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All Posts  /   /  October 11, 2012 

Inside Ektron 8.6 - Part 2: URL Redirects

This article is the second part of our “deep dive” into the new Ektron 8.6 features.

“Goodbye, my custom redirect widget,” joyfully exclaimed one Twitter user upon learning that Ektron 8.6 will allow custom manual redirection within the CMS. It used to be that this was a process that needed to be managed by the IT staff, creating IIS redirects to point either to other sites not within the Ektron umbrella, or from outdated versions of the site. Now CMS editors can manage it from within the content manager, with two primary tables: one for mapping and the second for rules.

The time that will be saved is clearly a factor, as marketers will no longer need to wait for their technical staff to create the redirects. If you add to or modify your site, delete a page, or even change the company name, these redirects will ensure that your customers can find your pages. In other words, anyone accessing www.oldcompany.com will automatically be routed to www.newcompany.com, eliminating the dead links that are typical components of such a move. url-aliasing

Choosing the appropriate redirect code, as shown in the above screenshot, is important for search engine optimization. The 301 permanent redirect helps educate search engines that the site has been moved and that there is no point to re-indexing the old site in future.

In addition, the aliasing feature makes consistently creating intuitive, meaningful, and particularly SEO-friendly names a simple and straightforward process. The importance of findability and rankings in search engines cannot, of course, be overstated – search engines now being the primary way most company services and products are located. As explained in the Ektron Dev Center:
Some spider and bot software agents refuse to follow URLs that terminate in URL variables as they crawl or index a web site. Although the major search engines do not experience this problem, the above example would be a solution to allow that kind of software agent to properly crawl the web site.

To say nothing of the fact that intuitive naming is a boon to marketing departments. Who wouldn’t rather say “See the case study at www.imediainc.com/Clientname.aspx” rather than “Check out http://www.imediainc.com/site/templates/case-study.aspx?id=999” when they’re on the phone with a client?

In addition to automatic and manual URL aliases, Ektron 8.6 has enhanced the use of regular expressions that help determine the URL structure. The following types of aliases can be created, according to Ektron’s Version 8.6 Release Notes:
 
  • Manual URL Alias—give a content block a unique name.
  • Automatic URL Aliases—created by rules that apply to Taxonomy, Folder, Community User, or Community Group.
  • Regular Expression (RegEx)—creates a pattern in the URL for site visitors. For example, you can use a RegEx on a blog site that relies on entry dates. For example, a RegEx for blogs.aspx?blogmonth=3&blogyear=2013&blogid=14 can be blogs/2013/03/14. To see a blog post from the previous day, you can type blogs/2013/03/13. To see all March 2013 posts, type blogs/2013/03, and so on.
  • URL Alias for a Site—If your site supports the multi-site feature, you can enter aliases for any site. For example, if your company‘s name just changed from Bionics to NewGen, you can use the site aliasing feature to resolve www.bionics.com to www.newgen.com.
  • URL Redirects—New URL redirects ensure that your customers can find your Web sites when you add, change, or need to modify your Web sites. The kind of redirect that you create can affect your SEO positively (or very badly if you do not use redirects). For example, if you have multiple sites and other sites link to each of them, you are dividing your ranking in search engines. By creating a unifying "signature" URL, you can combine those links to improve your search engine rank.

The URL Redirect improvement in Ektron 8.6 will be greatly advantageous to Ektron editors and marketers, helping to improve search engine optimization, save valuable technical time, and become a way to eliminate dead links and unintuitive page URLs.

Interested in migrating to Ektron 8.6? Read more about it here.
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