Type 5 – Extra Information Positional Parameters with Encoded Parsing Hints

There may be cases to increase SEO friendliness where extra information is encoded into the URL where the encoded positional parameters are parsed and decoded first before passing them on to the SSA. I will focus on two examples, although there are many that could be included within this document.

Additional text

In the first case extra information is appended or prepended to some or all of the category names. Having a look at an LPSE1 to increase the SEO friendliness, additional information can be added to the DVD category facets and the edition facets. Our original LPSE is:


http://example.com/search/
  super/
  action/
  drama/
  special/
  25/
  qccen/

Which can now be translated to:


http://example.com/search/
  super/
  action-dvds/
  drama-dvds/
  special-editions/
  25/
  qccen/

Notice the addition of text after all of the category and edition facets. The actual text that is appended to these facets was arbitrarily chosen by myself, however in real life examples an SEO expert may be of use in determining the best text.

The question now becomes:

Why not just rename the facets to have the prepended text already?

The simple answer is that, whilst the URL should reflect the extra information, the name of the facet is going to remain the same. For example, the action-dvds category above would still have a link with the text Action In this case both the URL encoded text and the actual letter case are different. The facet name is encoded into the URL which may not be identical. We will see this in the next example.

On the implementation side, to encode the URL from a facet name, the following methods may be of interest:

  • A lookup table may used for the facets, mapping a facet name to a URL encoded value
  • In the SSA, synonyms may be added for each of the facets such that – Note that this may mean that the ‘active search facets2‘ may not be synchronised.
  • The encoding method for the URL is aware of adding and removing and seamlessly adds or removes the additional text before the SSA query analyser gets to work.

In my view, the latter is the most preferable3 however, the first is also a preferable method. I have found that the second method is fraught with danger, hence the note about the active facets.

Synonym replacement

It may also be more SEO friendly to always spell out the word ‘television’ rather than ‘tv’ where ‘dvd’ is always abbreviated instead of using ‘digital-versatile4-disk’. I have seen examples where some words are spelled out in full rather than using an abbreviation due to some arbitrary rule which is from the feedback of SEO experts.

This is a more complex item and really is specific to certain industries and search types. Consequently I can only give an overview to what sometimes is required. I would recommend thoroughly investigating this method before any implementation is done with an SEO expert.

Up next

Even though I have positioned LPSE (i.e. type 4 and 5) as the best method for encoding a URL for search results, let’s have a look at how they stack up against each other in the next section: Encoding Type Showdown »

Navigation:

Use the following links to skip straight to a page, or browse through the pages one by one.

  1. The Site Search Appliance
  2. Type 0 – Request Parameters
  3. Segue into URL binding
  4. Type 1 – Throwaway URLs with Request Parameters
  5. Type 2 – Parsing Hint Positional URLs
  6. Type 3 – Hard-coded Positional Parameters
  7. Type 4 – Positional Parameters with Encoded Parsing Hints
  8. Type 5 – Extra Information Positional Parameters with Encoded Parsing Hints
  9. Encoding Type Showdown
  10. Final Note

Footnotes:

  1. Last Path Segment Encoding’ – remember from the type 4 encoding.
  2. I know that I have not covered this in any detail at all – suffice it to say that an active facet is one that is already in use to refine the search keyword
  3. And I am cheating here – I have investigated all of the methods and have chosen the final one for my code implementation.
  4. debate rages about whether this is ‘video’ or ‘versatile’.

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