ASP .Net upgrade to offer search engine optimization helpers

Microsoft's software development platform features tools to assist Web app builders in drawing more traffic to their sites

With the planned release of Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4 later this year, Microsoft will offer capabilities for SEO (search engine optimization) in the accompanying ASP.Net 4 Web development platform, a Microsoft official said this week.

In a blog entry, Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the company's developer division, stressed that SEO is important for a public-facing Web site. "A large percentage of traffic to sites now comes from search engines, and improving the search relevancy of your site will lead to more user traffic to your site from search engine queries, which can directly or indirectly increase the revenue you make through your site," Guthrie said.

[ Check out InfoWorld's review of the second beta version of Visual Studio 2010. ]

Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4 were to be available on March 22. But the company last month decided to delay the availability by several weeks to address performance issues. ASP.Net is enabled by the .Net Framework.

ASP.Net 4 SEO improvements include runtime features to optimize a site for SEO, including Page MetaKeywords and Page MetaDescription properties, URL routing support for ASP.Net Web Forms, and a Response.RedirectPermanent method.

Page MetaKeywords and Page MetaDescription properties assist with outputting relevant keywords and description <meta> tags within the <head> section of HTML. These properties are featured in ASP.Net 4 Web Forms.

URL routing lets a developer configure an application to accept request URLs that do not map to physical files but instead use routing to define URLs that are semantically meaningful to users, Guthrie said. This can help with SEO, he said.

To assist with finding pages that have perhaps have been around for a while and might suffer in search engine page rankings, a new Response.RedirectPermanent (string URL) helper method can be used to perform a page redirect using an HTTP 301 (moved permanently) response.

"This will cause search engines and other user agents that recognize permanent redirects to store and use the new URL that is associated with the content.  This will enable your content to be indexed and your search engine page ranking to improve," Guthrie said.

Also featured in ASP.Net 4 are Response.RedirectToRoute (stringrouteName) and Response.RedirectToRoutePermanent (string routeName) helper methods to redirect users who use either a temporary or permanent redirect using the URL routing engine.

Microsoft also has offered a free SEO Toolkit to analyze a site for SEO "correctness" and offer suggestions on SEO issues.

"ASP.Net 4 includes a bunch of feature improvements that make it easier to build public facing sites that have great SEO.  When combined with the SEO Toolkit, you should be able to use these features to increase user traffic to your site -- and hopefully increase the direct or indirect revenue you make from them," Guthrie said.

This story, "ASP.Net upgrade to offer search engine optimization helpers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in application development at InfoWorld.com.

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