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10 Reasons Why Plone Can Improve Your SEO

written by Calvin Hendryx-Parker on Friday August 20, 2010

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a hot topic these days and you want to ensure that your site is discoverable by the crawlers that index the World Wide Web. One of the most frequent questions we get from new clients is "How will the public find our site?" You are going to want your on-site SEO be as easy and automated as possible.

Deploying Plone as your Content Management System has many advantages such as making it easy to keep your content fresh and add new content easily, but it also handles many of these SEO tasks for you. Quite often we have launched a Plone site and had Google index most of the site in a matter of days without any additional work. Searches for key phrases that are relevant to our content quickly surface in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

So without further ado, here is the list:

  1. Automatic <title> tag generation with page and site title

    The <title> tag is important for a couple of reason. First, on the SERP, it is used typically as the heading for that result. The second benefit is that the Search Engines weight these keywords a bit more heavily and having relevant terms here is especially important.

  2. Easy control of the description <meta> tag

    Just like the <title> tag, the description <meta> tag is used to display text on the SERP and it is also considered as indexable text by the crawlers.

  3. Keyword rich, human-readable URL structure

    Plone will automatically take the title of your page in the site and create an ID that is used in the URL by separating the words with hyphens. In the SEO world, the search engines will use these as additional keywords when indexing the content. The folders that are above your page in the site also are used as segments in the URL for additional keywords and context. This performs much better than a URL like this:

    http://example.org/node/43
    http://example.org/Page.aspx?id=123
    

    Plone will create URLs that look more like this:

    http://example.org/consulting/data-center-buildout-and-design
    
  4. Automatic XML Sitemap file generation

    Many of the search engines will allow you to help its crawlers index your site more efficiently by submitting a XML file that describes the structure of your content. This can help ensure that you have the maximum coverage of your content indexed. Google goes so far as to give you tools to show you how much of that sitemap has been indexed and lets you know how often it checks with your site.

  5. Automatic "breadcrumb" navigation generation

    "Breadcrumb" navigation allows your pages to contain more keywords based on the folders that are above the current page in the site. Since the folders above should have titles with relevant keywords to your content, this can add a small boost to the relevance of your page.

  6. Useful 404 page

    Plone will respond to requests for pages that do not exist with the correct status code, 404, and will also suggest content that you may have been looking for by querying the site using keywords from the URL entered. This helps humans, and it also provides links to pages that may have moved to crawlers.

  7. Built-in editor encourages appropriate use of header tags

    Plone will use an <h1> tag around the title of the page in your site and any headings or subheadings in your content are converted into <h2> or <h3> tags and so on. This will help highlight what should be the important concepts in your content and give more weight to the headings. The search engines value well-structured content and can use this structure to determine the relevance of keywords in your content.

  8. Built-in support for analytics such as Google Analytics

    From the Site Setup panel inside of your Plone site, you can copy and paste the analytics javascript code into a textbox for inclusion into every page in your site. Now you can easily measure the effects of your SEO efforts.

  9. Clean/validatable HTML

    This is related to the appropriate usage of headers in your pages. The search engines will place some favor on pages that are valid. You get some extra credit here for knowing what you are doing.

  10. Easily exposes Dublin Core metadata

    The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) has taken on the task of developing a standard set of interoperable metadata standards for a broad ranges of purposes. Plone allows the site to expose these as additional <meta> tags in the <head> of your page. These additional metadata tags can be used by any system that also understands the Dublin Core and search engines can choose to weight this additional information when indexing your site.

Not many systems can say they cover as many areas for SEO out of the box as Plone does. In addition,there are even some community contributed add-ons that can increase the on site SEO of your site even further.

The whole reason to have a website is to have people find it. Using Plone can increase the chances of that happening with less effort from the members of your organization.

 
Posted by on Aug 23, 2010 02:40 PM
And one which worsens it: slowness.
Posted by calvin on Apr 09, 2014 04:55 AM
This really isn't accurate anymore with the latest 4.3 release. Plone is quite fast now and helps with the speed (which is important for SEO)
Posted by on Aug 25, 2010 09:10 AM
Actually for anonymous viewers, it is sufficiently straightforward to cache pages in Varnish, Squid etc, that slowness should not be an issue. Any CMS with comparable features to Plone is going to, by its nature, be slow out of the box. Reverse proxy caching of pages is a pretty standard way of solving this problem.
Posted by Argo Dengo on Sep 18, 2012 07:43 AM
Thanks for the nice article. But since plone is built atop zope, my doubt is more about the zope unique database system itself. How SEO friendly is it? Is there any comparison to other database systems regarding SEO features? How different would it be if using a SQL or other relational database system with Zope? Does it affect SEO performance? If so, how?
Posted by Spook SEO on Apr 09, 2014 04:18 AM
Hi Calvin! Thank you very much for sharing these 10 reasons why Plone can really improve our SEO. In my own opinion, Plone can boost our SEO and one example is by responding to requests for pages that do not exist with the correct status code which is 404 and will also suggest articles that we may have been looking for by inquiring the website with the use of keywords from the URL entered.
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