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Some programming considerations to improve SEO.

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To improve SEO, I will suggest you to use a CMS or framework rather than adopting a custom approach, when developing a website. The reason for this is that a lot of considerations regarding the SEO have already been taken into account while programming a CMS. Among these CMS, those which are performing well on search engines are Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal etc.

   Now coming to the point that which 5 things are most important from a programming point of view are,

        Site loading speed.
        Onpage CSS and Javascript
        Etags
        Concept of Cache
        A properly configured .htaccess file
        Coding according to W3C recommendations
        Programming URLs and meta tags dynamic 
        Proper Site Map

Site Loading Speed:            

                    The first one and major factor for onsite optimization, on the programming side is, increasing site loading speed. There are huge number of things that could be considered for decreasing loading time of site, but I will discuss the most important here.
                    
              Choose best hosting services.    Estimate the amount of traffic your site could get and buy web hosting according to it. Keep in mind the bandwidth they are offering. 
                    
                  Some key elements to improve site loading speed are: Use gzip compression, Avoid parallel queries, Improve your site code, Using CSS Sprites, Minify CSS and JS, Using page speed testing tools

On page CSS and Javascript.        

                      Try to use the onpage CSS and Javascript as much less as possible. The same thing implies to inline CSS and Javascript. The major problem they make is, definitely, increasing the page weight. The more the onpage CSS and Javascript there would be, more will the hardship be faced by the search engine crawler to crawl your page. When the crawler will not happy, your page will loose importance in its eyes. Such sort of code is also difficult to edit. If you must have to declare js on the page, always write the code on the bottom of the page.                 

Configuring ETags                                                      

        Etags are normally used to decrease the payload size. This means that Entity tags (ETags) are a mechanism that web servers and browsers use to determine whether the component in the browser's cache matches the one on the origin server.            

Concept of Cache:       

                Web caching is used to reduce the web traffic and thus also reduces the use of bandwidth. Cache normally saves the copies of html files and images and exist between the server and a client, requesting the web page. Cache could be implemented through php but the best way is to implement it through .htaccess file. The only condition for .htaccess way is that, mod_expire should have been installed on your web server.
                
                You can get most detailed tutorial on cache concept on http://www.mnot.net/cache_docs

A properly configured .htaccess file        

      With the help of htaccess file, the default configuration of apache web server could be over written, plus it can do lot more than this. This file is normally placed in the web root and effects all the sub folders. But when you place it in a sub folder and main root folder also has an htaccess file, then the main htaccess file will be over written for that specific sub folder. 
      
      Now, when this file is properly configured, it definitely has a good impact on improving SEO. You can make your urls SEO friendly, can configure ETags, apply cache, url redirect, creating pages for 404 and 500 errors and diverging url to these pages and a lot more benefits you can gain with it, in terms of SEO. This file could be edited easily using a normal notepad. Following is the best and comprehensive tutorial regarding .htaccess file.
      http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/howto/htaccess.html

Coding according to W3C recommendations               

          If you are a web developer, you might have heared W3C. It stands for the World Wide Web Consortium. When you code according to the recommendations of W3C, chances are that this would also have an impact on improvement of SEO, as it increases accessibility and have a direct or indirect impact on decreasing bounce rate.  
                
                Please refer to http://www.w3.org for having more information about the coding standards.               

Programming URLs SEO friendly and meta tags dynamic

               When you are doing frontend development, always program the urls and meta tags / titles dynamic. i.e, they should change according to the pages of the site. Search engines give very much importance to the pages, having keyword appearing in the url of that particular page. URLs having query string, "?", are highly discouraged by the search engines.    So, always use alias in the urls, rather than ids. The same thing applies to meta tags. like keywords and description. They should also be dynamic and need to be changed page by page.                

Proper Site Map                       

                     Proper sitemap is also necessary for the proper indexing of all the pages of the site. It is an xml file which is put in main root directory of the site, telling search engines about all the pages which that particular site has and which could not be discovered otherwise by the search engines. It also gives additional information regarding the content of the site and thus increases visibility.

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