Skip navigation

What's a sitemap?

What's a sitemap? Simply put: A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website. To translate that through the Jive prism, it’s a list of all Jive-powered pages in your community. Natural search engine bots can use these lists to discover and index pages in your community. Setting up a sitemap is one of the easiest steps you can take to improve your community's web presence in organic search.

 

If you're powered by Jive 7 or higher, you're in a great place. Jive 7 features automated XML sitemaps, right out of the box. If you're on Jive 7 already, go to http://yourcommunitydomain.com/sitemap-index.jspa to find your sitemap. If you're not running Jive 7, but you still want to have a sitemap, there are many tools out there that’ll help you generate a sitemap file that can be uploaded and submitted to search engines. Do an online search and you'll find great resources at your disposal.

 

 

Why have an XML sitemap?

Think of an XML sitemap as one of many items in your SEO tool box. They can be especially helpful if your community is new, large, or has tons of activity. You can better your chances of increasing organic traffic to your site if the pages are crawled and indexed by search engines efficiently. Sitemaps help in this way by providing a specific list or lists of pages you want indexed to the search engines.

 

 

Submitting your XML sitemap to search engines

There are a couple of ways you can submit your community's XML sitemap to search engines:

 

It's been a while since the last blog post (sorry about that). We've had lots of discussions here at T-Mobile about redirects and how they can be used, when to use them, and how to fix them when they break (like that ever happens). So today, we're going to spend some time talking about redirections and how you can use Jive to manage your rewrites.

 

A redirection is the action of routing a user from an accessed URL to another, seamlessly. Redirections are a helpful tool in preserving organic traffic from Google and Bing, when you want to consolidate down or make some page replacements on your community.

 

The most popular form in the world of SEO would be the 301 redirect. This type of redirect let's crawlers know the page has permanently moved to a new home. According to Moz, "301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website."

 

In the past, we've had to work with Jive Hosting to deploy redirects. From planning, to deployment, to testing, there are a lot of hands in the cookie jar. Making redirections come to life in previous versions of Jive could be quite a task—and that's if they launch smooth with no hiccups.

 

With Jive 7, you can manage everything at your fingertips. Once logged in your Jive instance, access the admin console. Then, go to System > Settings > Redirection Rules. From here, you can set up simple or regex (regular expression) redirections. This makes management for an admin much easier. If there is a problem with a redirect, such as a typo, or a redirect loop, it can fixed in seconds through the self-service method.

 

If all you want to do is replace one page with another, you'll find this process to be incredibly easy. Let's say you wanted to replace http://community.awesomesauce.com/DOC-1234 with http://community.awesomesauce.com/DOC-5678, for all time. First, pull up your Redirection Rules in the admin console. Then, put "DOC-1234" as the Input URL, and "DOC-5678" as the Output URL. Since this is a one page replacing another, you'll leave the Rule type set to "simple", and change the Redirection type to "301 redirect". Click Save and the redirection is live. It's that easy.

 

jive-redirection.png

 

One final thought

If you're reading this and don't have Jive 7, don't fret. The Custom Redirection Plugin can be used with Jive 5 and 6. You'll gain the ability to manage all of your redirections without having to upgrade to Jive's latest and greatest.

A robots.txt file tells search engines what files and directories you don't want accessed or crawled on your site. Every Jive-powered community has this file, and it's stored in the root directory. Example: https://domainname.com/robots.txt.

 

Best practices

If set up properly, a robots.txt file can be a useful tool. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

 

  • Optimize your file. The best thing you can do is keep your file simple! Only block accessible pages you don't wanted crawled. Here's an example of the an ideal robots.txt file:

    User-agent: *

    Disallow: /servlet/JiveServlet/download/

     

    Sitemap: http://domainname.com/sitemap-index.jspa

     

    If you're not sure which files to block, you can work with your company's developer team or your Jive support team.

  • Include your sitemap. If you're using Jive 7, you're in a good place. The core product includes automated sitemaps, which means newer, fresher content, has a better chance of being crawled and indexed by search engines. Always make sure your sitemap is listed at the bottom of the file, as seen in the example above. Learn more about using Jive sitemaps.
  • Note what changed. To upload a new version of your robots.txt file, you'll need to open a Jive case. Jive hosting teams will assist with these cases. It might be helpful to include notes regarding the changes.
  • Monitor your traffic. You'll need to have Google Analytics connected to your community to monitor your traffic. Upgrading to a newer version of Jive? Thinking of changing your community architecture? Always make sure your robots.txt file isn't blocking pages you want crawled. If the robots.txt file is blocking the pages you want crawled, there may be an unexpected drop in organic traffic.
  • Test the blocks. Google Webmaster Tools provides a free tool that allows you to check for your files and directories. If you're not sure if a page is blocked, use the robots.txt Tester to be sure.

 

A note about Noindex

Noindex is the preferred method to prevent pages from being displayed in organic search results. While far better than robots.txt, this meta tag cannot be applied to community pages at this time (Jive 7 or lower). As an alternative, leverage your robots.txt file.

Optimizing titles with Jive

Title tags play an important role in optimizing your Jive community. Titles help users and search engines understand what your page is about.

 

Here are some title optimization tips:

 

  • Use unique titles. Each document, blog, videos, and polls on your community should be unique, so each title should be unique as well.
  • Remove the noise. All Jive groups and spaces titles start with, "Space:", or, "Group:", respectively. If you're using blogs, you'll also notice blog post titles will start with the space name or group name. Because titles tags help determine relevance to users and search engines, consider removing the noise by optimizing title formats within your community's theme. Within the theme, you can remove the space and group names from the beginning of title tags. Let's use the Billing page on T-Mobile Support as an example. This Jive space has the title, "Billing | T-Mobile Support", instead of, "Space: Billing | T-Mobile Support."
  • Check for length. Natural search engines will display the full title if the title is 70 characters or less—this includes spaces. If your title is too long, you'll see "..." at the end. Using the tip above, reducing noise will also help reduce the length of your page titles for spaces. If you include your band name (covered below), you'll also want to consider this when crafting titles for documents, blogs, videos, or polls.
  • Include targeted keywords. Always include one keyword in your title. Unique, targeted keywords should be placed towards the beginning of the title as much as possible.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. It's important to include keywords in your title, but not too many keywords. Good titles focus on quality keywords, not the quantity of keywords. If you're struggling with length, you may be trying to leverage too many keywords in your title.
  • Add your brand. Having your brand to the end of the title tag is a common practice for many company websites and communities. Let's use the SCN community as an example. On this community, page titles end with "| SCN". Including your brand in titles helps users know your content is authentic.
  • Leverage Webmaster Tools. Check your Webmaster Tools (WMT) frequently—at least once a week. These free tools can analyze and identify SEO opportunities for your community. WMT will let you know pages that have duplicate titles, titles that are too long, or titles that are too short.

 

Got a tip you'd like to share? Add a comment below!

I’m the SEO specialist for an external facing community that’s about to migrate to Jive 5.0.  External search engines are a huge source of incoming traffic and the primary way that our users discover our content.  While Jive offers a clean architecture than isn't too prone to duplication, there are several deficiencies that really need to be addressed in future releases.

 

Search engines are evolving at an incredible pace and, in the case of Google thru its Panda update, incorporating artificial intelligence that mimics human behavior to generate search results. As such, in addition to some basic tools to help direct search bots crawl your sites, social signals are increasingly important in determining PageRank and SERP ranks (search engine results page ranks).

 

With that in mind, here are some developments I’d like to see this year from Jive:

  • Make Reviews/Comments Visible to Search Engines for Indexing
    • Social signals are very important and the most common way these are gathered on Jive is in the feedback section of blogs, documents, ideas, videos and so on. The more comments a piece of content has, the more likely it will rank higher in SERPs: without these signals visible, search engines will have to really more on other factors such as incoming links, page date, keywords and so on. Anyhow, it’s just common sense that all on page content would be open to crawlers
    • One of the shortcoming of Google’s Panda release is that so called “evergreen content” (Content that might be old but still very relevant and helpful) risks being demoted in favor of fresher content, something that can be mitigated with positive and current feedback associated with it.
    • Vote for this Idea:
  • XML Sitemap Generator (Or tools to Help Create/Maintain One)
    • Especially for large sites with hundreds of spaces and groups, it’s paramount that webmasters provide a starting point for search engine crawlers: otherwise, just be hopeful that the crawlers linger around long enough to crawl all the important stuff as they randomly following links. Currently, I’m generating my XML sitemap manually via and offline Excel documents
    • Ditto for a video sitemap which has its own set of special requirements
  • Get rid of the prefix “Space:” and “Group:” in Page Titles
    • It’s repetitive, redundant and takes up space in search engine results
      jive space and group prefixes.jpg
    • Titles should also change when navigating the group or space’s tabs: when the content tab is selected, the title should be “Content in …”—ditto for people and subspaces.

 

There are a few more things I can add to this list but these are the most critical at the moment.