Building public-facing websites using SharePoint 2007: SEO best practices

This is a fourth and final post of the blog post series on building public-facing websites using SharePoint 2007. The first part was dedicated to the planning building public-facing websites using SharePoint 2007. The second part was dedicated to custom branding and development in SharePoint. The third blog post of the series was dedicated to search functionality in SharePoint. Let's start...



To me fresh and relevant content is the single most important aspect that defines your SEO rankings. You must strive to keep the content of your website fresh and read worthy. Take advantage SharePoint workflows and content expiration features to make it easier to generate new content. And, yes, having more text on the page is better than having more images.

Page Title is very important from SEO perspective. It absolutely must be descriptive and to the point. If you have to add your company name to the page title, add it to the end of the page title and separate it with double dashes "--" or something. Please try to avoid naming all pages in the site with the same page title.

Page Description must clearly summarize in one or two sentences what the page is about.

Even though keywords are not as important as they used to be (partially because keywords have been abused in the past.) So, it's up to if you want to use them or not. Personally, I don't.



From my experience, the following HTML tags are important from SEO perspective:

  • H1, H2, H3 ….
  • Title
  • Alt parameters for IMG
  • META tags (maybe)


SEO-friendly URLs

Having SEO-friendly URLs is one of the easiest ways to get higher SEO rankings. As long as your page URL contains relevant keywords your page will have high(er) SEO ranking. It is amazing how something this simple can be so important. Use Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs Feature to get Sharepoint build SEO friendly URL automatically when you create new page(s).


Sitemaps and robots.txt

Sitemap is a simple XML file describing the structure and the hierarchy of your website a search engine. It also provides the mechanism for letting search engines know when your pages have been added, removed or otherwise modified. You are supposed to use update your sitemap file every time you add a page, and ideally you should do that for every major search engine. To make things easier, use SharePoint SiteMap Generator.

As with any other public facing website, you should add robots.txt to your website to make sure that search engines do not crawl the sections of the site that you do not want them to. Here is an example of robots.txt file:

User-Agent: *

Disallow: /Search/

Disallow: /_layouts/

Dissalow: /ReusableContent/

Dissalow: /WorkflowTasks/

Dissalow: /SiteCollectionDocuments/

Dissalow: /SiteCollectionImages/

Dissalow: /Documents/Forms/

Dissalow: /Pages/Forms/





Handling page redirects properly

It is very important to properly handle all your 404 errors. If you have any pages that have been moved or deleted, you must properly handle the HTTP request using URL rewriter and 301 permanent redirects. Here is a sample of the code from MSDN how to do that:

To verify that your URLs return proper HTTP header, use URI Valet.


Handy SEO tools for SharePoint

  • Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs Feature: Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs is a SharePoint Feature which hooks up to the Create Page Application Page provided with MOSS 2007. While creating a slug it not only separates all the different words with a hyphen (-) but also removes all the stop words as well!
  • SharePoint SiteMap Generator: the process of keeping your site's sitemap.xml file current
  • URI Valet: an online tool to check what HTTP header your URL returns.


As I have already mentioned in my previous blog post, ObjectSharp has been working with SharePoint technologies for years now: building public facing websites and intranet for clients, developing custom SharePoint web parts and features, designing custom templates, and so on... Oh yes, I forgot to mention hundreds of hours of SharePoint training (public and private) for developers and power users that we have taught to our clients. So, if you need any help customizing your SharePoint in any way, please email our Client Services Manager, Gisele Bourque, at, and/or if you need any training on SharePoint technologies email our Training Manager, Julie James, at Or visit our new and fancy SharePoint-based website at

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