How to Optimize Your Sites for Search Engines and Performance

The Reports feature in WebMatrix analyzes your website and suggests changes that can make your site more visible to search engines.

What you'll learn

  • How to run a report that crawls your website just like a search engine.

  • How to view and filter SEO (Search Engine Optimization) errors.

  • How to get more information about and recommended solutions for each issue.

  • How to correct issues and re-run a report to confirm that they are gone.

Introduction

After you've created a website, you can use WebMatrix to run an analysis to see how visible its pages will be to search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo. You can do this with the WebMatrix Reports feature, which can perform a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) analysis on your website and suggest how to fix the issues that it finds. WebMatrix does this by crawling your locally hosted website just like a search engine would, and then reporting any issues it comes across.

Running a Report

To get started, open an existing website in WebMatrix. Then click the Reports workspace selector.

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Next, in the Reports workspace, click Create a report for the site, or click New on the Home tab.

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This displays the New Report dialog box.

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Type a name that you want for the report, and the full URL of the website page that the analysis should start from. Alternatively, you can accept the default, which is the start page (default document) for your website as it is hosted locally by WebMatrix.

Clicking Advanced Settings will show you more options you can set for the analysis, including the maximum number of URLs to crawl (the default is 20,000) and the maximum page size to download (100 KB). These options are important if you have a website with a large number of pages, or if your website has very large pages. Because the sample website in this how-to is small, you can just accept the defaults for now.

Click OK. WebMatrix will begin the analysis, crawling your website just like a search engine would and recording the issues it finds.

When the analysis is finished, SEO issues appear grouped by type.

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Each violation falls into one of three categories: "Information," "Warning," or "Error." To see only Warnings and Errors, slide the filter button to the middle. To see only the Errors, slide the button to the right.

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You can also change the way the results are displayed by clicking the following buttons in the ribbon:

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Selecting the All button displays both performance and SEO-related issues. Selecting the Performance button reveals issues that may affect your site's performance, such as pages that take a long time to load.

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The URL button groups the results by HTTP address.

When the URL button is clicked, the results look like this for the example website. The website has only one page, so only one URL appears in the list. If you have more than one URL in your website, you can type a URL or partial URL in the filter box to filter the list.

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Here you can see that the home page has three SEO violations. Click the URL entry to expand it so you can see what the issues are.

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Click a particular issue to see more information about it.

Note Some Web Gallery applications have an administrative control panel that you should use instead of WebMatrix to make SEO corrections. The following list shows some Web Gallery applications that have an administrative control panel.

  • Acquia Drupal
  • AtomSite
  • BlogEngine.NET
  • dasBlog
  • DotNetNuke┬« Community Edition
  • Gallery
  • Gallery Server Pro
  • Joomla!
  • Kentico CMS
  • Kooboo CMS
  • Mayando
  • mojoPortal
  • Moodle
  • My Web Pages Starter Kit
  • nopCommerce
  • nService
  • Orchard
  • phpBB
  • ResourceBlender.NET
  • ScrewTurn Wiki
  • SilverStripe CMS
  • Sitefinity Community Edition
  • Subtext
  • SugarCRM
  • Umbraco CMS
  • WordPress

In this example, all three issues will be checked to show both the details for each, and to see recommendations for how to fix each one.

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This first violation says that the page has too many <h1> elements. The Violation Details section tells you that search engines prefer that there be only one <h1> element per page. The Recommendations section tells you that you can correct this by changing the other headings to <h2> or <h3>. If you like, you can get more detailed information about each violation by clicking View More Details, which will bring up a Details dialog box for the URL.

You can also click Edit this page, which takes you directly into the editor so that you can fix the violation. Because the website in this example has only one page that has a small number of violations, the editing step will be saved for last so that all of the violations can be fixed at once.

On to the next violation.

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The page has no <title> element, or no information inside it. Search engines depend on the title to get information about web pages, so it should be filled in. Remember that search engines place more importance on the first words in a title, so you want to be sure to put the most important words in the title first.

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This page lacks a description, which search engines use when they index a page and create a content summary for it. The Recommendations section lets you know that you need to add a <meta> tag to the page in the form of <meta name="description" content="description_text">.

To fix these violations, click Edit this page on the bottom right. This takes you directly to the right page in the editor so that you can fix the violation in your page's HTML:

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After making the necessary changes, save them by clicking the Save icon in the ribbon. Your violations should be resolved.

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To confirm that the issues have been resolved, click the Reports workspace selector again, and then click Re-run in the ribbon.

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The report now shows no violations, so the fixes were successful!

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Deleting Reports

After you've fixed violations, you might no longer need or want the reports you used to find the violations. To delete a report, right-click it in the left pane, and then select Delete.

Analyzing Other Web Pages

If you want to run an analysis on a website other than the one that you currently have open, select Other Reports in the navigation pane, and then click New on the Home tab. This will reveal the New Report dialog box.

Just like you did before, type a title for the report and the URL of the website page that the analysis should start from. If you choose to analyze a large commercial website, the analysis might take a while to complete.

Using the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit

Another tool you can use to analyze your websites is the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit. This is similar to the WebMatrix Reports workspace, but provides additional capabilities. The WebMatrix Reports workspace is basically a subset of the SEO Toolkit that focuses on showing you the SEO violations in your website; the focus is on ease of use even if you have no experience with SEO concepts.

The SEO Toolkit itself, on the other hand, includes detailed analytics and sophisticated queries (reports) that experienced users can take advantage of. Because it is more sophisticated, learning to use it may take longer. However, you may want to use it if you require a greater level of detail than that offered by the WebMatrix Reports workspace. For more information, see Search Engine Optimization Toolkit.

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