Optimizing Large Sites

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If you are responsible for optimizing a very large site (I've had this challenge personally), then you know that you make big changes (not small SEO modifications on a per page basis) and hope that best practices established by watching the success of others will apply to you as well. We're not talking about cases of sites with hundreds or even thousands of pages, but from hundreds of thousands of pages and more. 

Jeremiah Andrick from the Microsoft Live Search blog posted yesterday about how to optimize for large sites, and there are some excellent lessons for anyone responsible for SEO. The first tip he offered up was canonicalization, also known as normalization - the concept of only exposing URL per piece of content to the engines.

Here are a few other tips for optimizing large sites:

  • Add or remove the trailing /
    • http://www.mysite.com/ to http://www.mysite.com
  • Remove the index or default
    • http://www.mysite.com/default.aspx to http://www.mysite.com
    • http://www.mysite.com/en/us/default.aspx to http://www.mysite.com/en/us
  • Avoid CamelCase — convert your text to lower case
    • http://www.mysite.com/FooBar/ to http://www.mysite.com/foobar
  • Remove query string variables or rewrite to readable URLs
    • http://www.mysite.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ab99&displaylang=en to http://www.mysite.com/downloads/en/family/ab99
  • Remove Port Numbers
    • http://www.mysite.com:8080/ to http://www.mysite.com
  • Avoid exposing secure HTTPS version
    • https://www.mysite.com/en/us/ to http://www.mysite.com/en/us

Andrick also recommends 301 redirects, using a consistent linking convention, avoiding linking to multiple versions of a page, and using absolute links. To read all of Andricks' recommendations, click here.

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1 comment

JohnS 01-26-2009 10:34 AM

Hmm, seems like the Microsoft's site is down. That's probability step 1 in optimization.

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