeed is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool provides insights about your page speed while making suggestions on how to improve it.
SEO and HTML
An SEO familiar with HTML understands how a web document should be structured and is alert to the consequences of poor coding practices.
An important building block of a webpage is the HTML elements, which are to a webpage what a foundation, door, floor, and roof are to a house.
Search engines may be unable to properly crawl a web page if HTML elements are used incorrectly. For instance, a no-index HTML tag on a webpage discourages search engines from crawling a website and will be very bad for SEO if not correctly used.
The official HTML specifications limit what HTML elements are used in the <head> section (location of metadata that only browsers and bots see) and which HTML elements are used in the <body> section (the document itself that users see).
SEO And Python
Python language is a programming language that you can use to automate a wide range of SEO activities ranging from data analysis to crawling to natural language processing and so on.
Python is all about automating repetitive tasks, leaving more time for your other Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. Not many SEOs use Python for their problem-solving, this will not only save you a lot of time and effort, it will set you apart from the lot. In addition to what we earlier mentioned, Python, for example, can be used for the following tasks:
- Data extraction
- Analysis & visualization
- Machine learning
- Deep learning
While these scripts are incredibly useful, there are a lot of various uses for Python in the world of SEO. Challenge yourself to create scripts that make your SEO efforts more efficient. There are plenty of Python scripts to make your life easier. There’s scripts for checking your hreflang tags, canonicals, robots.txt and much more.
Because who, in today’s day and age, still does stuff manually when it can be automated? Let us examine one SEO task that can be automated using Python and what it can do.
Python SEO Analyzer
A really useful script for analyzing your website is called SEO Analyzer. It’s an all round website crawler that analyses the following information:
- Word count
- Page Title
- Meta Description
- Keywords on-page
- Missing title
- Missing description
- Missing image alt-text
This is great for a quick analysis of your basic SEO problems. As page title, meta descriptions and on-page keywords are important ranking factors, this script is perfect for gaining a clear picture of any problems that might be in play.
Are Coding Skills Necessary For SEO?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. The truth is that, while it is not necessary to know how to code to be a good SEO, coding knowledge turns a good SEO into a great one who’s better equipped to stay ahead of the competition.
To put this in a simpler form, coding skills are not a prerequisite for SEO competency but can serve as a differentiating factor between a good SEO and a great one.
With that being said, it is also important to note that a person who can code is not necessarily a better SEO than one who doesn’t know how to code. The emphasis here is on being a good SEO. Learning how
Final Thoughts: Learn How To Code
This article ends here, but your SEO career continues. There is no better time than now to get out of your chair and get involved in scaling your career.
Yes, SEOs need programming skills, but they can live without them. This is because SEOs have different areas you can work in. Just like you need to know about social media, too, because the world of search engine optimization is much more than just optimizing websites.