The world of enterprise content management systems offers a variety of CMS to choose from. Some of those that I’ve personally worked with (both on small websites and 200 000+ pages) are Adobe AEM, Sitecore, Sitefinity, Magento and Shopify.
Gathering the requirements of both your digital marketing and product teams, prioritizing them and translating those into manageable chunks for development is a challenging task. Essentially, it all comes down to the ability to leverage the power of your CMS, or alternatively, finding a workaround for a missing feature (like Shopify, a platform used by global brands that still lacks the potential to customize URLs).
This overview will provide a walkthrough of the general features and SEO-specific functionalities that can make or break your organic search and digital marketing.
There are a number of SEO-specific features in AEM that you might want to implement, with the help of your development team. These include:
If for some reason a page changes, you can easily set up a 301 HTTP permanent redirect. This will help search engines understand where the page has moved to and keep your users happy too - no one wants to land on a dead end page! AEM has its redirection capabilities on a page level, meaning that you can easily set up the new URL in the page properties.
In order to power up your SEO campaign, you’ll want to set up your very own AEM arsenal at the start of your project. Here are some best practices for launching yours:
The prerequisites for the coveted bigger results, bringing more clicks and customers to your website, include the proper HTML of such components (heading, unordered and ordered lists), and their position in your template design. Others include:
It’s useful to know that your structured data implementation will be easier if you rely on the content fragments that are a part of the AEM Assets. The content fragment per type of structured data (e.g. Structured data for Webpage) is a way to create content models to reuse content across the site in a very structured manner.
Content fragments are easy to use directly in the AEM assets and give you the flexibility that you need as they don’t have any predefined structure. And, yes, you can have your “special” content fragments that contain structured content in JSON format, the one that Google recommends. These fragments are based on a Content Fragment Model, which allows predefining a structure and JSON for the resulting fragment.
In order to cover the cases for your components for structured data, all you need to do is to talk to your Adobe Experience Manager Implementation Partner. In fact, it has never been easier to apply structured data at once on many pages. By creating a component which manipulates the data and applies it on all the pages that you want, you’ll reduce the budget and time needed for development on every single page. Unfortunately, in most organizations, the creation and implementation of structured data remain pain points. For many, these processes still necessitate additional resources, and even leading brands continue to fall behind on this.
Finally, for those approaching any CMS migration, here are a final few bonus tips for maximum success.
Firstly, if you want to migrate from your current CMS to AEM, involve your core teams, Marketing, Product and UX, to kick off the discussion and initiate the requirements gathering. Pay attention to the flow of communication between stakeholders. This will save resources often wasted in gathering requirements details from multiple parties. A simple way to capture requirements is by leveraging Gherkin language. This facilitates the communication of business requirements to non-technical teams, and the same documentation can even be used for automated tests, meaning a happy development team too.
Secondly, don’t overlook the importance of knowing your content. Conduct a full content audit and meticulously document everything to be migrated, kept, purged or re-used. This intensive work in the short term can save you a fortune in the long run, and help you understand your limitations or important points to consider along the way.
Thirdly, start by conceptualizing your templates and highlighting the elements that may differ from one template to the other. Look for similarities and start requesting your components first. AEM is built on the concept of templates for pages, and the components / different widgets your templates consist of. The beauty of this is that neither your templates nor your components are set in stone once you’ve developed them, so you can always extend their features at a later date.
Finally, be sure to audit your duplicate content and make a list of the pages that you either delete or set the canonicals tags for.