As a client, you have probably given your web designer a lot of input regarding what your website should look like. You are likely to know something about Search Engine Optimisation and the importance of inserting just the right amount of keywords into your text to be ranked well by search engines. That’s good, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, as most clients never get to see exactly how much work needs to happen behind the scenes for a website to be successful.
Why good web page code matters
It is going to get a little technical, but don’t be scared!
Having the right density of keywords is only one aspect of SEO, which in itself is a many-faceted beast that requires a range of techniques working together. Some meta tags, in the very coding structure of the website, carry some of the optimisation, other tags that occur throughout the site, such as those accompanying image files and hyperlinks, play an important role too. But above all, the validity of the code itself is crucial.
Google values up-to-date, valid code for very good reasons: each browser, i.e. Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc… interprets code slightly differently. No website will ever look exactly the same on all browsers, but valid code will minimise the risk of wild interpretation with disastrous consequences.
So if your website was built a few years ago and the layout was designed using tables rather than CSS divisions, if it uses “deprecated”, i.e. abandoned, tags, you might want to give your web designer a ring to get that sorted! Not only might your website not render properly in more recent versions of browsers, but it might be snubbed by web crawlers, no matter how much SEO you do!
Valid code also means that your website is accessible, i.e. that people with disabilities will be able to use all its functionalities, and that is highly valued by web spiders, not least of all because an accessible website is a worldwide legal requirement.
CMS can be very useful, but they come with a health warning
Content Management Systems or CMS are very convenient, as they allow clients to update their own websites without having to continuously go back to their designer. Landing pages for A/B testing can be set up quickly and easily, and meta data, headings, etc, can be edited at will to refine their SEO strategy and PPC campaigns, as well as test their conversion rates, giving clients great flexibility.
However, like any software, they are not always up-to-date with the most current code, and when that is the case, they can hinder your SEO efforts, as well as cause your website to render incorrectly in certain browsers and mobile devices. So when opting for a CMS, make sure you find out more about it from your web designer and that they will rectify the code as needed to make it compliant with the latest standards.