Elgg and SEO

Update: I’ve posted a solution for fixing your title tags in Elgg.

So as I’ve written, I’ve been using a social networking software package called Elgg. So far I’m really pleased with how it works. In addition, it is open source with the ability to develop plugins for it.

However, Elgg is not without its problems. In fact, I recently posted a development wishlist for Elgg. Besides releasing an upgrade path to upgrade your 0.x Elgg installation to 1.x (a glaring error), at the top of my list is lack of SEO.

In my opinion, Elgg seriously needs SEO to be considered a useful product. I’m really not asking all that much here. The main thing it needs is unique title tags. This is a basic SEO requirement, and continues to be overlooked in Elgg.

For example, any item you create in Elgg, blog post, page, file, etc., lacks a unique title tag. In fact, they all have the same title tag, which is only the site name. This is bad for SEO because when your items show up in a search engine, there will be no descriptive text for that item. In addition, if your page shows up with other pages from your site, there is no way to tell them apart because the title tags are all the same.

The interesting thing is that this feature was present in Elgg 0.x but not in the new version of Elgg 1.x. All you would have to do to give each item a unique title tag would be to have the name of the site followed by the title of the item, i.e. the blog post title. This would make items posted in Elgg much easier to find in search engines, and as a result, bring more search engine traffic to each site. It seems like a simple thing, and, being that this feature actually exists in the groups and forums, it doesn’t seem that hard to add to the rest of the site.

The second thing that would be useful is search engine friendly url’s for pages. Search engine friendly urls are being used for blog posts and files but not for pages. This was something that was not present in Elgg 0.x but was added in 1.x.

I recently wrote a post about how to make the Elgg plugin directory more useful, and the developers followed every one of my suggestions. So I am writing this hoping that someone over there is still paying attention. At the least, it would be simple to write a plugin to solve this problem, or incorporate it into themes.

For you Elgg users and developers out there, what are some other ways SEO can be improved in Elgg?