Until recently, SharePoint was widely adopted as a platform of choice for managing internal workload. Enterprises leveraged its capabilities for building intranets, search capabilities and managing records and so forth. It was with the launch of SharePoint 2007 that it started expanding its capabilities with the launch of BI and Social features.
Now, with the introduction ofSharePoint Server 2013 Internet Facing Website Model,it has developed advanced WCM capabilities and is constantly building up on WCM fora. Among the many advanced WCM capabilities of this model, here are some features that can give you easy SEO wins.
1. Automatic Canonical URL Generation
Canonical URLs are one of the trusted ways to help search engines uniquely identify the content of a page. It helps eliminate duplication of search engine indexes. For example, a product page for a UPS can have dynamic URLs (owing to certain sources like domains, subdomains, blogs and syndication sites, etc.)As below:
Having a web-page indexed and registered like the above URLs not only divides the search results’ ranking of the UPS product page, but it also runs the risk of being penalized on the account of content duplication.
To keep the search engines happy you need to ensure that there’s only one URL to identify a particular webpage. Let us take some of the guidelines from Google to understand the importance of canonical URLs.
According to the Google webmaster’s SEO guidelines, the best way to eliminate these duplicates is to indicate the preferred URL with the rel=”canonical” link element. However, manually adding this link element for each URL can be time-consuming and intricate. This is where SharePoint’s SEO properties help.
SharePoint server 2013 can automatically generate the canonical URL for your webpages. All you need to do is Activate “Search Engine Optimization Site Collection Feature”. You can then set up the query strings parameters on Search Engine Optimization Settings page to automatically render the meta tag rel=”canonical” in the HTML. You can verify this by viewing your source codes.
2. Automatic XML Sitemap Generation
During the crawl process, it becomes increasingly difficult for search engines to identify your webpages that have Ajax elements, rich images or are poorly linked with each other. The best way to notify search engines is to use XML Sitemap. An XML Sitemap is a protocol that notify search engines about website’s URL that is available for crawling. Search engines like Google rely on XML Sitemaps to discover content on your website or to check periodic updates that need to be indexed.
It becomes increasingly difficult to create XML Sitemap manually and ping search engines regularly for periodic content updates. SharePoint 2013 server helps automatically generate XML Sitemap daily for you and also ensure that the XML is up-to-date.
You can access this feature by activating Search Engine Sitemap Site Collection Feature. You can also use Search Engine Sitemap job timer to schedule your crawls and informs search engines of possible updates regularly.
3. Term Store to create Search Engine-Friendly URLs
Search engines value a webpage’s URL structure while ranking them in SERPs. The new SharePoint model allows us to have a greater control on URL structure and is also future proof for SEO.
The new Term Store in the managed Meta-data model is an important feature in both SharePoint 2013 and office 365. It allows us to create intuitive URLs instead of Database driven URLs and helps us to structure navigation hierarchy through taxonomy terms. This ensures that the URLs are intuitive and as well as search engine friendly.
The new SharePoint licensing model makes a compelling case to build a website on top of SharePoint from financial point of view. Trigent’s consulting offerings are designed to get you the best out of your SharePoint investment. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to us on 508-490-6061.