OnlineIdea | What is website code optimisation?
Marketing performance monitoring
What is website code optimisation?

In an obvious opening statement, brand recognition and growth depends quite naturally on the number of visitors to the website. Optimising a website's code increases visibility in search results, thereby increasing its reach to potential customers and increasing its ability to generate profit. The source code must be of good quality so that the website displays correctly on different devices. Due to Google's constantly changing algorithms, it can be difficult to optimise a website's code for this search engine. It is therefore necessary to improve the original version of the code and update it under Google's rules so that the website does not stand in the way of good SEO. Regardless of whether you outsource the optimization of your website to an agency or undertake the task yourself, it is worth knowing what the process looks like and what it involves, as well as which tools to use.

On-page code optimisation and its goals
Website code optimisation is primarily concerned with adjusting the source code of a website. The HTML code must be correctly adapted so that the indexing robots understand the content of the website and thus increase the visibility of the site. Its optimisation is is also necessary in order to:

  • Make the website load faster - if the loading time of the page is too long, check the volume of the code, the weight of the graphics and other elements that may affect this.
  • Make it easier for search engines to index the website - to this end, the hierarchy of HTML headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.), hyperlinks or metatags (i.e. tags that hold useful data about the website) should be taken into account.
  • Make the website compliant with W3C standards - this ensures that websites are accessible to all users and display correctly.

Elements to implement
In order for a website to display correctly and function as intended, several elements are necessary. The most important of these are outlined below:

  • Title tag - is one of the key elements on a website. It tells users and Google bots what content can be found on a particular website. The title tag appears primarily in search results, where it is the largest clickable element leading to a page. The tag should be around 55-60 characters long and contain keywords. It is a good idea to create it in such a way that the most important information is at the beginning.

Title tag in the browser tab:

Title tag in the browser tab

Title tag in the list of search results:

Title tag in the list of search results

  • Meta description - the text that appears in the search results under the URL. It is not visible on the page, but is worth updating in the site page as it affects the display order. Its length should be 150-161 characters so that it displays in full. It is best to set a separate meta description for each sub-page on your site - this allows for additional promotion in search results and draws users' attention.
  • Optimise headings - headings describe the content of the page and should be an incentive for the user to read the content. They have 6 levels (H1-H6), but the first one should only be used once - it must be unique and factual. It is useful to include keywords in the headings, but not in an obtrusive way - they should be natural and relevant to the content. The H1 heading is the most important, as it is the one that is supposed to interest the internet user and encourage them to read the page. When constructing it, it is worth paying attention to a few things:
    • use only one H1 header for each page - a larger number may confuse search engines and weaken the effect of a single header with relevant keywords,
    • it is a good idea to use an appropriate header length - optimally it should be between 20 and 70 characters,
    • the H1 is an important visual element of the page, so make it stand out properly - a prominent and interesting headline will make the user want to read the content.
  • Page pagination – is used in the case of long articles, some online stores or online forums when some parts of the content is displayed on another page. This procedure speeds up the operation of the website and makes it easier for users to navigate it.
  • Internal links and anchors – consists of placing links on the website that lead to another subpage on a given website. A single link (hyperlink) consists of an anchor and an address placed as the value of the href attribute in the HTML tag. The anchor is the text that the user clicks to go to another place - it connects two different locations. Thus, it allows algorithms to understand the content of the entire website, and users - to make it easier for users to reach the content by clicking on a link.
  • Alt attribute - this is a description of the image that appears when the user cannot view it. When creating its content, words should be chosen in such a way that they can be used to illustrate to another person what the given graphic represents. The tag also defines how Google bots find out what content is presented in the image.
  • Avoiding duplicate content - ensuring that each subpage has unique content and does not contain duplicate content from another page.
  • URL structure - it is a good idea to keep URLs short - this makes them easier to share, and they are less likely to be cut off or distorted when copied. It is also important to set up a 301 redirect, which means that the URL has been moved to another location - the server will then direct the user to the new address without displaying a 404 error.
  • Responsive web design - a website should be designed so that its layout adapts to the size of the browser window. This means that it must be responsive and functional regardless of the type of device (e.g. smartphones or tablets). However, it is worth remembering that the mobile website should contain the same content as the desktop version.

A helpful tool from Google - PageSpeed Insights
The loading speed of a website is one of the most important factors in whether a user stays or leaves the site. Waiting too long for a page to load results in a person not waiting for the page to open, instead opting to find another site. To check the load time of a website, it is a good idea to use PageSpeed Insights, a free tool from Google. Once on the site, simply paste in the URL to run a speed test. Once the analysis is done, the system generates a report that is divided into two sections - page performance for mobile and desktop devices. The test score is determined on a scale of 1 to 100, with:

  • 1-49 points - unacceptable state
  • 50-89 points - intermediate state, requiring improvement
  • 90-100 points - good state, considered by Google as positive and sufficient for efficient and fast website operation

PageSpeed Insights analysis verifies the performance of websites based on 4 main parameters:

  • First Input Delay (FID) - this indicator examines what is known as interactivity, i.e. it measures the time that must elapse between the visitor performing an action and receiving a response.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - indicates the point at which the largest piece of content on the site loads. Large content includes graphics, video files or large blocks of text.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - indicates the point at which the individual layouts have stabilised on the page, i.e. there are no shifts in content, images etc.

The tool also presents tips to use to improve page loading times. A good test result is very important, as the performance and loading speed of a website are taken into account when determining a page's position in a search engine.

Optimisation of HTML code should be a systematic exercise - search engine guidelines change very frequently, which can cause some sites to drop in the search listings. Constant monitoring of changes in algorithms and implementation of modern solutions are the keys to maintaining a high search engine position, and thus - gaining potential customers and improving company profits.

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