Understanding and using clean code is not just for programmers and software engineers; it’s for anyone whose business is largely online, from bloggers to e-commerce websites. If you learn to write clean code, it is guaranteed to make your job a lot easier.
Writing code ties closely to search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience (UX) best practices. Enterprise level SEO says that the way a webpage is set up with headings, links, etc., plays a huge role in your blog’s ability to climb the search engine rankings.
This is where coding comes in.
Having a clean line of code is important for SEO. To be successful, coders cannot just copy + paste over articles and insert graphics in any format. Doing so without regard for the code will create unnecessary lines, thus creating a ‘heavier’ page that loads slowly (and load time is a big SEO ranking factor).
But any programmer and HTML expert will tell you that such graceful code will take more time and effort than normal programming. This is because one needs to be meticulous when creating it, but it makes understanding and changing it in the future a breeze!
That is why all bloggers and content writers that work with HTML for SEO have to remember to keep it clean and simple.
The clean coding principles are:
- Make it simple and minimal
- Do not duplicate
- Pass all the tests and minimize the number of entities
Still a newbie at coding? Learn to write clean code with these 5 tips!
1. Use Headings Like This One
Headings are arguably the most important part of any content piece, as they stand out more and are what readers and crawlers first see when attempting to understand the content.
But not just any type of headings or indents. Instead, use H1/H2/H3 tag headings.
These organize the titles of your paragraphs by size and make it easier for search engine crawlers to understand how your content is organized, including the nature of the content, and rank you higher in their answers.
If you write your content in Google Docs, using stratified headings is easy —- simply click on the tab titled “Normal Text” and change the headings accordingly.
In Microsoft Word, the heading options will be under the “Styles” button on the Home page.
2. Use Lists and Group Ideas Semantically
You should make it easy for search engines to digest and increase your user experience (UX) and SEO, both of which are pillars for optimization. Therefore, lists of any sort or breaking the text in a way that makes semantic sense is a must.
In addition, it makes it easier for you, the author of the content, to write and organize your ideas without losing your stream of consciousness.
Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word will recognize lists using numbers, dashes and bullet points, and automatically indent your copy to create a visual break. Sites like WordPress and Wix will also do the same, but there is always a possibility that it won’t recognize a list after inserting the text.
3. Use Alt Text on Your Images
As a blogging rule of thumb, you should never insert an image on your website or your blog without writing alternative (alt) text.
There are many reasons for this, including:
- Improving SEO: By making your page easier for crawlers to digest on the backend, you boost your SEO score.
- Good for UX: If your image is not loading, the alt text will show until the image appears.
- More disability-friendly: Many screen readers and accessibility software will use alt text to give their users context.
4. Use Internal and External Links
What is linking all about?
Linking on a blog means using hyperlinks to connect your content with a different piece of content that is under a different URL. They are divided into two different kinds of links:
- Internal linking: linking to content in the same webpage.
- External linking: linking to content outside of your webpage.
Defining an internal linking strategy is hugely beneficial because:
- Establishes authority in the field that you are writing content for
- Increases a visitor’s session length
- Sets up a clear pathway for crawlers to go through
On the other hand, external linking will:
- Connect you to credible resources and good websites in the industry
- Build your reputation as a credible source in the long-run
5. Use Your Anchor Texts Wisely
It’s important to note that when linking, you should be using strategic anchor texts that complement your SEO strategy.Anchor texts and linking go hand-in-hand. However, they’re two distinct techniques for SEO and UX. While linking refers to the actual linking itself, anchor texts are the phrases that you are linking to”, says Matt Bertram, co-host of the Best SEO Podcast (a small business podcast).
You have to be strategic about the words that you are connecting to other pages. They should be long-tail keywords that people search for that match the product or service in question.
In other words, simply linking to the phrase “click here” is weak.