Sitecore SEO 101: Everything You Need to Know
Ranking at the top of organic search results is crucial in driving traffic to your business or content, and the competition can be fierce.
Luckily, Sitecore’s capabilities as a CMS extend beyond simply managing content on a website. It also includes features that enable companies to improve their SEO rankings.
But SEO is more than just the content you publish. Your website must be fast, easy to navigate, and enjoyable to use.
Therefore, improving a site’s speed, performance, and accessibility scores to rank higher.
As the leading search engine, Google has been pushing sites to improve user experiences by building tools to provide guidelines for performance and user experience.
Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals provides a way to measure three performance ranking factors related to loading speed, interactivity and stability that impact the user experience.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Page loading speed when a user visits a website
First Input Delay (FID): How quickly user requests are processed by the browser
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Page stability when loading
Fundamentally, core web vitals ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, secure and convenient for a visitor to browse.
Helpful Content Update
For years, Google has advised websites and content authors to satisfy the search intent of site visitors, and not just for search engines. With Google’s latest algorithm update called the Helpful Content update, website rankings may drop if they practice some of the following:
Completely use AI auto-generated content tools to create content rather than create unique content.
Writing particular amounts of word counts because you think Google has a preferred amount of word count.
Creating lots of different content, hoping it will top the search engine
Whereas Core Web Vitals focuses on the visual aspect of the user experience, the new Google Helpful Content Update focuses on content authors ability to create unique, relevant, and valuable content that satisfy user intent.
How Does Sitecore Help You Improve SEO?
Sitecore comes with many out-of-the-box SEO features, such as URL Redirects, HTML alt tags, XML sitemaps, and Sitecore SEO Toolkit that can raise your website to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
And Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) provides businesses with the tools to implement SEO best practices and improve site rankings. This article looks at everything you need to know about Sitecore SEO.
Sitecore SXA: The SEO Features
Some of the features of SXA that help brands to improve their SEO include:
Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Every web page contains short pieces of HTML code called page titles and meta descriptions. Search engines and users can learn more about your website’s content via title tags and descriptions. They explain the information on each page of your website and how it pertains to a user’s search query.
Additionally, they can serve as a “hook” for your advertising in search engine results when handled effectively. Also, page titles and meta descriptions are important for on-page SEO.
Fortunately, Sitecore has in-built dialog boxes that allow you to fill in important SEO metadata.
Redirects send website visitors and search engines from one website or page to the next when content is moved to a new destination, a page is deleted from a site, or even when the domain name is changed or moved.
They are crucial from the standpoints of SEO and user experience because neither users nor search engines would like to see a page that has been removed or is now obsolete.
Sitecore SXA is equipped with a URL redirect mapping tool that allows you to set up a 301/302 or server transfer redirect from an old URL to the current URL. (301 redirects should always be used for the most positive SEO impact.)
Creating and updating your XML sitemap is an essential, yet overlooked, SEO practice. They are handy for sites and search engines in several ways. For search engines, sitemaps are pretty much a straightforward way to get necessary information about your website’s structure and pages.
The purpose of sitemap priority is to give a page or couple of pages a level of importance with a numerical value that tells search engines how important certain pages are to your site exclusively.
Sitecore allows you to set the priority of a page with a numerical value between 0.1 and 1.0 to tell the search engine how important the page is.
The semantics of HTML5 is one of its most essential features. Semantic HTML is syntax that helps clarify the various sections and page layouts in HTML to make it easier to understand. It improves web page adaptability and information, allowing browsers and search engines to understand the content better.
But to what extent does semantic HTML make sense for SEO?
Sitecore SXA separates the HTML from the CSS, making it a lot easier for authors to change some of the website designs, such as the appearance of the H1 or H2 tags. Users can apply various styling without modifying the underlying code, which is excellent for content authors and SEO.
Breadcrumbs are great when it comes to improving User Experience (UX) for your website to boost SEO. Breadcrumbs are links that let users navigate a website without getting lost. Also, due to the fact that search engines follow linked URLs when they crawl your site, having improved navigation for your website with the use of breadcrumbs is essential for SEO.
Sitecore SXA allows you to update and maintain website navigation faster and easier.
You can read more about navigation renderings in SXA, and the different types of navigation Sitecore’s SXA allows you to implement in the Sitecore documentation.
Schema Markup / Structured Data
To provide rich results, search engines need to understand the information on your website, and schema markup makes this very much possible. These markups allow search engines to understand the meanings and connections of the entities mentioned on your website, making schema markup a hot topic in SEO.
Although Sitecore does not come with this feature out of the box, a good team of developers should be able to create it for you and even have it filled with content from your web pages.
Recommended Sitecore Configuration for Boosting SEO
It might be challenging to stay updated on recent changes as SEO standards change frequently. However, you should be aware of a few of the basic SEO best practices that can be aided by Sitecore.
An XML sitemap should be used to make it easier for search engines to find and index the pages on your site. The good thing is that Sitecore offers two modules that help with this:
Meaningful Page Title
Sitecore allows you to configure a base template in such a way that each page-level item inherits three fields that are easily editable, allowing you to customize the following:
Browser <title> for the HTML document
Page title; H1 title
Images With HTML Alt Tags Applied
An alt tag is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a sort of text alternative for search engines. Alt tags provide text which is read by the search engine. When a search engine crawler inspects a page, images that have been well-formatted alt text contribute to how well a page is indexed or ranked.
Every image in Sitecore’s media library has an “alt text” field that comes with a warning validator. Additionally, media files with enforced meta descriptions and keywords can be uploaded to the website.
Clean Code for Your Website Speed
Website or page speed is very important for site rankings and overall SEO, as visitors will not like to wait more than 8 seconds before a website or page loads. According to Speed, an average person’s attention span is around 8-12 seconds, so you want to make sure your site loads a bit faster than that. In fact, 47% of visitors to your website will expect your site to load in two seconds, with 40% abandoning a page that takes more than three or more seconds to load.
Sitecore supports front-end code and uses a clean
Sitecore SEO Benefits
Improved Site or Page Speed: One of the most important things to look out for when considering a more optimized SEO for your website is website and page loading speed. Sitecore supports clean, light code that makes your site load faster.
Better Navigation: Sitecore SXA allows you to update and maintain website navigations faster and easier.
On-page SEO: Sitecore includes built-in features that make on-page SEO easier.
Leverage Sitecore to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
Sitecore offers many outstanding features (e.g. Sitecore SXA) that make them the go-to CMS for many enterprise companies.
To get the most out of Sitecore, help from platform experts can go a long way. Oshyn is a certified Sitecore partner with over 15 years experience working closely with the marketing, design, and IT teams to deliver the best and most effective customer experiences.
If you want to improve your SEO even more, take a look at our: SEO Best Practices Guide.