By Miles Evans
Alright I touched on Movabletype and SEO this last week in my best movable type plugins article with the intent to come back and provide some specific details. I will tell you that Movabletype is optimized quite well out of the box, but there are a few quick tricks to easily providing the spiders with some dynamic content.
For my main home page and category index pages I hardcode most of my meta data. Your meta tags will be at the top of the template within the <head> tag. You can get fancy on your index pages but I cannot really see why. Optimize these two templates by hand for whatever keywords you are targeting site wide.
The important part of your main index template is telling Googlebot what the title of your blog and lead article are properly. This is accomplished with heading tags. For the title of your blog you can do this:
And for your lead article do this:
<h2 id="a<$MTEntryID pad="1"$>">
<a href="<$MTEntryPermalink$> rel="bookmark" title="<$MTEntryTitle$>"><$MTEntryTitle$></a>
This is pretty much essential as we know that all search engines give weight to heading tags. You should do this as well in your archive templates.
So let’s focus on the individual archive template as this is the page you want ranking well in the SERPS. From my testing the code I use on two separate blogs (this one and PlanetBangkok) the results show up very neat and tidy in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. By this I mean the title and description fields are what I am expecting them to be. Here is an example with Google from last weeks: Article Post Robot Review (hopefully I am still front page).
Ok back to you meta tags but this time go into your individual archive template. Take a look at the following from my own page:
<title>ProfitPapers | <$MTEntryCategory$> : <$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1"$></title>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=<$MTPublishCharset$>" />
<meta name="generator" content="Movable Type <$MTVersion$>" />
<meta name="author" content="<$MTEntryAuthor$>">
<meta name="keywords" content="<$MTEntryKeywords$>">
<meta name="description" content="<$MTEntryBody words="30"$>">
<meta name="robots" content="ALL">
<meta name="revisit-after" content="2 days" >
<meta name="reply-to" content="firstname.lastname@example.org" >
Most of this is self explanatory. Notice the <$MTEntryKeywords$> is being used to generate keywords from your entry page (you may need to turn this field on in the MT entry area). The meta description data is going to be the first 30 words from your entry body as I have done with <$MTEntryBody words="30"$> - so you should see some nice descriptions in the search results pages. Finally I structure my title to contain both the category and entry title – we all know yahoo loves them <title> tags mmm’kay.
Now one final caveat with meta data is the issue/non-issue of comment links. Personally I love comments, and I do not mind people adding a link to my articles as long as their comment has some meaningful input. Others disagree and feel that excessive comment links leak pagerank like a sieve. I'm not too concerned with this notion as the pagerank loss is minimal and Google has done its best discounting links from popular weblog software. So this is open to debate but for the record I do not bother.
If you want to stop Googlebot indexing your comment links you can simply place a robots meta tag in your comments template like so:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">
Finally page names are important to all search engines and URL's like /archives/09/12/i_need_skillz_bec.html are about as useful as tits on a bull. I use the dashify plugin to structure my page names for SEO. It's a 3 minute change - for details take a look at my best movable type plugins article.
And that is pretty much it. Of course how well you do in the actual search results pages depends on many factors outside the scope of this article, but doing your meta data properly is pretty much square one. Having said that it is also well known that Google ignores most of your meta tags. I was snooping through Matt Cutts page source the other day and noticed he uses no meta info at all. In fact you might notice that many large websites pay no attention to meta tags …Regardless these tags are still important for Yahoo, MSN and the rest of the stragglers and Google seems to always uses my descriptions properly for its results.
Although dated i still think Nicholas Carvine's article on Movabletype SEO is one of the best online.
I hope someone finds this helpful. If I missed something cool and useful let the comments fly.
For a free copy of MovableType 3.2 please visit the Movabletype Homepage.
This article was posted on March 08, 2006