SEO - Doing the right things right

How to ensure the best possible SEO outcome

Search engines are becoming more independent in deciding what to show to users in search results and perceive meta tags and page attributes as signals rather than instructions. However, companies can maximize the opportunity to influence search results by providing correct information about their pages in a correct way.

When building custom solutions for our clients, SolutionLab uses SEO best practices, only the implementation granularity and the degree to which it is automated differs. Some clients want maximum control over each SEO aspect and each field, while other clients rely on an automated, scalable approach that still allows them to achieve a very high SEO score. We give our clients the right means for doing SEO right and have maximum influence over search results.

Nevertheless, SEO implementation is tricky and there are lots of pitfalls along the way.

Avoid sending conflicting signals

The importance of sending correct signals to search engines cannot be stressed enough. One of the aims of SEO is to help search engines figure out which pages are the source of truth, and hence should be indexed. Probably, there is nothing more annoying to search engines than getting contradictory information leading them into a loop of trying to identify which pages should be indexed and wasting their resources. Bottom line - this will lead them to make their own decisions instead of relying on the signals provided to them.

Here are some common mistakes that lead to conflicting signals:

  • Page points to a canonical page which is a redirect. In this situation search engines are being told this page should not be indexed as it is a duplicate of another - the original - page. However, when they go to the canonical page, they find out it is a redirect. This will lead to search engines deciding what the canonical page is by themselves or to a situation when duplicate pages are indexed.

  • Page points to a canonical which sends the engine to another canonical. Essentially, this scenario will have the same result as the one described above and the only way to prevent this is pointing to the end page in the canonical tag.

  • Adding redirect pages to the sitemap. A sitemap provides additional information of what pages are considered canonical and search engines use it when deciding what pages should be crawled and indexed. Including pages that are redirects might cause search engines to stop trusting your sitemap information and ignore it whatsoever. Even if the pages in the sitemap continue to be crawled, this will not help search engines to make the right decisions.

  • Adding pages to the sitemap that are not canonical. This will lead to a very similar end result as above where search engines do not find the sitemap helpful in deciding which pages are canonical, should be indexed and shown in the search results.

Set language annotations with care

In a multilingual website setup, website owners should consider adding information on the available languages and regions to improve the search experience of users. Alternate tags ('hreflang' annotations) can be used for that purpose. They help search engines decide which pages should be shown to users according to their location or the browser language. However, alternate tags can be easily misused.

These are just a few examples:

  • Alternate tag contains non-existing language or locale. It sounds like something that can be easily prevented, but global websites are often built to contain country paths. It is easy to confuse country codes with locales or languages and pass them to 'hreflang' tags.

  • Use of canonical and alternate tags together for the pages that are on the same domain. If a page is a localized copy of another page available to a different region, there is no need to set a canonical tag pointing to that other locale. Search engines do not punish for this, it will only impact how the crawl budget is spent.

  • Localized pages do not point back to other available versions. If a page informs search engines about other available page variants in different languages or locales, the other pages should point back. So, the number of available page variants should be the same for every page.

Utilize meta tags and page attributes better

The importance of meta tags does not need a separate introduction. We seem to know them 'all too well', but there is always knowledge to be gained on how they are treated by search engines and how to utilize them better. For example:

  • Meta titles can have an appendix. Using an appendix separated by '|' or '-' between the parts of the title gives an opportunity to enrich the meta title with relevant keywords in a way that is both consistent and looks good. As a result, more organic traffic can be attracted to the page.

  • Use the same keywords in the meta tags as in the actual page content. For example, matching the meta title to the H1 heading ensures that the page's information is clearly conveyed to both users and search engines. This has a lot of benefits, including better ranking, better user experience, and potentially more organic traffic coming to the page.

  • The page should have an H1 tag. H1 heading is important to search engines because it provides a clear indication of the main topic of a page, aids in content organization, contributes to the overall user experience, and helps search engines better index and rank your content. Contrary to popular belief, there can be as many H1 tags on the page as needed - search engines do not care, as long as the headings represent different sections of the page.

  • Navigation should be well-structured and concise. The <nav> tag helps search engines understand the website structure better and tells them which pages are the most important. Hence, the number of elements and layers should not be too extensive, while the keywords used in the titles should be relevant. More importantly, users will be the ones who benefit the most from a well-designed menu - it will attract them to stay more and bounce less, positively impacting your SEO.


A good SEO setup can point search engines in the right direction and utilizing the SEO setup in a correct way will ensure that pages are not only indexed but are also ranked well. Linking pages to their canonical versions, providing alternate tags to localized page variants, and ensuring meta tags and HTML attributes are set and optimized - all of these are not trivial to achieve, but when done right will ensure the best possible SEO outcome.

Julius Paplauskas SolutionLab

Julius Paplauskas

Project Manager