Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that are used by webmasters to improve their website's visibility in search engines.
SEO is usually divided into onpage and offpage SEO. The former dealing with factors that can be directly influenced by the webmaster on the domain or website (e.g. the title or url), and the latter dealing with factors on other websites (e.g. links, social media mentions, quotes).
Search engine algorithms have become sophisticated over the years and some changes can have great impact on a website's visibility in the search engines. Most SEO tools assist the webmaster in this regard by analyzing the content of the website, and relevant ranking factors to propose improvements to influence a website's rankings in the search engines.
Microsoft's Search Engine Optimization Toolkit is part of Microsoft's Web Platform Installer which can be downloaded from the Microsoft homepage. The core components of the Web Platform installer will be installed with the SEO Toolkit.
The Search Engine Optimization Toolkit can be found in the What's New section of the installer.
A new analysis can be started once the installation has finished. The webmaster needs to supply a project name and url of the website. The advanced settings limit the number of urls and download size per url as well as other settings like ignoring nofollow and noindex attributes, authentication or external link definitions.
The number of urls and the performance of the local Internet connection, and that of the web server, influence the time it takes to retrieve the data and generate the report. The report concentrates on onpage factors of the website. It is divided into the five sections Summary, Violations, Content, Performance and Links.
Displays a basic summary that includes the url, start and end date, downloaded items, links and violations. This summary seems to be buggy as it reported back 0 links and violations which did not correspond with the data found in the violations and links section of the report.
Violations are divided into warnings, information and errors. The violation summary lists all violation categories, their level and count. Typical violations are page titles that are to long, broken hyperlinks or mission descriptions. Some of the violations that are listed on the page are not seen as such by members of the SEO community. It is therefor recommended to research the entries before starting to make changes to the website. Violations can be listed in the summary view or sorted by most violations, by category or violation level.
A double-click on an entry will load the urls where those violations have been found.
This opens a window with powerful information about urls with violations. The tabbed interface provides detailed information about the page (content length, title, meta tags or url), the violation type and recommended actions, page header information, content (source or website), word analysis (total words, unique words, two words, three words, text), incoming (from the same domain) and outgoing links and additional violations found on that specific page.
Another interesting option is to display the routs to the specific pages. This will list the top 5 routes that visitors can take to reach that specific page on the website.
The content category lists various content related information about the analyzed website including duplicate files, titles, descriptions, keywords as well as large content, content that has not been found or pages with broken links.
Lists the performance of the pages that have been crawled by the Search Engine Optimization Toolkit. This category lists slow pages which can be sorted by directory, content type and pages with many resources.
Provides a detailed analysis of the links found on the pages that have been analyzed. It provides an overview of the pages with the most links, the pages that are linked the most, redirects, links that are blocked by robots.txt, links by protocol and link depth.
The SEO toolkit will also allow you to export your results as CSV files which may be loaded and viewed in Excel or other spreadsheet software. For an example of this, take a look at the ‘Violation Categories’ tab. You’ll see each of your violation categories listed. Here you can see my site showing 2146 various violations!
You can generate a CSV file with details of the Violation using the ‘Report’ button at the top of the screen. This selection will offer a comprehensive report if you choose “Export all violations”. Once data is in a CSV file, you can manipulate and resave as an Excel file.
If you prefer to customize the fields that are reported, you can do this using the Query Engine use the which is available by pressing the ‘Query’ button at the top of the report, and selecting ‘New Violations Query’.
(via Web Platform Blog)
Microsoft's Search Engine Optimization Toolkit offers a detailed analysis of a website's onpage SEO factors. Errors that are reported by the tool should be fixed by the webmaster as soon as possible. Violations or warnings on the other hand need to be analyzed more carefully to avoid over-optimizing a website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.