I completed a bit of research on SEO for SharePoint lately. The results were pretty much expected considering my experience in the field.
As early as 2004 I was involved in a project on MCMS 2002 where we needed to build a metadata panel into the authoring experience. The metadata panel gave the author the ability to enter metadata which, upon save, was written in the <meta/> tags for the HTML page. Credit for this brainchild has to go to Brian Fernandes, my mentor as a young developer.
So in MOSS 2007, MCMS2002 and SPS2003 effectively merged. I was pretty excited about this and I was expecting some additions to the CMS functionality also. A number of changes were made, but something that was fundamentally missing was the ability to prepare pages for SEO via the interface.
Waldek Mastykarz one of the names that popped up most in my research has a number of great articles on the topic. To assist with the terrible naming in MOSS 2007 he created Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs. Have a look at the description here – Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs.’ Waldek wrote a number of other articles that discussing SEO for MOSS 2007 and I recommend reading his blog if you’re still using the 2007 version of the product.
Another great link is Waldek’s starter guide for SharePoint 2007 and Google SEO – Google SEO Starter Guide for MOSS 2007.
Let’s move to SEO for SharePoint 2010 shall we?
Before jumping into how to get started with SEO for SharePoint 2010 I thought it would be pertinent to understand the core principles of SEO (agnostic of platform).
What is SEO?
I used the following article as a great reference – http://chasesagum.com/15core-principles-seo. Thank you Chase Sagam. The highlight of this post is point number 10 – Remarkable Content is King. Enough said.
What tools are available?
In terms of tools, you have to start at the Free SEO Toolkit. This toolkit plugs directly into IIS and helps with things like broken pages, page load times, incorrect markup and more. This tool is meant to be used in an on-going basis to review to tweak your site as more and more content is added. Resources on the tool can be found here -http://www.microsoft.com/web/seo
What about SharePoint & Products?
Quite simply put, SharePoint 2010 doesn’t ship with out of the box functionality which will help you write your tags into the correct for format for search bots. For this to happen you either have to (A) develop your own utility or (B) use one that has already been developed.
Enter Mavention Meta Fields
From what I could find online Mavention Meta Fields seems like a great solution to the SEO “challenge” in SharePoint. The add-on utility allows the author to edit the meta tags not only for SharePoint, but for the page also. The functionality works 100% like the utility I was involved in for MCMS 2002 many moons ago.
SEO tools and utilities alone will not get your site ranked better on the web. The day and age of creating a million back links, registering your site on search engines et al are gone. As per Chase Sagums 10 core principles, I believe that the key elements all web authors need to concentrate on would be “Creating Remarkable Content”.
Here are some other links that I used in my research, enjoy:
http://www.wssdemo.com/livepivot/ – WSSDEMO crew
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg430141.aspx – Randy Drisgill (I consider him the ultimate branding Ninja on SharePoint)