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SEO-related mistakes which back-end web developers often make

SEO-related mistakes which back-end web developers often make

In this article I've compiled the common mistakes that back-end developers often make, and provide some solutions that you can take to fix them.

SEO is a complicated field, with numerous factors to take into account when building a website. As a back-end web developer, you may not have the level of expertise required when it comes to SEO - but this blog post can help! 

Hi readers, I'm Jack Pham. In this article I've compiled the common mistakes that back-end developers often make, and provide some solutions that you can take to fix them.

1. Unfriendly URL structure

Unfriendly URL structure

One of the most common SEO mistakes that back-end web developers make is an unfriendly URL structure. This can be a major issue because it can make it difficult for search engines to properly index and crawl your website. Below are examples of unfriendly URL structure:


An unfriendly URL structure can also make it difficult for users to navigate your website. If your URLs are not user-friendly, then users may have a hard time finding the content they are looking for. This can lead to a high bounce rate, which is bad for both your SEO and your overall website performance.

To avoid these issues, it is important to make your URL structure be friendly. A friendly URL should be built with slug form. For examples:


There are some ways that you can make your site URL structure become friendly:

- Using .htaccess to replace unfriendly parameter
- Consider using MVC framework
- Consider using Wordpress

2. Long server response time

Long server response time

One of the most common SEO-related mistakes that back-end web developers make is having a long server response time. This can have a serious impact on your website's search engine rankings, as well as its overall user experience. If users have to wait too long for your website to load, they may simply give up and go elsewhere. This can result in lost traffic and potential customers.

Therefore, it's essential to make sure that your website has a fast server response time in order to avoid these negative consequences.

As standard, your server response time should not be more than 300ms (milliseconds).

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a long server response time, such as using inefficient code, not caching data, or making too many database queries. In this case, you should optimize your back-end code to improve the response time.

Sometimes, long server response time happens when your hosting/server is overloaded. In this case, consider updrading your hosting plan or your server hardware. If you are the admin of your server, you can also try turn off uneccessary services, applications to free up resources (CPU, RAM).

In another cases, your DNS provider (for example: Cloudflare) cause servere delays in server response time. Then, you should contact them, updrage your plan or select another provider to get better performance.

3. No custom 404-error or 500-error page

No custom 404-error or 500-error page

When a website's backend is not configured properly, it can lead to error pages being displayed to users instead of the intended content. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but is often due to incorrect settings or missing code.

One common error is the "404 page not found" error, which occurs when a user tries to access a page that doesn't exist on the server. Another is the "500 internal server error", which means there was an issue with the server itself and not the user's request.

Both of these errors can be frustrating for users, and can cause them to leave the site entirely. This is why it's important to make sure your backend is configured correctly and that you have custom 404 and 500 error pages set up. This way, if something does go wrong, you can control what message users see and hopefully keep them from leaving.

Custom 404-error page and 500-error page should:
- Have a friendly and simple layout.
- Tell users what is happening.
- Tell users what to do (Links to other pages such as Home, About...).

4. Inappropriate redirects

Inappropriate redirects

When a user clicks on a link, they expect to be taken to the page that they clicked on. However, sometimes developers will redirect users to a different page, usually for one of two reasons:

1. The developer incorrectly thinks that the user wants to be taken to a different page.

2. The developer is trying to manipulate search engine rankings by redirecting users from a high-ranking page to a lower-ranking page.

Either way, these inappropriate redirects can frustrate users and harm your website's search engine optimization. To avoid making this mistake, make sure that all links on your website go to the correct destination pages, and don't try to game the system by redirecting users from one page to another.

5. Missing sitemap files

Missing sitemap files

If you're a back-end web developer, it's important to be aware of the potential SEO implications of your work. One common mistake is failing to properly generate sitemap files.

Sitemap files are used by search engines to index websites. They provide a list of all the pages on a site, as well as other information like when each page was last updated.

If your website doesn't have sitemap files, or if they're not being properly updated, it can negatively impact your SEO. Make sure to generate sitemap files for your website, and keep them up-to-date!

6. Missing robots.txt file

Missing robots.txt file

If your website doesn't have a robots.txt file, search engines may assume that you want all of your website's content to be indexed and made available to searchers. This could result in your website being penalized for duplicate content if the same content is found on other websites.

To avoid this, make sure that you create a robots.txt file and include it in the root directory of your website. In the file, you can specify which pages or files you don't want to be indexed by search engines. For example, you might want to keep your website's contact form or administrative interface out of the search engine's index.

Creating a robots.txt file is a simple process, but it's one that many web developers overlook. Don't let your website be penalized because of this common mistake - take the time to create a robots.txt file today!

7. No https support

No https support

One of the most common mistakes that back-end web developers make is forgetting to add https support to their site. This can have a major impact on your SEO, as Google now gives preference to sites that are https compliant. If your site is not https compliant, you could be missing out on valuable traffic and rankings.

To avoid this mistake, make sure that you add https support to your site before launch. You can do this by adding a simple plugin or extension to your web server. Once you have added https support, be sure to test your site to ensure that everything is working correctly.

To make your site work over https, you must have an SSL certificate. There are companies that provide SSL certificates for free such as Let's Encrypt that you can use.

8. No caching or inappropriate cache control headers

No caching or inappropriate cache control headers

When it comes to caching, there are a number of ways that back-end web developers can make mistakes that will have negative consequences for SEO. 

Some back-end developers choose to prevent browsers from caching all the website resources. That is ok if your website is private such as company web apps or management systems. However, if your sites are publicly used such as online stores, blogs, company introduction sites, no caching is a big mistake. This slows down the web performance. Cache helps users load your web faster after the first time they visit it.

Another issue related to caching is setting cache control headers improperly. Cache control headers tell the browser how long to keep a cached copy of the page before requesting a new version from the server. If these headers are not set correctly, the browser may request a new version of the page more often than necessary, which can negatively impact performance.


Back-end web developers are often guilty of making a few SEO-related mistakes that can really hurt a website's ranking and visibility. However, by being aware of these mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, back-end developers can help ensure that their websites are as search engine friendly as possible.

Thank you for reading this article!

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Editor: Nia

Hi, I'm Nia, an enthusiastic devotee of Japanese anime, manga & game. I cherish the artistry, emotional depth, and fantastical journeys they offer. Join me in exploring these captivating realms where dreams and reality intertwine!

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