Since I published my post on why you should use iWeb for building and running a business related iWeb site I have received several e-mails from people telling me how wrong I am and how poor iWeb is for SEO. This shocked me a little so I did a bit of investigation.
When I first started using iWeb this time last year I would have probably agreed with you, but 12 month on I am writing this post to say ‘No, iWeb does do SEO
And my basis for this argument is that over the years that I have been tinkering with web design I have used many of the popular applications available to a web designer. I admit I started with (ahem) MS Word but that was back in 1997 when the Internet was still in its infancy. I went on to (ahem once again) MS Frontpage as well as Dreamweaver in various versions. I had a play with a trial of Adobe’s Go Live as well as MS Sharepoint Designer and MS Expression Web. When I was playing about with the idea of All About iWeb I tried Blogger and TypePad before settling on WordPress.
I even run an intranet site at work now which I hand code in Notepad because our computer system is so archaic and security is really tied down.
According to Google’s Search Engine Starters Optimization Guide there is a short list of things you need to concentrate on to get your site appearing higher in Google. They are:
- Well written page title tags.
- Well written description tags.
- Good URL structure.
- Easy navigation.
- A sitemap.
- Quality content.
- Proper use of anchor text.
- Proper use of the header tags.
- Proper naming convention for images.
And that’s it. But bear in mind that this list applies to all web designers not just iWeb users. The reason I feel the majority of iWeb users think that iWeb is not very SEO friendly is through lack of education.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not calling iWeb users stupid , far from it (I use iWeb too!!) it’s just that iWeb is not aimed at professional web designers as a rule. Instead it is aimed at someone who may be venturing in to the world of web design for the first time, or just someone who wants to share the family photos on line with a few friends and neighbors. If that is you then why would you want to be interested in SEO?
It stands to reason that as the number of Mac users has increased then so have the number of iWeb users. This brings with it an increasing number of people venturing on to the Internet and finding how easy it is to design and set up a web-site for the first time. In turn these users want to take their iWeb sites a step or 2 further and look to increase their SEO skills; but wait! How do they do it in iWeb? There is no drag n drop solution like there is for a photo page or a blog.
That’s where software manufacturers like Rage or web sites this one come in. Looking at the list above from Google let’s go through the list and compare iWeb with some of the more popular methods of web design I mentioned above.
Well written page title tags – These are taken either from the file/page name directly or can be added to the code by hand; in iWeb it is the same; taken from the name you give to your page or you can use Rage iWeb SEO Tool
Well written description tags – As above, these have to manually added in the code or there is a built in ‘form’ which will add them directly to the head section of the page. In iWeb you have to add via the iWeb SEO Tool.
Good URL Structure – This depends entirely on how you name your pages and the folders those pages go into, but they should be relevant to the page’s content. The same applies to iWeb; make the page names relevant.
Easy navigation – Navigation has to be built manually or using a menu builder application (sometimes built into the web design application). iWeb has the default nav-bar but it’s not that good for SEO so design your own navigation in iWeb using a text-box and shapes.
A sitemap – Everybody with any sense in web design goes to the SEO experts and uses the Google Webmaster Tools to build their sitemap. Have you got an account?
Quality content – This is the key to good SEO placement and everybody is in the same boat no matter what web design application you use. If your content is full of keywords that are applicable to your site you will climb the search engines.
Proper use of anchor text – Once again everybody is in the same boat. Stop using the ‘click here’ at the end of a sentence phrase to link to other posts or pages; make the anchor text describe where the link is going.
Proper use of header tags – As I mentioned in my post earlier this month use the header tags to bring attention to your content but don’t go overboard. Not everything on your page is h1.
Proper naming convention for images – This also applies to every web designer, give your images and photos relevant (perhaps even keyword rich) titles. How many times have you uploaded ‘IMG194628.jpg’? That does you no good at all. Give your images names that describe it.
So you can see from that explanation, we all start from the same blank canvas when it comes to SEO. You get out of it what you put it in to it and as long as you do the work (as any other web designer would) there is no reason why you can’t have a high ranking iWeb site.
Are you happy with your iWeb site’s SEO? What have you done to improve it? Leave a comment and let us know.
Good read Tim. Got me thinking though why Apple didn’t creat their own built in SEO tool or at least their own program if not built in. Kind of like how they created a whole secondary market for armband makers for the ipod for us runners. Or maybe its their way of building critical mass and buy in from those trying to build a business around their products. (allaboutiweb???). I think it would be interesting in the future if you might compare wordpress to iweb? Thx again and keep the new posts coming.
thanks for this. I am always grateful to see a new post from allaboutiweb come up on my rss reader. I’m particularly struggling through this part of the process right now. Thank you.
[…] The rest is here: You can do SEO with iWeb | All About iWeb […]
With the correct tools from Rage, iWeb is just fine to build websites, and get it into the ranks.
If you check out my sites and view source you will not find the information that tells you what I built it with.
Does anyone else have problems with iWeb SEO Tool? I’ve edited every page, uploaded them numerous times, and tried editing them using iDisk. I don’t get error messages and everything seems to go smoothly, but nothing ever changes when I view my page. Title tags just stay the same. I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure out what I could be doing wrong.
Matt are you using Mobile me or your own hosting service?
On the image naming, if you go to the source code of the published site, you’ll find that all of the images have been renamed as shapeimage_4.png, shapeimage_5.png, etc. So none of the file names actually make it to the published site. What’s the workaround for that which won’t break blog comments?
Thanks for the comment. That is interesting. Are you applying any effects/frames etc to the images you add to your iWeb site?
Obviously I am pretty clueless about designing my iweb site. I would appreciate it beyond your knowing, if you can tell me why all my pages in my iweb site have the same adress!! Thank you so much!
Thanks for your comment. You have what is known as Domain Masking applied to your hosting account. Basically to prevent the huge URL appearing in your visitors browsers your hosting company/domain company has set this up for you without asking. It has no bad effects to your web-site, some designers prefer it as it looks much neater than having the long names that web design applications can give you. Your pages don’t really have the same name, it just looks like that in a browser.
I hope that helps,
thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I spent all day with tech from network solutions and apple regarding the “situation” It seems I have to open a new account and close my current account in order for my website to be able to have the individual pages have a different address. Newtwork solutions can’t route it to my “c name” because my mac address is web.com/jo_allyn. Network solutions can’t handle the “_” character. They changed my account to an FTP. that gave me the individulized “adresss per page but now any work I do on my iweb site does not upload!! I worked on the problem all day and now I have to change my mac account to get rid of the “_”!!! . I hope that works!!
This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the info. At first I thought it was impossible to combine iWeb with SEO and the faint idea to land on Google. I followed your advise and made it to Google in two weeks. Plus, the SEO tools I used were all free: SEO tool by RAGE software, html validator (validator.w3.org), sitemap generator (xml-sitemaps.com) and a robots.txt generator (http://www.mcanerin.com/en/search-engine/robots-txt.asp).
Re: comments 7 and 8, I’m not applying anything to most of the images. Some have frames, but most have nothing, I think. Would frames or other effects make any difference? If so, then I could do a workaround where a blank frame laid behind the imported image.
Can?t seem to publish the site with iWeb SEO Tool. I added all the title, meta, image tags as well as keywords, saved it to a local folder and now when I hit the Publish button (MobileMe) nothing happens. I only have this dialog box for hours: ”Preparing to publish your website. One moment please…” but it stays on that point. What?s my mistake?
Ok so I have another problem… I am working on a mac and did my website on iWeb for a music school I work for. So the issue is my website looks great on my computer I can see the main page (white) and the background border around it (green). Similar to the way ‘All about iWeb’ has a white main text page and the cork board image background. But when other people open it on a “normal pc” all they can see is the white page and it looks really horrible and boring. So why can’t they see the green background? Have I set the width of my page too wide for normal pcs or ones that still view on an old style monitor?
I really don’t understand why it looks so good on my computer and not others?! Please help me, I am going insane with this problem because I want the site to look super good!
I’ve spent some more time on this Google SEO issue and have discovered that the Google analytics code can be add automatically to the Websites folder after publishing to MobileMe by using Automator, which comes with Mac OS X. The Add Google Analytics Action has to be downloaded as a separate plugin for Automator from the Apple website, for free, it requires your specific Google code to added. I have it set up on my desktop so after publishing I just double it and it does the job of installing the correct code in each html file in the Website folder. I have also set up Automator to add the Sitemap.xml file to the Website folder as this is also removed every time the site is republished, so now two double clicks puts everything back in order for Google to see.
Hope that all makes sense?
great information. will bookmark and start applying.
Tim, that is very useful information. I am not that familiar how to use Automator.app. could you give detailed explanation of the process. Google code? etc…
Thanks a lot!
Thanks for the info. I am struggling to have my website http://www.david-themovie.com appear when searched for in google. I consulted a web tech friend of mine and he said Iweb uses Frames and when I got rid of them, the website would significantly increase in rank. Do you have any info on how to do this?
You really need to get rid of the frames unless its a one page site about your neighbours apple tree. 🙂
Have a site at the mo and only 1 page is indexed because its using frames (built in iweb).
Is there an easy way to switch these off?
I have been using rage with some very good effects for google and atavista rankings
I set up a new site http://solidwoodtoybox.co.uk and used rage to SEO within several weeks we had climbed quite well.
Well done rage
Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what I?ve read) Is that what you?re using on your blog?