Adobe Experience Manager SEO Recipe for Global Footprint and Local Relevance

When we’re developing content, there’s a definite temptation to believe that if this content is polished, well-written, high-quality, and full of relevant keywords, then Google will find it!

In reality, we give Google…just a little too much credit. Maybe more credit than it wants.

Quality content and relevant keywords certainly play a part in great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) within Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), but Google is looking at a mountain. 

Everest-sized haystack of this type of content across the web. And for your content to be the needle that it finds and ranks in organic search, you’ve got to give Google a little more help—which AEM can do.

There are a lot more elements of SEO that AEM specifically can help you hone in on, to make your content a flashing beacon for Google, and improve your rankings. Curious about what they are? We’ve got you covered.

Create an SEO-Friendly Site Structure in AEM

Imagine that you opened a file cabinet, and found all files out of order, some files stuffed within other files, files underneath files, files fallen down the back of the cabinet…

Now, imagine that you’re a Google crawler trying to index important pages, and this file cabinet is what you see. It probably makes a little more sense now why a cleanly structured site benefits your SEO so much.

Leaving Google to its own devices with a site as out of sorts as that imaginary file cabinet will ultimately result in unintentionally unindexed pages. To avoid these issues, there are a few things you can do for SEO in Adobe Experience Manager to ensure a cleaner, more crawlable structure.

Use AEM site templates for consistent, easier indexing

Templatizing your pages will ultimately become one of your strongest pillars of healthy SEO in AEM. Using AEM’s flexible site-building features, you can import a custom template for use in AEM or one of AEM’s pre-loaded plug-and-play templates.

Ultimately, the cleaner and more predictable your sites are, the easier it will be for Google to locate and index your pages, and understand what your business is trying to accomplish. Creating pages off of templates, and having a CMS like AEM that can host as many template variations as you need, will help you keep things clean and consistent over time.

And if your AEM site has snowballed and gotten to a point where the structure is now difficult to rectify, you can always bring in experts in AEM architecture to help set things straight.

Use AEM’s URL customization capabilities to create clean URLs

Google dislikes long URL path strings that make little to no sense. When looking at your site structure, it’s vital not to forget about your URL pathing. What you, Google, and your site visitors see in your URL should briefly and easily describe what your content is about.

AEM simplifies this process by enabling easy customization of your URLs, helping you to keep them clean and relevant to your content. You can also accomplish advanced URL customization using sling mapping in AEM to more easily maintain an organized, simple URL structure inclusive of important keywords.

Implement hreflang for multi-language content

Something that AEM is exceptional at, as many of you may know, is helping you manage multiple sites. And if your site is available across many countries, and in many different languages, you’ll need to do a little extra work for optimal SEO. 

You can accomplish this by employing an hreflang tag in your page code to help Google locate and deliver the correct language page variant to visitors when they request a URL.
In AEM, hreflang tags can be inserted directly into the <head> section of your page’s code. Or, you can implement special logic using Apache Sling, on which AEM runs, to insert hreflang tags into pages automatically with a sling rewriter pipeline.

Employ structured data for enhanced search presence

Aside from your written content that’s visible to site visitors, there are some alternate ways you can help Google properly index your content behind the scenes. 

Structured data can be applied in the form of markup—additional metadata attached to content—added to the HTML code of the page. This markup will be based on your metadata schemas (i.e., the types of metadata information you want to relay to Google). Once applied, it’ll help further explain what the page content is about to Google so that Google can rank your pages against more relevant searches.

AEM makes this process particularly simple with its component-based architecture, which can incorporate structured data markups in each component of the page. Not only that, but AEM incorporates features that empower you to create and modify templatized metadata schemas for use across pages.

That said, Adobe Experience Manager has no ready-made solutions to generate schema markup. There are no AEM SEO plugins, similar to Yoast or Rank Math for WordPress.

Optimize Site Performance for SEO in AEM

Among the many factors that contribute to SEO in AEM is, in fact, the performance of your site. By performance, here we mean content load speeds, response times to interactions, page stability, and the like.

In short, yes, things like page load speeds and page stability do affect your SEO, because they impact the usability and quality of your page as a whole. Google is looking at those factors—Core Web Vitals (CWV)—as well when it’s deciding how relevant your content is to organic searches.

In AEM, there are a handful of ways you can easily evaluate, optimize, and even prevent issues with site performance. Let’s take a look!

Accelerate your webpage load speed and overall performance

When we’re thinking about SEO, not everyone’s minds go to the speed of the site as a contributing factor. Sure, SEO is highly influenced by content and keywords, but a fast and easily loadable site experience also weighs in heavily.

Google looks at the below three core web vitals to determine the performance score of your pages:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long it takes a page to load the largest content element, with 2.5 seconds or less labeled as “Good.”
  • First Input Delay (FID): The time it takes for a user’s browser to issue a response to an interaction on a page, like a click on an interactive element or a search. 100 milliseconds or under is considered “Good” here.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How stable a page load is in its entirety, affected by how much content bounces around or shifts as the page loads. A “Good” CLS score is 0.1 or less.

AEM helps support a healthy core web vitals report and better SEO rankings with features like:

  • Edge architecture, which cuts down on latency and load times.
  • Phased rendering, which prioritizes loading prominent elements first and improves overall load speed.
  • Persistent caching, which saves frequently loaded page components for faster retrieval.

Verify Your Website’s Mobile Compatibility

It’s more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly version of each page of your site, and for a good reason. Did you know that Google looks primarily at the mobile versions of pages when it’s indexing them? 

This is known as mobile-first indexing, and it’s the reason why every business needs to be mobile-friendly for optimal SEO performance. 

But aside from SEO alone, mobile devices now constitute about half of all web traffic. If there are pages on your site not optimized for mobile, and they’re impossible to navigate on mobile in their desktop versions, you could be losing over 50% of all potential traffic to that page to sheer frustration alone.

AEM helps provide a simpler switch to mobile-friendly pages by supporting responsive web design, which automatically adapts pages to a variety of screens. This responsive design is only aided by AEM’s headless CMS capabilities, enabling more dynamic and faster experiences for mobile. 

Additionally, if you choose to build mobile versions of pages separately, AEM helps simplify this process with mobile-specific templates and page components.
Furthermore, AEM offers emulator tools that simulate how your pages would appear on different screen sizes, enabling your teams to verify that each page appears optimally cross-device.

Follow AEM SEO Best Practices

As always, it’s in every business’s best interest to adhere to SEO best practices. The best practices we’ll discuss below apply to SEO in general, but we’ve got a few tips for you on how AEM specifically simplifies best practice implementation in these categories.

Create a sitemap with indexable pages

No matter the size or scale of the business, sitemaps are an essential best practice for SEO. Think of it this way—sitemaps are your chance to put a hierarchy of all indexable pages on your site in front of Google so that it doesn’t miss any when it’s looking on its own. This helps Google’s crawlers find and index all your pages more easily and in their entirety.

AEM helps to simplify sitemap creation and ensure always up-to-date sitemaps by enabling you to schedule automatic creations of sitemaps regularly, which happen in the background. 

From there, referencing your sitemaps within your robots.txt file will ensure that Google knows how to find the latest sitemap version. You can also submit your sitemap to Google directly through Google Search Console.

Always use Robots.txt files

Once you’ve established your sitemaps, you’ll also want to ensure you’ve set up robots.txt files within AEM. This ensures that you’re directing Google’s crawlers to content that’s relevant for them to index (not any irrelevant content or duplicate content). 

AEM enables simple setup and implementation of robots.txt files through editable templates in the platform, helping keep robots.txt usage consistent across your pages.

Implement HTTPS for Website Security

As part of Google’s initiatives for a safer internet overall, HTTPS has progressively become a ranking factor in SEO. And with safety and privacy only increasing in importance, it’s not out of the question for HTTPS to grow in importance, both to your SEO and your business as a whole.

Before you start dreading the chore of ensuring all pages are HTTPS, it’s helpful to know that AEM features a built-in SSL wizard which, once set up, will make your site run through HTTPS. AEM’s SSL wizard greatly simplifies it as a step-by-step process in-platform.

Fix and prevent duplicate content problems

Generally, robots.txt files do help prevent Google from indexing duplicate content in places on your site you don’t want crawlers referencing. But even within pages you do want Google to index, you can experience duplicate content due to factors like site functions (sorting and filtering), device variants (mobile vs. desktop), or regional variants.

To help you further prevent the rumored duplicate content penalty in SEO, AEM supports the ability for URL canonicalization, letting you establish which URLs with potentially similar content should be indexed as the most important ones.
Additionally, AEM Assets, the DAM (digital asset management) repository for AEM, enables content versioning and history to help prevent uploads of duplicate content. It also includes a duplicate asset detection feature to prevent duplicate uploads from spreading across your pages. Additional features, like smart tagging, further improve the ease with which teams can find and use existing content rather than re-uploading.

Conclusion

AEM is certainly one such CMS that makes SEO simpler across a lot of fronts. That said, some of these SEO-first features are fairly technical. And some of what makes your SEO great will harken back to how you’ve organized your AEM instance, and the site structure within, over time.
So, whether you already have an AEM instance or are looking forward to it in the future, it’s a good idea to onboard a specialized AEM SEO agency or experienced AEM consultants. They’ll have the tools, knowledge, and resources to help you structure and optimize your AEM content around SEO success—without putting extra pressure on your existing teams to get it done.

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Adobe Experience Manager SEO Recipe for Global Footprint and Local Relevance

When we’re developing content, there’s a definite temptation to believe that if this content is polished, well-written, high-quality, and full of relevant keywords, then Google will find it!

In reality, we give Google…just a little too much credit. Maybe more credit than it wants.

Quality content and relevant keywords certainly play a part in great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) within Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), but Google is looking at a mountain. 

Everest-sized haystack of this type of content across the web. And for your content to be the needle that it finds and ranks in organic search, you’ve got to give Google a little more help—which AEM can do.

There are a lot more elements of SEO that AEM specifically can help you hone in on, to make your content a flashing beacon for Google, and improve your rankings. Curious about what they are? We’ve got you covered.

Create an SEO-Friendly Site Structure in AEM

Imagine that you opened a file cabinet, and found all files out of order, some files stuffed within other files, files underneath files, files fallen down the back of the cabinet…

Now, imagine that you’re a Google crawler trying to index important pages, and this file cabinet is what you see. It probably makes a little more sense now why a cleanly structured site benefits your SEO so much.

Leaving Google to its own devices with a site as out of sorts as that imaginary file cabinet will ultimately result in unintentionally unindexed pages. To avoid these issues, there are a few things you can do for SEO in Adobe Experience Manager to ensure a cleaner, more crawlable structure.

Use AEM site templates for consistent, easier indexing

Templatizing your pages will ultimately become one of your strongest pillars of healthy SEO in AEM. Using AEM’s flexible site-building features, you can import a custom template for use in AEM or one of AEM’s pre-loaded plug-and-play templates.

Ultimately, the cleaner and more predictable your sites are, the easier it will be for Google to locate and index your pages, and understand what your business is trying to accomplish. Creating pages off of templates, and having a CMS like AEM that can host as many template variations as you need, will help you keep things clean and consistent over time.

And if your AEM site has snowballed and gotten to a point where the structure is now difficult to rectify, you can always bring in experts in AEM architecture to help set things straight.

Use AEM’s URL customization capabilities to create clean URLs

Google dislikes long URL path strings that make little to no sense. When looking at your site structure, it’s vital not to forget about your URL pathing. What you, Google, and your site visitors see in your URL should briefly and easily describe what your content is about.

AEM simplifies this process by enabling easy customization of your URLs, helping you to keep them clean and relevant to your content. You can also accomplish advanced URL customization using sling mapping in AEM to more easily maintain an organized, simple URL structure inclusive of important keywords.

Implement hreflang for multi-language content

Something that AEM is exceptional at, as many of you may know, is helping you manage multiple sites. And if your site is available across many countries, and in many different languages, you’ll need to do a little extra work for optimal SEO. 

You can accomplish this by employing an hreflang tag in your page code to help Google locate and deliver the correct language page variant to visitors when they request a URL.
In AEM, hreflang tags can be inserted directly into the <head> section of your page’s code. Or, you can implement special logic using Apache Sling, on which AEM runs, to insert hreflang tags into pages automatically with a sling rewriter pipeline.

Employ structured data for enhanced search presence

Aside from your written content that’s visible to site visitors, there are some alternate ways you can help Google properly index your content behind the scenes. 

Structured data can be applied in the form of markup—additional metadata attached to content—added to the HTML code of the page. This markup will be based on your metadata schemas (i.e., the types of metadata information you want to relay to Google). Once applied, it’ll help further explain what the page content is about to Google so that Google can rank your pages against more relevant searches.

AEM makes this process particularly simple with its component-based architecture, which can incorporate structured data markups in each component of the page. Not only that, but AEM incorporates features that empower you to create and modify templatized metadata schemas for use across pages.

That said, Adobe Experience Manager has no ready-made solutions to generate schema markup. There are no AEM SEO plugins, similar to Yoast or Rank Math for WordPress.

Optimize Site Performance for SEO in AEM

Among the many factors that contribute to SEO in AEM is, in fact, the performance of your site. By performance, here we mean content load speeds, response times to interactions, page stability, and the like.

In short, yes, things like page load speeds and page stability do affect your SEO, because they impact the usability and quality of your page as a whole. Google is looking at those factors—Core Web Vitals (CWV)—as well when it’s deciding how relevant your content is to organic searches.

In AEM, there are a handful of ways you can easily evaluate, optimize, and even prevent issues with site performance. Let’s take a look!

Accelerate your webpage load speed and overall performance

When we’re thinking about SEO, not everyone’s minds go to the speed of the site as a contributing factor. Sure, SEO is highly influenced by content and keywords, but a fast and easily loadable site experience also weighs in heavily.

Google looks at the below three core web vitals to determine the performance score of your pages:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long it takes a page to load the largest content element, with 2.5 seconds or less labeled as “Good.”
  • First Input Delay (FID): The time it takes for a user’s browser to issue a response to an interaction on a page, like a click on an interactive element or a search. 100 milliseconds or under is considered “Good” here.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How stable a page load is in its entirety, affected by how much content bounces around or shifts as the page loads. A “Good” CLS score is 0.1 or less.

AEM helps support a healthy core web vitals report and better SEO rankings with features like:

  • Edge architecture, which cuts down on latency and load times.
  • Phased rendering, which prioritizes loading prominent elements first and improves overall load speed.
  • Persistent caching, which saves frequently loaded page components for faster retrieval.

Verify Your Website’s Mobile Compatibility

It’s more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly version of each page of your site, and for a good reason. Did you know that Google looks primarily at the mobile versions of pages when it’s indexing them? 

This is known as mobile-first indexing, and it’s the reason why every business needs to be mobile-friendly for optimal SEO performance. 

But aside from SEO alone, mobile devices now constitute about half of all web traffic. If there are pages on your site not optimized for mobile, and they’re impossible to navigate on mobile in their desktop versions, you could be losing over 50% of all potential traffic to that page to sheer frustration alone.

AEM helps provide a simpler switch to mobile-friendly pages by supporting responsive web design, which automatically adapts pages to a variety of screens. This responsive design is only aided by AEM’s headless CMS capabilities, enabling more dynamic and faster experiences for mobile. 

Additionally, if you choose to build mobile versions of pages separately, AEM helps simplify this process with mobile-specific templates and page components.
Furthermore, AEM offers emulator tools that simulate how your pages would appear on different screen sizes, enabling your teams to verify that each page appears optimally cross-device.

Follow AEM SEO Best Practices

As always, it’s in every business’s best interest to adhere to SEO best practices. The best practices we’ll discuss below apply to SEO in general, but we’ve got a few tips for you on how AEM specifically simplifies best practice implementation in these categories.

Create a sitemap with indexable pages

No matter the size or scale of the business, sitemaps are an essential best practice for SEO. Think of it this way—sitemaps are your chance to put a hierarchy of all indexable pages on your site in front of Google so that it doesn’t miss any when it’s looking on its own. This helps Google’s crawlers find and index all your pages more easily and in their entirety.

AEM helps to simplify sitemap creation and ensure always up-to-date sitemaps by enabling you to schedule automatic creations of sitemaps regularly, which happen in the background. 

From there, referencing your sitemaps within your robots.txt file will ensure that Google knows how to find the latest sitemap version. You can also submit your sitemap to Google directly through Google Search Console.

Always use Robots.txt files

Once you’ve established your sitemaps, you’ll also want to ensure you’ve set up robots.txt files within AEM. This ensures that you’re directing Google’s crawlers to content that’s relevant for them to index (not any irrelevant content or duplicate content). 

AEM enables simple setup and implementation of robots.txt files through editable templates in the platform, helping keep robots.txt usage consistent across your pages.

Implement HTTPS for Website Security

As part of Google’s initiatives for a safer internet overall, HTTPS has progressively become a ranking factor in SEO. And with safety and privacy only increasing in importance, it’s not out of the question for HTTPS to grow in importance, both to your SEO and your business as a whole.

Before you start dreading the chore of ensuring all pages are HTTPS, it’s helpful to know that AEM features a built-in SSL wizard which, once set up, will make your site run through HTTPS. AEM’s SSL wizard greatly simplifies it as a step-by-step process in-platform.

Fix and prevent duplicate content problems

Generally, robots.txt files do help prevent Google from indexing duplicate content in places on your site you don’t want crawlers referencing. But even within pages you do want Google to index, you can experience duplicate content due to factors like site functions (sorting and filtering), device variants (mobile vs. desktop), or regional variants.

To help you further prevent the rumored duplicate content penalty in SEO, AEM supports the ability for URL canonicalization, letting you establish which URLs with potentially similar content should be indexed as the most important ones.
Additionally, AEM Assets, the DAM (digital asset management) repository for AEM, enables content versioning and history to help prevent uploads of duplicate content. It also includes a duplicate asset detection feature to prevent duplicate uploads from spreading across your pages. Additional features, like smart tagging, further improve the ease with which teams can find and use existing content rather than re-uploading.

Conclusion

AEM is certainly one such CMS that makes SEO simpler across a lot of fronts. That said, some of these SEO-first features are fairly technical. And some of what makes your SEO great will harken back to how you’ve organized your AEM instance, and the site structure within, over time.
So, whether you already have an AEM instance or are looking forward to it in the future, it’s a good idea to onboard a specialized AEM SEO agency or experienced AEM consultants. They’ll have the tools, knowledge, and resources to help you structure and optimize your AEM content around SEO success—without putting extra pressure on your existing teams to get it done.

Recommended
blog posts

back to all posts