sharepoint-seo-issues

5 SEO Recommendations for SharePoint

SharePoint is a great platform for collaboration of business and creative and interests. However, every platform has its issues. With SharePoint, the issues can be boiled down to five categories that can be addressed by developers or webmasters. It’s best to tackle these issues early in the development process, as neglecting these issues can lead to authority issues with your website, and lower SEO rankings.

1. Include Meaningful Keywords in the URL

SharePoint creates URLs that are not always SEO friendly. Configuration settings allow you to select the type of URL, however, in some cases developers will opt for ID numbers or nodes instead of keyword rich URLs.

Consider this example:

www.example.com/node/123

Vs

www.example.com/our-executive-team

Which do you think Google and the other search engines have an easier time drawing relevance from. The second option of course! When developing on SharePoint, ensure the URL structure is optimized, it’s one of the most important components in onsite optimization.

2. 301 Redirects > 302 Redirects

Redirections, especially on new websites, is a common practice. However, improper use of redirects is a fundamental issue with SharePoint.

Redirections in SharePoint are defaulted to a temporary 302 redirect. 302 redirects, unlike 301 redirects, do not pass all of a web page’s authority. 301 redirects on the other hand pass somewhere between 90-100% of a page’s authority.

Restricting the flow of page authority through a temporary (302) redirect can lead to a decrease in authority for important pages on your website, causing them to drop in the search results.

3. Meta Titles and URLs based on a page title

In some cases this can be a benefit, in other it can hurt a website’s SEO.

When a page title is created within SharePoint it is also applied to the website’s meta title and URL. This is fine and dandy if your page title is targeting your keywords but this is rarely the case. Page titles tend to be short and sweet, rather than optimized for search engines.

Consider this example:

Imagine you have a services page that is targeting a specific geographic location; how about a fuel service company in Calgary. It is likely that you’ll name your page “Fuel Services.” This then automatically names your meta title (the title of a page search engines see) “Fuel Services” and your URL  www.example.com/fuel-services.

Not bad, however, neither the meta title or the URL include the word “Calgary,” making it less relevant to your local customers.

Ideally, you would have access to both the meta title and the URL to make changes as you see fit. For this page a more suitable name would be:

Meta title: Fuel Services Calgary | Your Brand Name

URL: www.example.com/fuel-services-calgary

*Be careful with renaming a page! Once you title a page and publish it, your page title and URL will be set.

4. Create and Submit an XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps are a simplified version of a website’s page architecture that can be submitted to search engines. The submission alerts search engines to new pages on the website, speeding up the indexation process.

At this point, XML sitemap creation is not provided right out of the box with SharePoint. While this feature can be added, it is must be completed by a developer.

You can submit your sitemap to:

5. Meta Robots Must be Added Manually

Meta Robots are tags added to a web page that tells search engines how to index that page. With SharePoint Meta Robots must be added manually and are not an out of the box solution.

A work-around, although not full proof, is to  list pages that you do not want indexed in the robots.txt file. As I mentioned this is not a full proof solution. Search engines will not index the page by crawling the website, however, if an external website links to a page, there is an opportunity for a crawler to follow the link and index it.

Conclusion

SharePoint is a fantastic, secure platform with numerous developmental advantages. Apply these tips to your next project and watch your rankings soar.

*Need SEO help with your SharePoint website? Get in touch with us today.

Calin is the founder and lead strategist at Inbound Interactive. He is responsible for the development and execution of Inbound's search marketing strategies.

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