My engineering friends have often shown me what they are working on through GitHub and I see open source projects stored and shared on the site for SEO.
What Is Git?
Large-scale enterprise sites are complex, and it can be difficult to manage version control with a team of engineers constantly accessing, modifying, and adding things.
Git was originally developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds as an example of a distributed architecture, or distributed version control system (DVCS), in which every developer’s working copy of the code is also a repository that can contain the full history of all changes.
Git repositories are connected locally, allowing engineers to work on their own machine, but are also connected to a shared repository.
This helps them easily collaborate with others by pushing and pulling changes when previously their only option would be to have a single place for their code’s complete version history in CVS or Subversion (also known as SVN).
In addition to being distributed, Git has been designed with performance, security, and flexibility in mind.
If you’re still confused on what Git is, GitHub has a simple walkthrough from install to commit all the way through the pull and push process in their Git Guides.
What Is GitHub?
Perhaps you’ve heard that GitHub is a code sharing and publishing service, or that it’s a social networking site for programmers.
While both statements are true, neither explains exactly what GitHub really is.
GitHub is a Git repository hosting service providing a web-based graphical interface allowing for access control and additional collaboration features, such as wikis, basic task management tools for projects through issues, coordinating teams, and so much more.
It’s also home to a community where more than 50 million people learn, share, and work together to build software.
How Does GitHub Work with Git?
Git is at the heart of GitHub.
Like other version control systems, it manages and stores revisions of projects. Although it’s mostly used for code.
Git can also be used to manage any other type of file, like Word docs, Final Cut projects, and SEO-related files.
Think of it as a way to coordinate with multiple teams and manage versions in one location.
GitHub hosts Git repositories, while also providing a web-based graphical interface, access controls, and other collaboration features like wikis and project management.
Using GitHub for Enterprise SEO
Along with everything that Git repositories provide for engineers, GitHub offers multiple features for enterprise-level SEO.
From easy-to-update GitHub Pages to tools that simplify collaboration across SEO teams and large organizations, GitHub supports SEO with features like:
- Team discussions: Enterprise organizations often have multiple SEO teams that need to stay in communication with each other.
- GitHub pages: SEO and marketing teams can use Github Pages for optimization without having to rely too much on product or engineering resources.
- Wikis: A majority of an enterprise SEO’s responsibilities is to educate and communicate across the company. GitHub wikis are a great resource for adding basic SEO FAQs related to the organization.
Whether it’s coordinating work or optimizing with open source scripts, there’s something on GitHub for every large enterprise SEO team.
Resources Available on GitHub From the Open Source Community
There are a lot of great resources for scripts available on the GitHub platform that help with your SEO.
Here are a few that I recommend.
Lighthouse is an open source Google tool that analyzes the performance of your site’s pages.
In addition to the main focus of web applications and mobile sites, Lighthouse provides useful information and recommendations that can improve any site.
The reports are focused on performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO, and progressive web applications.
A report is generated in JSON files with details in each area giving you the test result and guidance with actionable advice.
If you don’t want to pass around JSON files, you can share your reports as a secret GitHub Gist.
A Gist is a snippet of code hosted by GitHub that has all of the benefits of a GitHub repository in a lightweight way to easily digest.
It’s super easy to create a new Gist, add, modify, and delete files and code entirely in the browser – no need to install or download anything.
There are many tools available that can check your site’s SEO, but for a fee.
Seth Black has created this free SEO Analyzer script, which can be used to analyze the structure of a site and provide an analysis of basic SEO issues.
Requiring Python 3.6+, BeautifulSoup4, and urllib3, it crawls the site, analyzes the structure, counts words in the body of the site, and warns of any technical SEO issues.
You can crawl your website from the homepage or XML sitemap.
Images can be the biggest culprit of any site’s page speed, which negatively impacts SEO.
Victor Domingos created a Python script that can reduce the file size of images.
The application is intended to be pure Python, with no special dependencies besides Pillow to ensure compatibility with a wide range of systems, including iPhones and iPads running Pythonista 3.
You can optimize a single image or a folder of multiple images depending on how you determine the query string.
It’s also recommended that you save a copy before running the operation because this script optimizes images permanently.
SEO with GitHub for Teams
GitHub made all their core features free for teams in April 2020.
It’s a great way to try out the collaboration features on your organization before making the leap to an enterprise-level or alternative plan.
With an unlimited number of collaborators for both public and private repositories, your team can create issues for project boards, track milestones, communicate in team discussions, and manage project access on a team-by-team or individual basis.
Whatever platform you use to coordinate your enterprise SEO efforts, streamlining your tools, communication, and projects can help everyone on your team work better together.
Full disclosure: I’ve written this piece as a recent hire managing GitHub’s SEO. I’ve been familiar with GitHub for many years.