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Introducing the Umbraco SEO Starter Kit From Marcel Digital

As an Umbraco Gold Partner, organizers of the Umbraco US Festival, and Chicago Umbraco meetup hosts, we’re always looking for new ways to help the Umbraco CMS expand and build on the already fantastic foundation that Umbraco has built. One way recently came about from our web developer and Umbraco enthusiast, Alex Vilmur. Meet Alex...

Alex recently developed the SEO Starter Kit for Umbraco version 7.4 and newer, an extension that allows marketers and webmasters to quickly optimize pieces of content within the CMS without having to hound web developers. As Alex puts it…

“We wanted to create a drop in solution for Umbraco to support SEO friendly websites. It was clear that we were wasting time doing the same thing over and over again across projects, so creating this extension was a way to standardize the process. It was decided if we were going to make the package, we might as well make it delightful for content loaders to use, too! Therefore, we included validation and notifications that tell users when they fall outside of best SEO practices. We decided to release it to the community to help others create SEO friendly websites and make the package even better from the community's feedback.”

With an easy-to-use interface and a streamlined implementation that goes live as soon as you hit “Publish”, the SEO Starter Kit is a must have for any Umbraco web developer that creates SEO friendly websites. But the interface is just the tip of the iceberg...

The SEO Starter Kit Extension for Umbraco

So, what does this extension do exactly? Well, first, this extension is a composition that can be added to any document type that you feels needs it. Add it to any templates, such as:

  • Internal pages
  • Service / product pages
  • Blog posts
  • News articles
  • Homepage
  • Etc.

Once it’s added, you’ll see that you have a new tab that’s called SEO in your documents editor…

This is where you will make your documents SEO edits for items such as your title tags, meta description, canonical tags, as well as sitemap XML inclusion.

Title Tags

From a SEO standpoint, title tags are one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to search. This tag tells search engines what a particular page is about and also helps users decide if a search result is what they are looking for. The way you optimize your title tags is how they will appear in search results...

With the SEO Starter Kit, a content marketer can edit title tags to be more optimized for a search result they are trying to gain visibility for…

Once you hit “Publish”, the title tag changes are updated and added to your content…

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions, while not considered a ranking factor, are a great way to entice users to click through to your website for their search query. Your meta description appears just below your title tags in search result…

With the SEO Starter Kit, a content marketer can edit meta descriptions to be more optimized for users to click through…

Once you hit “Publish”, the meta descriptions changes are updated and added to your content…

Canonical Tags

Sometimes websites could have multiple URLs, or dynamic URLs, for one piece of content. This can potentially become a duplicate content issue with search engines if they notice multiple pages with the same content and don’t know what page to give credit to. Our starter kit allows users to quickly add a canonical tag to a piece of content…

Once you hit “Publish”, your canonical tag changes are updated and added to your content, giving proper credit to the URL that you want to rank…

NoIndex / NoFollow

We also included a way for you to tell search engines to whether or not index a piece of content, and also whether or not to pass link equity through links on the page. This is called index / noindex and follow / nofollow, which means:

  • index: Index this page
  • noindex: Do not index this page
  • follow: Pass equity through links on this page
  • nofollow: Do no pass equity through links on this page

The SEO Starter Kit includes the following editing capabilities to give you control over how your content is indexed and how link equity is passed through your content:

Clicking the boxes next to these options will allow you turn these tags on or off. You can read how your page is handling these tags by checking your code as well...

Sitemap XML Inclusion

A sitemap XML is a document that helps search engines better understand what content is on your website, what content you’d like to have indexed, and how it should prioritize the content that is on your website.

Note: You must have your sitemap XML generation functionality in place in order for this to work. Marcel Digital also offers a sitemap XML generator for Umbraco if you need one! You can read documentation here about how the two extensions can work together here under the “Hide from Sitemap XML” section.

With the SEO Starter Kit, you can quickly tell Umbraco what pages you’d like to include or not include in your sitemap XML with the click of a button…

Clicking this button will leave a page out of your sitemap XML, but make sure you know how to properly use this feature, otherwise you could inadvertently remove pages from the search index, and thus, invisible to those possibly searching for your content.

Learn More...

If you’re interested in learning more about the SEO Starter Kit, head over to our project site on where you can review documentation on the extension and you can add it to your site today. If you have any feedback, ideas, or issues, please feel free to drop us a line as we’d love to make this extension work it’s absolute best for all of you!

One quick note, although we install the document types and Umbraco helpers to get the content onto the page for you, you still need to add the code found on the documentation page to your website layout for the content to get to the webpage.

Happy optimizing!

When it comes to Umbraco, web development, or SEO, Marcel Digital has digital experts ready to answer any and all questions you may have. We’re focused on aligning your audience and business goals through a comprehensive strategy that is unique to your needs. If you’re ready, let’s chat!

  • Umbraco

  • SEO

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About the author

Kyle Brigham

Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.