SEO with Kentico CMS 5

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Kentico CMS 5 Website Development: Beginner's Guide

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Building professional and feature-rich websites with Kentico CMS 5

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by M. L. Srinivasan | September 2010 | Beginner's Guides Content Management Web Development

In order to make our site successful, we need to attract and retain site visitors. SEO is a method of site analysis and best practices for building web pages that are easily discovered and indexed by search engines. SEO is used to make our content more relevant and easily read by search engines and their crawling and indexing software. Successful SEO makes it easier for both existing and potential customers to find your website. Fundamentally, SEO is about having your URL added to a search provider's database and appearing favorably in their search results. Well executed SEO is a process of making reasonable ongoing assumptions, following consistent practices, and includes continual site review and changes. SEO is constantly evolving and best practices are a big part. In this article by Thom Robbins, author of Kentico CMS 5 Website Development, let's look at some of the best practices that you can use when managing your site.

(For more resources on CMS, see here.)

Have a go hero – determine your keywords

Search engines read, crawl, and index text and only text. They don't recognize images, Flash, or Silverlight content. That's why it's important to use the most relevant text for your website and sprinkle the content with the right keywords, while placing the selected keywords in strategic locations where there is a maximum chance for the spiders of a search engine to read, crawl, and index. Embedding keywords in the heading, initial part of the first paragraph, page titles, filenames, and directory names are some of the most commonly used strategies for improving page ranking. You can also consider including keyword phrases in the URLs or domain names of your website. This is one of the most important ways to improve the page ranking in various search engines' results pages.

You need to be very careful when selecting the keywords for your website and choose words that describe your website. Sometimes, you may be confident that keywords that you choose are the best descriptions. But how do you know whether you have chosen the best keywords? What if there is no one out there who will submit a search query for the keywords you chose? This is where web analytis plays an important part.

While it's tempting—resist the urge to go with uniquely different keywords or made up words. This may sound appealing to reduce the overlap with your competitor's websites. Unfortunately, you may find yourself not featured in any specific results at all. This is the main reason you should consider using keyword phrases that are popularly searched. There is a wide variety of keyword suggestion tools available, which can give you statistics, competition level, and search popularity that can help a company make an informed decision.

While it is typical to determine a list of six keywords, depending on your marketing budget, you may only want to finalize a list of three. Spend some time with your marketing department to determine these keywords. Once this is done, validate these against several of the online keyword suggestion tools available. Finalize this list and make it available to all content editors with specific recommendations about their usage.

Time for action – forbidden URL characters

In order to guarantee URL consistency, HTTP defines a set of forbidden characters (' \ / : * ? " < > | & ; % . ; % . ' # [ ] + =.). In addition to these pre-defined characters, we want to remove the $ character from any URL string in our site to provide better navigation. This can be done using the following steps:

  1. Log in to Site Manager, select the Settings tab, select URLs and SEO, as shown in the following screenshot:

    (move cursor over image to enlarge)

  2. In the Forbidden URL characters field, enter $ and select Save, as shown in the following screenshot:

    Don't forget
    This setting defines characters in addition to the HTTP forbidden characters mentioned earlier.

  3. Log in to CMS Desk, select the News folder, and click the New document icon. In the New document screen, select the News item, enter the following information, and select Save.

  4. Sign out of CMS Desk. In the live site, select the News menu item, click the Get An IPhone for $50 link to view the URL containing the replaced characters, and the News item, as shown in the following screenshot:

What just happened?

When you selected the URLs and SEO menu option, this brought us to the system management screen. This screen contains a variety of options for managing various advanced aspects of the URL and SEO functions. When we entered the $ into the Forbidden URL characters field, this appended our character to the default HTTP forbidden list. Once this was saved, we then created a new news item that contained a $ in the title. By default, all new News URLs are created using the News title as the default URL. The resulting URL contained a - instead of a $.

Time for action – changing the site name

The name of any page displayed in the browser window is based on a system-wide default that starts with a page prefix. Now that we have our basic site configured, we want to change the name of the page prefix from Corporate Site to the name of our company, namely, Big Company, using the following steps:

  1. Log in to the live site to view the default site name, Corporate Site, as shown in the following screenshot:

  2. Log in to Site Manager, select the Settings tab, and then select Web site, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. In the Site drop-down menu, select Corporate Site, as shown in the following screenshot:

  4. In the Web site properties for the Corporate Site, change the Page title prefix field to Big Company, as shown in the following screenshot and select Save.

  5. Log in to the live site to view the changed page prefix to our company name, as shown in the following screenshot:

What just happened?

When we selected the Web site and then Corporate Site, this brought up the default site settings. We then changed the Page title prefix field to our company name, and when we logged into the live site, this was reflected across all pages. This change is also captured by any search engines currently indexing our site.

Global settings
You can configure the format of all page titles, descriptions, and keywords for all sites by logging into Site Manager selecting Settings, then the Web site dialog, and then by selecting the (global) site. This allows you to configure the Page title format for all pages. The default title format is:
{%prefix%} - {%pagetitle_orelse_name%}
This means that the format consists of the site prefix followed by the page title value. If the page title value is not set, the document name is used.

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(For more resources on CMS, see here.)

Time for action – changing page metadata

Metadata is information about a web page that is not part of the core content of the page. The most important components of the metadata are as follows:

  • Title: This is the most important piece of the metadata for SEO. The web page title directly impacts the web page performance. It is the main information that the search engine will use to determine the web page content. Titles should be brief, concise, and convey exactly what the material is all about. Clever, catchy titles that do not relate specifically to the web page content will not likely be found by search engines and should not be used in web content writing.
  • Description: A brief summary of the web page that should contain the major keywords and phrases of the web page content.
  • Keywords: Search engines also use keywords to determine what web pages are about. However, it is important to choose keywords carefully. The concept of keyword stuffing may have a negative impact on your website search placement.

What is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is considered an unethical way to gain page rank and may even have your site banned from many search engine listings. Keyword stuffing or loading is where a keyword or phrase is used excessively in page content in such a way that it detracts from the page readability. A good test to make sure you aren't keyword stuffing is to make sure that use of keywords doesn't detract from the overall page readability for your site users.

While each page automatically inherits its metadata from the parent page, we can override this and add our own. Let's modify the Services page metadata using the following steps:

  1. Log in to CMS Desk, select the Content tab, select the Services page, select the Properties tab, and click Metadata, as shown in the following screenshot:

  2. In the Metadata properties, uncheck the Inherit checkbox, enter the following information, and click Save.

  3. Select the Page tab. In the browser, right-click and select View Source to see the updated page metadata, as shown in the following screenshot:

What just happened?

When you selected the Metadata tab and modified it to include a new Page title, Page description, and Page keywords, this modified the rendered HTML. This information is also available to any search engines that are indexing your site.

Time for action – using document aliases

A document alias provides a unique URL to any document. This special URL is used in addition to the normal URL alias path that is provided by the CMS system. Let's create a new URL path for the Services page using the following steps:

  1. Open a browser and enter the URL http://localhost:58995/KenticoCMS/Services.aspx to view the existing Services page.

    Don't forget
    You will want to replace the port number to match your local installation.

  2. Log in to CMS Desk, select the Services page, Properties tab, then URLs. In the Document aliases panel, click Add new alias, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. In the new alias screen, URL path field, enter /Services-Available, and click OK, as shown in the following screenshot:

  4. Open a new browser and enter the URL http://localhost:58995/KenticoCMS/Services-Available.aspx to access the Services page using the alternate document URL, as shown in the following screenshot:

  5. In the main menu of the live site, click the Services menu item to view the same document on the Services.aspx URL, as shown in the following screenshot:

What just happened?

When we clicked New alias and then entered the URL path of /Services-Available, this created a new document alias for the Services page. This created a separate URL that allowed the Services page to be accessed using either the Services.aspx or Services-Available.aspx URL.

Time saving tip
The URL path of the Document alias path must always start with the /.

Time for action – using consistent tags

Maintaining consistency within your web pages is important for SEO. The most common practice is to leverage the standard HTML tags H1/H2 for consistent search engine optimization. This can be done using the standard WYSIWYG editor and the following steps:

  1. Log in to CMS Desk, select the Content tab, select Blogs, My blog, select the New document icon, and Blog post.
  2. Select the Post text field and enter This is a headline and This is a sub-headline, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. Select This is a headline. In the Format drop-down box, from the WYSIWYG toolbar, select Heading 1, as shown in the following screenshot:

  4. Select This is a sub headline. From the Format drop-down box from the WYSIWYG toolbar, select Heading 2, as shown in the following screenshot:

  5. Select the Source button from the WYSIWYG toolbar, as shown in the following screenshot, to view the generated HTML tags.

What just happened?

When you selected Heading 1 and Heading 2, this automatically created the relevant HTML tags in our blog post. This is just one of several techniques that the WYSIWYG editor provides for maintaining proper SEO optimization. You can also highlight keywords and all the important textual information in your content, using bold and italics to make it easier for the search engine spiders to read and index site information.

You should try to make your website content keyword-rich and focus on maintaining a good keyword density. A good rule of thumb is to try to maintain a three to seven percent keyword density for your top one or two keywords and one to two percent keyword density for minor keywords.

Have a go hero – define content editor guidance

Writing for the web is different from writing for print media. Writing compelling web content, in a way that drives SEO for your website, is difficult. Spend some time and compile a list of best practices for editing content. This list should include best practices for using HTML tags, italics, and bolding, to name a few possible options.

Summary

Writing for the web is different from writing for print media. Writing compelling web content, in a way that drives SEO for your website, is difficult. Spend some time and compile a list of best practices for editing content. This list should include best practices for using HTML tags, italics, and bolding, to name a few possible options.


Further resources on this subject:

Kentico CMS 5 Website Development: Beginner's Guide Building professional and feature-rich websites with Kentico CMS 5
Published: September 2010
eBook Price: $26.99
Book Price: $44.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Thom Robbins

Thom Robbins is the Web Evangelist for Kentico Software LLC. He is responsible for evangelizing Kentico CMS for ASP.NET with web developers, web designers and interactive agencies.

Prior to Kentico, Mr. Robbins joined Microsoft Corporation in 2000 and served in a number of executive positions. Most recently, Mr. Robbins led the Developer Audience Marketing group that was responsible for increasing developer satisfaction with the Microsoft platform. Mr. Robbins also led the .NET Platform Product Management group responsible for customer adoption and implementation of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio. Mr. Robbins was also a Principal Developer Evangelist working with developers across the world on implementing .NET-based solutions.

Thom currently lives in Seattle where he enjoys the great weather and spending time with his family. Thom can be reached at Thomasr@kentico.com.

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