What Is GitHub and How Should You Use It for SEO?

What Is GitHub and How Should You Use It for SEO?

GitHub is a hosting site for project and code revision management, expert networking, collaboration, and communication. It is mostly used by programmers and web developers, but some of its features can be useful for SEO specialists.

What is Github Used For?

Large corporate sites with large volumes of information, forums, and blogs with hundreds of articles and many pages require the constant work of web developers and SEO specialists. They have to add the necessary tags at the right time, make edits due to page updates, etc. 

GitHub is a tool that helps you control your process of code revision management, store data in your cloud storage, and provide access to these things for different participants in the process. Also, this ensures communication between individual specialists and entire groups and teams working on large-scale projects. It is a functional tool and a professional social network rolled into one that is free to use.

GitHub

On the company’s website, the principle of the service is depicted as the following scheme.

GitHub

After creating an account, you can download the desktop version of the service, which will optimize the workflow. In particular, this will simplify the process of downloading codes for solving various problems.

GitHub

Let’s figure out what elements this service includes and how it works.

  • What is Git? Git was developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds (Linux kernel developer) as a distributed version control system (DVCS). With its help, all of the changes that each developer makes are saved in a common repository (storage), which allows them to keep a complete history of all changes made. At the same time, each developer can work autonomously on one’s own computer and create many independent branches of the code. To do this, they use the Git Push and Git Pull functions. You can read more about them in the company’s manuals.
  • What is a repository? This is a kind of storage in which all of the files necessary for your project are collected. Depending on their size, they can be stored both on a personal computer and in the GitHub cloud if they are large and can slow down a computer.
  • What is the Branch? Branching is a way to work simultaneously with different versions of codes within a repository. By default, the repository provides one branch, which is called main and it is considered final. The final result of the work of a specialist or a whole team will be presented in the main branch. That being said, other branches are used to experiment, make edits, and check how they work. When creating a new branch, the data that was present at that moment is copied. After the end of your workday, you can add your data to the main branch. If another person works with you at the same time, you can also add the results of this person. Here is the schematic display of Branching.

Guides Github

One of the main features of GitHub is its ability to save a large amount of data. Even if you make a mistake or experience technical problems, you will not lose your work and the edits you made. Also, as stated in the GitHub manual, branches are very lightweight and take up little space, so their number can be high.

  • What is GitHub Pages? GitHub Pages is a service that makes it easy to create a business card website, landing page, or blog.

Pages Hithub

To do this, just enter the name of your account on the GitHub network, and the GitHub pages address will look like the image below.

Pages Hithub

If you want to create GitHub enterprise pages, then instead of an account name, you should enter your company name: https://companyname.github.io. Such pages can be used for corporate SEO, which will be discussed below.

  • What is GitHub for SEO? Being primarily a repository hosting and service for web developers, GitHub can also act as a free SEO tool. Though, its range of options is limited. Before you decide how you plan to use GitHub, let’s take a look at how you can use this service for SEO.

Guide to GitHub for SEO

There are many tools for SEO analytics of sites, including the most popular free services—Google Analytics and Google Search Console, which you can read about in our tutorial What is Google Search Console. As you know, in order to obtain the most complete information, it is better to use several tools simultaneously. GitHub also has some useful SEO features.

  • Python SEO Analyzer Tool developed by Seth Black in 201 can be called the main GitHub search engine tool.

GitHub

This tool analyzes the structure of a site, scans it, identifies its main flaws in terms of SEO, and calculates the total number of words on the site. The latter may not be the most relevant feature, since in many cases when creating content, specialists start with the number of words in a particular material. To work with the tool, you need the Python 3.6+ programming language and the BeautifulSoup4 and urllib3 libraries.

  • Image optimizer. Heavy images cause slowing down of pages’ loading speed, which, in turn, negatively affects user experience. Victor Domingos, a programmer, has developed a script based on the regular Python.

GitHub

It does not require any additional extensions except for the Pillow library. You can optimize either one image or an entire folder. It is worth saving the drafts of the sources since the changes are irreversible.

  • GitHub Gist for Lighthouse Reports: Initially, this is a free Google tool in the form of a Google Chrome extension that analyzes websites and mobile pages and offers tips for improving and optimizing them. Also, the service provides information on possible SEO optimization methods, amongst other things. Lighthouse reporting information is sent as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) files. Alternatively, you can use the GitHub Gist for this.

  Google Chrome Github

  • GitHub Pages: This is not the most obvious way to use the GitHub service, with which you can create landing pages, pages dedicated to events, promotions, and other activities, for which you do not plan to allocate a separate domain or subdomain. In this way, you can also create a page for a blog associated with a brand or company. To provide effective GitHub pages SEO, the company’s experts recommend using the Jekyll SEO Tag plugin. After adding the {% raw %}{% seo %}{% endraw %} tag, the plugin will automatically add to each page all the metadata necessary for search engines (including page title, description, canonical URL, next and previous URLs for posts, etc.). You can read more about how to work with the Jekyll SEO Tag plugin in this article.

Even though a number of GitHub tools can be used in traditional SEO, their main use is corporate SEO. Let’s see how you can use GitHub tools to solve such problems:

  1. Teamwork and effective communication: The GitHub repository can store files in a variety of formats, so many companies use this resource to organize effective work (the number of service users in the world has exceeded 40 million). In large companies, this can be a good tool for organizing workflow and holding meetings and discussions, which is especially relevant for companies with branches in different cities and countries. In terms of the features of SEO and digital marketing companies, several SEO teams are often working on a large project, so it is important to provide shared access to the project for a number of specialists, which can increase the effectiveness of a process as a whole.
  2. Establishing communication between SEO specialists and web developers: This primarily applies to companies that work in the digital marketing segment and that are actively engaged in SEO promotion of their corporate websites and brands. Often, untimely added tags or misunderstandings between employees can lead to various unpleasant consequences, e.g., the absence of some pages in the field of visibility for Google, and as a result, no indexing. It is known that the absence of tags in incoming links, which must be added in accordance with Google’s rules, can lead to Google penalties. Read more in our article Google Algorithms That Affect SEO. All of this can be avoided thanks to well-organized communication between webmasters and SEO specialists.
  3. Using GitHub pages: Sometimes GitHub pages can be used to discuss ideas for the future design, layout, color, and stylistic solutions of the future site. They can be used for an internal presentation, before involving a designer and web developer. This option can be especially relevant for small companies that are just entering the market and do not have enough of a budget to attract specialists. Also, GitHub pages can be used as an alternative to presentations when communicating with clients.
  4. Working with wiki sites: This is also a very useful function that can be used for internal cooperative work. Since the structure of such sites involves making changes by everyone who has access to them, they can be used as training materials, used when working with corporate training, for team-building, maintaining corporate media, etc.

The GitHub tool is really full of potential. Since it was primarily created for programmers and web developers, its SEO functions offer more than alternatives on the market. After all, the SEO Analyzer tool was developed a long time ago and its site diagnostics won’t be super useful. At the same time, as a tool for a common repository for projects, it can be very effective, providing access to work regardless of the location of employees, clients, and all participants in the work production or creative process.

Author

Leila Bergman Leila Bergman

Leyla is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. She also worked at marketing - PR and advertising (about 7 years). She was so interested in IT, especially SEO. Now Leyla is deep in SEO, this sphere inspires her for new issues and researches.

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