What are the essential SEO practices that On-Target implements for a new website?

SEO needs to be implemented during the UI coding process, here's what On-Target! recommends.

During the UI coding process of a new website, integrating basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices is essential to ensure the site is optimized for search engines from the start. Here are key SEO practices typically implemented during the development phase:

  1. Semantic HTML: Use semantic HTML5 elements like <header>, <footer>, <article>, and <section> to structure the content properly. This helps search engines understand the layout and content hierarchy of your pages.

  2. Meta Tags: Implement relevant meta tags, including the title tag and meta description for each page. These tags are critical for SEO as they influence how your pages are titled and described in search results.

  3. Alt Text for Images: Always provide alt text for images. Alt text helps search engines understand what an image is about, which is crucial not only for SEO but also for accessibility.

  4. Responsive Design: Ensure the website is responsive, meaning it works well on both desktop and mobile devices. Google uses mobile-first indexing, so having a mobile-friendly website is imperative for good SEO.

  5. URL Structure: Create clean, readable URLs that include keywords relevant to the page content. Avoid long URLs and use hyphens to separate words.

  6. Heading Tags: Use heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to define headings and subheadings within the content. This not only helps with page organization but also benefits SEO by emphasizing key topics.

  7. Loading Speed: Optimize page loading times by minimizing the file sizes of images, using efficient code, and considering server response times. Faster websites provide a better user experience and are favored by search engines.

  8. Internal Linking: Use internal linking wisely to help search engines discover new pages and to establish information hierarchy and spread link equity across your website.

  9. Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml: Ensure that your robots.txt file is correctly configured to allow search engines to crawl the necessary parts of your website. Additionally, create a sitemap.xml file and submit it to search engines to help them index your pages more effectively.

  10. Schema Markup: Implement schema markup (JSON-LD is recommended by Google) to provide search engines with additional information about your page content, which can enhance the appearance of your pages in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

  11. Accessibility: Make sure that your site is accessible, as this can affect SEO. This includes proper contrast ratios, keyboard navigability, and ARIA roles where appropriate.

  12. Canonical Tags: Use canonical tags to prevent duplicate content issues, especially if your site can be accessed by multiple URLs.

  13. Social Media Meta Tags: Implement social media meta tags, such as Open Graph for Facebook and Twitter Cards for Twitter. These tags control how content looks when it’s shared on social platforms, which can affect traffic and indirectly influence SEO.

By integrating these SEO practices during the UI coding phase, you lay a strong foundation for your website's future search engine performance, ensuring it is accessible, user-friendly, and optimized for both users and search engines.