By Chris J. Everett, Principal & Founder
Captivate Search Marketing
As I've optimized Exponent CMS websites over the years, one of the
challenges that I've discovered is making sure the developers understand the
proper SEO friendly markup principles required to maximize the organic search
value of the site.
It's not that I blame the developers for some of the markup oversights I've come
across when analyzing the level of SEO friendliness an Exponent CMS site
might have – after all, it's their job to build the sites and the SEO consultant's
job to optimize them.
I’ve come up with these SEO friendly markup tips to educate Exponent CMS
developers who might not be as SEO savvy in order to make the development
process more efficient – particularly for websites undergoing an organic search
I've seen this done many, many times, where developers have created a logo
style class in the CSS and have applied an H1 tag to the logo in every
subtheme of the site.
The problem with this from an SEO perspective is multifaceted. First,
because the logo is typically at the top of the page markup, this H1 tag is
the first tag that the search engine spider sees as it's crawling your page
top to bottom.
In terms of content structure, the H1 tag is your web page's most important
header tag, followed by the subheader tags H2 and H3, because it tells the
search spider what the main topic (or keywords) is for the page.
You also only want
to use one H1 tag
per web page. So if
you're using the H1
tag in this fashion,
you're literally telling
the spider that
whatever your logo
title text is, is the
main content topic
for each page.
It also means that if
you're building your
Exponent CMS site
with SEO in mind, you
most likely have
multiple H1 tags on
each of your web
pages, which isn't ideal
for proper on-site
There are a lot of built in features that Exponent CMS has that are meant to be
convenient time savers when it comes to markup.
One of those being the
across-the-board H1 tag
that is applied to each
module title field.
The problem with this dovetails on the H1 logo markup that I discussed
above, where if you're utilizing multiple types of content modules on one
page, it becomes very easy to have multiple H1 tags on that single web page,
which again, isn't best practice for on-site optimization.
If your homepage has
a normal text module
with a strong H1 tag,
but you also have an
section, as well as a
latest news section
using a news module
view, topped off with a
footer utilizing 3 or 4
separate link manager
modules, then you
have the potential for 7
or 8 different H1 tags
on that one web page
if you simply used
I'll illustrate for you an example of how using these two SEO friendly markup tips
above can make a tremendous difference.
Earlier this year I had experienced some issues with a client's
Exponent CMS website that was undergoing an SEO marketing
program. The problem with the site was that we couldn't seem to
get passed page 3 of the organic search results, and Google
couldn't really decide which of our web pages it wanted to rank
for some of our targeted keywords. Every couple of days, the
page on our site that would show up in the middle of page 3
would change from the homepage to an internal page.
When I started digging into the code, I realized we not only had the H1 tag applied
to our logo, but we also utilized all the stock module title H1 tags, so we had 9, yes
9 H1 tags on our homepage alone.
After finding this markup issue, we quickly stripped the H1 tag off of our logo,
assigned H2 or H3 tags to our module titles that weren't the most important header
tag our each of our web pages, and within about 10 days of me re-submitting our
site through webmaster tools, we finally climbed onto page 1 of the search results,
and to this day, every web page on this clients' site sits in the top 3 of the organic
If you're an Exponent CMS developer who has been utilizing these H1 tags in
your markup, you might want to consider these SEO friendly tips to not only
improve the organic value of your websites, but also to make your lives easier
so you don't have to go back and fix it at a later date.