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Search Engine Optimization for SharePoint 2013 Sites (Part II)

SEO features in SharePoint 2013 are bundled into a SearchEngineOptimization feature. Its feature.xml file references two element files – searchengineoptimization.xml(SEO.xml) and searchengineoptimization1.xml(SEO1.xml). SEO.xml defines elements that make up its UI by extending ribbon interface. It also registers few candidate web controls with AdditionalPageHead delegate control. Delegate control is a powerful mechanism to alter application behavior declaratively. One or more candidate controls are added to control tree dynamically based on the sequence number(lower sequence number will be added first) depending upon the configuration of a delegate control. All web controls are defined under Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing namespace.
SEO.xml also adds an SEOSettings application page(_layouts/15/SEOSettings.aspx) where you can configure canonical URL and verify site ownership.


SEO1.xml defines all SEO properties for page such as browser title, meta description, sitemap priority, sitemap change frequency as site columns. It means you can access these fields pragmatically like any other site columns. Note that “Sealed” property for all fields is set to true which means that they aren’t extensible.


Another SEO feature, XmlSiteMap, adds XmlSiteMapSettings application page(_layouts/15/XmlSiteMapSettings.aspx) where you can specify paths not be crawled by search engines. Anonymous access must be enabled for the web application to generate Sitemap otherwise following message will be displayed on the page.

Sitemap Timerjob

When XmlSiteMap feature is activated, it registers the site collection with Search Engine Sitemap timer job which runs daily by default. Of course, you can run this timer job anytime like any other time job and configure its frequency. When run, it generates the XML site map for the site collection and adds it to robots.txt. In process, it reads sitemap priority, sitemap change frequency and other fields of pages and includes them in the sitemap.

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Parshva Vora

Parshva Vora is a Technical Architect at Perficient since 2009 and has extensive experience building enterprise solutions, portals and software products using Microsoft technologies.

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