Kamis, 06 Oktober 2011

Search Engine Friendly Content Management Systems

What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a third party software application which allows web site administrators to add, update or delete content, photos, and documents to their web site in “real time”. Many web sites are modified using these web-based tools as they require little to no knowledge of HTML or web scripting languages. CMS programs make it easy for a webmaster or site owner who does not know HTML or have access to a WYSIWYG (Wh...
cms,seo,sem,content management system,asp,php,search engine,yahoo,msn,google
What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a third party software application which allows web site administrators to add, update or delete content, photos, and documents to their web site in “real time”. Many web sites are modified using these web-based tools as they require little to no knowledge of HTML or web scripting languages. CMS programs make it easy for a webmaster or site owner who does not know HTML or have access to a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML Editor, such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, to update their site.

In today’s high paced web world, a good CMS is integral to the efficient operation of a web site. Many webmasters and web site developers are building database driven, or dynamic web sites, which require a third party solution, such as a Content Management System, to update the content that lives in the database. In addition, a CMS allows the web site owner to outsource content development remotely to contract copywriters and other willing contributors. With built in access level hierarchies, webmasters can allow various users to register as authors and start submitting articles and news to be published on their site.

How do Content Management Systems Work?

Content Management Systems create a dynamic web site environment, where all the content is stored in a database or XML file. Using a web-based interface, the webmaster can select which page they want to update and then can modify the web content in a text editor, with many of the familiar formatting keys that can be found in a word processing program. Once the content has been updated, with the simple click of a button, the CMS will turn their text into HTML code and publish the content to the web site.

Problems Between Search Engines and Content Management Systems:

Historically, search engines have had difficulty indexing dynamic pages. While their ability to index and rank dynamic pages has improved dramatically, there are some basic things to avoid. One of the greatest enemies of search engines is URL strings that contain many URL parameters. URL parameters are variables that are passed to the CMS through the URL, which tell it what information to retrieve from the database. URLs with too many parameters generally make little logical sense to the average user and may also scare off search spiders. For example see:

It is suggested to limit the number of URL parameters to two or three per URL to ensure that that search spiders will not have difficulty indexing pages deep within the web site.

Certain URL parameter names may automatically flag a filter on the search engine. One example is the URL parameter names that contain ‘ID’, such as ‘sessionid’, ‘sid’ or ‘userid’. Historically, search engines detect the term “ID” and assume it is associated with a session dependant variable. As a result, search engines have learned to flag these parameter names and it can cause problems with page indexing. Passing session dependant variables through the URL is a problem for search engines because the spider essentially sees a unique URL each time they visit the site because the session dependent variables change with each visit. For example, on one visit to the site, a page URL may be http://www.mysite.com/page.asp?sessionid=12345. The next time the spider visits the page, the URL may be http://www.mysite.com/page.asp?sessionid=56789. This creates a situation where a spider may think that there are multiple URLs with duplicate content, resulting in penalties which will negatively impact search rankings.

Based on the above, it is imperative to employ a CMS that does not pass session dependent data, such as session variables, through a URL string. Doing so will not only create potential usability issues for the end user, but will also result in indexing problems for the search engine spiders.

Finally, search engines gather understanding from your web site’s content by filtering through the HTML code. For this reason, it is extremely important that your CMS generate HTML code that adheres to the latest requirements of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Use the W3C Code Validator to determine if your code meets the W3C standards. Be aware that some CMS’s add in many lines of proprietary code or JavaScript at the top of the file, which can choke search spiders. This violates a cardinal rule of SEO; ‘To always have more content then code’.

Finding a Search Engine Friendly CMS that will Work for You:

Now that we have explored many of the potential problems with Content Management Systems, lets look at how to go about finding one that will be both search engine friendly and suit your specific needs. First you will need to determine what server platform you will be using. Many Content Management Systems use scripting languages and databases that are platform dependant. If you are married to a particular platform, it may limit your CMS options. Ideally, you will want to find a CMS that is platform independent, which can run on any server.

There are many search engine friendly CMS’s that will allow the web site owner to generate a URL structure that is both meaningful to their users and digestible by search engine spiders. Instead of having a URL that is packed with parameters, you can create a URL structure that looks like this: http://www.mysite.com/children/hats/prodid/121576. Your next step is to check whether your CMS builds HTML pages to the latest standards established by the W3C. Most CMS providers will be able to tell you if their solution generates valid code. If they can’t, then ask for a sample page and run it through the W3C Code Validator. In order to rank effectively in organic results of the search engines, it is imperative that your CMS allows you to update your title tags, meta data and alt tags on a page-by-page basis.

The most important aspects of a good CMS are the ease of use and richness of content formatting features. This one is a no-brainer because the very reason that you are looking for a CMS is that YOU DON’T WANT TO CODE. Any good CMS should provide an editing stage that is similar in feature and function to a standard word processing program, such as Microsoft Word. The technical term for this is a WYSIWYG Editor or a Rich Text Editor. This important feature will allow you to type and format your content using standard buttons and keyboard shortcuts. When you publish the content to the live web site, the CMS will write the HTML, CSS and scripting to display your content as it was formatted during the editing stage. Many Content Management Systems are offering additional technologies, such as RSS feed, shopping cart solutions, forums and live chat integration, which can really enhance the functionality of your web site. The key is to find a CMS that will suit your core needs and then determine what add-ons would be beneficial. The ends result will be a web site that is easy to manage and usable for both your customers and the search engines.

Hear that knocking? That’s SEO with business at your door

“What have you Googled lately?” Ask anyone that question 10 years ago, and you would have gotten a strange look. But now, Googling is a part of life. When we need something, increasingly, we search for it on the Internet.
branding, corporate branding, internet branding, brand identity, brand image, brand equity, brand development, branding company, branding agency
“What have you Googled lately?” Ask anyone that question 10 years ago, and you would have gotten a strange look. But now, Googling is a part of life. When we need something, increasingly, we search for it on the Internet.

From a branding perspective, Google has much in common with the Kleenex’s, Xerox’s and Rollerblades of the world. It’s a brand name that has become the name for a category—a far cry from the time, not that long ago, when only the urban hipsters with Tony the Tiger shirts knew what Google was.

The Yellow Pages may not be gone, but their star is fading quickly as more and more people turn to Google (or other search engines) when they need to find a product or service. Why? Better, more complete and up-to-date information. No contest. When someone looks up a company in the phonebook, they get their address, phone number and maybe some flashy ad graphics; depending on how much money they spent on the ad. On a Google search, they get a link to the company’s website, where you can find as much information on a company and its offerings as you need.

For things like books, tickets and music, Googling will often lead to an instant purchase if the price is right. But even for more “considered purchases,” where one competes on more than just price; Googling is often the first research step buyers take to arrive at a decision. They search keywords and combinations of keywords, comparing each set of results to the next, looking for the most relevant information.

In a perfect world, people would systematically study three to five competitors in a selection set, write down the pros and cons of each and come to a calculated decision. But a perfect world isn’t the real world. Here’s what happens: if a search result looks promising, the buyer will click through to the company’s website and investigate the possibilities of a match further. If it looks like a fit, case closed. Customer won. No
further research required—even if someone’s out there with a better deal waiting.

This is why being on this “short list” of high-ranking search results is imperative in this day and age—the higher the better. Top rankings give you the chance of having prospective customers knock on your virtual door, knowledgeable about your offerings and eager to buy before you ever say a single word to them.

Don’t be ashamed of self-Googling

Come on, you know you’ve done it: typed your name into an Internet search engine such as Yahoo or MSN. Don’t feel embarrassed. We all do it. It is, after all, interesting to see what others are saying about you.

In a business context, it’s not narcissistic at all. It’s smart, especially when you’re trying to build your brand online. But besides looking for your specific name, try looking for your category. For instance, if you’re a Denver widget maker, look up “Denver widget” or any other combination of keywords or phrases relevant to your business. Where do you rank? Top two? Top 10? Top 1000? It doesn't take a genius to figure out the top five results will get a lot more clicks than Numbers 75-80. Are you where you want to be?

How top-ranked websites get their positions

Especially for the most competitive keyword searches, companies must engage in a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, which encompasses strategic smarts, hard work and clean code.

How search engines rank your websites

Computer programs called “spiders” are responsible for visiting, indexing and ranking web sites. Each search engine has its own spiders with somewhat differing methods for ranking the websites it finds, and there are strategies you can use to make yours more appealing—and also mistakes that can negatively affect your rankings.

4 SEO Urban Legends

Legend #1: You can muscle your way into top rankings. Maybe in 1999, but not anymore. Simply repeating a bunch of hidden keywords on your page or in your tags no longer fools the search engine spiders into giving you high rankings. Algorithms that power the software behind these spiders have become much more advanced, and employing tactics like this will more likely hurt your rankings than help them.

Legend #2: It starts and ends with traffic. Many people will click themselves repeatedly in the hopes of boosting their search rankings. However, this is a futile effort because spiders don’t care one bit about traffic.

Legend #3: I can get rankings cheap from those nice folks sending me all those emails. If you fall for one of those spammer schemes, you deserve to be ripped off! Seriously though, you’d be paying good money for a clerical job you could easily do yourself. But even if you did do it yourself, you would run the risk of getting even worse rankings. It’s like membership at Augusta National—if you say you want it, you won’t get it. Search engines regard repetitive submissions as desperation, which they reject wholeheartedly.

Legend #4: A Search Engine Optimization service guaranteed a Top 10 position on Google. In short, nobody can legitimately do that. Such guarantees are a telltale sign of snake-oil salesmanship. Here’s how the scam works: technically, they live up to their end by getting you top billing on a search term of their choosing, which is so specific to you that only your mom would likely search on it.

Smarty-pants spiders

Search engine optimization is far more complex than it’s ever been. The obvious shortcuts to great search engine rankings have long since been identified and shut down by the search engine companies. These days, high rankings have much more to do with the structure of your HTML code, your acumen at avoiding “trip wires” that send spiders away, where certain keywords appear on a page, how you use JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets and where your formatting instructions appear in relation to your website copy. If you used a WYSIWYG code-writing program—such as Front Page, GoLive or Dreamweaver—you almost certainly will get a much lower score from the

It really does take a team of people, like the kind we have at Brand Identity Guru, dedicated to monitoring the everyday changes on the battlefield to maintain a high-ranking web presence. And it does change frequently—search engines are notorious for changing their search algorithms often.

What about pay-per-click?

Organic (“free” or “natural”) rankings are completely different from sponsored (“pay-per-click” or PPC) links. PPC can be an effective part of a brand’s overall online marketing strategy, and a lot professional SEO companies work with clients to design PPC campaigns that are both cost-effective and eye-catching. But PPC won’t substitute for SEO. High positioning on a relevant keyword search on Google, with its reputation for returning highly relevant results, bodes well for your brand in a way that sponsored links just can’t. However, neither is it wise to engage in an all-SEO, no-PPC strategy. Serious online brand marketers get the best results with a comprehensive strategy run by professionals with both the branding and technical know-how to determine the right mix of the two.

Yes, it’s complicated.

But you get back a lot in return for your investment of time and money. A more “Googleable” online branding strategy will quickly yield improved sales and a more visible brand on the web, which, in turn, will also positively affect your bottom line.