You’ve heard about search engine optimization (SEO), you may even have tinkered with it, but do you know how to use it effectively? According to Director of Digital Strategy, Nancy Du, SEO is seen as a “gnarly” topic that people want to improve but have no idea how to approach.

Nancy spoke at CodeWord Conf 2023 about developing a SEO strategy, especially in a headless architecture context. We share some of the highlights here, but listen to Nancy herself by watching the video.

What is SEO?

SEO is the secret sauce to getting your page to rank higher in search engines like Google.

Why is SEO important? Why should we care about better SEO?

What factors impact SEO?

There are 4 major groups you can focus on to optimize your SEO:

1. Site performance

Site performance has the highest impact on SEO from a technical perspective. Site speed factors into your search rankings, and it also directly impacts UX and conversion rates (seconds matter!). Google measures your site speed by looking at your “Core Web Vitals”, which include largest contentful paint, cumulative layout shift, and first input delay.

In order to optimize your load speed, consider the following:

2. Site structure is vital for SEO

The better your site is structured, the easier it will be for your site to be indexed and found. You can also provide search engines with a sitemap.xml file, using automated tools, making it easier for your site to be indexed.

3. Meta Tags

Meta Tags are little snippets of code that tell search engines important information about your site, which include:

4. Redirects

As you update or remove pages, make sure to redirect to valid pages. Good SEO hygiene means avoiding broken links, so that your pages can be properly crawled and indexed. Setting up a way for content authors to add redirects in the CMS reduces the chances of broken links as pages are updated or removed.

Measuring Impact

So you’ve implemented some changes, but how do you know what’s working? Just like going on a diet, it is good practice to take a snapshot of your baseline so you can actually measure your progress once you’ve started a new regimen.

SEO changes can take awhile to show up and are influenced by more than just your technical choices, so it is also helpful to look at other indicators such as your Core Web Vitals and how many dead links you have.

Some helpful tools include Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, and Google Pagespeed Insights.


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