Blog items tagged with "canonical-urls"

SEO Friendly Features of Exponent CMS

I've worked with Exponent CMS in a variety of roles since 2007, from being merely a user/customer of OIC Group, Inc., to becoming a project manager for OIC Group, and now as a SEO consultant for my own business in Atlanta.

While Exponent CMS doesn't have the community following of Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, etc., I've had experience with all of these top CMS platforms, but Exponent is always the one I come back to.

In terms of SEO friendliness, Wordpress has several plugins that work quite well for optimizing websites, but what I love about Exponent CMS is that the markup is highly flexible and all of the SEO tools needed for to optimize your website are built in – no plugins necessary.

Over the last several weeks, I've been working with the lead developers on the Exponent CMS project – Phillip Ball and David Leffler – on enhancements to the CMS that make Exponent even more SEO friendly than it already was. In the coming weeks, we'll be adding even more features that I personally believe will make Exponent the most search engine friendly CMS platform in the open source marketplace.

So, aside from being able to control basic Meta Data on a page by page basis, what are some of the other built-in SEO friendly features of Exponent CMS?

Router Maps

When you're working with a CMS that allows for dynamic content publication and display, you're going to run into problems with long, nasty URL strings that include parameters for views, actions and sources that aren't friendly for either users or search engines.

Such is the case with most of the dynamic content modules within Exponent CMS such as news, portfolio, blog, ecommerce, etc. Luckily for SEO enthusiasts such as myself, Exponent has built in an awesome feature called Router Maps that allows you to clean up that nasty URL strings with a cleaner, more search engine friendly version of the URL.

For example, the dynamic blog module URL below is performing the “Show All By Tag” action, where a user can view every blog post that is labeled with that specific tag. The Exponent CMS site will dynamically pull up and display each of these posts, which is essential functionality for a blog, but as you can see the URL isn't exactly user friendly:

Dynamic Exponent CMS URL String

By configuring the Router Map function in your Exponent theme folder with the appropriate rule, you can change that nasty URL to a cleaner one such as this:

Exponent CMS Clean Router Mapped URL

Flexible URL Structures

Since SEF (Search Engine Friendly) URLs were integrated into Exponent in 2007, they've evolved to become more and more flexible for SEOs.

The benefit of SEF URLs, aside from being easy for users to read, is that SEOs can craft custom optimized URLs with keyword inclusion to make their clients' websites more friendly for organic search.

Exponent allows administrators to assign a variety of URL extensions to their SEF URL field such as .html, .php, .htm, etc., based on their preference.

Historically, all pages within Exponent CMS would display URLs at the root level.

Exponent CMS URLs

Recently though in Exponent's 2.2.0 stable release, the SEF URL field has become even more flexible. The system now allows for nested URL structures that are preferred by some SEO consultants that allow URLs to look like this:

Exponent CMS Enhanced Nested URL Structures

The flexibility of how SEOs can execute their URLs within our system makes Exponent a very powerful platform for websites focused on SEO and search engine placement.

Rel=Canonical URLs

Another new feature added in the 2.2.0 stable release is support for Rel=Canonical URLs on a page by page basis.

For SEOs dealing with large websites that have potential duplicate content issues (having the same exact content appearing in multiple places on your website, or if your site is receiving syndicated content), the Rel=Canonical tag configuration allows SEOs the ability to easily assign credit to a preferred source URL in the event that duplicate content needs to be avoided.

Exponent CMS Rel Canonical URLs

Rel=Canonical tag fields have been integrated throughout the system in the page manager configurations, and in specific dynamic module types such as Exponent's news, portfolio, blog, and ecommerce modules.

File Manager Image Meta Data

The final feature that makes Exponent CMS a SEO friendly CMS that I'll discuss in this post is related to Exponent's file manager and attachable files functionality.

Certain modules within the system utilize “attachable files” functionality to display images in certain views/layouts.

For example, Exponent's ecommerce, blog, portfolio, and news modules use attachable image files to display images related to that product/portfolio piece/post:

Exponent CMS Attachable Files

The SEO friendly feature related to this functionality is how the image is optimized for organic search engine value.

Rather than simply inserting image files into the WYSIWYG editor for display on the website as you would using a text module, you can assign your Image Alt Text and Image Title tags for attachable files within Exponent CMS' file manager.

Exponent CMS File Manager Image Meta Data

So as you've optimized your attachable file, your image Alt text and Title tags will show up in the HTML markup just as if you had inserted your image into a WYSIWYG editor and optimized the image that way:

Exponent CMS Attachable Files Image Meta Data

Future Exponent CMS SEO Friendly Feature Enhancements

As the CMS continues to evolve, I've made it my personal mission to ensure that we work in every SEO friendly feature possible into Exponent CMS.

In future releases, we'll be working on such enhancements as allowing administrators to configure “No Index, No Follow” type robots tags on a page and post level.

We also plan to enhance the Exponent CMS tagging system so administrators will be able to assign unique SEO friendly meta data on a tag by tag basis, as well as add link title attributes to the Exponent CMS link manager module configuration.

If one thing is for certain as we continue to make Exponent CMS more and more Search Engine Friendly, it's that our system is incredibly powerful and its future is very bright.

About the author

Atlanta SEO Consultant Chris J. EverettChris Everett is a contributor to the Exponent CMS project.

Chris is a search engine marketing consultant based in Atlanta, Georgia, and he's the founder of the Captivate Search Marketing SEO Company.

To learn more about the SEO friendly features of Exponent CMS, feel free to connect with Chris on Google+.

New Canonical URL Field Makes Exponent CMS More SEO Friendly

Over the years, Exponent CMS has proven itself to be one of the top search engine friendly CMS platforms available in the marketplace – and it just got better.

I recently teamed up with Exponent CMS code ninja Phillip Ball to integrate a new Canonical URL field into the core of the CMS, allowing webmasters to easily add a <link rel="canonical" > tag into the header of their Exponent CMS web pages, on a page by page basis.

The new Canonical URL field, which will be featured this Friday May 3, 2013 in the 2.2.0 release candidate, has been integrated into the Exponent CMS page manager configuration, and you can also assign a Canonical URL when creating a new news article or blog post.

If you're a developer using Exponent CMS and aren't familiar with the SEO ramifications of the Canonical URL field, you might be asking yourself why this new field matters and what its purpose is.

What's the Purpose of Canonical URLs?

In layman terms, what the Canonical URL Tag does is it tells the search engines what URL to give credit to in the case of multiple URLs having identical content.

For example, if you're trying to make finding information easy for your website users by adding the same content in multiple sections of your site, such as pricing information, photo galleries, etc. by using the Exponent CMS content aggregation feature on your website, you've created yourself a duplicate content issue with the search engines.

In this case, it's important to assign a <link rel=”canonical”> tag on the pages to let the search engine know which URL is the original (and often times only URL indexed) source of the content. also suggests that the rel=canonical tag be utilized on each page of your website, even if you don't have a duplicate page, in case of future developments on your site that might cause a duplicate content issue.

How Do I Use the New Feature?

As Phillip and I have collaborated on this feature, we tried to make it as easy and straight forward as possible from an administrative perspective. If your website will be using Exponent CMS version 2.2.0 or newer, you'll find the Canonical URL field on any content page configuration under the “SEO” tab.

Exponent CMS Canonical URL Page Configuration

You'll also be able to find this Canonical URL field on the Exponent CMS blog, news, and ecommerce modules when adding or editing a post or product.

If you do not manually assign a Canonical URL within this field, the <link rel=”canonical”> tag will default to the SEF URL for that particular page/post/product.

In order to manually set a Canonical URL for a piece of content, simply type or paste in the FULL URL that you want to assign the canonical tag to.

What Does the Canonical URL Markup Look Like?

The canonical URL tag, whether you assign it manually or let it default automatically, will show up in the header tag of your Exponent CMS website, directly under the meta description tag:

Exponent CMS Rel=Canonical URL Markup

What if My Version of Exponent Doesn't Have the New Canonical URL Field?

If your website's version of Exponent CMS isn't the latest and greatest and you don't want to spend the time upgrading your theme in order to implement this new feature, Phillip Ball has come up with a work around that you can drop right into the header your site's theme.

However, because you should be assigning Canonical URLs on a page by page basis to eradicate duplicate content issues, this work around is not an ideal solution if duplicate content is what you're trying to fix. If you simply want to assign a Canonical URL tag to your web pages because it's a “SEO best practice” for pages not at risk of duplicate content, here's what you need to do.

Navigate into the backed files of your website, accessing the theme folder and adding this code snippet inside the header tag of your default theme and any subthemes you might have for your site:

 <link rel="canonical" href="<?php echo "http://$_SERVER[HTTP_HOST]$_SERVER[REQUEST_URI]" ?>"/>

Here's what that looks like in the theme file:

Exponent CMS Canonical URL Workaround

While not ideal, this relatively easy process will automatically add a rel=canonical tag on each of your web pages.

About the author

Atlanta SEO Consultant Chris J. EverettChris Everett is a SEO consultant and founder of Captivate Search Marketing in Atlanta, GA.

Chris has been a core contributor to the Exponent CMS open source project since 2008.

If you have any questions about rel=canonical tags or how to make your Exponent CMS site more SEO friendly, feel free to drop him a line on Google+.