Sitefinity comes with a large amount of predefined functionality to support SEO, however it is up to you to take advantage of the CMS settings and configurations and make your website conform to SEO best practice. We’ve put together a checklist of the key areas you should consider.
1. Replace underscore characters in URLs with hyphens
Sitefinity generates URLs for content items automatically based on the title via the URL routing engine. The system uses regular expression to replace specific characters found in the title with “hyphen” (-) but “underscore” (_) remains. However underscores are not real word delimiters. It is recommended by Google officially to use hyphens instead of underscores in your URLs.
Use the following Sitefinity setting to modify Sitefinity’s regular expression for Blog posts: Administration >> Settings >> Advanced >> ContentView >> Controls >> PostsBackend >> Views >>BlogsBackendInsertPost >> Sections >>MoreOptionsSection >> Fields >> UrlName
Replace the regular expression used by Sitefinity with the one below and save:
The only modification made is adding the underscore character to the list of characters to be replaced. Note that you need to repeat the operation for both Insert and Edit backend views - BlogsBackendInsertPost and BlogsBackendEditPost.
2. Make sure to have unique Meta descriptions
First of all having no Meta descriptions is worse than having duplicated ones. Make sure that all your pages have Meta descriptions set to them. On the Pages list in the backend click on Actions menu on any of the pages and select Title & Properties. Note: Meta descriptions help search bots to index pages properly but make sure that descriptions are human-understandable too.
3. Control Page title through content items
One of the major SEO prerequisites is to keep the page title unique. This means that the page title should be resolved automatically to display the content item’s title when opened in details mode. For content modules this is controlled by the PageTitleMode property. For example go to edit the BlogPosts widget and in Advanced settings, you will find the PageTitleMode property:
Make sure that the value is Replace, as it indicates that the page title should be replaced by the item title. For custom widgets you can do the same programmatically by setting the Title property of the System.Web.UI.Control.Page class:
this.Page.Title = eventItem.EventTitle;
4. Have one unique H1 tag per page
Every Sitefinity page must have one and only one H1 tag per page. All other headings must be H2, H3, etc
5. Ensure all images have alt text
Alt attributes is the only attribute that crawlers index for images. That’s why it is very important to give information to bots about the image. Alt attributes in Sitefinity are supported by default for Images. You can edit them by navigating to Sitefinity’s backend and go to Content >> Images and click to edit any image:
6. Avoid Flash Videos
According to recent research 63% of the web traffic nowadays is by iOS devices and iOS does not support Flash. Take advantage of Sitefinity’s HTML5 Video Player instead.
7. Use canonical URLs
In many cases you may want to display the same content via one or more pages. This is called a duplicate content. However it's very difficult for a search engine to make a determination which value is correct if it comes the same or extremely similar piece of content with different URLs. For that purpose a canonical URL is used:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://canonical-url-goes-here" />
It is important to have the canonical link tag in the head of the page and not the body. Sitefinity provides a canonical URLs implementation by default for most of the content modules as News, Events, Blog posts, Lists, etc. Make sure that you follow the instructions from official documentation for Enabling and Disabling Canonical URLs service.
8. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
Google announced that all sites that do not support mobile-friendly pages or apps will suffer from decreasing search ranking since 21 of April 2015. With Sitefinity, you can achieve mobile-first and responsive design by using the Responsive Design module. How do you know if your site is currently mobile-friendly?You can check with Google WebMaster Tools here:
9. Google Analytics
Sitefinity has an ‘out of the box’ Analytics module that allows you to connect your new site to an analytics solution and collect data on what your users are looking at. Check more on the module capabilities and how to configure in Sitefinity official documentation here: http://docs.sitefinity.com/overview-sitefinity-analytics
Is your site making full use of the SEO tips above? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7977 9230 for a free review of your site from one of our Sitefinity-specialists.