Adventures with the SEO Toolkit
Well, TBH, things didn’t get off to the best of starts as my attempts to install the SEO Toolkit via the Web Platform Installer failed. I hunted around but couldn’t find it. Funny though that if you click the link on the SEO Toolkit page, Web PI fires up and offers you the option to install the SEO Toolkit. Either I’m plain stupid or there are certain applications that aren’t advertised via Web PI but can be installed by it.
Anyway, I digress, it’s also very easy to install from the Microsoft Download Center so that’s what I did. To give it its official title, the IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit is currently at v1.0 Beta 2. Its role in life is to help you improve your luck with search engines. In other words how to improve search relevance by making your site as search-engine friendly as possible.
The SEO Toolkit is an IIS7 extension so IIS7.x must be installed on your machine. That said you can use it to analyze both local and remote websites and these don’t have to be IIS. It includes a Site Analysis module, a Robots Exclusion module and a Sitemaps and Site Indexes module. The Toolkit will perform analysis, offer recommendations and assist you in making changes to your site.
The SEO Toolkit appears as a feature in IIS Manager
Open the SEO Toolkit and you’re presented with 3 options; analysis, sitemaps and robots exclusions
For analysis, supply a URL and report name and the SEO Toolkit will head off and crawl the site, reporting back in a number of key areas such as SEO “violations”, content summary, performance issues (eg slow pages) and links (eg pages with most links, most linked pages etc). You can see the sorts of violations that get flagged below (I’ve run the tool against my default site which has very little content).
Here’s a report I ran partially (it can take a while to run an analysis on a big site) on microsoft.com which gives a much broader range of results as well as their associated priority
The sitemaps and sitemaps index feature allows me to create and modify sitemaps and sitemap index files for my (local) site.
This generates a sitemap file thus
Similarly for robots.txt I can add Disallow and Allow rules
Which results in the robots.txt file
All in all, extremely useful, particularly the site analysis features which flag up potential issues that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.