There seems to be a strange belief floating around among non-Webflow professionals that you can't do great SEO on Webflow.
For 99.5% of website builds, that's total B.S.
Prior to Webflow, my team built all of our sites custom hosted for 100% code control, and even with that completely unrestricted background - we find that Webflow is right up there with the best SEO experiences possible.
The caveat is that SEO is baked into the Webflow platform, and this means that you need to understand the platform well in order to get the best SEO out of your sites.
You also need to begin the SEO process for a site project from day #1.
Critical Webflow Skills for SEO
To do good SEO, you need to understand these things;
- Page design, particularly semantic content structures like TITLE, H1, H2, and image ALT tags.
- URL and path construction
- Social media tags such as Open Graph and Twitter
- Canonical URLs
- Structured data like JSON-LD
- Good SEO-friendly copywriting
- Analytics and conversion tracking
- Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml
And that means understanding these aspects of Webflow's platform thoroughly;
- The CMS. How it structures paths, and how to use it for JSON-LD Structured data support.
- Static folder & page slugs
- The custom code area, and how to utilize it for METAs
- Webflow's auto-generated sitemap
- Webflow's canonical URL configuration setting
- Webflow's "staging site index suppression" feature.
As well as a couple of distinct Webflow mechanics like;
- The difference between display: none, and Webflow's visibility: hidden setting
- How CMS conditional visibility works
- SVG, image file formats, and Media Srcset responsive images
How to SEO on Webflow
The SEO effort runs parallel to the design and content creation efforts, all the way from choosing your domain name, to long after deployment.
Here are some of the significant places SEO work touches the project process;
During the design & build phases, SEO concerns impact;
- Decisions on site structure
- Decisions on CMS design and slug use ( huge opportunity and impact )
- Page design- H1's, heroes, and content organization
- Keyword choice in slugs and Titles
- Copywriting. Your content team of course needs to understand SEO to write content that both humans and machines ( and now human-machines ) find accessible and tasty.
Technical SEO hits hard once content decisions are final;
- Structured data such as JSON-LD
- METAs like your canonicals, languages tags, robot tags
- Social METAs like Open Graph and Twitter cards
All of this ties into the CMS design for most sites, so these need to be considered early in the CMS design.
- Analytics and conversion tracking
- Google tags and the data layer. Implementation of click tracking, CTA tracking, scroll tracking...
- Image formats
- Appropriate use of responsive images, and an understanding of their limitations in Webflow.
- JS minification, and deferred loading
- Google Search Console and publishing sitemap
- Disabling indexing of the staged site
Ongoing monitoring of analytics, conversions, and Google Search Console to determine how the site is performing and where to improve SEO and design.
- Google analytics and conversions
- Google Search Console keyword visibility
- Identification of strategic areas to improve
- Ongoing content creation, targeting those areas
- Google Search Console problem identification and repair
Specialty SEO Needs
I did say Webflow has perfect SEO for 99.5% of builds. What about that 0.5%?
When Webflow sites reach a certain size or complexity, Webflow's design limitations become a wall. Mostly that relates to three areas;
- CMS and collection list limitations
- Path limitations
- Dynamic data limitations ( no server side programming )
- Specific design rules around e.g. collection list pagination
- Lack of support for JSON encoding in HTML code embeds
- Lack of Multilingual support in page METAs, URL structures, and the sitemap
If you need to break that wall, you need someone who understands external hosting and full site builds well, and/or reverse proxy setup.
Multilingual sites one one area where this happens.
Webflow is very weak here, but 2023 is meant to be the year Multilingual makes an appearance. It's July 2023 now, and I haven't heard a peep, but you can see small changes creeping into the platform like small adjustments in the sitemap.xml.
I am hopeful.