I should first point out that John and I are both extremely fortunate to be working for SusQtech, a company which encourages and supports thought-leadership, excellence, and in the words of Mike Steadman, my friend, and SusQtech President and CEO, “life-long learning.” This commitment undoubtedly allowed us to gain the institutional knowledge and experience required to be able to help orgs with exciting SharePoint initiatives. Mike’s sometimes not-so-gentle nudging has helped me step out of my comfort zone and get on with things. Thank you Mike. I would also like to thank Jim LaRocca, my friend, and SusQtech Vice President, for mentoring me, putting up with my shenanigans, and teaching me many, many things – perhaps the most important of which is putting myself in other peoples shoes! Thank you Jim.
SharePoint for Nonprofits addresses the specific needs of trade associations, membership societies, voluntary organizations, and other nonprofit associations, charities and .orgs; and how SharePoint might be used to satisfy some of these needs.
This book is NOT about installing SharePoint or writing code.
SharePoint for Nonprofits is about strategy, best practices and how organizations of all sizes leverage Microsoft’s popular SharePoint platform.
It is my hope that by reading this book, you will understand what can and can’t be accomplished using SharePoint, and how to best approach SharePoint solutions.
Tom Chapin, Director, Knowledge Management at WBB Consulting writes:
“I’m excited by your work – you’re on the mark. –Tom Chapin”
This book aims squarely at providing high-level SharePoint guidance and approach techniques for associations, nonprofits and orgs of all sizes. SharePoint for Nonprofits will help you properly navigate your org through the breadth and depth of SharePoint’s many, many uses.
Craig Shaffer, Director Information Technology at Association of American Railroads writes:
“Despite the maturity of the Microsoft SharePoint platform, there is still a lot of misinformation in the marketplace about its capabilities. Talk to a dozen vendors and you will get at least a half a dozen different answers. This book brings clarity to many of the misnomers that have been circling the SharePoint world. It sheds light on a number of areas that many SharePoint consultants have neglected for far too long. No longer does SharePoint need to be relegated to the back of the house for intranet or document management. John and Sean go to great lengths to explain how SharePoint should be viewed as a platform, not just a document repository.
A quick and easy read, this book is concise and provides sound guidance as to the opportunities as well as pitfalls related to implementation and customization of SharePoint. It provides well thought out approaches and discusses the little known and talked about potential of an integrated SharePoint system/platform. This is not a developers guide, it is a book written specifically to IT decision makers, strategists, and executives.
John and Sean bring a much needed discussion to the SharePoint arena. This book is written from the perspective of how an organization can develop a comprehensive SharePoint strategy. This book is a must read for anyone who may be involved in deciding about whether or not SharePoint will be or still is a good fit for their organization. –Craig Shaffer”
SharePoint for Nonprofits is now available for purchase.
I hope you enjoy our best-selling book ever (mainly because it’s also our only book ever I’m very much looking forward to seeing you guys out in the awesome SharePoint community!
The SharePoint 2010 Content Organizer Feature is one of my favorite new features of SP 2010. The Content Organizer Feature will automatically move uploaded files to their proper location based on how the file has been tagged. You control these rules to ensure files end up where they should be, which helps keep your SharePoint house in order. Here’s a SharePoint 2010 Content Organizer video walkthrough
covering what it is, and how to set up and use it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7PfHzqzOyw&hd=1
It's not a big surprise to me that SharePoint is leading the Social Software in the Workplace Magic Quadrant.
This social network site (TheSUG.org) runs on the SharePoint platform, and as a result we had way more capabilities than we needed at launch time, and to this day. This allows us to keep rolling out new things over time as demand for these things increase. All we really had to do was slap on the MemberToMember Add-On
which gives us the Member Centric UI and features required for a successful online community, all the while exploiting the power of SharePoint (Search, Collaboration, Document Management, Workflow, Security, Content Retention Policies, etc...) as needed. In fact, this Magic Quadrant is focusing on Social Networking, but SharePoint is also leading in the Collaboration quadrant, Search, Content Management, and more...
I've said it before, and I'm saying it again now, Microsoft has been in the "Social Networking Software" game long before the term "Social Networking" was a buzz word.
Washington, DC - I recently co-presented with Kiki L'Italien (from Delcor) on Public vs. Private social networking solutions. The audience was fantastic, full of great real-world questions and certainly had a lot on their minds. Our aim was to help sort out questions around “when should I use what for accomplishing this objective (as an organization).
Professional Social Networking Online Communities
Snippets are the little descriptions displayed about the link on search results pages. For a long time now, snippets have been auto-generated by Google and you had little control over what the snippet would be – other than the fact that it’s mined from the page it’s referring to. Enter Rich Snippets!
Rich Snippets allow you, the content owner, to specify the snippet language. It’s a way of adding some structure to unstructured data. Snippets can currently be applied to people and to product reviews, more types coming later on.
Here’s some examples of the two types of snippet formats you can use (microformats or RDFa):
Note: This is copied from a great little article on CMSWire entitled “New Google Tech Fuses SEO and Semantic Web”.
Say that they originally had:
<a href="http://www.example.com/">Jane Smith</A>
With microformats, you specify that you're defining a person with contact information with the term "vcard." You use the div and span tags to logically group the information, with div used for multiple pieces of information and span used for single pieces of information.
Using Google's "Marking Up Structured Data" documentation, they might change this link to:
<span class="fn">Jane Smith</span>
<a href="http://www.example.com/">Jane Smith</A>
Now they've added the context of Jane's full name, her nickname, her web site, and that she's an author. To show this same information in RDFa, they might have:
<div xmlns:v="http://rdf.data-vocabulary.org/#" typeof="v:Person">
<span property="v:name">Jane Smith</span>
<a href="http://www.example.com/">Jane Smith</A>
The opportunity here would be to automate this in SharePoint so whenever snippet compatible content types are used, they are automatically rendered in either microformats or RDFa. For example, the “Product Review” content type. This would be a prime candidate for yet another thing in SharePoint which can be automated to help the SEO cause!
Google Searchology Event Article
Google’s Rich Snippet Help Page
From time to time I have to troubleshoot SharePoint Search Engine issues dealing with it not properly indexing some external web site. Just thought I’d share the steps I typically take in case you are trying to figure out what might be causing the problem. I find it helpful to isolate where the problem is before doing anything else. Here’s how I approach determining where the problem is.
The first thing I do is make sure the SharePoint Search Engine is working, period. Is it at lease indexing the SharePoint site properly? If not, it’s pretty obvious the problem is with the search engine configuration, or at least something on the SharePoint side of the street, including the network it lives on. However, if it’s not having any problems indexing the SharePoint site, I move on and see if it is (or will) index any other external web sites properly.
The ‘spider view’ of the page you have configured your SharePoint Search Engine content source to start from is the best place to start. Paste the URL into the spider-simulator and let it rip. If it can’t crawl the page, you have found the problem. If it can crawl the page, carefully check the results. Examine the internal links as well as the external links. This is when you will find out if what your browser sees is the same as what the spider sees. Copy a link out and paste it your browser address bar and see if it loads. If you get a 404, the problem is with the links on the start page using some type of black-arts to be handled by the application which is preventing search engines from crawling properly.
By now I have usually pin-pointed the problem and can begin taking steps to resolve it. Resolution steps include pointing to a different start page from within my content source, or re-writing the start page with clean HTML, or ensuring the security on the external site is not preventing a crawl, etc… You get the point, but the important thing is we have quickly isolated where the problem is before we started fixing it.
Best bets are similar to the “Sponsored Links” seen on popular internet search engines today. SharePoint allows you to establish and schedule search best bets. Best bets are used to target specific pieces of content to end users searching for a specific keyword or phrase. For example, if you had an upcoming event called “Child Education Conference ‘09”, you could ensure its information page get’s returned in search results when users search using the keyword “children” and “kid” and “conference.” You can have multiple best bets running simultaneously. Best bets are commonly used for promoting events and otherwise important content. The Search Usage Reports (covered in this chapter) will help you understand what users are looking for and NOT finding – a perfect example of when to use a best bet. This section covers how to set up and manage best bets and related keyword synonyms.
Best bets are by default displayed on the right side of the search results page and are identified by the star icon. The best bets web part is used to display them. As with all SharePoint web parts, you can move them around the page, and add or delete them from a page.
The first step in setting up a best bet is noting the URL of the page you want to bring people to. The URL can by any URL, internal or external sites. You also want to have at least one Keyword in mind (more than one is even better). Additionally, you should have the text already prepared that will make up the best bet; this includes the Title and Description. In other words; when someone types [Keyword] into the search box and clicks the search button, you want them to see [Title and Description]. When they click on it, you want this [URL] to load.
Note: You need to belong to the Site Collection Administrator group to be able to create and manage best bets.
The following steps walk you through the process of creating a new best bet:
1. You need to go to the top level settings of your site:
a. Click on Site Actions and then Site Settings
b. Click on Modify All Site Settings from the Site Settings fly out
c. You should see the below five columns:
Note: If you only see four columns, you do not have sufficient permissions to create a search scope. Contact your SharePoint Administrator.
The right most column should be titled “Site Collection Administration”
Note: If you only see a link called “Go to top level site settings”, go ahead and click it. This just means that you are not yet at the top level (root) of your site (see below):
2. The third listing under the Site Collection Administration column reads “Search keywords”, follow this link.
3. From the “Manage Keywords” page, click the “Add Keyword” link.
4. This page has five areas.
The Keyword Information area has two fields. The Keyword Phrase field is where you enter your keyword or phrase. The Synonyms field is where you enter any related synonyms to the keyword you provide. You may enter multiple synonyms; simply separate them with a semicolon.
The Best Bets area has a single “Add Best Bet” link. This is where you enter the Title, Description and URL of your new best bet.
The Keyword Definition area has an editor box for you to provide information about the keyword you specified. Whatever you type in here will be displayed directly above the best bet, and below the keyword which is triggering the best bet to display.
The Contact area is used to specify the contact person that receives a notification when the keyword is past its review date. This helps you keep your keywords and related information current and helps prevent it from becoming out of date.
The Publishing area provides you with three optional fields. The Start Date, End Date and Review Date. These dates determine when your best bet will automatically start showing up, as well as stop. The review date is used to trigger a notification to the person you listed in the contact field.
5. Enter your desired keyword in the Keyword Phrase box. It does not matter if you type in upper case or lower case or a mix.
6. Enter any synonyms you may have in the Synonyms box, multiple synonyms may be entered using a semicolon to separate them. It does not matter if you type in upper case or lower case or a mix.
7. Click the “Add Best Bet” link.
8. The “Add Best Bet” dialog window pops up and provides you with the URL, Title and Description fields for your new best bet.
9. Enter the Title, URL and Description for your new best bet into the respective fields.
Note: If you wanted to re-use (copy) an existing best bet, and simply relate it to this keyword, you could select the “Select existing best bet” radio button option. This will display a list of existing best bets for you to choose from.
10. After entering your desired Title, URL and Description, click the “OK” button.
11. Now click the “OK” button on the remaining page.
12. Congratulations, you have just created a best bet! You can now return to your site and perform a search to test it. You can always return and edit your best bet by following the above steps.
It’s worth mentioning that while you may simply drag and drop the best bets web part to the desired location, it may not have the text formatting you were looking for. For example, it’s common to display best bets above the normal search results on the page (normal search results are also called organic search results). However, when you drag and drop the best bet web part to display above the organic results, it not formatted to match (see below):
This is easily resolved by using another web part which can also display your best bets called the “Search High Confidence Results” web part.
The “Search High Confidence” web part is covered later in this chapter in the “Search Web Parts” section.
The easiest way to perform a search is to simply enter a word in the search box and click the search button. The maximum length of a query cannot exceed 1024 characters. By default, SharePoint search is case in-sensitive, which means you can type in upper case, lower case or a mix and still get the same search results.
You can enter a multiple words into the search box. When more than one word is entered into the search box, SharePoint uses the AND query. The AND query simply ensures that only results containing all the words entered are returned. This is not the same as entering a phrase into the search box.
Phrases are entered into the search box by enclosing the words in quotation marks. For example: “Employee Handbook” would be wrapped with quotes if you want SharePoint to treat it as a phrase. When SharePoint search treats a query as a phrase, it only returns results containing the exact match, in the exact order, as you entered it.
You can also tell the search engine to exclude results with specific words in them by entering a minus sign (-) in front of the word or phrase you want to exclude. For example: Employee –Handbook would return results relevant to the word “Employee”, but not if the result also contained the word “Handbook” within its content.
Another powerful option available to you is the use of properties (or meta-data). Property based queries simply follow the format of <property name>:<value>. For example, if you wanted to find all documents authored by Sean Bordner, you could make use of the “Author” property and enter Author:Sean Bordner into the search box and hit search.
You can even combine these capabilities into a single search. Let’s say you knew a guy’s name started with S and he authored an employee document, but it wasn’t the Employee Handbook, it was something else… You can’t remember exactly what it was called, or where it was located, but you need to find it. No problem! You can enter Employee –Handbook Author:S and let the SharePoint search engine find it for you! Note
: Be sure the Search Core Results web part is not set to permit noise word queries.
Here's a few SharePoint specific tools you can use to help your SEO effort. If you know of others, please let me know and I'll add to this post.
SharePoint SEO Tools
: Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs FeatureDescription
: Imtech SharePoint SEO Slugs is a SharePoint Feature which hooks up to the Create Page Application Page provided with MOSS 2007. While creating a slug it not only separates all the different words with a hyphen (-) but also removes all the stop words as well!Location
: http://blog.mastykarz.nl/optimize-publishing-pages-search-engines-imtech-sharepoint-seo-slugs-feature/ Title: SharePoint SiteMap Generator - Version 2Description
: A SiteMap is a way to describe the pages of your site to a search engine. It also provides the mechanism for letting search engines know when your pages have been added, removed or otherwise modified. A SiteMap file is an XML formatted file containing an entry (or item) for each page of your site. Each item also contains the date/time the page was last modified. All three major search engines (Google, Yahoo! & MS LIVE Search can be pointed to the same sitemap.xml file on your site. The SiteMap Generator v.2 Feature automates the process of keeping your site’s sitemap.xml file current.Location
As a consultant, I encounter all kinds of questionable decisions which were made long before my invitation to the party. Of course this is totally normal because if everything was working perfectly, I would not have been asked to help out. But, sometimes I do come across things that actually seem to defy both logic and common sense – this is one of those cases.
The entire Microsoft search engine blood line ranges from the FREE “Search Server 2008 Express
” (which by the way is a very impressive product) to its “FAST Enterprise Search
” (which does things neither Google nor Microsoft could do, explaining why Microsoft so eagerly acquired them). The SharePoint Search Engine
is just one step below the FAST enterprise search. The SharePoint search engine returns highly relevant results from terabytes of data spread across your enterprise (including non-SharePoint, non-Microsoft business systems) for thousands of companies – and it does this with extreme precision and swiftness. MS FAST does the same thing, but from petabytes of data spread across your enterprise (absolutely incredible).
During a recent planning discussion I was confronted with one of those decisions made long ago (by someone no longer around, as usual) which threaded to really detract from the solution functionality. They wanted to replace SharePoint Search with the already purchased Google Appliance. When I asked why, I was given a long list of capabilities which could not have described the SharePoint Search Engine better, but they were actually intended to be Google Appliance capabilities not included in SharePoint Search. It was an awkward few moments for everyone in the room as I line-item demonstrated these capabilities, and more, using the SharePoint Search Engine - but we got through it.
Using the built in SharePoint Search Engine doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan, you do. But it does mean you already own an extremely powerful and flexible Search Engine and it’s already built in to SharePoint. It also means the time spent on integrating the Google Appliance search engine with SharePoint can now be spent on improving your end user search experience to meet the needs of your specific users (user interface, taxonomy, search scopes, best bets, etc…).
My advice would be to make sure you have thoroughly researched the SharePoint Search Engine before looking elsewhere.