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SEO and indexing basics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a collection of best practices to improve the ranking of webpages on search engine results pages (SERP) for organic search results.

Better SERP rankings help your current and potential customers find your content and increase your organic search traffic. SEO best practices are constantly evolving as technology and user behavior change.

Make your site public

Not allowing public users access to our help content, knowledge base, and training materials is a missed opportunity. You are denying potential customers an important step in the decision-making process. You can use conditional content in MindTouch to hide competitive or sensitive information from anonymous users.

Link and cluster pages by topic

Search engines prefer if you strategically link pages by topic. For example, link articles about “Customer Success” to other pages about “Customer Success.” This clustering of knowledge makes it easy, not just for web crawlers to find information, but for your customers and buyers to find and discover relevant articles.

With MindTouch, recommended articles are automatically organizing content in this way. Add tag classifications and summaries to your MindTouch articles. Tags are used to contextually generate the related articles, classifications are used for customer and agent search, and page summaries help differentiate and segment your content for search engines.

Craft human-readable URLs

When creating a page in MindTouch, our editor allows you to choose a specific name for the page title. This results in a human-readable page URL (e.g. http://success.mindtouch.com/Get_Started) that can be easily scanned and indexed by search engines like Google. Having a human-readable page title helps ensure search engine users can easily find content within your MindTouch site. Ensuring your content is easily found through an external search engine will result in the likelihood of your site content climbing that search engine's ranks.
 

Readability URL
Good success.mindtouch.com/Documentation/Integration/Single_Sign_On/
(Yes, this article is about integration and single-sign on. No surprises. Note that keywords in the URL are reinforcing the content of the article and let search engines know that this is documentation that is useful for users who are searching for SSO integrations with MindTouch .)
Bad help.salesforce.com/HTViewSolution?id=000133732&language=en_US
(What’s this about? The URL is a lost opportunity for optimizing for high search ranking.)
Worse fuzeqna.com/careerbuilder/ext/kbsearch.aspx#ctl00_phMaster_phMain_KBSearch_repSearchResults_ctl00_lnkQuestionphMain_KBSearch_repSearchResults_ctl00_lnkQuestionctl00_phMaster_phMain_KBSearch_repSearchResults_phMain_KBSearch_repSearchResults_ctl00_lnkQuestion
(Ouch. This is the worst possible scenario. This is not a human-readable URL, and the domain is not even specific to the company. The company's domain is actually careerbuilder.com. Note: CareerBuilder in the meanwhile has introduced human-friendly URLs.)

XML sitemap

SEO Best PracticesMindTouch provides a sitemap within every site by default. This sitemap is automatically updated in real time and conforms to the appropriate up-to-date standards set forth by search engines. Find your sitemap by appending /sitemap.xml to the end of your hostname.

Sitemaps provide search engines with a quick manifest of publicly accessible pages as a guide when indexing your site content. This is the best way to make sure that all your content is crawled, indexed and the most up to date version is captured in the search engine. Also, this provides a means of standardizing and controlling all search engines’ description of your page on the search engine results page (SERP).

Social sharing

Increasingly social shares are affecting search engine rankings. MindTouch includes the option of turning on or off social sharing buttons, but it is recommended that you leave them on for SEO purposes. This makes it easy for interested followers to share content and backlink to your site. With this in mind, be sure to create quality content worth sharing. For example, best practices content for your users that is not just about your product features, but rather can transcend your product features.

Place keywords strategically

Be smart about your keyword placement. You don't want to overuse keywords, but you will want to place important keywords in your page summaries because they will be your meta description and show up in MindTouch search results. Your page summary may be the deciding factor for readers to click through to your page or not.

For managing keywords throughout your MindTouch site, you can use the content reuse feature to place keywords in a body of content that is reused throughout your MindTouch site in strategic places. This allows you to update everywhere in one place.

Optimize content for mobile use

With MindTouch Responsive, content is automatically optimized for mobile use. When a user makes a search with a mobile device, search engines are more likely to display relevant content that is optimized for mobile devices.

Use "nofollow" tags

The more links you have on a page the less value any one link has. This doesn't mean that you should avoid links, but rather use the nofollow tag for low quality or irrelevant links. Some examples of this are site navigation, user-generated content, embeds, etc. MindTouch employs best practices by using nofollow tags for your external links (URLs hyperlinked that are external to MindTouch) and for application and content navigational elements.

By default, MindTouch saves all external links with a nofollow tag. If you wish to turn off the nofollow for external links while still retaining nofollow for application and content navigation, contact MindTouch Support.
 

Analyze your content

MindTouch includes a collection of reports for content analytics. These are designed to help identify gaps in content, quality and aging. However, many of our savvy customers have taught us an alternate use for these—search engine optimization. Here's how it works.

Identify experts

Quality is your number one priority. Find experts among your contributors using the community scoring report. Use a search query to narrow the content down to key topics. Sort to show the highest rated articles. Find the authors. These will be on your "Tiger Team" for this project.

Identify and improve low-quality content

In the articles table, sort by low-quality scores. These need to be improved. Use your experts and equip them with the appropriate keywords and this article on SEO best practices. Make sure content is relevant and interesting, boring content will not encourage users to share it. 

Reduce duplicate content

Search engines index content and often filter by how similar the content is. If your site must have duplicate content, block it with a noindex meta tag. Search engines will worsen your rank if they believe the duplicate content will manipulate rankings or confuse users.

Find gaps in content with search reports

Using the search report and a search query to narrow the result set, identify search queries executed by your users that do not return results. Have your experts write these articles, again using the correct keywords and this article as reference. You can use this report to identify keywords you may not have known users were using in search queries. This may expand your use of keywords as your users may have a different vocabulary. Furthermore, you can drive search traffic to the correct articles using search recommendations.

Touch old pages

Search engines favor new content. Using the content aging report update the old articles that are still relevant. Retire old articles that are not relevant.

Relate and group into clusters

Tag your articles with the appropriate keywords to create topic based clusters (see above) and relevant knowledge paths. This will further be optimized automatically by MindTouch HelpRank based on your users' interactions with the system.

Consider your structured data

Structured data refers to how data is organized in a clear and predictable format. Web pages have assigned properties and descriptions in order to be served easier by search engines. Google Structured Data has its own set of values. If your web page has these data fields defined, it has a better chance to rank higher in search results as well as yield rich results such as snippets.

While your MindTouch site is optimized for compliance with Google Structured Data, and you can further configure your site with additional values. By having set these, Google will know that success.yourcompany.com is related to "Your Company" as well as yourcompany.com, creating a more complete ecosystem that Google can better understand and serve up to customers.

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