Blog items tagged with "organic-seo"
In this, Part V of my advanced SEO tips for Exponent CMS websites, I'll discuss a critical component for search engine marketing: Analytics.
A gigantic aspect of search marketing is measuring, analyzing, and modifying your SEO and PPC campaigns to ensure they're always performing at their best. The best way to gather this data is by integrating a comprehensive traffic analytics program into your Exponent CMS website.
One of the most popular Analytics programs available – and is 100 percent free – is Google Analytics. Google Analytics gathers detailed statistics about web traffic and its sources and measures conversions and sales. All of this data is essential for running a well optimized SEO campaign.
So how do you get Google Analytics to work on your Exponent CMS website? If you're the webmaster of an Exponent site, the process takes a few steps but it's really quite simple.
Setting Up Your Google Analytics Account
If you or your client don't already have a Google Analytics account set up, it's very easy to get a new account. Simply go to Google.com/Analytics and sign in with your Google Account. From there, you'll need to go to Accounts list and click to add a “New Account.”
Next, fill out the pertinent information about your Exponent CMS website, giving it an account name and providing your website's URL. Whether or not you choose to allow Google to view your account data is up to you.
When you're done, simply click “Get Tracking ID” and accept the Google Terms & Conditions to get the code snippet you'll need to integrate into your Exponent CMS theme files.
Installing Your Google Analytics Code
As you can see in the image above, you'll need to simply copy the code snippet tracking code found in the box that is specific to your account and paste it into each page of your site.
If you were working with a straight HTML site, this could get a little cumbersome, however because we're working with a dynamic CMS that uses themes/subthemes, you'll only need to paste it into each of your theme files.
You can access these theme files within cPanel or by pulling them down via FTP.
Within your public_html directory, you'll need to navigate into your Exponent theme folder and into the directory of the theme you're using for your website.
Within your theme directory you'll first want to edit your index.php file, inserting your code snippet just before the closing body tag of the file:
Once you've pasted in your snippet, save the file or push it back up via FTP. Go back into your theme folder and into “subthemes” and repeat this paste/save step for each of your website's subtheme files.
Once you've saved the snippet, you can verify its tracking status by going back to your Google Analytics account and into Tracking Info where you copied your code snippet. There you'll see the tracking status for your Analytics account:
Now that you've successfully setup and installed Google Analytics into your Exponent CMS website, you can now set goals, track traffic sources and gather other pertinent website data that will help you continually measure and analyze the performance of your SEO marketing strategy.
About the Author
This SEO tutorial article was written by Chris Everett, a search engine marketing consultant at Captivate Search Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia.
Chris has worked with Exponent CMS websites since 2007 and continues to help improve the system's SEO friendliness.
Connect with Chris on Google+ to learn more.
As a follow up to Part III of my advanced SEO tips for Exponent CMS webmasters that discussed installing webmaster tools, I'll now discuss the importance of XML Sitemaps and how to create and configure one for your Exponent site.
What are XML Sitemaps?
XML Sitemaps for your website that notifies the search engines about each web pages on your site, how important each page is, as well as how often the site is updated.
Creating a XML Sitemap also provides a way for the search engines to discover pages on your website that they might not have found through the normal site crawling process.
A complement to the Robots.txt file, after they are generated, XML Sitemaps are uploaded to Google and Bing Webmaster tools to help you manage the indexation of your web pages.
Creating & Uploading a XML Sitemap
Generating an XML sitemap is very easy by going to www.xml-sitemaps.com.
This website gives step by step instructions on how to create your XML Sitemap. You'll first need to enter your website URL and then select the frequency that your site is changed.
Next you can tell the search engines precisely when the last time your site was updated:
The Priority tag for your XML sitemap assigns a value to your URLs between 0.0 and 1.0, where 0.0 identifies the lowest priority URLs on your site and 1.0 identifies the highest priority URLs. The default priority of a page is 0.5.
Once you've filled out the necessary data, you can then run your XML Sitemap by clicking the “Start” Button.
As you can see in the image above, you can run a XML Sitemap for a website up to 500 pages for free. If your website has more than 500 pages that need to be indexed, you'll have to find an alternative sitemap generator, or pay for the advanced version.
Once you click “Start” the Sitemap crawler will start to build your XML Sitemap:
Once the Sitemap generator is finished running, you can download it and push it up to the public_html directory of your Exponent CMS website via FTP or cPanel/WHM.
You can verify that you've properly uploaded your XML sitemap by going to www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml It should look something like this:
Configuring Your XML Sitemap in Webmaster Tools
So now that you've created and uploaded your new XML Sitemap to your web server, you now must go to Webmaster tools for both Google and Bing and submit your XML Sitemap URL.
Google Webmaster Tools
In the Google Webmaster Tools, you can access the Sitemap configuration page from the dashboard, or on the left hand menu under Optimization by clicking the “Sitemaps” link.
Once you've landed on the Sitemaps configuration page, you can submit a new sitemap by clicking the red “Add/Test Sitemap” button on the right hand side.
There, you'll simply enter “sitemap.xml” in the rest of the URL field and click “Submit Sitemap”
You'll receive a “Sitemap Submitted” message to let you know that you've successfully completed the process:
Bing Webmaster Tools
Similarly to the Google Webmaster Tools, you can submit a XML Sitemap on the Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard under the “Sitemaps” section:
To submit the sitemap, simply click “Submit a Sitemap” and fill out your XML Sitemap URL:
Once you've filled out your URL, click submit and you're done.
You now have successfully notified the search engines about each page on your website. While it does not guarantee every page will be indexed, it does help eliminate URLs not getting picked up through normal crawling.
In Part V of this Advanced SEO Tips series, I'll discuss how to configure and install Google Analytics on your Exponent CMS website.
About the Author
Chris Everett is an organic SEO expert and is the founder of the Captivate Search Marketing search engine marketing firm in Atlanta, GA.
As I've optimized Exponent CMS websites over the years, one of the challenges that I've discovered is making sure the developers understand the proper SEO friendly markup principles required to maximize the organic search value of the site.
It's not that I blame the developers for some of the markup oversights I've come across when analyzing the level of SEO friendliness an Exponent CMS site might have – after all, it's their job to build the sites and the SEO consultant's job to optimize them.
With this in mind, I've come up with these SEO friendly markup tips to educate Exponent CMS developers who might not be as SEO savvy in order to make the development process more efficient – particularly for websites undergoing an organic search optimization program.
Don't apply the H1 Tag to the Website Logo
I've seen this done many, many times, where developers have created a logo style class in the CSS and have applied an H1 tag to the logo in every subtheme of the site.
The problem with this from an SEO perspective is multifaceted. First, because the logo is typically at the top of the page markup, this H1 tag is the first tag that the search engine spider sees as it's crawling your page top to bottom.
In terms of content structure, the H1 tag is your web page's most important header tag, followed by the subheader tags H2 and H3, because it tells the search spider what the main topic (or keywords) is for the page. You also only want to use one H1 tag per web page. So if you're using the H1 tag in this fashion, you're literally telling the spider that whatever your logo title text is, is the main content topic for each page.
It also means that if you're building your Exponent CMS site with SEO in mind, you most likely have multiple H1 tags on each of your web pages, which isn't ideal for proper on-site optimization.
Don't Rely on Exponent's Out-of-the-Box Module Title Markup
There are a lot of built in features that Exponent CMS has that are meant to be convenient time savers when it comes to markup.
One of those being the across-the-board H1 tag that is applied to each module title field.
The problem with this dovetails on the H1 logo markup that I discussed above, where if you're utilizing multiple types of content modules on one page, it becomes very easy to have multiple H1 tags on that single web page, which again, isn't best practice for on-site optimization.
If your homepage has a normal text module with a strong H1 tag, but you also have an upcoming events section, as well as a latest news section using a news module in summary/headlines view, topped off with a footer utilizing 3 or 4 separate link manager modules, you have potential for 7 or 8 different H1 tags on that one web page if you simply used Exponent's stock module markup.
Proper Markup Makes All the Difference
I'll illustrate for you an example of how using these two SEO friendly markup tips above can make a tremendous difference.
Earlier this year I had experienced some issues with a client's Exponent CMS website that was undergoing an SEO marketing program. The problem with the site was that we couldn't seem to get passed page 3 of the organic search results, and Google couldn't really decide which of our web pages it wanted to rank for some of our targeted keywords. Every couple of days, the page on our site that would show up in the middle of page 3 would change from the homepage to an internal page.
When I started digging into the code, I realized we not only had the H1 tag applied to our logo, but we also utilized all the stock module title H1 tags, so we had 9, yes 9 H1 tags on our homepage alone.
After finding this markup issue, we quickly stripped the H1 tag off of our logo, assigned H2 or H3 tags to our module titles that weren't the most important header tag our each of our web pages, and within about 10 days of me re-submitting our site through webmaster tools, we finally climbed onto page 1 of the search results, and to this day, every web page on this clients' site sits in the top 3 of the organic results.
If you're an Exponent CMS developer who has been utilizing these H1 tags in your markup, you might want to consider these SEO friendly tips to not only improve the organic value of your websites, but also to make your lives easier so you don't have to go back and fix it at a later date.
About the Author
Chris Everett is an SEO specialist in Atlanta, GA, and the founder of the Captivate Search Marketing Atlanta SEO Company.
To learn more about the technical SEO aspects of Exponent CMS, connect with Chris on Google+.
I've worked with Exponent CMS in a variety of roles since 2007, from being merely a user/customer of OIC Group, Inc., to becoming a project manager for OIC Group, and now as a SEO consultant for my own business in Atlanta.
While Exponent CMS doesn't have the community following of Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, etc., I've had experience with all of these top CMS platforms, but Exponent is always the one I come back to.
In terms of SEO friendliness, Wordpress has several plugins that work quite well for optimizing websites, but what I love about Exponent CMS is that the markup is highly flexible and all of the SEO tools needed for to optimize your website are built in – no plugins necessary.
Over the last several weeks, I've been working with the lead developers on the Exponent CMS project – Phillip Ball and David Leffler – on enhancements to the CMS that make Exponent even more SEO friendly than it already was. In the coming weeks, we'll be adding even more features that I personally believe will make Exponent the most search engine friendly CMS platform in the open source marketplace.
So, aside from being able to control basic Meta Data on a page by page basis, what are some of the other built-in SEO friendly features of Exponent CMS?
When you're working with a CMS that allows for dynamic content publication and display, you're going to run into problems with long, nasty URL strings that include parameters for views, actions and sources that aren't friendly for either users or search engines.
Such is the case with most of the dynamic content modules within Exponent CMS such as news, portfolio, blog, ecommerce, etc. Luckily for SEO enthusiasts such as myself, Exponent has built in an awesome feature called Router Maps that allows you to clean up that nasty URL strings with a cleaner, more search engine friendly version of the URL.
For example, the dynamic blog module URL below is performing the “Show All By Tag” action, where a user can view every blog post that is labeled with that specific tag. The Exponent CMS site will dynamically pull up and display each of these posts, which is essential functionality for a blog, but as you can see the URL isn't exactly user friendly:
By configuring the Router Map function in your Exponent theme folder with the appropriate rule, you can change that nasty URL to a cleaner one such as this:
Flexible URL Structures
Since SEF (Search Engine Friendly) URLs were integrated into Exponent in 2007, they've evolved to become more and more flexible for SEOs.
The benefit of SEF URLs, aside from being easy for users to read, is that SEOs can craft custom optimized URLs with keyword inclusion to make their clients' websites more friendly for organic search.
Exponent allows administrators to assign a variety of URL extensions to their SEF URL field such as .html, .php, .htm, etc., based on their preference.
Historically, all pages within Exponent CMS would display URLs at the root level.
Recently though in Exponent's 2.2.0 stable release, the SEF URL field has become even more flexible. The system now allows for nested URL structures that are preferred by some SEO consultants that allow URLs to look like this:
The flexibility of how SEOs can execute their URLs within our system makes Exponent a very powerful platform for websites focused on SEO and search engine placement.
Another new feature added in the 2.2.0 stable release is support for Rel=Canonical URLs on a page by page basis.
For SEOs dealing with large websites that have potential duplicate content issues (having the same exact content appearing in multiple places on your website, or if your site is receiving syndicated content), the Rel=Canonical tag configuration allows SEOs the ability to easily assign credit to a preferred source URL in the event that duplicate content needs to be avoided.
Rel=Canonical tag fields have been integrated throughout the system in the page manager configurations, and in specific dynamic module types such as Exponent's news, portfolio, blog, and ecommerce modules.
File Manager Image Meta Data
The final feature that makes Exponent CMS a SEO friendly CMS that I'll discuss in this post is related to Exponent's file manager and attachable files functionality.
Certain modules within the system utilize “attachable files” functionality to display images in certain views/layouts.
For example, Exponent's ecommerce, blog, portfolio, and news modules use attachable image files to display images related to that product/portfolio piece/post:
The SEO friendly feature related to this functionality is how the image is optimized for organic search engine value.
Rather than simply inserting image files into the WYSIWYG editor for display on the website as you would using a text module, you can assign your Image Alt Text and Image Title tags for attachable files within Exponent CMS' file manager.
So as you've optimized your attachable file, your image Alt text and Title tags will show up in the HTML markup just as if you had inserted your image into a WYSIWYG editor and optimized the image that way:
Future Exponent CMS SEO Friendly Feature Enhancements
As the CMS continues to evolve, I've made it my personal mission to ensure that we work in every SEO friendly feature possible into Exponent CMS.
In future releases, we'll be working on such enhancements as allowing administrators to configure “No Index, No Follow” type robots tags on a page and post level.
We also plan to enhance the Exponent CMS tagging system so administrators will be able to assign unique SEO friendly meta data on a tag by tag basis, as well as add link title attributes to the Exponent CMS link manager module configuration.
If one thing is for certain as we continue to make Exponent CMS more and more Search Engine Friendly, it's that our system is incredibly powerful and its future is very bright.
About the author
Chris Everett is a contributor to the Exponent CMS project.
Chris is a search engine marketing consultant based in Atlanta, Georgia, and he's the founder of the Captivate Search Marketing SEO Company.
To learn more about the SEO friendly features of Exponent CMS, feel free to connect with Chris on Google+.
Content management systems (CMS) are massively popular when it comes to building and operating a website. When seeking a CMS platform for your website, you should take into account search engine optimization (SEO), for organic SEO is a powerful way to get your blog and website content exposed in the search results.
Organic SEO is simply the practice of optimizing your content in an effort to earn higher rankings in the organic search results (unlike PPC advertising where users bid on keywords for search exposure.) The CMS platform you choose will ultimately impact how efficient your content can be optimized, and thus its potential at getting ranked for organic search marketing.
For this reason, it's important that you choose an organic SEO friendly CMS to ensure your website can be properly optimized.
If you plan to develop web content and manage a blog or website using a CMS, you'll definitely want to pinpoint a software platform that's highly SEO friendly. The following three attributes that define an organic SEO friendly CMS will help you determine which platforms will work best for your website.
Elements of Organic SEO Friendly CMS Platforms
- Effective organic SEO utilizes a number of website elements, such as a footer, HTML sitemap, and a number of off-page and on-page SEO elements. It's critical to ensure that your CMS caters to these necessary organic SEO friendly website elements.
- It's imperative that your CMS enables you to write custom page titles (or "Meta titles,") Meta descriptions, and URL's per page. These pieces of content contribute heavily to organic SEO. And although some CMS platforms have these features built-in, others systems require you to download or purchase plug-ins.
- Organic SEO friendly CMS platforms will generate the coding of a website to be very crawler-centric. In other words, some CMS platforms produce websites using seamless HTML coding structures (ideal for organic SEO,) whereas others use cumbersome coding structures that can limit SEO performance. Understand these back-end considerations before making your final decision.
In addition to the latter three qualities that define an organic SEO friendly CMS, check the categories feature of the CMS. Some CMS software platforms do not allow users to create categories and subcategories. This is particular important for blogging, as well as structuring multi-folder URL naming conventions for organic SEO.
There's a lot of consideration that goes into choosing the right CMS. These are just the foundational elements that make a CMS friendly for organic search marketing and SEO. Keep these qualities top of mind when searching for that ideal, organic SEO friendly CMS platform to manage and optimize your web presence.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is organic SEO expert for the Web Presence Group, a full-service website optimization company that specializes in web presence optimization. Tyler has worked with several CMS platforms to optimize websites, and he's well-adept the features and functionalities that constitute organic SEO friendly CMS platforms. You can connect with Tyler on Google+, or follow him on Twitter.