Advanced SEO Strategies for Developers: Creative Solutions to Improve Performance

Successful digital marketers know that SEOs and development teams have a uniquely interdependent relationship. Both teams play vital roles in creating effective platforms, meeting the changing standards and algorithms of search engines and prioritizing the user experience. Whether building a site from the ground up or making incremental changes to an established property, the work and collaboration are never done.

Some of the most impactful technical SEO strategies demand development support and insight. If you’re looking for ways to fine-tune performance, these advanced SEO strategies could be key.

Three Proven Strategies to Improve SEO Results

Developers are the superheroes of many SEO projects. The work they create often bridges the technical skills gap the separates a good site or functionality from being great – and impactful.

We’ve worked with dozens of clients with websites in varying states of health, from brand new websites (with the growing pains and flush-faced acne to prove it) to achingly slow senior sites optimized for the digital world of yesterday (you can almost hear them sighing, “Back in my day…” as the page loads).

1. Start with Schema

Schema has been a core feature of the internet for over a decade but lacks the street cred it deserves. Less than a third of all search results on Google include rich text generated by schema, giving domains that do use schema effectively a tremendous advantage.

Structured data has evolved rapidly since its earliest iterations in 1997. While various rich text standards were developed, the field was unorganized and nearly impossible for sites to implement. It wasn’t until Google, Microsoft and several key players adopted a single schema type in 2011 that the web had a common schema language (so to speak). The result, schema.org, now includes more than 600 schema classes and 965 relations.

How to Leverage Schema Mark-up

Identify the appropriate schema for your site’s content and keep a careful record of both classes and relations to utilize across the various types of content published on your domain. Several free and paid plugins like Yoast can also suggest schema types. Developers can use these plugins or create their own code to implement schema on existing content and future pages automatically.

2. Show Off Your Hidden Content

Officially, hidden or tabbed content doesn’t negatively impact SEO. Unofficially, there are numerous examples of sites with hidden content having poor keyword performance, despite Google’s promises to the contrary. The likely bias against hidden content likely dates back to the days of black hat SEO tactics that included using hidden content to stash lists of keyword targets to game search results.

It’s about more than just page rank, though. Poorly constructed accordion content can’t be “spotted” by screen readers, rendering huge chunks of the page and the valuable information tucked inside it invisible to visually impaired users.

How to Fix Accordion Content for SEO and UX

There’s a nifty workaround featuring ARIA settings that help identify interactive elements of the page, including tabbed and accordion content. Implementing these changes is an easy win for developers and the sites they work on.

3. Turn the Pag(ination)

Pagination gets a bad rap. Only improperly implemented pagination hurts SEO, usually by causing duplicate content or eating up crawl budget. In most cases, a crawlable anchor link that uses href tags for internally linked pages greatly reduces any issues.

Get On the Same Page

Start assessing your domain’s pagination protocol by looking for one or more common pagination issues, including:

  • Href link tags placed in the <body> content instead of the <head> section.
  • Inaccurate tags, such as a rel=”previous” attribute on the root page.
  • “rel=next” attributes on a page, but not a canonical tag to the root page.

Be sure to evaluate pagination across all content, not just indexed content categories. Some legacy practices may have used similar structures to update new pages as they replaced outdated information or even carried over from previous versions of the domain!

The Devil Is in the Details

Investing time and effort in advanced SEO tactics inherently relies on a strong collaborative process between SEOs and developers. Some marketers may dismiss these strategies as small ball, or “manufacturing runs” to borrow a baseball term. And it’s true – these are the types of efforts that result in the 3% session increases or 2% engagement rate improvements, not the home runs associated with a strong paid campaign or creating new blog or service pages.

However, those small percentages are key differentiators that deliver results for established domains or new brands looking to grow. Those results may be measured differently based on the strategy and the industry. Ecommerce brands may benefit more from a dedicated schema mark-up project; you’ll likely see product page position and click-through rate improve over time!

Welcome to the Big Leagues

Advanced SEO techniques like these are the sort of strategies top-performing domains lean on to stay ahead. Depending on your domain, tackling accordion content, schema and pagination may not be high on the to-do list, but never underestimate the value of a rock-solid technical foundation as you build your site. Tactics like these can make all of your existing and future content perform better!

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