Bill Hartzer

I Spoke About SEO To a Room Full of Developers

On Friday, September 26, 2014, I spoke too a standing-room-only crowd of developers at the Little Rock Tech Fest, in Little Rock Arkansas. My session was titled “SEO for Web Developers”. What was interesting to me was the fact that the session was packed: it was truly standing-room-only. I kind of expected an SEO session to be popular, but not that popular. What’s even more interesting, though, were the questions asked during the session.

Here’s the overview of the session:

SEO For Web Developers

As web developers, we know that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important when building a website. But what parts of SEO is important, and what parts of on-site SEO can be ignored? In this panel, we’ll discuss search engine friendly websites, building sites with ‘responsive design’ and migrating sites from old an older CMS to WordPress.

The focus will be primarily on on-site search engine optimization, and making websites are search engine friendly. We’ll also discuss how to perform a search engine optimization audit of your own website, using several widely available tools. Some of the tools discussed will be website crawlers (you can crawl your own website and check for errors and common SEO problems) and using the data provided in Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools.

After my session, one of the attendees took me aside and told me this:

Your session was the most important session of the day. I’m really glad you came to gave your talk.

Another interesting question:
“What’s the single most common mistake that developers make when it comes to SEO.”

To which I replied: “Typically it’s issues with Title Tags and Meta Data, such as having duplicate title tags, not having unique tags, or issues with duplicate content.” Okay, that was maybe a few mistakes–but then it comes to easily fixable, important mistakes, Title Tags and meta data (meta description tags, heading tags, image alt attributes, etc.) that’s where I see where developers make mistakes that are important.

Other questions from the audience:
How much text on a page is too much text?
What do you think of pages that are really, really long? Sites that are essentially one long page?

Here are some of my own takeaways from presenting this session:
— SEO is still extremely popular, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
— There are still a lot of developers who know absolutely nothing about SEO. And that’s fine–it’s not in their job description, but they do want to learn about it.
— Site migration issues and SEO was a hot topic.
— Developers overall were not too concerned about Google’s algorithm updates.
— Developers wanted to know about what I would call really basic SEO issues: such as optimizing a page, optimizing a title tag, and making sure the site is search engine friendly.
— It was interesting to note that I got the feeling that developers don’t really know the phrase “responsive design”. They know how to do it, and can do it, but it’s not really in their vocabulary so to speak.

I’d like to thank Daniel Pollock, who is a Senior Software Developer at Arkansas.gov, and who ran Little Rock Tech Fest. Thanks for inviting me to speak, Daniel. Apparently there were 356 total registered attendees, which is about double what it was last year.

Here’s a copy of my presentation:

If you’re interested, here’s the video of the presentation:

https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/seo-web-developers/

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