Source code

David Kusserow

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The source code is the basis of a program or a web page. In the case of a web page, it is written in HTML format and decides whether the page is displayed correctly.

Definition

The source code is the basis of a program. Computers read this source code and convert it into text, image or function. The same principle applies on the Internet – the source codes of a website are read from the user’s terminal.

Since only with a correctly written source code the web page can be correctly displayed and read by search engines, it plays a central role in search engine optimization (SEO). The continuous optimization of the source code is a part of Technical SEO.

Source code displayed on screen.
Image credit: © Marcel – stock.adobe.com

Source codes on the Internet

For website owners, source code is an important part of creating their website. While many content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, allow non-professionals to build a functioning website, some errors can only be tracked down in the source code. Therefore, despite modern, user-friendly modular systems, basic knowledge of HTML is still important.

Some problems only really become visible in the source code and can be easily fixed there with the appropriate prior knowledge.

  • Meta information like Meta Title and Meta Description are part of the source code and can be defined exactly there.
  • Commands for search engine crawlers: The algorithms of search engines like Google are fed by so-called crawlers, which can be controlled by commands like “nofollow“.
  • Canonical tags in the source code prevent duplicate content – but can also generate an error 404.
  • ALT tags: Correctly written ALT attributes show search engines the content of image files.
  • Markups or tooltips can show wrong information

Various web analysis programs simplify the reading of the cryptic source code. Several browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome or Edge can show you, the user, the source code of a page that is otherwise hidden from you.

Why is the source code important for SEO?

Google considers a correctly written source code as an indication for a trustworthy website. This makes the source code a ranking factor in the indexing of a web page, which is relevant for the calculation of the page rank. Therefore, you can improve your result on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) by having a proper source code. This includes the fact that a lean source code crawler allows a website to be analyzed faster and the crawl budget to be better utilized.

For the user-friendliness of your website, a well-programmed source code is also important, as it makes the web pages load faster. The loading time of web pages is not only another ranking factor, but also a reason for a high bounce rate – nobody likes to wait for a long time while the page is loading.

So overall, you can remember that the simpler a source code is written, the faster crawlers can analyze the page, the better the page rank, and the more enjoyable the website is for your audience to use.

Conclusion

The source code is the programming of a website and is essential to display it properly to the user. Errors can creep in here that prevent the page from being rendered. At the same time, errors can be quickly corrected here with a little prior knowledge.

For SEO, the source code is relevant because search engines use it and its architecture as a ranking factor. Therefore, a good source code not only leads to better results in the SERPs, it also improves the user experience of the website through shorter loading times.

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