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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was once a term only some knew but it is now quite common in everyday website conversations to hear people speak of SEO. Having your website content easily found and highly ranked in search engines is a goal that websites should aim for – after all, you have gone to the trouble of creating a masterpiece and so it should have the widest audience possible, right?
Making our Products Search Engine Friendly
At C2, we have worked on making sure our own products, e.g. Activedition, are SEO Friendly. This involved ensuring that the URLs for content are unique and consistent and that the correct response is given for older content that may have been indexed by a search engine but later removed (404).
The IIS SEO Toolkit
There are a number of tools that can be used to identify any SEO issues, the main one that we use is Microsoft’s SEO Toolkit - http://www.iis.net/downloads/microsoft/search-engine-optimization-toolkit.
Using the SEO Toolkit, we found any issues with the generated content from Activedition, allowing us to repeatedly test, fix and retest until the SEO violations were resolved.
Similarly, this SEO Toolkit can be used to test Custom features written for websites – simply point the toolkit at the test website and let it run, browsing all the links of the site. The tool gives a lot of detail of what is wrong, where it is wrong and the content of the website.
Another use of the toolkit is testing and improving the speed of a website. We run the toolkit and record how long the overall time took to visit all the URLs on the site – this is stored in the reports that it generates. If you wish to get a more detailed look at the response times, the detail is available in the Performance tab of the tool. A nice trick is to have Fiddler (a web debugging proxy tool - http://fiddler2.com/) open while the toolkit is visiting a website. All the requests are captured in Fiddler’s logs and can be seen on the timeline.
If the website has some Database interaction, another technique that we use is to perform a SQL Trace when the toolkit is running. You can then analyse the results of the trace and apply recommended indexes and statistics to the database, retest and note the reduced time to browse the website.
The SEO Toolkit is something we use and recommend in order to potentially quickly improve performance and compatibility with search engines.