What’s broken in the Microsoft development stack?

Last week I was at SES San Jose in the “Working Collaboratively with Your IT Dept” session with panelists Greg, Matt, Chris, and Sage, where someone asked which platform they should use for maximum SEO benefit. The answer from the panel was a resounding “Nothing from Microsoft.” While I don’t entirely agree with this advice, I thought it would be a great catalyst for feedback from the community on what we can do to improve our development stack (Windows, IIS, ASP.Net, Silverlight) so they are optimized for SEO by default (also check out the presentation I did on (workarounds for common SEO issues on the MSFT Stack).

One of our many roles here in the Webmaster Center is to be a vocal advocate for webmasters inside Microsoft, not just the search team. In the eight months we’ve been together as a team, we’ve been in talks with most of these product teams to discuss issues and possible solutions. We’ve had a few fixes adopted, but these products have long development cycles and sometimes it takes a while to get features shipped. We’ll take your feedback directly to the product groups and work with them to come up with the best solutions. And then we’ll post more information on exactly what these changes are when they are closer to shipping.

So send us your feedback on what you think is broken within our stack.  Here are some thoughts to help get your creative juices flowing:

  • Bad default settings – What settings are poorly configured by default? What should the correct setting be (e.g., IIS using 302 redirects by default)?
  • Too hard – What is possible, but simply too hard to do? If this is done well on another platform, that would be helpful to know as well (e.g., rearchitecting the link structure on a site while not breaking the links of the old site).
  • Limited capabilities – Are their capabilities that we just don’t have, but would really make your lives easier as SEO-savvy web developers (e.g., need to have multiple URL entry points into silverlight application)?  
  • Bugs – What just doesn’t work right today (e.g., URL rewriting in ASP.Net using 302’s to redirect links)?

Please be as specific as you can, including version numbers and exact behavior. This will make it easier for us to reproduce and fix. Thanks!

–Nathan Buggia, Webmaster Center Team

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13 comments
  1. Anonymous

    Most IIS servers I audit have 404 pages misconfigured – instead of a 404 status code, it does a 302 redirect to a page with a 200 status code.

  2. Anonymous

    Additionally, another issue (which also affects Apache on Windows) is the case-sensitivity issue – the URL path is case-sensitive.

  3. Anonymous

    Ian M.  

    Thanks for the comments!

    I have seen this too with 404.  Do you think it is an education issue around configuration or that we should change something in the server product?

    Jeremiah

  4. Anonymous

    Mod_Rewrite is among the top reasons we prefer Apache, and the #1 reason that porting a .NET app to Linux never causes trepidation.

    The younger brother of mod_rewrite, .htaccess is de riguer for good SEO to insure no www. vs non-www link dilution, and normalize across / and index.html.

    I know the simple URL remapping is easy enough for the point and clicker in IIS, but not sure of the .htaccess functions.

    On the Apache side, it’s just a quick mod to a standard .htaccess template to make sure URLs are kept in check.

  5. Anonymous

    Thank you, very useful information. A good example of Microsoft openness.

  6. Anonymous

    The main reason I don’t use your platforms for SEO or web development is because its too much nonsense to do the simple things I need to do.

    I would recommend that you begin by fixing the user interface so task I would use are a click away from the main screen.

  7. rickdej

    @Bureau24 – can you provide any specific examples of what tasks you use that are difficult to find?

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you for the article. This data will help me when building and growing my site.

  9. Anonymous

    Better late than never to be asking I guess.  I take it there is some desperation afoot.  Like how come so few web 2.0 properties are being built on .net.

    You need to look at the "other stack" apache and php.  Pay some php / apache people to have a code off with a .net team and each team has to construct a web 2.0 site that is seo friendly.  Once that is done you make structural changes.  All the while you are having the build off you capture key things like how do you make a friendly url compare and contrast php/apache with .net.  Which is easier?  Think about these things at each step.  

    Honestly, I have a hard time believing .net is the answer the the java app server and php/apache at the same time.  I think it could be one or the other, but now it’s just to big and cumbersome for the quick and dirty get it done web crowd.  

    It seems to me you are asking what your semi needs to do to negotiate hair pin turns like a Porche 944.

  10. Anonymous

    I am sorry I am not a development guru, but I just wanted to say I like the openness; the way how an open interaction between developers and users is possible. Thanks for that!

  11. Anonymous

    <meta name="robots" content="noindex"/>

  12. Quality Directory

    For maximum SEO benefit I use Apache MOD rewrite. And I'm comfortable with it, but I concede I haven't tries IIS.

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