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What should front-end developers know about SEO practices?

Front-end developers play an important role in how well a site is optimized for search engines. Hence, it is necessary for front-end developers to know best SEO practices.

2024-03-01 by Sebastian Pikand

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What should front-end developers know about SEO practices?

Front-end developers play a crucial role in implementing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices. Although, at a superficial level, the results of front-end developers' efforts may appear to solely dictate the aesthetics and user-friendliness of a website, from a technical perspective, specific aspects of front-end development have a direct influence on the website's SEO. The following introduces these narrower areas, the understanding and implementation of which ensure that the website is optimally optimized for search engines. 

Semantic HTML

The use of semantic HTML5 tags such as <header>, <nav>, etc., helps search engines understand the structure and content of a website, improving the relevance of search results. Here are some technical recommendations:

  1. Utilize <header>, <nav>, <main>, <section>, <article>, <aside>, and <footer> elements according to their meanings to describe the page's structure clearly and legibly. For instance, <header> may contain the site's title and navigation, <footer> can include footer information, <nav> may encompass navigation links, and so on.

  2. Employ <em> and <strong> elements to emphasize important words or phrases. <em> marks text for emphasis, while <strong> highlights text strongly, aiding search engines in understanding the significance of keywords.

  3. Use the <a> element for links and add descriptive texts to them. This helps search engines comprehend the destinations of links and enhances the user experience.

Responsive design and mobile first approach

The website must be well usable on every device – be it a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone – to ensure a user-friendly website on every platform. Search engines, including Google, prioritize the primary indexing of the mobile view. This means that Google first looks at the mobile version of the page to determine its content and relevance for users' mobile devices. This change took effect in 2018. The reason behind this is that an increasing number of people use mobile devices to search for information. It is good to use CSS media queries to customize styles according to different screen widths and heights, see the figure 1 below:

Figure 1. CSS media queries

Page speed optimization

Search engines favor fast-loading pages, and users also appreciate them. To improve loading times, methods such as image optimization, minimizing CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, utilizing browser caching, and using content delivery networks (CDNs) are employed.

URL structure

Search engines index URLs to understand the content and hierarchy of a webpage. A clear and structured URL helps search engines comprehend the topic and associate it with relevant search queries. People are also more inclined to click on links with clear and understandable URLs, which, in turn, can impact the click-through rate (CTR) in search results.

Meta tags

Meta tags, such as title tags and meta descriptions, provide essential information to search engines and users about the content of a webpage before visiting it. Properly used meta tags help elevate a site in Google's search results. Additionally, the correct utilization of meta tags ensures that they are customized for various screen sizes, which is crucial for mobile devices.

Headline tags

The use of heading tags H1, H2, H3, etc., creates a content hierarchy and makes it more understandable to search engines. This is crucial not only for search engines but also for readers. Additionally, using heading tags allows for the emphasis of important keywords related to the page's topic, which people may use when searching for information on Google. A properly defined heading tag provides search engines with a hint about the main theme of the page and helps them index it more effectively. An interesting and compelling heading tag can increase the click-through rate of the page.

Image optimization

From an SEO perspective, considerations for images include:

  • alt tag;

  • file name;

  • image dimensions;

  • file format.

Alt tag

The alt tag, a brief descriptive text outlining an image, helps search bots better understand the content of the image since they cannot see images in the same way humans do. A good practice is to use the alt attribute on <img> elements to add concise and descriptive text as an alternative for images in case they fail to load for the user, providing users with an idea of what the image represents.

File name

File name should be concise and, similar to the alt tag, describe the content of the image or convey information related to the image – this also helps bots to understand the content.

Image dimensions

Reducing the dimensions of an image without compromising its quality positively impacts page speed.

File format

The file format also affects page speed; for example, it is recommended to convert images with .png or .jpg extensions to the WebP format, developed by Google, which allows images to be displayed with smaller file sizes than other formats.

Open Graph Image

The Open Graph Image is associated with the Open Graph Protocol (OGP) – a set of meta tags that can be added to websites to control how they appear on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. These tags provide structured data that helps platforms understand the page's content and display it in a visually appealing manner. For example, if a user shares an article on their Facebook account, using the Open Graph Image will display an accompanying image with the article, making it more visually appealing and attention-grabbing. Refer to figure 2 below for clarification:

Figure 2. Open Graph Image. Source:

When linked content is shared on social media with an attractive image, it increases the likelihood that users will click on the link and visit the website. This boosts traffic and can positively impact SEO results.

Structured data

Structured data in the context of SEO refers to a specific type of code markup that can be added to a website to help search engines better understand its content. This can be implemented using specific markup languages such as JSON-LD, RDFa, or Microdata. Developers find support in – a collaborative project initiated by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex, aiming to provide standardized markup schemes for structured data.

Internal links

Internal links, which connect different pages within the same domain, determine how effective the exchange of information is between a website and a search engine. Search bots discover significant content through these links, which they later utilize in ranking search results. Additionally, connections are established between different pages through links, which is crucial for organic visibility. It is beneficial to use important keywords in internal links.

Proper implementation of JavaScript

Excessive or incorrect use of JavaScript can hinder search engines from indexing the site. Historically, Google's indexer has primarily focused on HTML content, and understanding JavaScript has been challenging in the broader context. In recent years, search bots have made progress in their ability to understand JavaScript, but it is still advisable to ensure that the site functions even when JavaScript is disabled. Read more in the article “Can Google see the content of my website?”.


From an SEO perspective, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are crucial security factors. SSL ensures encrypted data transmission between the website and the user. This is particularly important when the website collects personal information, such as payment details or user account-related information. Sites without an SSL certificate generally receive lower rankings because Google highly values security. Search engines also prefer sites using HTTPS over HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), as the latter is insecure. HTTPS encrypts data transmission between the website and the user. This means that when a user enters personal information on the website, the data is encrypted and protected from third parties. In the case of HTTP, data is transmitted openly and is easier to intercept.


It is important that the website is user-friendly for everyone, including people with disabilities. This not only improves user experience but also positively impacts SEO. Ensuring accessibility involves proper use of ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and providing navigation options for screen readers. By enhancing accessibility, websites can become more inclusive and reach a broader audience.

Content quality

While generating high-quality content may not be an intrinsic component of front-end development, having well-crafted and relevant content is crucial for SEO. Collaboration with a content writer is necessary to ensure well-structured content that incorporates the right keywords in appropriate amounts.

A good front-end developer understands SEO practices

In essence, one can argue that creating the structure of a website's content, ensuring security, and other crucial aspects related to SEO depend on the work of a front-end developer. Therefore, it is important for front-end developers to implement best SEO practices to ensure that the website ranks as high as possible in the search results.

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