Concrete5 makes it easy to do basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your concrete5 website, straight from the dashboard. Here we will give you some quick tips to get you started.
The first thing that you will want to do when you have created your site in concrete5 is enable Pretty URLs. Probably, you do not want your website to have URLs like http://mywebsite.com/index.php/contact/ so to make the URL look better, simply log in to your concrete5 website, click on Dashboard and navigate to Systems and Settings. Under SEO and Statistics, you will see Pretty URLs. Click on Pretty URLs and click "Enable Pretty URLs" and save. If you find you have done this and your site doesn’t show the Pretty URLs, check your .htaccess file. You can read more about Pretty URLs in the concrete5 documentation.
Changing your URLs
Sometimes for SEO purposes, you may want to change your URL in order to use a keyword. To change a URL, log in to your concrete5 website and go to Dashboard > Full Sitemap. Click on the relevant page and select Properties. Choose the Page Paths and Location tab and put the appropriate words in the Canonical URL box. For example, maybe you have a hairdressing business in Bristol, so you might want your "About us" page to be http://mywebsite.com/bristol-hairdresser instead of http://mywebsite.com/about-us. It is important here to not get carried away, as it can look unprofessional if you have obviously long URLs filled with lots of keywords.
When you build a website and it looks lovely, you want to know that people are visiting the pages to appreciate it's loveliness. You may be familiar with tracking codes that are used to track visitors to your site. If not, there is information here about Google Analytics, which provides a tracking code for Google. If you haven’t already signed up to Google Analytics, you need to create an account first. After you sign up, follow the Google Analytics guide to get a tracking code. Once you have this tracking code, go to your concrete5 website and log in. Click on Dashboard and navigate to Systems and Settings. Under SEO and Statistics, you will see Tracking Codes. Select Tracking Codes and you will get a little pop up screen shown below.
Copy your tracking code that you received from Google Analytics into the text area box by "Tracking Codes". Then select the header or footer option, depending on where you want the tracking code to go. We won’t get into whether to put your code in the header or footer here, but you can read about it in more detail in other places, for example there is a helpful article on Lunametrics’ blog.
Don’t forget that if you add tracking codes and your website is in the EU, you will need to comply with EU cookie laws. We have used the Free Cookies Disclosure available on the concrete5 marketplace, and also the Silktide's Cookie Consent. Both are free and easy to use, but you will have to edit your header.php or footer.php files.
It is a good idea to sign up to Google Webmasters and Bing Webmaster Tools. These sites will give you more insight into traffic to your site and how to improve the traffic. You can submit a sitemap to these sites for indexing, which leads on to the next topic.
Creating a sitemap with concrete5
To create a sitemap using concrete5, go to your concrete5 website and log in. Click on Dashboard and navigate to Systems and Settings. Under Optimization, you will see Automated Jobs. Select Automated Jobs and you will get a little pop up screen shown below. You will see that next to “Generate the sitemap.xml file” there is a little play icon. Click on this and concrete5 will generate a sitemap.xml file for you. Look under "Results of Last Run" and it should say that your sitemap.xml file was saved. This file should be saved under the root of your concrete5 installation.
Concrete5 automatically generates a robots.txt file for you and this is in the root of your concrete5 installation. Basically, you probably won't want to touch this file unless you are 100% sure you know what you’re doing, but it is important to know where it is because you may need to access it. Why would you ever need to access the robots.txt file? Usually, you won’t, but if you had any problems with URLs being blocked you could check this file. When we were developing this website, we could see that some of the pages were not being indexed. When we looked at the robots.txt file, we realised this was because it prevents indexing of files starting with /concrete and we had some page titles beginning with concrete. Concrete5 disallows indexing of some files, such as in the above example, because you don’t want all of the concrete5 files to be indexed, just your website pages. In the example above, we just modified our page title so that concrete wasn’t at the beginning, although no doubt there is a better solution if you really needed your page URL to start with concrete!
To add Meta tags to your pages, log in to your concrete5 website and go to Dashboard > Full Sitemap. Click on the page that you want to add Meta tags to, and then choose Properties. Click on the "Custom Attributes" tab and you will see on the left you have Meta Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords. To use these, just click on the appropriate one, enter the words you want to use and click "Save".
If you want a more in-depth look at using Concrete5 for SEO on your site, there is a longer article here: SEO guide by Concrete5 Toolbox