Heads up on tag optimization (SEM 101)

Much of what constitutes a well-architected webpage is never displayed in the page itself. The contents of the <body> tag are what you see in a browser. But a webpage consists of two major elements, the <body> tag only being one. The content of the <head> tag (and for that matter, the document type declaration (DTD), which precedes the <head> tag in the page’s code, is just as important for search engine optimization ...
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Architecting content for SEO (SEM 101)

It wasn’t that long ago that I discussed in this blog how to create good content that will get your site noticed, by both end users and search engines. But to be clear, just writing some slick text is not the whole story. The previous blog articles in the Site Architecture and SEO series (files/pages and link/URLs) made reference to doing what you can to help the search engine web crawler (also known as a robot or, more simply, a bot) crawl...
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Making links work for you (SEM 101)

Links can be the lifeblood of a good website, as we discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of Links: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But how well you manage them on your site from a site architecture perspective can be the difference between your website being starved for oxygen (aka search engine referral traffic) versus healthy and thriving. That’s why we do search engine optimization (SEO). This article is part 2 of the recent Site Architecture...
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Site architecture and SEO – file/page issues (SEM 101)

Search engine optimization (SEO) has three fundamental pillars upon which successful optimization campaigns are run. Like a three-legged stool, take one away, and the whole thing fails to work. The SEO pillars include: content (which we initially discussed in Are you content with your content?), links (which we covered in Links: the good, the bad, and the ugly, Part 1 and Part 2), and last but not least, site architecture. You can have great...
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Bing enhances support for large Sitemaps

We have another quick but important announcement today. Bing, along with the other search engines that are a part of Sitemaps.org, has announced support for the following Sitemap enhancements: 1. You can now include up to 50,000 references (either URLs or links to child Sitemaps) in your sitemap.xml index file. Until recently, Sitemap files only supported about 1,000 child references. This enhancement will be very useful to extremely large sites,...
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Put your keywords where the emphasis is (SEM 101)

In my previous post on developing your keyword list, we discussed techniques and considerations for developing a list of relevant keywords and key phrases for the pages on your website that are highly specific and (hopefully) not overly competitive. All of this is effort is geared toward making your website stand out from the competition in search engine results pages (SERPs). But developing a list of great keywords is just the start. You now...
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Going international: considerations for your global website

One of the best parts of publishing online is that, on the Web, anyone can have a world-wide reach. But while being global is made easy on the Internet, ensuring that the content you produce will be found by the right audience can be a real challenge. Search engines can have trouble understanding geotargeting because of a few technical limitations. These include: Search engines may not be crawling your site from the location of your customers...
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Partnering to help solve duplicate content issues

One of the most common challenges search engines run into when indexing a website is identifying and consolidating duplicate pages. Duplicates can occur when any given webpage has multiple URLs that point to it. For example: URL Description http://mysite.com A webmaster may consider this their authoritative or canonical URL for their homepage. http://www.mysite.com However, you can add ‘www’ to most websites and still get the...
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Optimizing your very large site for Search — Part 3

Working with large sites often means being a part of a large organization, which brings its own set of challenges. Many stakeholders with different agendas or needs influence how sites are structured. Within larger organizations, there are long to-do lists and a lack of understanding of the impact certain designs or architecture choices can have on the ability of the search engine to index the site. In our past two articles on large site...
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Optimizing your very large site for search — Part 1

At Live Search, one of the most common questions we receive from our peers at microsoft.com and msn.com is how to optimize their sites for search. But microsoft.com is unlike most other sites on the Internet. It is huge, containing millions of URLs, and is growing all the time. However, large content sites like microsoft.com and msn.com are not the only sites that can have an infinite number of URLs. There are also large ecommerce sites and...
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