A new white paper has been published to MSDN that describes some approaches to creating Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 web content management (WCM) sites that are optimized for search engines, and what to avoid to help improve search ratings.

It’s not a very long paper, but it does describe a few good tips and tricks that any WCM page designer should be aware of.

A few of the tips that are worthy of calling out here:

  • Use proper semantic code (appropriate HTML elements) such as headlines. For example, use headline elements tagged as <h1> to <h6>. Use proper HTML list items; for example, ordered, unordered, or definition lists tagged with <ol>, <ul>, or <dl> tags. Use alt and title attributes with image (<img>) tags. Use a Favorites icon for bookmarking and to keep your error log clean. For more information, see How to Add a Shortcut Icon to a Web Page.
  • Use the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) specification (see W3C and ICRA tools) to provide a signal to search engines and filter programs that your Web site is safe for children.
  • Consider keyword density. Because of a general misuse of HTML keyword <meta> tags, current crawlers compare the number of times a word or a phrase appears in an HTML page to the number of times it appears in its <meta> tag to properly determine its relevancy. Using too few or too many keywords can have a negative effect.

In regard to the need for a Welcome Page Redirect to help optimize your sites for Search, here is a paragraph from the white paper.

The landing page or welcome page in Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a 302 redirect page. This can cause problems, as pages with temporary redirects can affect the page’s ranking adversely. If you must use redirection, it is always a better to use 301 permanent redirects. Unfortunately, it is not possible to change this behavior in Office SharePoint Server; however, you can use any URL rewriter and make your welcome or landing page a permanent redirect.

The paper then includes code and additional instruction to help you to write the URL redirect module for your site.

Do you have any other tips or tricks for making your WCM site work more easily with search engines?