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      SEO Recommended Best Practices

      This guide is focused on the recommended best practices for SEO by Mobify. Go over to the SEO developer guide to see examples of what we provide for developers regarding SEO optimization with our PWAs.

      Metadata and Meta Tags

      Meta tags are snippets of text information which describe a page. This information isn’t actually displayed on the page itself, but lives within the code of the specified page, usually within the head of the page. Meta tags are a great easy way to boost your SEO. If there was only one thing you could do for SEO, meta tags should be at the top of the list. However, there are a ton of meta tags available, and not all of them help boost SEO.

      The most important meta tags identified for SEO are:

      • Meta content type*
        • This tag is to set your character set for the page, and ideally would be set for every single page. By not setting this, you run the risk of the browser potentially rendering the page in an unexpected manner. An example of a meta content type tag would look like <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>.
      • Title*
        • Title tags should be uniquely set for every page, and should describe what the page is about. Typically, they should follow this format: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand Name. Moz provides even more detail on meta title tags for those interested.
      • Meta description*
        • The meta description tag is used in Search Engine Result Pages to describe to searchers what your page is about. While this specific tag doesn’t actually directly influence SEO, it does affect click through rates on your pages in Search Engine Result Pages. To get more in depth with meta descriptions, Moz offers deeper thoughts on the meta description tag.
      • Header Tags
        • Historically, header tags, specifically <h1> tags, have been very influential and important for SEO purposes. These <h1> tags are like subject lines in web pages, they should be descriptive of what the theme of the page is. <h1> tags should also be restricted to 1 per page as to not confuse search engines what the theme is. They should also align with the content of the page, and be easy to read, and not too long in length (no more than 70 characters). Use keywords if they make sense.
      • Viewport
        • Viewports control how webpages are displayed on mobile. Not specifying this runs the risk of potentially having a poor mobile experience. Learn more about viewports via Google.

      *Important: The Meta content type tag, Title tag, and Meta description tag should all be placed above the Mobify tag. This is to help improve SEO performance with Google's new mobile first indexing. Having these tags above the Mobify tag ensures that the Google Bot can still access them no matter if the PWA modifys the page.

      It’s recommended to provide metadata for all the mentioned meta tags above. To see how you can do this with our platform for PWAs, refer to our SEO developer guide.

      Duplicate Content

      Having duplicate content across pages is detrimental to SEO. This includes metadata as well. If duplicate content is necessary for a specific reason, use the robots meta tag to specify search engine crawlers to not index that specific page (<meta name="robots" content="noindex">). Alternatives to this include using the rel=”canonical” attribute on links which will tell search engines to treat the given page as a copy of the URL specified.

      See the section on Canonical URLs below for more info.

      Image Alt Text

      Properly supplying additional information on all images in the form of alt text on your image can also help contribute to SEO. Follow these practices for good alt text:

      • The alt text should describe the image as specific as possible. It should convey to users what the meaning or value of the image is
      • Alt text should be relatively short.
      • Use keywords if possible and if it makes sense
      • Don’t go overboard on keywords. Google has historically been against abusing keywords

      Example: <img src="pupdanceparty.gif" alt="Puppies dancing">

      Structured Data

      By Google's definition:

      Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.

      By providing structured data on pages, search engines will be able to crawl through these pages and actually understand it and decipher meaningful information from it. When search engines are able to properly decipher this information, rich snippets will be shown in search engine results pages. For example, take a look at what a product details page would look like with structured data versus without:

      Structured Data
      Example of structured data showing additional details like price and reviews on search engine result pages

      Unstructured Data Example of unstructured data only showing the meta description and title on search engine result pages

      Search engines are able to display much information and enhance what pages look like on search engine result pages through structured data. There are multiple formats to implement structured data in. The three that are most commonly used are JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa. There is no current answer as to which format is the best and should be universally adopted and used. JSON-LD is still relatively new and still remains unsupported by Bing, and RDFa is a more complex than Microdata to properly structure within markup. Mobify will be recommending and structuring data via the Microdata format.

      There are several different content types you’ll be able to mark up with structured data. http://schema.org/ is a collaborative community activity founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Yandex which create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data, and you’ll be able to find schemas of content types to mark up with structured data.

      Mobify implements the Breadcrumb schema out of the box with our SDK component and PWAs:

      Mobify strongly recommends implementing the Product schema for product related containers (such as product lists & product details):

      Google also provides more example implementations and guidelines for structured data of both Product and Breadcrumbs

      You can find a full list of all defined schemes at schema.org.

      To maximize the chances of users actually clicking on your page on search engine result pages, we recommend providing structured data wherever possible.

      You can verify any markup utilizing structured data through Google's own Structured Data testing tool

      To verify what structured data has actually been indexed and to identify errors with structured data, you can use the Google Search Console tool. You can see these errors within the tool by navigating within the tool to your website → Search Appearance → Structured Data/Rich Cards

      To see how you would implement structured data on PWAs through our platform, see the section on structured data in our SEO developer guide.

      Google Search Console list of identified structured data Google Search Console page listing out all identified structured data used in the site

      Clicking into a structured data type, and viewing all pages with the specified strucured data Google Search Console page listing out all pages with the clicked structured data type

      Redirects

      Redirects on sites can affect SEO in a variety of ways. To ensure you’re not negatively impacting SEO with redirects, these are a few things to do to prevent this:

      • Ensure there are no redirect chains
      • Ensure any internal linking doesn’t point to URLs that redirect
      • Remove any unnecessary 301 redirects
      • Remove any canonical tags that have a 301 redirect

      Moz goes a bit more in depth on these items for those looking for more detail.

      URLs

      While not proven to be a major ranking factor, URLs still have a minor impact on search engine rankings. There are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure you’re getting the most out of your URLs.

      • URLs should be simple, relevant, compelling, and accurate. Use words that people can understand
      • URLs should be structured so that users will have a good idea of what the page is about just from reading the URL
      • Using keywords within your URL can give a minor boost, but keyword effectiveness also decreases as URL length and keyword position increases
      • Use lowercase letters to avoid issues with duplicate pages
      • Use hyphens to separate words

      You can read more into how URLs affect SEO through Moz.

      Canonical URLs

      For ecommerce sites, it’s not uncommon for something like product pages to have dynamic URLs as a result of product variations (color, size, etc), or search result pages with faceted filters. For use cases like these, it’s recommended to use Canonical URLs to ensure SEO doesn’t drop due to crawlers indexing all dynamic URLs which will have almost the same content.

      You can use canonical URLs by adding a link element with the rel property set

      An example of this in action:

      Let’s say we have a search results page for women's accessories, and there was a filter applied to it which changed the URL:

      http://www.payless.com/accessories/womens/?prefn1=color&prefv1=Ivory

      To use a canonical URL, just add the following link element to the page: <link rel="canonical" href="/accessories/womens/" />

      For more information on canonical links, Google provides great documentation on them.

      Recommended Tools and Monitoring Best Practices

      Monitoring SEO:

      Analyzing SEO:

      Recommended References

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