Monday, October 27, 2008

cms woes

Question from Ray Stewart ICPA FCCA MICB CB.Dip PM.Dip on UK Businesslabs

I have been watching with interest how my two main websites have been performing in google. My little blog, with it's page rank of 0/10 continually pops up very high in searches and has decent traffic to it but the main site with it's (much larger!) page rank of 1/10 doesn't feature much in searches but is still getting a fair bit of traffic.

I don't really like the joomla look of the main site but it is simple to update and refresh. Is that important to google & co?

My question really is, would I be better converting the main site into a wordpress one like the blog? would it help it perform better in google & co?

Would I be better to combine the two somehow to economize on effort?

I have always thought the way my wordpress blog and the joomla site name the pages when written was helpful to the search engines. Is this true? or would I be better using just numbers for posts like lots of blogs seem to instead?

Is this the kind of stuff an SEO expert helps with - never having known one, or asked one, until now? I have just relied on reading bits and pieces on things like this and not got very far

and my response,


my 2 pence (as a CMS developer/seo guy), one thing that I have noticed with google (and other SE's) is that although the CMS you use doesn't have much affect there are things that it does that can do.

- Speed of rendering, the page has to be delivered to the spider quickly, remember web spiders dont 'see' the images so ignore them (thats a usability issue), but some CMS, build their pages slowly, or the databse they connect to is slow etc etc. I have used this before and found it good to help tune my CMS's in the past

- Page Errors, this can really harm your site. Every CMS should display some kind of user message if an error occurs, but what if the error only happens when a spider hits the page? I would advise using google webmaster tools and Yahoo site explorer with your site, at tleast this way you can see any errors that the spiders are showing up.

- Fancy controls/Ajax etc, My CMS uses very little ajax to display content, and there are no fancy javascripted menus/controls anywehere to be seen, its all plain old HTML, rememebr the spiders on read text, so how it looks is irrelevant, the best looking site can get 0 search results. Ajax and javascript can is used incorrectly actually hide your content (if used well it can help your content too) from the spiders

- HTML structure, this is the biggest problem with any web page (not just CMS based ones), the page must follow the basic HTML structure. So Meta tags, CSS and javascript in the HEAD area (except google analytics move them to the bottom of the page), content in the BODY area, Header tags in the correct order on the page, H1 at the top, then H2 etc etc, use P tags for each section of relevant content, use UL/LI for lists, etc etc.
A spider will index the structured content faster if its in the right place.

Lots of info, I am sure some will disagree, however these are all things I have had to look into over the last 2 years of developing OCRE and the best bit is every site that uses it has been indexed by google pretty quickly and all have relatively good search results.

hope that helps

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