Four years ago, when I was working on the technical documentation site for Bomgar, we wanted a Madcap Flare target that was search engine friendly. All the Flare webhelp outputs used iFrames, which are pretty horrible for SEO.
Then Flare introduced the Webhelp Mobile output. It didn’t use iFrames. So I spent a few months concocting a custom build of the Webhelp Mobile target. Google loved it, and we were lucky that was the case. The year after we published that webhelp site, organic traffic to our corporate website fell drastically. During that time, marketing was speaking more abstractly about our product. Since our prospects used more concrete, feature/function phrases in their search queries, they weren’t finding our corporate website. The webhelp, which did talk concretely about our product, offset the drop in organic traffic. Even after the corporate site recovered, the webhelp has continued to bring in more than 15% of our organic traffic!
Now it seems that, with the Top Navigation targets, Flare 11 has baked in much of what Flarestrap attempts to accomplish when it comes to webhelp SEO.
- The Top Nav targets don’t put the topic content in iframes
- The output is crawlable (For example, I ran a xml-sitemap and exceeded 500 pages on crawl. That means the topics were crawled. Previously, only the skin was crawled.)
- The template can be customized. (For example, the new Flare 11 webhelp uses Foundation Framework for the css/layout. Flarestrap uses Bootstrap, by the way.)
- Mini-Tocs are used as section navigation. (This is a challenge I was going to attempt to overcome with the next version of Flarestrap.)
There are so many other capabilities, of course, so check out the webinar. I’m just primarily concerned about SEO for Flare, and the Top Navigation targets in Flare 11 look really promising in that regard. I know I’m not the only one who’s asked, but it looks like they’ve implemented every SEO-related feature request I’ve made over the past four years.
If you’re interested in Flare SEO, I recommend trying out Flare 11 and watching the webinar.
I was planning on doing an update to Flarestrap this spring. I’m putting that on hold while I spend some time with Flare 11.