Changing slugs in AtoM 2.4

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Jenny Mitcham

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Jul 4, 2017, 10:21:09 AM7/4/17
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Hi,

I am looking forward to being able to take advantage of the option to change our slugs in AtoM 2.4 so that they use the unique archival reference number rather than the title. However, after discussion with colleagues this morning I just had something that I needed clarification on.

If you change slugs within AtoM will that break links that already exist within the catalogue - for example in the 'Related descriptions' field or are these links stored in the database without using slugs?

Many thanks,
Jen

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Jenny Mitcham
Digital Archivist
Borthwick Institute for Archives
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Telephone: 01904 321170

Borthwick Institute website: http://www.york.ac.uk/borthwick/
Digital archiving blog: http://digital-archiving.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: @Jenny_Mitcham
Skype: jenny_mitcham





L Snider

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Jul 4, 2017, 2:40:19 PM7/4/17
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Hi Jenny,

I can't answer that question, but I wanted to mention one thing. Search engines love the titles, because it gives them a bit more to work with than just the text on the page. If you go with a reference number, I would be curious to see whether engines like Google will downgrade the listing. You would need to test this out over a short while to see for sure.

They keep updating their algorithms, so this might be not be as important as it used to be, but I would recommend testing to see (I used to do SEO for many yea.rs). I always make the most of my titles (for humans not just spiders!) and it has served me well over the years

Cheers

Lisa

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Jenny Mitcham

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Jul 5, 2017, 4:22:46 AM7/5/17
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Hi Lisa,

That is a really interesting perspective - thanks for sharing. I admit I hadn't considered Google's search ranking and whether this would have an impact.

The main consideration for us in wanting to make this change is that I see great potential in having a url that you can accurately predict based on the metadata within the catalogue. Being that the archival ref is a field that is guaranteed to be unique this is the obvious solution. I imagine this is going to be important for us if we want to integrate systems (so for example being able to create links between AtoM and our Fedora/Hydra repository).

Re testing Google, I don't think there is a way we can test without making the change, and I think once we make the change it would be difficult to back track.

I just had a bit of a google on the issue and came up with this: https://firstpagesage.com/seo-blog/2017-google-algorithm-ranking-factors/ 
It suggests that just 2% of the weighting is based on keywords within the actual url. The wording of the article does also suggest this is going out of fashion so perhaps is something we need to worry about less and less.

It got me thinking about one of the other Google ranking methods - keyword rich meta titles - is this something that AtoM provides? Not sure if it uses meta titles per archival description but if not it could be worth exploring. 

All the best,
Jen

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L Snider

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Jul 5, 2017, 10:13:04 AM7/5/17
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Hi Jen,

You need to do what fits with your organization, not everyone can use the same features the same way. I can see why you need to go that way, makes sense for what you need to do.

Yes, you are right on the titles are lower on the scale now (I just researched it again-see below). I know you didn't ask specifically about the information below, but I share some of this in my training, so I thought I would share it here.

I did search engine optimization for 13 years when I was a web developer, and here is what I found to be useful. Google (it is still number 1), wants a page that humans love to go to...which means that if you produce a page with content, links and really make that page usable, not only will get good search engine results, but you will also make the page more accessible for people with disabilities (and vice versa when you make a page accessible it does better in SEO).

I would encourage people to make their page as information rich as possible, with links. So in AtoM use the access points, use the places, relate your fonds, link to authority records and fill out as many fields as you can on the page. This will all help.

The best SEO information is by Danny Sullivan who has been doing this since before Google was born (he started around the same time or just before I did). He is still my primary source. He put out a new 'periodic table' that is a quick view of what to do, in the end when people see it they realize that all it is, is making a good web page with good content! I like it, because he shows what things will get Google mad at you too! He also ranks URLs lower:
http://searchengineland.com/2017-periodic-table-of-seo-factors-276790

When I came into my AtoM focused jobs I wondered how good they were in terms of Google. Interestingly, I found AtoM listings when I wasn't expecting them to come up for my search term in three different occasions. So that was good news! While some of Danny's tips may not apply, like 'hot' topics, many of the others help everyone to produce more usable and accessible web pages that the spiders like.

One last tip for those of you who use Drupal, there is a plug in (more than one actually) that let's you customize your metas and even put in Dublin Core, if you are so inclined!

Cheers

Lisa






--
Jenny Mitcham
Digital Archivist
Borthwick Institute for Archives
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Telephone: 01904 321170

Borthwick Institute website: http://www.york.ac.uk/borthwick/
Digital archiving blog: http://digital-archiving.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: @Jenny_Mitcham
Skype: jenny_mitcham





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Dan Gillean

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Jul 5, 2017, 10:52:01 AM7/5/17
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Hi all,

Jen - if you are using internal Related descriptions field added to AtoM 2.3 to link related records in your AtoM catalogue, then those links will not be broken by a slug update - the slug is stored in the database, and the link will be automatically updated with any slug edit.

Of course, if you have added external links on other website, or raw HTML links in a descriptive field in AtoM, then these will not be automatically updated, so be aware!

Re: SEO, it's a minor point, but are you aware of the command-line task that allows you to generate an XML sitemap to improve SEO, and then ping Google and Bing to let them know this (or an updated version of this) exists? You can also customize the default weighting of levels of description and other entities, so top-level descriptions will be more likely to receive higher rankings. See:

Cheers,


Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
604-527-2056
@accesstomemory

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Lise Summers

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Jul 5, 2017, 8:56:24 PM7/5/17
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Hi Jenny

In our instance of AtoM (still 2.0), we got the developer's to change the slug to include the title and part of the reference code. At series level, it looks like this - https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/index.php/files-departmental-s1

and at item (file) level, it looks like this - https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/index.php/queens-birthday-new-years-honours-australia-day-honours-1952-2372-v2.

I've just tested the search in google for S1 (SROWA S1), and after correcting from the surprising French result, it finds this

4 - State Records Office of WA - State Records Office of Western ...

AU WA S1 cons1659 1965/0124; Dossier; 1965-07-27 - 1966-11-25. General & License receipt books - replies to bulletin 107. AU WA S1 cons1659 1965/0126 ...

Tout - State Records Office of WA - State Records Office of Western ...

FILES - DEPARTMENTAL. AU WA S1; Série organique; 1952-01-01 -. This series of records comprises the main file sequence of the Department of Local ...

So, using the reference code certainly works in the google search. However, I wonder how many people will search by reference code, rather than content or title?

Lise Summers

Jenny Mitcham

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Jul 13, 2017, 9:30:08 AM7/13/17
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for your reply - that is good news indeed that the internal linking between records won't be affected if we change our slugs.

Yes we will have some hardcoded links on our own website to change but that should be do-able in a day!

Thanks for the info re SEO - I will definitely follow up on this post-upgrade.

Cheers,
Jen

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