Can’t Edit Page SEO Properties After Applying a Friendly URL
We have recently moved our web site from SharePoint 2010 to 2013, a move we anticipated for ages for reasons many of you probably sympathise with – Search Engine Optimisation. If you ever had to work on a similar project – you know you had to spend a lot of time trying to hack dubious workarounds just to get the expected results, which is not ideal and sometimes extremely frustrating.
Thankfully when SP2013 went RTM, we all got a set of shiny and smooth functionality that addressed all previous issues and made the world work just the right way again J. The main focus of our work was to apply two vital elements of any SEO web site campaign: canonical URLs and metadata. SharePoint 2013 handles both very gracefully using Managed Metadata Service (yes, you have to have it up and running before you get to start any work on your public facing web sites).
I will skip the details of the whole process of creating a new master page in Design Manager and moving content to concentrate on the issue that was encountered next. Let me give you a bit of back story to put this situation in context – after creating a new page, you get a nice option to set up the SEO properties in the Edit Properties ribbon button drop down:
Of course we could go ahead and work on that straight away but it was decided that the SEO properties and friendly URLs would be the last tasks to be completed – first we wanted to make sure that the whole site content and solutions were moved across and worked perfectly before polishing the finer details. Everything went according to plan and I created canonical URLs, associated them with appropriate pages and went ahead with the URL part of the job. It all went great until I hit a brick wall; the page I was working on had the option disabled:
Needless to say I have spent considerable amount of time scouring blogs and KB articles in search of solutions to the, then apparent, “bug”. You can imagine me smacking myself in the head when I realised how simple the issue really is. Let’s take a look at the URLs of the page and its behaviour under non-canonical and canonical paths:
As you noticed – yes, when accessing page from the /Pages/ .aspx address, the “Edit SEO Properties” option is greyed out whereas if you access it using a friendly URL the option is active and will let you edit SEO properties. My best guess is that when you associate a canonical URL to the page, the SEO properties get associated with said term as well. It is a guess nevertheless and I will try to go into more depth in order to confirm/debunk it in a future blog post.