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SEO and Accessibility with Heroku

2020-08-11

Eric Chen is an engineer on Heroku's Ecosystem team. With him are Justin Abrams and Michael Rispoli, who run Cause of a Kind. Cause of a Kind helps organizations with their SEO strategy and implementation; Justin engages with the brands on a marketing level, and Michael looks after their frontend development. The goal for SEO has evolved beyond just having the right metadata appear in search results. It's also about understanding how to make better business decisions, both through marketing strategies as well as organizational and technical planning to create products that serves consumer's needs.

From the Internet's beginnings, SEO has been about helping search bots crawl sites through keywords. The thinking went that the better your metadata, the more likely your website was going to appear higher in search results. But these days, SEO is more about how users navigate sites. Justin and Michael explain how if you create a site with a user's experience in mind, the search bots and algorithms will rank you more favorably. You can use proper semantic HTML, provide accessibility through labels and aria tags, or define consistent URL routes; but you can also minimize frontend JavaScript dependencies to ensure that your page loads quickly.

Organizations are investing more in frontend experiences more than ever before, from SPAs to even providing virtual and augmented reality experiences. Michael believes that developing sites with an SEO-first mindset almost inherently leads to a better product, because your performance and accessibility improvements will be noticeable to your users, even if you're trying to get better search ranks. In the end, both marketing needs--getting people to visit your site--and frontend development concerns--making sure people can use your site--are no longer two distinct issues.

Heroku Code [ish] PodCast - SEO & Accessibility