Hub SEO Settings Explained

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Your Hub has a variety of settings that can impact SEO. Here's a rundown of what they are, what they do, how to use them, and where to find them.


 

Overview

As with all your web properties, setting up your Hub so it's optimized for search engines is essential for ensuring that your content is seen. Your Hub contains numerous features and settings that impact SEO, from the Hub level all the way down to the Item level. In this article, we'll take a look at what each of these settings do, where you can find them, and the best practices for setting them for the most effective SEO.

 

SEO Title and SEO Description

Applies to: Hub | Stream | Item

What These Settings Do

These two related settings control the meta title tag and meta description tag, which are found in the HTML of the Hub homepage, the top level page of each Stream, and each Item. These tags define the title and description that appear in search results: the title tag is the clickable headline, and the description is the short descriptive text that appears underneath. In addition, the title tag also appears on the browser tab when someone is viewing a Hub, Stream or Item page, and when the page is shared on most social networks.

Title tags and description tags are metadata: they tell visitors what they can expect on your page, so it's important to create interesting titles and descriptions to draw them in. Search engine algorithms also scan these tags for keywords, so they should contain the keywords you're targeting.

Hub:

SEO.png

Stream:

SEO.png

Item:

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Best Practices for Use

Title tags should:

  • Be unique across your Hub (no duplicates) to avoid being downranked for duplicate content in search results
  • Be under 60 characters in length (including spaces), as Google only displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag
  • Contain your keywords, but don't keyword-stuff as you risk the title being rewritten by Google
  • Ideally use this optimized format: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

Description tags should:

  • Be unique across your Hub (no duplicates) to avoid identical descriptions on multiple search results
  • Be under 160 characters in length (including spaces), as Google only displays the first 155-160 characters of a description tag
  • Both include the keywords you're targeting and provide a descriptive, compelling overview of the content on the page
  • Not include double quotation marks, as Google cuts off the description where they appear

How to Configure

Hub

To set the Hub SEO Title and SEO Description:

  1. Click on Appearance
  2. Click on Branding
  3. Scroll down and type into the SEO Title and SEO Description fields

Stream

To set a Stream's SEO Title and SEO Description:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Streams tab
  3. Click on the Stream
  4. Click on the Metadata tab
  5. Type into the SEO Title and SEO Description fields

Item

To set an Item's SEO Title and SEO Description:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Items tag
  3. Click on the Item
  4. Click on the SEO tab
  5. Type into the SEO Title and SEO Description fields

 

H1 Headings

Applies to: Hub | Stream | Item

What This Setting Does

H1 tags are HTML section tags that define the highest-level section heading on a page. In Uberflip, they're used for the title text on your Hub homepage, on the top level page of each Stream, and on Items. H1 tags are less important from a search engine algorithm perspective than title tags, but they are very important for user experience as they give the visitor an idea of the content they are about to consume.

Hub:

SEO.png

Stream:

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Item:

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Best Practices for Use

H1 headings should:

  • Be descriptive and readable (the H1 is mainly intended for humans, not search engine robots)
  • Use different wording than the title tag
  • Contain your keyword phrase once (don't keyword-stuff)

How to Configure

Hub

To set the Hub H1 heading:

  1. Click on Appearance
  2. Click on Custom Labels
  3. Scroll down and find the line for the Latest Content field
  4. Type into the Custom Label box

Stream

To set a Stream's H1 heading:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Streams tab
  3. Click on the Stream
  4. Find the Stream name at the top of the page
  5. Click on the pencil icon next to the Stream name
  6. Type into the textbox that appears
  7. Click the checkmark icon to save

Item

To set an Item's H1 heading:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Items tag
  3. Click on the Item
  4. Type into the Item title field near the top of the page

 

H2-H5 Headings

Applies to:  Item

What This Setting Does

Like H1 headings, you use H2 to H5 headings to define sections in your content copy. Headings below H1 can be expected to have minimal impact on ranking, but Google has stated that they do use heading tags to understand the structure of a page when crawling it. More importantly, headings are prominently displayed on your content: this means that visitors tend to notice them, so they're a great way to grab attention.

Copy_of_Uberflip_SEO_Deck_-_Google_Slides.png

Best Practices for Use

  • Reserve H1 headings exclusively for your title — in your content, the highest-level sections should be H2
  • Structure headings in ascending numerical order, i.e. higher number headings should be nested within lower number headings, i.e. H4 should be under H3, which should be under H2
  • Use keywords in your headings, but don't keyword-stuff

How to Configure

To change any string of text in an Item to a heading:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Items tab
  3. Click on the Item
  4. Click on the Editor tab
  5. Highlight the text that you want to make into a heading
  6. Use the Paragraph Format dropdown in the editor tools to choose the heading style:
    Copy_of_Uberflip_SEO_Deck_-_Google_Slides.png

 

Robots Meta Tag

Applies to: Hub | Stream

What This Setting Does

Robots (also known as crawlers or spiders) are the programs used by search engines to automatically browse websites so they can be included in search results. The robots meta tag is an HTML tag that can be used to tell these robots how to crawl your website.

In Uberflip, the robots meta tag is controlled by a simple on-off switch: if disabled, the tag will simply not appear in your Hub's HTML; if enabled, it will appear with the parameters noindex and follow.

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You can enable the robots meta tag at both the Hub and Stream level. When enabled, it tells robots to not index the Hub or Stream (noindex), so that it is not included in search results, but that they can still use links within the Hub or Stream to discover additional content and influence search ranking for pages that can be indexed (follow).

Best Practices for Use

  • The robots meta tag is enabled by default on all new Hubs, so one of the first things you should do when you're ready to go live is make sure it's turned off
  • You should enable the robots meta tag on any Hub or Stream that you don't want to show up on search engine results (examples of this include a sandbox Hub or an internal resource centre)

How to Configure

Hub

To set the robots meta tag for a Hub:

  1. Click on Hub Options
  2. Click on Advanced
  3. Scroll down to the SEO section
  4. Check the box next to No Robots Meta Tag to enable the tag (block indexing) or uncheck to disable it (allow indexing)

Stream

To set the robots meta tag for a Stream:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Streams tab
  3. Click on the Stream
  4. Click on the Options tab
  5. Scroll down to the setting No Robots Meta Tag
  6. Click the toggle switch on the right to enable the tag (block indexing; green setting) or disable the tag (allow indexing; grey setting)

Note

The Stream-level setting will have no effect if the Hub-level setting is enabled, as the Hub-level setting will take precedence.

 

Canonical Meta Tag, Canonical URL & Force Self-Canonical URL

Applies to: Stream (Canonical Meta Tag/Force Self-Canonical URL) | Item (Canonical URL)

What These Settings Do

These related settings work together to handle duplicate content. Duplicate content is a particular concern in a Hub, where the same piece of content will often appear in multiple places: for example, an Item might simultaneously exist in an external blog, in the Source Stream that imported content from that blog, and in any Marketing Stream to which you added the Item. Duplicate content can cause SEO authority to be diluted, so it's important to mitigate this through canonicalization.

Canonicalization means adding a canonical meta tag to a page's HTML. This tag indicates the canonical or "master" URL for that content, and is added by turning on the Enable Canonical Meta Tag option for a Stream. With a canonical meta tag, you're essentially telling a search engine, "these pages with different URLs look like duplicates of one another, so here's the URL of the only copy I want you to care about". This allows you to specify which of the URLs for the duplicate pages will be crawled by the search engine, while the others are ignored.

SEO.png

The Enable Canonical Meta Tag option is turned on by default on Source Blog Streams (importing from an RSS feed) and Marketing Streams, and is turned off by default on "from scratch" Blog Streams and all other types of Streams.

The URL that the canonical meta tag points to as the "master" is the canonical URL, which is set at the Item level. The canonical URL is set automatically on Items imported from an external source (except for Items in Video and Social Streams) as the URL of the Item's original location. For Items created within Uberflip, no canonical URL is set by default. In both cases, you can modify the canonical URL or add one on an Item-by-Item basis.

If you have imported content from an external source (like a blog) and prefer for the corresponding Items in your Hub to be regarded as the "master" copies by search engines, you can use the force self-canonical URL option. When enabled, this setting overrides the default canonical URL set at the Item level (e.g. the URL of the Item in its original source context, like the blog), and instead sets the canonical URL for every Item in the Stream to be the the URL of the Item within the Stream.

Best Practices for Use

  • In general, we recommend that you turn on Enable Canonical Meta Tag on all Streams, as designating a canonical is better for SEO than not having one.
    • If a canonical URL has been set on an Item (e.g. on imported blog Items, or if you have specified it yourself), then the canonical meta tag will use it as the canonical URL.
    • If no canonical URL has been explicitly set on an Item (the canonical URL field is blank), then the canonical meta tag will use the Item's own URL.
  • The exception to this rule is on Marketing Streams: if the Items in the Stream don't have explicit canonical URLs (the canonical URL field is blank), then you should turn off the Enable Canonical Meta Tag option on that Stream. Otherwise you will create duplicate content, because any Items with no explicit canonical URL that appear in both a Source Stream and a Marketing Stream will each use their own URLs in the context of each separate Stream as the canonical.
  • If possible, the best practice for Marketing Streams that have Enable Canonical Meta Tag turned on is to add canonical URLs to all Items within that Stream.
  • The force self-canonical URL option is intended as an override if an explicit canonical URL is present. It's useful if you have imported content into Uberflip from an external blog, and now want the Uberflip Item to be the "master" that appears in search results (i.e. it overrides the external blog URL that's set as the canonical with the Item's Hub URL). If you prefer for the original blog page to remain the "master", leave this option turned off.
  • If you do choose to use the force self-canonical URL option, you should also create 301 redirects on the original blog that point to the corresponding Items in your Hub, so that SEO authority can be passed over.

Note

Keep in mind that all three of these options require the robots meta tag to be turned off to have any effect. If the robots meta tag is turned on, the canonical meta tag is ignored by search engine robots.

How to Configure

Canonical Meta Tag

To set the canonical meta tag for a Stream:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Streams tab
  3. Click on the Stream
  4. Click on the Options tab
  5. Scroll down to the setting Enable Canonical Meta Tag
  6. Click the toggle switch on the right to enable the tag (set a canonical URL for all Items in the Stream; green setting) or disable the tag (no canonical URL; grey setting)

Canonical URL

To add a canonical URL to an Item, or to change a default canonical URL:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Items tag
  3. Click on the Item
  4. Click on the SEO tab
  5. Find the Canonical URL field and enter the desired URL

Force Self-Canonical

To override the default (external) canonical URLs for all Items in a Stream:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Streams tab
  3. Click on the Stream
  4. Click on the Options tab
  5. Scroll down to the setting Force Self-Canonical URL
  6. Click the toggle switch on the right to enable the setting (override the default canonical URLs for all Items in the Stream; green setting) or disable the setting (use default canonical URLs; grey setting)

 

URL Path

Applies to: Stream | Item

What This Setting Does

The URL path is the part of the URL for Streams and Items that appears after your Hub domain. For example, if your Hub domain is resources.mycompany.com/, the URL path is everything that comes after the slash, e.g. resources.mycompany.com/an-example-stream for a Stream, or resources.mycompany.com/an-example-stream/an-example-item for an Item in that Stream.

Uberflip will automatically generate URL paths for your Streams and Items from their titles, but this can sometimes result in truncated or otherwise non-optimal URL paths. To fix this, you have the option of setting the URL path yourself.

The URL path has a minor impact on SEO from a ranking standpoint, but it is very important for user experience. Much like H1 headings, the URL path helps users to understand at a glance what a page is about. This is helpful not just in the context of search engine results, but also anytime you share a link to your content.

Stream

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Item

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Best Practices for Use

Your URL paths should:

  • Be as human-readable as possible to give visitors a good idea of what to expect
  • Contain your keywords (but don't keyword-stuff), separated by hyphens (-)
  • Be 100 characters or less in length for readability (aim to be concise but descriptive)
  • Be in all lowercase
  • Not contain punctuation, underscores or spaces
  • Not contain stop words (extremely common words like the, for, if, a, an, etc.), because Google ignores these — but don't eliminate stop words at the expense of readability
  • Match the title of the page as closely as possible

How to Configure

Stream

To set the URL path for a Stream:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Streams tab
  3. Click on the Stream
  4. Click on the Metadata tab
  5. Find the URL Path field and enter the desired URL path

Item

To set the URL path for an Item:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Items tab
  3. Click on the Item
  4. Click on the Metadata tab
  5. Find the URL Path field and enter the desired URL path

 

Alt Image Text

Applies to: Item

What This Setting Does

Alt image text, also called "alt text" or "alt attributes", is used in a page's HTML to describe the contents and function of images. In terms of SEO, it helps search engine robots to index images and understand what they contain. Just as importantly, alt image text is crucial for making your content accessible for visually impaired users with screen readers: instead of just hearing that there is an image on the page, they'll be able to hear a description of that image.

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Best Practices for Use

  • You should have alt image text for all your images
  • Alt image text should primarily be descriptive: you want someone who can't see the image to be able to imagine it
  • Include keywords (but as always, don't keyword-stuff) for the benefit of search engine robots
  • Make sure your image filenames are also SEO-friendly, to help with ranking in image search:
    • Descriptive and human-readable
    • Avoid non-alphabetical characters (like %, $, &, etc.)
    • Use dashes (-) to separate words, not underscores (_)

How to Configure

To add or modify alt image text:

  1. Click on Content
  2. Click on the Items tab
  3. Click on the Item
  4. Click on the Editor tab
  5. Right-click on the image to which you want to add alt text
  6. Click on Image Properties
  7. In the Image Properties pop-up, find the Alternative Text field and enter the alt text you want to use with this image
  8. Click on OK
    Copy_of_Uberflip_SEO_Deck_-_Google_Slides.png

 

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