Optimization - SEO and Code Architecture

An aspect most often over-looked by enthusiastic designers and developers is website and web application optimization.

This has been a fairly popular term floating around the internet for quite some time. It is most frequently referenced when talking about search engines and website traffic. Although SEO is very important, another factor that carries equal weight is code optimization, also known as architectural optimization.

Optimization and Search

In all honesty and fairness, it is very safe to say that SEO (search engine optimization) alone will not put you at the top of any search rankings. Those days are long gone. It was much easier 20 years ago to have great content littered fwith topical keywords that would pull you up in the rankings. SEO marketing has boomed and figuring out Google algorithms leads to the pot at the end of the proverbial rainbow.

That doesn't mean give up. You really cant if you expect to rank anywhere in search. Title and description tags are a great way to give search engines a heads up about your pages. Well written shareable content will always be king.

Search is also governed by site structure, or architecture. This is where you can really blaze a trail if you plan carefully during your development.

3 Reason Optimizing Code is a Plus +

There is difference between types of "code" used to build a website or application. There is the code used to structurally display content. Here, I will use "mark-up" to refer to this fundamental code.

Then there is code to add styling and bells & whistles. This code is not necessary. It is only used for effect noticable by human visitors. It will be refered to this as "style code"

Both are code and play an integral part in the display of your content. For purposes of explaining how optimizing code affects both search engines and visitors its good you have a basic understanding of how the world "code" really works.

Plus #1 - Search Engine Access

Search engines want to know what you have to say. Their sole job is to look for content to organize, categorize, and put in their search indexes. The easier you make it for them to sift through your content the more they can index.

It is not uncommon for a search bots, crawlers,and spiders to eventually leave a domain due to overwhelming amounts of mark-up. Usually, the more fancy bells & whistles created by an inept designer or a lazily put together CMS website will So it is a plus if you are able to limit the amount of code mark-up you use to display your content.

Plus #2 - Page Load affects Visitors and Search Rank

The more a browser has to translate the backend of your website or web app, the longer it will take to display to the visitor. This is as true for search engines as it is people.

When dealing with mark-up you don't have a lot of choice. If you want your project to look a certain way its better to plan it out in the development phase to shed excess mark-up.

It is always, always better to move style code to an external file. This gives the page loading time to assemble your mark-up coding before adding styles. This way before anything extra that interferes with the page load will happen once the content has been presented to the browser window.

It may seem to be trivial by just reading an explanation. If you have ever been to a page that continuously loads or takes more that 5 whole seconds to display you have experienced this. This is bad. People have very low attention spans and you truly only have about 3 seconds to capture their attention before they go for the back button.

Plus #3 - Project Maintainenace and Progress

Organization is key to maintaining a project. There isn't really any better way than making things as easy to find, read, and update for maintainence and for future development. Again, this is one reason optimizing code works so well for search.

Optimizing will speed up the process of troubleshooting, maintaining, and adding new functionality. Shedding useless mark-up will help to speed up load times and also minimize the time and cost to restructure or move things around. Moving excess style code to external files also reduces clutter. You will not have to go poking around to find what is coming from where.

Conclusion...

There is no doubt that optimizing your website or web applications code, both structurally and style wise, will benefit your project. Both search engines and visitors will appreciate it

It is much easier to start your development process by planning out what you want to do first. That way you will know exactly what you need to write or install with your CMS before you present your project to visitors and take the next step in your SEO efforts.


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