Plone SEO in practice

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Few practical suggestions how to make effective Plone SEO and improve Page Rank

About

This short article stores bunch of ideas that I’ve applied during optimization of my website. Some are obvious and probably known to everybody. But even then I think that this explains main “Google factors” and how to achieve them in Plone with not much effort but with very good results. Of course you can still buy expensive books or spend money on “SEO consulting” companies.

Improving content ranking

Below there is “unofficial” list of things that are most important for Google (and maybe other search engines). This is not complete list but according to 80-20 rule those few elements are most responsible for position in Google search results.

Factor Plone way
Keywords in html tags: title, h1 Create short title that use one or two keywords.
Keywords in url Plone do it automatically (if you are using Archetypes). I remember that some time ago this was an option in Plone or it was possible to type id manually. Anyhow either enable that option or always type the same keywords in id.
Important content on top of the page Always fill description field. Use the same keywords and add some more. This text will also be used in tag when page is rendered adding few extra points in ranking

Other useful suggestions:

  • Don’t create big documents that describe everything. Create folder and few pages inside. Each page should describe particular issue and have title with one or two keywords
  • Show links to fresh content on home page. Even though Google visits my page every few days it rarely tries to go deeper and found new content. So the best way is to help it and place links on home page. I’m using “related items” portlet for this purpose
  • Don’t delete/move already indexed pages that are already ranked. If you are improving your search engine visibility it may take a while (few weeks?) before new content will be indexed by Google. Till that time keep your old “not optimized” content because it is already in Google index. It is better to have poor ranking than none.
  • It is nice to have Google site map. A Plone product that makes it easy can be found here: http://plone. org/products/qplonegooglesitemaps. But I don’t know how Google use it. I’ve submitted my site map to Google but it still didn’t index new content. Since then Googlebot visited my site 2 or 3 times and didn’t visit new pages. Maybe it needs more time?
  • Don’t use tricks, those Google pople are so clever 🙂
  • It is said that Google no longer use keywords from tags. But maybe it still does like other engines. To generate them you can user keywords defined in properties of your pages. Just enable property exposeDCMetaTags in portal_properties/site_properties. And then they will be rendered in HTML code.

Improving Page Rank

Everybody likes to have high Page Rank. Why? I don’t know. If you have pages that follow above rules you will appear high in listings regardless of PR. But even very high Page Rank doesn’t help if you ignore basic SEO principles (like having full flash site or everything build of images).

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