What You Need to Know About SharePoint 2013 SEO Tools, Friendly URLs, and Managed Navigation

What You Need to Know About SharePoint 2013 SEO Tools, Friendly URLs, and Managed Navigation

SharePoint 2013 SEO enhancements provide improved search results for external and anonymous Internet users performing a search via a search engine such as Google or Bing. By improving search results via these SEO enhancements, your organization can gain a competitive edge by having a better chance of being recognized and increasing the overall bottom line.

Here's a high-level list of new SEO improvements:

  • Clean URLs
  • Home Page Redirects
  • Country code top-level domains (ccTLDs)
  • XML Sitemaps
  • SEO Properties including meta tag descriptions
  • Webmaster Tools integration

These features let you define Meta tag descriptions, browser titles for sites, as well as capabilities to drive any multi-language requirements of your organization. SharePoint Server 2013 on-premises implementations allow you to tailor your site maps as well as specify the search engines you would like your site to ping. SharePoint Online capabilities in Office 365 generate an updated XML site map for your organization within 24 hours of site and related topology or navigational changes. 

Friendly URLs

SharePoint 2013’s friendly URLs capability is extremely straightforward in that these URLs are links that correspond directly to a term within your organization or on a particular site or page as well as correspond to your organization’s navigation term set.

The .aspx ending is no longer required after site or page name as well as the default.aspx page can be dropped from the URL's reference entirely. For example, in previous versions of SharePoint, you may have had to reference an entire URL such as

  • https://www.epcgroup-example.net/sites/SharePointConsulting/default.aspx

whereas in SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 SharePoint Online, you can now simply reference:

  • https://www.epcgroup-example.net/SharePointConsulting

Managed Navigation in SharePoint 2013

Managed navigation lets you define and maintain the navigation on a site by using term sets, which Figure 1 shows below, as this navigation allows you to add to or supplement SharePoint’s out-of-the-box SharePoint navigation that is, by default, based on your implementation's overall site structure.

Figure 1

The managed navigation structure is created by adding terms to term sets via the Term Store Management tool, which Figure 2 shows below, which also provides for the capability to enable you to copy the navigation term set and translate it into the languages that are used for variations labels within your organization.

Figure 2

You are able to combine some elements of term sets from different site collections to create an overall navigational structure of a site. For example, one term set could be utilized for the navigation of non-product pages with another term set for product pages.

In summary, SharePoint 2013’s managed navigation’s key elements offer

  • the ability to drive your navigation and URLs based on Term Store hierarchies
  • clean URLs for actual end users
  • the ability to define settings for navigation in Term Store manager
  • dynamic category pages capability by minimizing the amount of physical pages required for catalog type sites
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