SEO for DotNetNuke - Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and Canonical URLs

Written by SuperUser Account on 9/10/2013

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DotNetNuke has had a reputation for a while now that it is not a good platform to work in if you need to have an aggressive search engine strategy. The main reason for this being that out of the box, DNN has terrible issues with duplicate content. Other factors are the less than optimal url structure and the often noted “code bloat”. Both of these can be problems if search engine optimization is important to your business or your client's business.

Good news - The duplicate content issue and url structure problems can both be fixed very easily with the same module. “Code bloat” is a non-issue… or I should say that DNN code bloat is nowhere near severe enough to be an issue. Website code is fairly heavy these days. With increased functionality, responsive design, css based layouts, etc, websites are just code heavy. The search engines are smart enough to decipher content from code. Search Engine Optimization for DoNetNuke doesn't have to be a losing battle.

I apologize in advance for being a little chatty in the videos. I probably could have made all 3 of them half the length they are but I just babbled a bit J.

Video 1

  • Title Tags
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Keywords (meta)
  • Canonical URLs



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Transcript of Video 1


Hello, everyone! I am Brian Walker from 5 Stones Media. Today I want to talk about Search Engine Optimization and DotNetNuke.

A lot of people up here are saying that DotNetNuke is not a good platform for search engine optimization. I have got sites for my clients that will prove them very wrong. Out of the box, it is a bit lacking, there is a couple of issues with it but these are things that can be easily taken care of. It’s no different from, say, WordPress. WordPress, out of the box, does not have a lot of the features included that you need. You have to add in plug-ins like Yost or All-in-One SEO. I use both platforms in my business. We build websites in DotNetNuke and WordPress. I personally prefer DotNetNuke. I know I am going to get some haters for that comment. I am sure that we will get plenty of comments on the video about that, possibly on the blog too and you can express your opinion. I am fine with that.

The video today is going to be broken into two parts. Part 1 is going to be basic search engine optimization in DotNetNuke. What you would do with DotNetNuke kind of out of the box, it’s when you are not aggressively doing search engine optimization if you are in a field that’s not really competitive. I do have some clients that we have just simply added some title tags and letter descriptions to their website and they are doing great because they are not in a really competitive industry. If you get into something more competitive, say, you are an attorney or specialty things like real estate or if you just have competition that’s fighting for that top spot in Google and you need to beat them, then there are things that you are going to need to build your website. Those things are going to come in part 2 of the video. Part 1, I am going to talk about things like your title tags, your meta descriptions, keywords, and canonical URLs. Part 2, we are going to get a little more advanced. Let’s go ahead and dive in.

What we are looking at here is the 5 Stones Media website. It is a DotNetNuke website. It is built in DotNetNuke Version 7, that’s one of the earlier versions, it’s 7; we will be updating because they just released 7.1 which has some nice features when it comes to search engine optimization. This is the homepage. If you go to your pages and then page settings, then you will see here where you add your title tags and your meta description. Up here where it says “Page Name”, this is what is going to show in your navigation; this is the tab name or the name in the menu. Right here this is your page title. If you look up here at the top left of the screen, you will see when I hover over this, you see your page title. That is one of the very important parts of search engine optimization is getting good page titles in. You want to have your keywords in there. It is also what people see when they are doing a Google search and I will give you an example here.

We will just search for “Web design Hammond LA” and you will see in your organic search results here. The title tag is what shows up right here where it says “5 Stones Media LLC., Web Design Hammond LA” and the meta description is what’s going to show up right here in the black text. So, you want to put in a good page title that includes your keywords, you want to have a meta description that also has your keywords. These are very easy things to do. You can do these for each individual page of your website. And as far as keywords go, it is best practice now to not use keywords at all. All of the major search engines have come out and said that they do not use the keyword tag anymore for producing search results.

The other thing that you are going to want to consider especially if you are using DotNetNuke out of the box is to use something that they call canonical URLs and a canonical URL is a little snippet of code that would be in the head of your website, in the head tags and basically it says “This is the URL that I want to use for this page. I don’t care what URL you used to get to the page. This is the one that I want to be used to represent this page” and in DotNetNuke, the place where you would put that is you can go to pages and page settings and, go to your advanced settings tab and then right here under page header tags. You are going to want to put this canonical URL and this little snippet of code will be in the video description and also in the description on the blog on our website. So, you can copy that and put that into your pages.

Now, right here of course you are going to want to change this out to be your own domain name and you are going to want to use this on almost every page of your website.

There are a couple of exceptions to where you don’t want to use this on your website. You are not going to want to use this on your blog page and I will tell you why. On the blog page, you are going to be using a module and that module is going to open up all of your blogs basically on that same page. Now, it will be a different URL but it’s the same page of the website. DotNetNuke does not create a new page for every one of these blogs that get entered. In users, in my case, and I will show you if I click here, the module just builds the URL, it makes it blog/ and then the rest of the URL, in this case it’s the blog title. The problem is that if only my blog page I put a canonical URL, then it would show that canonical URL code on every single one of my blog posts and we don’t want that because if you do that, then the search engines are not going to index all of these other pages. The one that are going to index is going to be or whatever the canonical URL is that you have in there. So, be very careful depending on the module that you have on the page about using canonical URLs. You want to use them on all of your pages of your website but if you have a blog and then, like in our case, under ‘Workshops’ we have a calendar and that calendar has many different events on it. It’s the same thing. We don’t want canonical URLs because we want all of the events from that page to be indexed by the search engines.

The other thing that you want to do is you want to use your H1 tags. Now, the H1 would be the header on the page like this right here. This would be an H1 tag. Now, in most cases, you are going to want to have your keyword in your H1 but you also want your website to make sense to people and not search engines. So, if it makes sense to get your keyword into your H1, then definitely do that. Also, it’s good practice to only have one H1 tag per page of your website.

So, these are the very basic things of search engine optimization in DotNetNuke. We are approaching 10 minutes now. So, I am going to go ahead and cut this video. In Part 2 we are going to talk about some of the advanced things that you really need to do if you want to really rank well in the search engines.

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