12 October 2016

14 SEO Essentials for a Brand New Website Platform

seo essentials for a brand new website platform

Thinking to revamp your design on a new platform? Did you check the compatibility of your chosen new platform with respect to SEO essentials? How far is your new platform SEO ready?

Considering the fact that in today’s ever growing online space, a website is basically the heart and soul of your business, and implementing good SEO features has become essential for any new website you might want to build. However, not all website platforms are equally SEO friendly. Yes, you might have to do a bit more customization and coding on some platforms than others. So how do you study the SEO readiness of a platform?

Well, hiring SEO experts is the perfect trick here. But if you are running out of budget or simply want to give yourself a try, here are the very basics of SEO that you need to look upon while choosing the platform.

Your website platform should support the canonical tag “rule sets” on the pages

So does your website support canonical tags?

It probably does, but even still, exactly how easy is it to be able to integrate the advanced rules around category facets and such?

Now you might ask why this is even important. This is so because the canonicals allow the user to eliminate duplicates and low-quality content. Talking from a SEO point of view, it gives the site owners the SEO power that they deserve to control their pages.

You should have the freedom to customize the “Title Tags”

The title tag of your page should tell the search engine what the page is about within 60 characters or less.

All of the pages of your website should have a unique title that should be relevant to the page that it represents. You might also choose to auto-generate the title tags that are based on the category, filters and such. But to meet up the requirements for advanced SEO purposes, the platform you use should at the very least allow you to customize the title tag on every page.

Ability to customize Meta-Description tags on every page

What the meta-description tags on your pages do is that they give the search engine more insight about your page. Whether or not meta-descriptions can help you with the keyword ranking is still up for debate, but you should write it keeping in mind that it is for human audiences. Meta descriptions should be catchy and informative enough to convince users to visit your page.

Session ID’s should not be required by Page URLs

Session IDs are a strict no, just because they often end up generating duplicate content if URLs are not properly canonicalized. Use of session IDs in-page URLs is thus no more recommended.

Does your chosen platform support an automated XML sitemap?

The fact that a well-structured website does not really need an XML sitemap in order to assist a search engine to index your site is noteworthy. However, an XML sitemap still remains as an essential method of interacting with the various search engines through their webmaster tools utilities. It also permits the site owners to call the search engines’ attention to the existence of all new URLs.

A good XML sitemap will allow the owner of the site to tie a URL to a variety of attributes to further assist its growth. Thus, having an updated XML sitemap is the first step towards making your brand new website SEO friendly.

Able to support a custom robot.txt file

The robots.txt file should not only help you in preventing the indexation of admin and cart elements of your website but should further provide you the ability to control the minute details such as the directory and permissions at the file level from your website platform.

 Navigation that has been rendered in plain HTML text should be supported

It should be ensured that your navigation links are working and are clickable even when users have their cookies, CSS, and JS disabled. This would ensure that your navigation links are properly crawled by the search engine bots, and your rankings are boosted accordingly.

You should be able to index location pages

So you have your own brick and mortar shop but have you talked about that on your website? Make sure that your chosen platform deals with location pages, and if not, it should be able to get easily integrated with ‘store finder’ widgets and the likes.

If your chosen platform provides location pages, then make sure that a proper widget compatible with your platform is available which can spider down the website to the level of an individual store. This is essential for search engine rankings. The most notable way is to have a click-able path from the landing page of the Store Finder to the individual stores.

Ability to customize the content headers on each page

Just as in title tags and meta description, content headers help explain what your page is about and hence also assist in making your website more SEO friendly.

The ability to be able to customize the content headers on every page on your site is essential for achieving the optimal results on your site, as an admin. This ability should be a basic requirement that you need to look at from your web-platform.

The inclusions and navigation depth should be customizable

To put this in other words, your chosen platform should be perfectly customizable. You should have the freedom to include/choose the subcategories that get displayed in the list of your top navigation.

The ability to customize how your website would navigate is an essential part of ensuring a good user experience as is the ability to customize the page URLs. This also enables you to fine-tune the internal links that you might have.

Basic mobile-friendly features should be supported

Regardless of whether you have a “mobile-first” mindset or not, your platform should be mobile friendly. It should be ensured that each page has its own specific viewport in accordance with the size of the device the page is viewed on. Further, the content of all pages should fit in their respective viewport.

Supports ad hoc 301 redirect mapping

The details are all that matter here. Most of the platforms available right now allow the webmasters to create 301 redirects. Many other platforms even insist that you should go ahead and do it through their GUI using a table and rows limit that is fairly complicated.

Basically, any ability to author the individual redirects will satisfy this requirement, but what you also need to do is appreciate the ease with which you can implement these.

Ability to also customize each pages URLs separately

While this isn’t absolutely required to be successfully indexed or to even rank the keywords, Google does suggest that you should give it a shot to consider organizing the content you have such that the URLs get started to construct logically in a manner that is most intelligible to us humans. When possible, it is also suggested to use readable words rather than the long ID numbers that you are used to.

Should be able to host on dedicated IPs

The major reason as to why a range of blogs and website are not able to enjoy good rankings is because they are being hosted with a dozen of other websites that don’t enjoy the same reputation as the concerned blog or website.

This hurts the ranking of the websites. It should thus be ensured that your chosen platform can host your website on dedicated IP.

There are a lot many factors that should be stressed upon while choosing a new website platform, but the above-mentioned ones are a must-have. Look for each of these SEO essentials in your new platform and work in the right direction to gain top rankings.

Did we miss any essential factor? Let us know in the comments!

By Amit Kothiyal

Google Analytics & E-Commerce Analytics certified, Amit Kothiyal has 9+ years of experience in digital marketing. Currently, he is working in a stellar digital marketing company TIS India Business Consultants Pvt Ltd. He has helped numerous brands establish their online niche with his out of the box internet marketing strategies and lead generation capabilities. He is proactive on LinkedIn and Twitter to share his experiences with similar kind of professionals across the globe.