As promised in my SharePoint 2010 SEO Analysis with the IIS SEO Toolkit post, while the IIS.NET SEO Toolkit does an excellent job of generating an initial sitemap and providing a nice GUI for ad hoc updates, it does not offer any obvious scheduling mechanism to ensure that your sitemap stays current with the changing content in your CMS. Thankfully, my colleague Glyn Clough whipped up some PowerShell to produce a full sitemap for your web application based on Jie Li’s initial script, which was scoped at the root web. Running this as a Windows scheduled task will get you a very up-to-date sitemap for all sites in your web application with very little on-going maintenance. Nice one Glyn!
The IIS.NET Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit provides a powerful analysis tool that can generate reports for web editors and can automatically generate sitemaps and robots.txt files as well. These reports not only provide insight in to page rank improvements but also help content editors identify missing/duplicate content and find broken links. This post provides an overview of how the tools can be used by content editors or web managers who do not have access to the server infrastructure and what you can expect to see when running an SEO Analysis against an out of the box SharePoint 2010 Publishing site. I will also review the server tools that generate sitemaps and robots.txt files.
Installing the SEO Toolkit
Although Remote Server Administration Tools can be installed on Windows Vista and Windows 7, I have produced the directions below on my Windows Server 2008 R2 desktop. The instructions should be fundamentally the same for any OS once IIS Manager is available locally, however it is installed. To be crystal clear, the SEO Toolkit can be used by anyone with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2. It is not a requirement to have access to the web server and it is not necessary to install IIS locally.
In the lead-up to our SharePoint 2010 website launch I’ve been doing a fair amount of research in to the SEO Tools that work with SharePoint. We’ve been looking at automatic/scheduled generation of sitemaps, robots.txt management and conversion of 302 (temporary) to 301 (permanent) redirects. There are a couple of approaches to tackling the first two issues, which I’ll discuss in my next post, but this last issue is more peculiar to SharePoint, as you will have noticed if you’ve ever looked at Fiddler when you browse to the root of a path. For instance, if I browse to the root of my http://publishing/ publishing site I will be automatically redirected to http://publishing/Pages/default.aspx. On a blank site template I would be redirected from http://blank/ to http://blank/default.aspx. In each case SharePoint issues a 302 temporary redirect from the root of the path to the default page. This is not optimal for search on the internet, so many people have tried to rewrite the URL using the IIS URL Rewrite module. Unfortunately, “rewrites” are not supported with SharePoint but I have never seen this explained clearly. To clarify, this is what we’re talking about: