URL Aliasing in Ektron: What does it mean for your website?

Dream. Dare. Do – that is Suyati’s work principle in a nutshell.

Aug
07
2013
  • Author:
  • Bisileesh Bhaskaran

We use them every day. Some we remember and type in the address bar but some we don’t recall. Yes! I am talking about the URLs. Tell me how many of them you remember?

And what makes you remember them? Is it their popularity? Their descriptive nature? Meaning? Readability?

Whatever be the reason, it is highly important to have URLs for web pages with all the above criteria.

URLs or Uniform Resource Locators are meant to locate web pages in the web. The URL of web pages in your website plays a vital role in search marketing as well. It’s immensely important to have human readable, meaningful, descriptive and seo friendly URLs.

In this blog post let us dig into the URL Aliasing Feature of Ektron.

URL’s and SEO:

A well-crafted URL is an added advantage for your website. Web site visitors tend to remember static URLs.

For example let us take an example of an imaginary e-commerce websites landing page showcasing a toy product, balloon.

The static URL goes like this:

http://www.gettoysforkids.com/balloons/delight-balloon/

And the dynamic URL for the same goes like this:

http://www.gettoysforkids.com/products.aspx?id=40&category=34&pid=80

So what do you think? Which makes sense?

The static URL or the dynamic URL? Obviously the static one!

Why so?

The static URL is definitely meaningful; a visitor can figure out that I am in the balloon section of a toy website. And I am viewing a balloon called ‘Delight’.

The URL is pretty descriptive here. And visitor can quite read the web page before it even gets loaded in the browser.

What about the dynamic URL?

It really don’t make any sense! Some numbers and short words! The visitor is unable to get to know things here.

What is the role of URL in SEO?

We all know that search engine spiders are “intelligent” enough to provide us the most relevant result for a search keyword. I hope you have a basic idea about search engine optimization. Else, get to know more from some excellent blog posts from my colleague here.

Even though popular search engines are capable of crawling and indexing dynamic URLs in the search results, a “pretty”, static URL used to tempt the site visitors to click on it, which improves the click-through rate of the website.

Now let us dig further to the topic by analyzing the role of a content management system in baking URLs.

Content Management Systems and URLs:

Many content management systems generate dynamic URLs.These dynamic URLs will degrade the usability of the website thereby having a negative impact on its SEO. Choosing a SEO friendly CMS is the solution to this problem.

Ektron, a popular .NET based content management system provides the ‘URL Aliasing’ feature to overcome these limitations.

URL Aliasing in Ektron:

Ektron allows you to create easy to read, descriptive and seo friendly URLs with URL Aliasing feature. The type of aliases supported by Ektron involves the following:

  • Automatic Aliasing
  • Manual Aliasing
  • Regex-based Aliasing
  • Site Aliasing
  • Community Aliasing

Now let’s see each of them in detail.

The URL aliasing settings can be configured through the central interface of ektron, Workarea.

Workarea > Settings > Configuration > URL Aliasing > Settings

The following screenshot shows the URL Aliasing settings:

By editing these settings Ektron users can enable the type of aliases that needs to be used in the system. The URL extensions also can be configured from here.

Automatic Aliasing:

Automatic aliasing allows assigning aliases to a number of items at once by means of the aliasing rule and the source.

The rules can be applied to several types of entities like,

  • Taxonomy
  • Folder
  • User
  • Group

Taxonomy Alias

By making use of Taxonomy alias, we can format the URL Aliases for each entry in taxonomy. Thus all the items in the taxonomy can be made of a unique format.

This URL format can be defined through adding an aliasing rule.

Now let us set up a test aliasing rule for taxonomy.

Go to: Workarea > Settings > Configuration > URL Aliasing > Aliasing Rules>Automatic

You can provide a Name for the rule, the source type can be chosen as ‘Taxonomy”.

By choosing the Alias Root we can filter the taxonomy for which the rule needs to be applied. The alias format will can be chosen as Content Title, Content Id or Content Id and Language.

The highlighted area shows the preview of the alias format. The replacement characters in the URL also can be configured here.

With these settings the URL of every taxonomy item can be formatted.

For example,

An e-commerce website has got a taxonomy called ‘MensWatches’ which has got watches of various brands as taxonomy items.

In this case according to the taxonomy rule configuration, the contents associated with this taxonomy will be as follows:

  • /MensWatches/ Timex-Chronograph-Mens-Watch/
  • /MensWatches/Timex-Empera-Mens-Watch/
  • /MensWatches/Timex-Expedition-Mens-Watch/
  • /MensWatches/Timex-Chronograph-Mens/

Folder Alias

By making use of Folder alias, we can format contents in a folder with a specific URL pattern. Thus all the contents in the folder can be made of a unique format.

This URL format can be defined through adding an aliasing rule.

The selection shows the preview of the URL format.

Suppose you have a folder for news contents in the workarea, if this folder is associated with a folder alias rule, the contents will be having URL aliases as follows:

  • /news/ opera-15-arrives/
  • /news/ windows-store-hits-100000-app/
  • /news/ apple-plans-solar-panel-farm/
  • /news/firefox-os-phone-launches-tuesday-in-spain/

User Alias

User alias rules can be defined to have certain format for individual user pages. The configuration is as follows:

User Aliases simplifies references to the user profile pages.

For example,

www.example.com/bisileesh/

Group Alias

Group alias refers to providing aliases for the user groups in ektron. The configuration is similar to the user alias configuration.

Group Aliases makes easy to refer a group page.

For example,

www.example.com/software/

Manual Aliasing:

Manual aliasing lets you specify an alternate URL to a content or page in Ektron.

For example,

www.example.com/contact.aspx?id=103

Can be made as,

www.example.com/contact/

Thus with manual aliasing a complicated URL can be made simple, meaningful and descriptive.

Regex-based Aliasing:

Regular expression based aliases allows ektron users to create patterns for URLs so that the site visitors can easily access the content.

Suppose you have an online blog with many writers and thousands of blog posts in it.If the URLs follows a certain pattern, it will be easy for the site visitors to navigate to the other contents by analyzing the URL pattern

For example,

www.example.com/blog/bisileesh/2013/04/17

The above URL has got a predictable URL structure in it.Visitors can easily navigate to other blog posts by changing the date or blogger name from the URL.

To configure Regex based aliasing,

Go to: Workarea > Settings > Configuration > URL Aliasing > Aliasing Rules>RegEx

Here you can define a regular expression that maps to a corresponding physical location. See the following example:

Site Aliasing:

Site Aliasing allows your customers to access the same contents with different URLs.Suppose your company changes the name, necessarily the site URL also needs to be changed. In these scenarios two URLs can be provided to the website.

Thus by making use of Ektron’s URL Aliasing feature it is easy to create User friendly and SEO friendly URLs which follows a structured and unique format throughout the website.

Got questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! Leave a comment here, and our Ektron experts will get back to you

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