The sites we build in our preferred CMS, TYPO3, are always optimised with search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind. Since the launch of Google Lighthouse we take great pleasure in seeing our sites get that 100% score - giving us a nice warm feeling, knowing that Google rates our sites in such a way.
Much of this optimisation is under the hood, in how we configure the CMS, how we code the display layer, and in the choices our designers make when choosing fonts, font sizes and colourways.
So we do our best to set up the sites we build in the most SEO friendly way, but the point of a CMS is that our clients can also control and manage their own SEO, and TYPO3 has a lot of SEO functionality that comes ‘out of the box’, not relying on plugins or extensions, unlike other CMS systems.
In this post I will outline what a CMS user can do within the TYPO3 CMS to manage their SEO. Most of the functionality I mention below is all found in one handy tab within the CMS - unique to every page.
This field allows the CMS user to enter a short description of the page, which will be displayed in the results lists of most search engines. This is an opportunity for you to get your all important keywords surfaced and exposed to Google.
On complex content heavy sites or sites with wide product ranges with complex hierarchies pages with an site can often be duplicated and have multiple URLs.
Ideally search engines need to know the original source of a page or content, so as to not dilute search results. Within TYPO3 a CMS user can set the preferred URL for a particular page, ensuring that the page does not lose ranking by having multiple URLs.
Another case for the use of canonical URLs is when you have the same content on multiple URLs or are reposting content from another domain.
A real-world example of this would be as follows: if you as a company have been featured in The Guardian but you also wanted to use that piece on your own site you could just put it straight into your CMS, but Google would penalise you for this. However if you put in a canonical tag, citing The Guardian as the source, then Google is happy and you can feature this press on your site also.
You get the benefit of using content from an outside source and you help that source by citing their content, helping with their page ranking.
Since Google’s major algorithm change in 2011 (codename: Hummingbird) and the emergence of ‘conversational search’ - where users are constructing search queries much more like the start of a conversation, how keywords should be implemented has changed. The concept of ‘keyword stuffing’, mentioning your keywords at least seven times or so on a page has long been out of favour. It is still important to surface your keywords, and TYPO gives the CMS user a field to add your keywords, although the jury is out on whether even this makes any significant change to a sites ranking.
Overriding the browser title
One method of getting your keywords exposed to search engines is to include keywords in the page title, but this can often lead to clunky page titles and titles not written in very ‘human’ language. To get these keywords exposed for SEO, but to not mess with your page title, you can override the title of the page on the browser tab - so a page can have a title appearing on the browser tab that is different to the actual in-page title.
Formatting your browser title format
As well as being able to give a web page a different browser title to the page title, you can also choose from different formats for the browser tab.
The options available are:
- Title - Site
- Site - Title
The ‘Site’ is the overall name of the site. So for our Liquid Light site, if I chose Title - Site, the browser title for the Case Studies page would be Case studies - Liquid Light. This works for us, and we usually recommend keeping the site title in the browser tab, for consistency and orientation.
One recurring requirement we hear often is the ability to manage redirects. Again, TYPO3 ‘out of the box’ gives CMS users full control over their redirects through a simple intuitive interface. A CMS user can set up, monitor, edit and delete their redirects. Useful when creating landing pages with a short lifespan, or when changes to a sites structure mean links go out of date.
TYPO3 also gives the ability to set up ‘short URLs’ . A good use of a short URL is when a link is needed for marketing communications, replacing a cumbersome link with something much more user friendly and readable.
A good example of this is when linking to product, which could be buried within a fairly complex product hierarchy.
So if your product URL is as follows:
This could be shortened to:
This gives you a more manageable URL for marketing purposes, easier to remember and much more ‘scannable’ and memorable.
Migrating a site to a new CMS or radically transforming a sites structure always comes with the risk and worry of losing page ranking - ranking that may have taken many years and hard work to get to. TYPO3 empowers our clients with the ability to manage their SEO. Read more about why we use TYPO3 here.