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CMS ProTip #2 - Accessible On-Page SEO Elements

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On-Page SEOWhile this is a common feature of the majority of content management systems these days, if your current CMS doesn’t allow you to modify certain on-page elements, it may be time to start shopping around.  Each page within your site should be crafted and optimized with the overall goal of higher rankings and increased traffic in mind.  Here are a few elements to check:

Title Tags

Title tags are probably the easiest, yet most important, element of any page to modify with most Content Management Systems.  Each page within your site should have a well-crafted title tag that you (or your web developer) have written.  Alternatively, in the case of larger sites, or e-commerce sites with lots of products, the content management system should be able to help generate very-friendly tags based upon the page or product name and the overall brand of the website. 

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions help increase the click-through rate for search engine listings.  Any given CMS should allow you to modify each page’s meta description within your site.  These are great places for a few quick sentences involving key phrases you’re targeting and a call to action to entice the user to click.

H1 Tags

A good CMS will allow you to simply highlight and style any text within your site with an H, or heading, tag.  An H1 tag should be thought of as the headline of the page and should directly relate to the content on that particular page.  Styling this text should happen automatically, making the job of the content creator much easier.

File Names and Alt Tags

Within your CMS, you’re going to be uploading content.  This content should retain the original file name once upload (assuming that you named your images and videos with applicable key phrases).  Also, when inserting an image onto a page, the option to add Alt Image Text should be presented.  This text will help your odds of being relevant for Google Image searches.

Automated Elements

The elements that should be automated within your CMS for on-page SEO purposes are things like the URL structure, XML Sitemap, and robots.txt file.  The URL that is generated for any given page should be friendly, without creating session IDs, or other unnecessary snippets.  The XML Sitemap and robots.txt file are pretty much strictly for search engines and automatically generated by your CMS.

There are other elements of on-page SEO that are important (content creation, internal linking structure, etc.), but those are at the heart of every CMS.  The elements listed above are extremely important and shouldn’t be a daunting task if you’ve chosen the right CMS for the job.  If you're a bit new to SEO, feel free to download our SEO Whitepaper free of charge.

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Avoiding Comment Spam in your Blog

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If you keep up a blog then you are probably well acquainted with comment spam. This is an inevitable fact of life if you allow comments on your blog (which you should in most cases). At Marketpath, we reached a point with our blogging platform where we were receiving a great deal of comment spam for our own blogs and many of our customers' blogs. Here's an example:

Example of comment spam

Notice how well-written this comment is? Notice its perfect grammar and its amazingly descriptive word choices? That's sarcasm, of course. 

The good news is that if you are using Marketpath CMS, you don't have to worry about this type of comment rearing its ugly head on your blog. Every comment must be reviewed and approved before others can see it and it's very easy to do so. You'll receive a notification about the comment and can quickly jump into CMS to approve it.

Most other CMS platforms provide some sort of comment moderation as well and may even run comments through an detection engine to determine how likely they are spam. The best tool for this, however, is using good ol' fashioned eyeballs. Not everyone who comments writes well so you'll want to be careful not to ignore legitimate comments.

Why do people spam your blog? The biggest reason is that they are trying to improve their own website's search engine position by creating backlinks to their site. They will embed keywords and utilize the URL field to create the link.

Marketpath helps eliminate spam not only by requiring approval of comments but also by using a REL="NOFOLLOW" tag in the links. This tag tells search engines to ignore the link and alerts most spammers (those with a decent understanding of SEO) to avoid it because they know they won't get any credit for the link. Marketpath also strips HTML tags from the actual comment. If a spammer tries to embed a link into the comment, it will be stripped and removed completely. And the final tactic we employ is requiring visitors to enter a number verification (captcha) so automated spamming systems won't get through.

All in all, comment spam is a fact of life and will continue to be for quite some time. Simple measures, like I discussed above, whether you're using Marketpath CMS or some other evil CMS platform, should be a standard part of the technology to keep these comments from ever seeing the light of day.

Here are a couple more posts about comment spam that may interest you:

Hard facts about comment spam (Google Webmaster Central Blog)
Spam in blogs (Wikipedia)
 

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Google +1 Coming to an Algorithm Near You

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Google +1Earlier this week, Wired.com ran a story about Google exploring the integration of the +1 button data into their search ranking algorithm.  While this is something that most of us in the industry have expected since the launch of the +1 button, it is the first time (to my knowledge) that Google has confirmed it.  


This isn't the first time, however, that Google has looked at social signals as ranking influencers.  They have already begun to use the data received from Twitter to help determine rankings for websites.  Facebook, on the other hand, hasn't allowed Google to have access to its data, which may be one of the reasons why the +1 button was created.  

So, is this Google's plan to force everyone to utilize the +1 button?

In a way, yes.  Google's never-ending search for data has led them to the social sphere.  With people constantly tweeting, liking, and +1'ing, Google can gain more insight into the quality of the websites they are ranking.  Hopefully, as the social influences show their importance, Google will begin to tweak the amount of importance they place on links, especially coming from lower PageRank sites that run rampant with link spam.  

Is this a perfect solution?

No.  Google will need to combat the creation of fake profiles used for +1'ing purposes.  They have already shown their intentions for their new social network, Google+, by allowing users to report fake profiles, but this system may need overhauled if the +1 button becomes a major influencer to their rankings.  Black hat SEO's will relentlessly attempt to scam the system, just like some link building services do today.

Lots of Ranking Factors
Keep in mind there are lots of ranking factors, not just the +1

Where does this leave you, the site owner?

Google changes their algorithm all the time.  Most of these changes are minor, but some aren't.  At the end of the day, you always know that Google is trying to rank the highest quality sites for the terms they deserve to rank for.  Add relevant content to your site, interact genuinely through social media, create landing pages for marketing campaigns, and make sure your website can convert visitors to customers.  Remember, you are the expert in your industry, act like it...but in the mean time I'd go ahead and add Google's +1 button to be safe.

Here are the instructions on how to do it: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/         

 

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