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Support > SEO > Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation Introduction

Most new visitors to your site will access it through a search engine, so it's important to maximise your placing. This article suggests some features within Hubb that you can configure to help raise you up the rankings.

Changes have been made over the years, so that previous deliberately unfair techniques e.g.adding invisible keywords, to get your site high on the Search Engine rankings are now ignored or worse, will get a site black listed so it won't appear at all. This has all helped to get more relevant sites being listed for the search criteria. There are however certain legitimate techniques that can be used to help your site get ranked higher.

Keywords in the text

Keywords are the words people search on that you would want to list your web site e.g. church cambridge, windscreens liverpool. A factor in appearing high in the search rankings of major engines is the prominence, proximity, frequency, themes and formatting of keywords in your text.

The prominence is where on the page the keywords will appear. Having your keywords appearing high on your homepage, then this is better than these words appearing only on a page deep within your web site. Therefore add keywords within the introduction article, high up on the frontpage of your site.

Proximity of keywords is how close they appear together on the page, as this is seen as a guide to if all keywords are relevant. For instance if the two keywords searched were church cambridge then in the following example the second line has higher proximity:

Welcome to the web site of City Community Church. We are located in the city of Cambridge, UK.

Welcome to the web site of City Community Church, Cambridge, UK.

The frequency or density of keywords is the measure of how often the keywords appear within the page text. Search engines want to see more than one repetition of a keyword in your text to make sure it's not an isolated case. The recommended repetition is 3-7 times per 100 words. Search engines also look for a consistency of keywords throughout your site, called themes. You will need to include the keywords not just on the homepage but as widely as possible.

Some search engines give greater prominence to keywords that appear when the text is formatted in a certain way that would emphasise their importance e.g. Headings or bold text are given higher importance by Google. It is therefore useful to use the formatting features of the document editor not only to make your pages more scannable but also to help the chance of them appearing higher on search engines.

Link Analysis

Every major search engine uses link analysis as part of their ranking algorithms. This is because webmasters can't "fake" good links. As a result, link analysis gives search engines a useful means of determining which pages are good for particular topics.

By building links with other sites, you can help improve how well your pages do in Search Engines. The links need to be from good web pages that are related to the topics you want to be found for. To find those good links search a major engine e.g.Google, for your target keywords. Look at the sites that appear in the top results and ask the site owners if they will link to you. Not everyone will, especially sites that are extremely competitive with you. However, there will be non-competitive sites that will link to you - especially if you offer to link back.

Search Engine Friendly URLs

Search friendly URLs are now generated for all pages, enabling specific topics to be better indexed by Internet Search engines like Google. What this basically means is that the URL you see in your browser address bar uses a more "human readable" address instead of /Group/Group.aspx?id=1234.  The address will contain many of the same "keywords" as the "Page Title" (the words at the top of your browser window) - something that search engines are known to look for. This will increase your position in an Internet search engine results, when a search is made for a particular topic or product that contains keywords that match item or category titles in your shop.

The search friendly urls appear by default and can be configured through the 'URL Redirection' page of the Web Office Settings (located under Settings > General > URL Redirection).

Canonical URLs

One of the problems that all sites face is that a single page on the site may be accessible from a variety of URLs because of variations in query string parameters, search engine friendly URLs, and if you use multiple host names. This means that the same page may be listed multiple times by search engines, diluting your rankings.

Our friends at Google have gone some way to helping us solve this problem by adding support for a hidden tag that allows us to specify a Canonical URL for each page.

A Canonical URL is a (hidden) tag that tells search engines what the preferred URL is for that page in order to consolidate rankings under a single URL. Although Google introduced this tag, it is now supported by a number of major search engines.

So, every Article, Group, Shop Category and Shop Item page now has this hidden tag in it, politely telling Google what the proper "search-engine friendly" URL is for this page, which they should use in their listings.

Now, this bit is important for those of you who have multiple host names. By default we use relative URLs, so that the Canonical URL respects the current domain name. This does mean, however, that search engines will retain multiple listings if you have multiple domain names. So, we've added a new setting on the "Host Names" settings page (under "General" in the "Settings" area) which allows you to dictate that the Canonical URL should always contain your primary host name. If you set this (which we highly recommend) then all of your other host names should gradually disappear from Google's listings over time and your rankings will be consolidated under your primary host name.

Note that it can take anything from hours to months for Google to re-index a site so don't expect to see instant changes, but over time this should help your rankings considerably.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are hidden in a document's source, invisible to the reader. Some search engines, however, are able to incorporate the content of meta tags into their algorithms. No engines penalise sites that use meta tags properly.

The meta description tag describes your site's content, giving search engines' spiders an accurate summary filled with multiple keywords. The meta description tag is the only tag supported by some engines and is often used as the summary text that appears by your site link in the Search Engine listing.

A meta keyword tag lists all the keywords for which you would like search engines to rank your site. Although not all search engines support this tag, we include it for the ones that do, and no engines penalise sites that use meta tags properly.

Instructions on editing your site meta description and keyword tags


A Sitemap is a way to tell search engines, such as Google, about the content on your site. Usually, search engines index your site's content by following links on the site, but not all pages can necessarily be found in this way, and so the Sitemap gives you a way to make sure that the search engines know about all the important pages on your site.

Instructions on setting up a site map.

Submission to Search Engines

Search engines will eventually find your site but you can speed up its inclusion and have it added to directories through submission.

Google is the major search engine to submit to, not only because it is the most popular but also because its database is used by other search engines. Google is also free to submit to whereas many other search engines charge.

The directory accessed via Google is the Open Directory Project and is also free to submit to whereas other directories charge a fee to be accepted. Submit your site to the most appropriate categories and follow the Directories guidelines to help your submission be accepted.

We suggest you need only submit to the following sites as they are free and the most popular.

Search Engine  Submission Page
Open Directory Project (ODP) Find an appropriate category and submit to it

It may take up to 2 months for your web site to be indexed by a search engine so don't expect it to appear immediately.