Wel­come back to the Site­Cat­a­lyst Finance Fun­da­men­tals blog series.  In this series we are dis­cussing the imple­men­ta­tion basics and exam­ple analy­sis of each fun­da­men­tal solu­tion that Finan­cial Ser­vices cus­tomers should con­sider lever­ag­ing.  Stay tuned and please feel free to con­tribute your thoughts/experience as we dis­cuss each solution.

One of the most often asked ques­tions of any online mar­keter is “what are our most pop­u­lar pages?” or “how many page views, vis­its, or vis­i­tors did we get to this land­ing page?” or “which pages have the high­est bounce rate?” Assign­ing friendly and human-readable page names to all the pages on your site will help answer these ques­tions and many more.

Con­tent Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Overview

When we refer to con­tent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, we are typ­i­cally refer­ring to page names, or the s.pageName vari­able. A page is defined as a par­tic­u­lar piece of con­tent, though not nec­es­sar­ily a par­tic­u­lar HTML file (though there cer­tainly is some over­lap). Every page on your site should have a unique page name, and ensur­ing those names are under­stand­able goes a long way to mak­ing the most of your web ana­lyt­ics reporting.

Friendly page names should fol­low three best prac­tices. Pages names should be:

  • Clear – by look­ing at a page name, a Site­Cat­a­lyst user can eas­ily deter­mine which page on the site the name refers to.
  • Con­cise – the page name should be as short as pos­si­ble, remov­ing an extra spaces and unnec­es­sary words or characters.
  • Con­tex­tual – the page name should include infor­ma­tion about where the page lives in the site, such as a site sec­tion or other group­ing. In finan­cial ser­vices, we see pages often grouped together by line of busi­ness (banking/insurance), tar­get audi­ence (personal/small business/ cor­po­rate), prod­uct (checking/savings), and func­tional type (marketing/application/servicing).

To illus­trate these con­cepts here are some sam­ple reports. For our first exam­ple, here is a poor page nam­ing strat­egy where only the URL is used:

  1. Since the Home­page doesn’t have a friendly name, the page’s stats are split out into 3 sep­a­rate line items.
  2. The land­ing page URL doesn’t indi­cate which con­tent is dis­played on the page. Is this the land­ing page pro­mot­ing free trades, or $100 for open­ing a new account?
  3. The login page was recently upgraded and the old one is still col­lect­ing data, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to roll up total vis­i­tors to the login page.
  4. This page name is over 100 char­ac­ters long, and has been trun­cated down to 100 char­ac­ters. All pages that begin with this value will be rolled up into one line item for reporting.

Here’s an exam­ple for a good page nam­ing strategy:

  1. All data for the home­page rolls up to one line item, mak­ing analy­sis eas­ier and enabling a way to get dedu­pli­cated vis­its and visitors.
  2. The promo pages now have mean­ing­ful names that indi­cate which offer is being promoted.
  3. Now that the “About” page names have been short­ened, we can break out indi­vid­ual pages into their own line items which gives us more gran­u­lar data for analysis.

As you can see, fol­low­ing a solid con­tent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion strat­egy allows for eas­ier to under­stand and cleaner data.

Con­tent Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Implementation

Many of the con­cerns around imple­ment­ing friendly page names come from the large vol­ume of pages that the typ­i­cal web­site has. There are sev­eral ways to help this:

  • If your site uses a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS), the fields to pop­u­late a s.pageName can come from the content’s meta­data. For exam­ple, page name can be a con­cate­na­tion of the node’s selected nav­i­ga­tion tab, sub nav­i­ga­tion tab, and con­tent title. The site’s mas­ter page tem­plate could con­tain the code to pull these fields together and out­put to s.pageName. The code might look some­thing like this:
  • Adobe Con­sult­ing has a page nam­ing plu­gin that can auto­mat­i­cally set the s.pageName vari­able based on the page’s URL. This is a less than opti­mal solu­tion, but can be used when no other solu­tion is available.

In part 2 of our series, we will cover some inter­est­ing report­ing and opti­miza­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties when page names are effec­tively implemented.

Have a ques­tion about any­thing related to Site­Cat­a­lyst for the Finan­cial Ser­vices indus­try?  Do you have any tips or best prac­tices to share?  If so, please leave a com­ment here or send me an email at svertree (at) adobe​.com and I will do my best to answer it on this blog so every­one can learn! (Don’t worry – I’ll keep your name and com­pany name confidential)


Great article!  When a CMS system is not available though what is the best way to handle pagenames outside of the plugin (which is no longer supported with the lastest s_code update)?