What is SEO and why is it so important?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the quantity and quality of traffic to a website through organic search engine results. This pillar to digital marketing is the culmination of efforts across content, media, keywords, meta-data, and more.
A solid SEO strategy will support the overall growth of a business through increased awareness and proper targeting. As marketing professionals, we are all vying for the top spot on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), but there are many factors that contribute to great ranking and placement. SEO helps to create this digital navigation path between search and result.
SEO also aids in providing the best possible landing experience for a site visitor, giving them a transparent experience on what they should expect to find on the website destination they have selected. There is nothing worse than thinking that you are going to visit a page demonstrating the best possible modern tech stack CMS (we like to think we're an ideal result for that search), only to find that you land on a page walking you through a wholly different topic, such as how to organize a blog post. By putting the effort behind SEO at the page level, ultimately, visitors will more often enjoy the experience, stay longer, and hopefully convert their onsite actions into your desired behavior. All the while, search engines will reward your work by recognizing the efforts of providing transparency in your search and content.
The Connection between SEO and Accessibility
In balance with providing relevant and transparent content to users for brand awareness and supporting site traffic, many of the same principles apply to web accessibility best practices. Content is optimized for both web accessibility (a11y) and SEO by considering structure, formatting, clear navigation paths, descriptive helpers, and more.
There is an extensive list of accessibility and SEO practices that are closely in alignment and that can be found on WebAIM, but a few standard practices listed there include:
- Using proper alternative text for images
- Providing a clear and proper heading structure and avoiding empty headings
- Providing descriptive link text (i.e., avoiding “click here”)
- Ensuring page titles are descriptive, yet succinct
- Using standard web formats when possible
- Providing useful links to related and relevant resources
- Presenting a clear and consistent navigation and page structure
- Defining abbreviations and acronyms
Apostrophe's New SEO Module
At Apostrophe, we continually seek opportunities to improve the functionality and general joy of using Apostrophe. This may come in the form of bug fixes, iterations upon earlier releases, or the release of an entirely new version (looking at you A3!). We may also be met with the opportunity to make such advancements in partnership with our open source community or our clients. In the case of our newly released SEO module, the ability to add this enhancement was made possible through our partnership with the team at Michelin, an Apostrophe advocate and long-term supporter.
The resulting collaboration resulted in the following feature set:
- Enhanced standard SEO module feature set to include additional page-level options and guidance, with a focus on helpers and checkers that encourage best practices related to features such as; meta descriptions, meta titles, image alternative text, and content structure
- The introduction of previews and checks to OpenGraph data to improve editing experience related to Google and social snippets
- Provided page-level feedback on SEO based on a focus keyword so users can improve content directly in the editing experience
How to set up the SEO module for an Apostrophe site
The SEO module is freely available on Github, where you can read through the documentation to learn more. If you are currently working in an Apostrophe 2 site, the installation of the SEO module is direct and simple. If you are forging ahead with an Apostrophe 3 site, then you will have to wait just a little longer for the module to be compatible. For this and more of what is planned for A3, visit our roadmap and even consider making a submission of what you would like to see next.