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Should You Learn Code For SEO?

SEO as a whole has drastically changed in the past couple of years. The usage of many new front-end development techniques and...

Code For SEO

SEO as a whole has drastically changed in the past couple of years. The usage of many new front-end development techniques and coding implementations have moved the whole industry towards a far more technical approach, rather than a content-based one. The evolution of SEO as a whole will be heavily targeting front-end development in the nearest future, therefore let’s try and answer the nowadays popular question: “should you learn code for SEO?” Learning the code means you can easily do things by viewing the source code of any website.

How Development Is impacting SEO in 2019?

To answer the above question, it’s firstly very important to understand how front-end development is impacting SEO in 2019. It’s no secret that every SEO specialist should know at least HTML deeply, given how headings’ separation and proper usage is vital to let crawlers better understand what’s on your site’s page. Headings and meta tags aren’t, although, the sole usage of HTML in regards to SEO: from redirects to embedding, HTML is still a vital programming language for every SEO person in 2019. Followed by HTML, Javascript in its basic essence is another must learn: although being recently updated, Googlebot is still struggling with rendering content that is placed in scripts, the reason why an SEO expert should learn and know how to operate and optimize JS.

Schema And Rich Results

Another instance of coding examples would be related to the usage of Schema markups for the creation of rich results on SERP. Schema has become quite a big and recurring part of almost every SEO planning strategy of 2019. Being made in JSON-LD, mostly, it’s very important to understand and learn how the language operates and how to properly write the markup itself, instead of simply copying and pasting it from another site. Luckily, Google offers a very powerful IDE (Internal Development Environment) called “Structured Data Testing Tool“, which lets you check your markup before actually putting it on the site you’re working on. The schema could also be used via Microdata, which is simply an HTML-based language that is connected to specific bits of the page’s content.

Sitemaps and Backend Basics

Although extremely more complex than normal front-end development, backend development-related bits are extremely impactful on SEO. Things like sitemaps and being able to monitor your site’s performance properly via Analytics are vital for the success of your SEO strategy. Your site’s hosting and its DNS lookups are also two very important parts for the success of a well-optimized site and they have been looked after a lot in the past couple of years, within the whole SEO industry. There have also been a lot of new tools launched on this very matter, with dozens of “simplified” plans for the non-coding savvy people. With this being said, there are no excuses for you not to look into this very matter.

“Exploiting” The Algorithm

Many are the ones who keep on relying on the old mantra “content is king” but, in reality, the content has never been less relevant when it comes to SEO. In fact, once keywords to text are optimized and once everything has been done properly, the content will merely become a “container” to be crawled by the algorithm. At this stage of development in SEO, in fact, what really matters is related to understanding how the algorithm operates, what are the decisive parts and, most importantly, how your site could be set up to be better perceived. It’s no secret that technical SEO has become one of the most looked after branches in this digital marketing field and, given its relatively quick results, we can expect it to grow even more.

Is SEO Becoming A “Developer” Job?

It is indeed. The entire “content marketing” part has definitely reached its lowest point in history (RIP). In today’s era, every small piece of content is working closely with different parts of the site, ranging from UX to native applications. Product descriptions which were long and made with the sole purpose of stuffing keywords for better rankings are no more in 2019 and, in general, everything relies on finding quick fixes which are easily and rapidly guaranteeing results in optimization for those pages which are either unreachable from crawlers or just badly performing in terms of speed. Being able to identify which bits are badly performing from a coding perspective is mandatory in 2019 and will definitely become even more important during the following years.

Target What’s Needed

It’s important not to learn code just for the sake of it, but heavily target the needed sectors in order to quickly understand what needs to be fixed instead of just browsing for solutions via Github. To be more precise, there’s no need for you to learn every single Javascript library, but understand how JS hierarchy works and how to optimize scripts for a better crawl budget is indeed mandatory. There are also a lot of new, simplified libraries like next.js which are made to improve and speed up complex processes like server-side rendering, which are definitely worth checking if you want to approach the world of backend development applied to SEO and digital marketing/UX.

Where To Find Guides/Information?

When approaching technical SEO as a whole, it may look like a wild beast, which ranges from pure coding and front end/backend development to digital marketing (because the need for keyword optimization is still there). To overcome these initial doubts and fears, as said above, targeted knowledge (on how to operate specific bits of the languages mentioned in the first paragraph) is essential for quick applications of your technical SEO strategy. Places like GitHub and Reddit are an endless source of knowledge for front-end development, coding, and more. By simply searching for “SEO” on GitHub, you will be able to find things ranging from server-side rendering procedures to Python-coded keyword tracking tools.

Understanding Your Tools The usage of coding scenarios as said just above this paragraph has been extremely used in the recent past to reduce the usage of (sometimes expensive) tools. Examples like Semalt, which are charging companies thousands of pounds every year for a membership, could easily be coded via Javascript, R, or Python, and there are plenty of independent architectures available on GitHub. A backend knowledge targeted on objectification will, in fact, be enough for you to understand all those massively used tools like SEMrush, Majestic, and the Mozbar, just to list a few.

Code For SEO

To Conclude

In 2019, given how the SEO industry is quickly moving towards technical implementations of code, it’s important to stay up to date with future updates and experimental implementations, given how quickly the algorithm changes. With daily soft updates, in fact, every small experiment done directly on the coding side of your client’s site will become extremely important, in case the algorithm will pick it. In general, to answer the initial question: yes. Learn front-end code and backend architectural problems, because it is a massive priority in today’s SEO industry.

Written by Paul Matthews
Paul Matthews is a Manchester-based business and tech writer who writes in order to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business. You can usually find him at the local library or browsing Forbes' latest pieces. He’s currently working closely with the fintech division of Uk Bridging Loans.

6 Replies to “Should You Learn Code For SEO?”

  1. Hi Paul Matthews,
    This article is really amazing. Thank you for sharing this Article.

  2. Thanks for your sharing Article. I am a beginner SEO student. I have read this article. Here has clearly explained SEO code writing. Really, it’s very helpful for the new Blogger. Thank You!!!

  3. Hi Robin,
    Good to read Paul’s guest post on a vital subject on your blog.
    It is really good to know that it is a must to know HTML code to all SEO specialists.
    Thanks, Paul for telling about the various aspects of having knowledge about HTML code.
    I am sure that will surely help in the long run to an SEO expert.
    Keep sharing.
    Best Regards.
    ~ Philip

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