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Plone, SEO and international calls. Plone, SEO and international calls.

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Some time ago I and Olena Zavorotnia optimized a html of new Plone based website Sauti,  Business Phone Services. Sauti Corporate Telephony Solution Provider offers cheap international phone calls from UK mobile or landline network, fax services, conference calls, competition lines, votelines, switchboard plans, and personal numbers.

Sauti wasn't developed by Quintagroup, so it was better for me to realize the situation with usual Plone based sites.

Note: December 2006. The owner of desided to switch from Plone to OsCommerce. In some cases stable shopping cart solution is better for clients then good CMS.

Second Note: December 2007. Customer decided switch back to Plone, but website archive was damaged :-(

Plone is the best CMS for SEO

I can say with confidence that Plone is the best CMS for SEO.

  • It has very nice  search engine friendly URLs feature. You can create the pages with any desirable URLs like http://my-plone-site/keyword1-keyword2/keywords3/keyword4.keyword5/keyword6.php.asp.html
    It can be done in very usable way, it is as simple as adding Title.
  • Default Plone generates great internal links with navigation portlet, breadcrumbs and sitemap.
  • Any site structure may be implemented
  • HTML includes a lot of whitespace, but it is very clean. Usually Plone skins include tableless layout, so you have not much redundant html code in the source.

Tools which can be used for Plone SEO.

  • Plone SEO (qSEOptimizer) allows per document editing of Title tag and META tags.
  • Plone Google Sitemaps (qPloneGoogleSitemaps) allows Plone websites to get better visibility for Google search engine by providing it with complete listing of URLs to website content.
  • The Redirection Tool can be used for storing references to moved content to enable redirects. It is very useful product, but it doesn't work at Zettai hosting (at least in Sauti account) . We generated a patch to enable Redirection Tool plone product at Zettai.

People say that "Google likes Plone sites".  However, it is possible to use Plone in such way that only main page will be indexed by Google.  Plone is a great tool for SEO itself, but you should know how to use it.

Plone SEO Issues.

Basically, duplicated content is the main issue. It can be discussed in different situations

  1. Links to folders. 
    If you insert internal link with Kupu then it creates relative link to some Page or other object. It's a pity that it is not possible to insert link to Folder. You must create link to default item of folder instead of link to Folder. Links from Navigation portlet lead to Folder and internal links lead to Pages with the same content. Here is duplicated content issue.
  2. Relative links in portlets and acquisition.
    If you create links in  static portlets with relative links then links may work because of acquisition, but a lot of duplicated content will be generated. Google robots may lost in huge amount of pages generated with Zope acquisition. By the way, that's why Sauti wasn't indexed by Google.
  3. RSS and relative links in Pages, News, etc.
    If you insert internal link with Kupu then it creates relative link to some Page or other object.

    <a href="../folder/filename">link text</a>
    In this case rich text RSS2 feeds will include broken links and images.
    I remove "relative links" feature in Kupu by customizing kupuploneeditor.js file. Just remove
    contents = this.makeLinksRelative(contents, base).replace(/<\/?body[^>]*>/g, "");

  4. Images preview. It is not easy for me to estimate how Google index Images in Plone. Plone preview Image with different parameters without .jpg .png at the end.
    •  If you insert image in Page with latest Kupu, it generates the code similar to
      <img src="filename.jpg/image_preview" alt="Title"> or <img src="filename.jpg/image_thumb" alt="title">. It depends on size of thumbnail. It works perfect for image resizing. However, it is better to have
      <img src="filename-
      image_thumb.jpg/" alt="title"> then <img src="filename.jpg/image_thumb" alt="title">
    • Random Image is not a good choice for Google. If you have subfolders with images plone-site/gallery/subgallery1 then random image represent the subgallery on the level of plone-site/gallery/.  It would be nice to see here the first image from /plone-site/gallery/subgallery1/folder_contents instead of random image.
    • Suppose, you create usual photo gallery: add Folder "Photos" , add images to "Photos", change folder Display View to Thumbnails View. Folder page includes the photo with thumbnails
      <img src="filename.jpg/image_thumb" alt="title"> and links to photo preview page <a href="filename.jpg/view" title="">. View template includes image <img src="filename.jpg/image_preview" and link to actual photo <a href="filename.jpg/image_view_fullscreen" class="discreet">. I don't know how Google can index it properly, site structure is broken here.
    Personally, I like how images can be managed in Plone, but I don't know how Google can index it in Proper way. Image file extansions .jpg .gif should be at  the end of url. Default templates use  <img src="filename.jpg/image_view_fullscreen"> for full size image.  I suppose that Plone images are not well prepared for Google.
  5. HTML white spaces. If you look at html source of usual Plone page (View -> Source in IE, Ctrl-U in Firefox), you see a lot of white spaces. HTML white spaces in source of Plone pages appear because of ZPT code. ZPT may be customized to prevent white spaces, but templates will be not usable for developer in this case. We had experience before in such  type of customization. It is possible to save 30% of HTML size. Look at view source of this site  and compare it with usual Plone site source.
  6. Default plone calendar portlet  has the following links
    href="plone-site/current-object?None&month:int=6&year:int=2006&orig_query=None" rel="nofollow"
    This issue is solved by corresponding parameter rel="nofollow". However, it would be nice to see links to smartfolders here. This issue is not critical for me.
  7. Using  hidden H5 tagslike
    <h5 class="hiddenStructure">Sections</h5>
    in html is not good for Google. I suppose, they will be definitely removed, but H5 is still available in Plone 2.5. It can be replaced with DIV.
  8. I'm not a Accessibility expert, but as for me, using of H1  in Logo template is not good for SEO. H1 is the same on all pages, it is used for logo insert.


Plone is the best, but it is possible to make it even better.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 in PloneSearch Engine Optimization  |  Permalink |  Comments (0)
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