Shopping Carts and SEO
Shopping and the Web. They go together like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Well, maybe not quite, but Internet shopping is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.
It's fairly easy to set up shop and sell almost anything from bananas to banana boats on the Internet. Browse through the shopping section of Google (Froogle) or Yahoo and you can see the amazing variety of products that are available.
Click on a few of those links and take a look at the address bar on your browser. Many online stores use some kind of dynamic system for generating their pages. This means their product information is drawn from a database and dynamically displayed.
Dynamically displayed pages look something like this:
You will notice that there is no extension which would indicate a static page.
Is there a problem with dynamic pages? From SEO perspective there is a real problem. Search engines have trouble indexing dynamic pages, especially with multiple variables.
Here is what Google has to say about dynamic pages:
"If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a "?" character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few".
Shopping carts that use a lot of parameters will have trouble getting indexed by search engines.
A client recently approached me to provide a shopping cart that would allow his products to be indexed properly. In addition, he had special requirements for the size and the cost of the shopping cart. The cart needed to be as inexpensive and as small as possible.
My client had previously been using PayPal "Buy it Now" buttons but disliked the way the customer was immediately taken to the PayPal site. He felt that would discourage people from making additional purchases before checking out.
I investigated the various free shopping carts like Zen Cart, osCommerce, and AgoraCart. They all offered some sort of SEO modifications, but they were too large to fit in my client's limited hosting account.
Digging a little further, I came across Commerce.cgi -- a compact, fully customizable shopping cart. But free version did not offer the features that my client desired. The pages are dynamically generated, and there is no support for PayPal.
However, for a $50 lifetime membership, he had access to the member's area which provided extra scripts for PayPal integration. There is also a very interesting script for making dynamic pages appear static.
This script, called Search Engine Advanced, uses the Apache mod_rewrite function to change requested URLs. I checked with my client to see if his Apache server supported mod_rewrite, and that was in luck. All systems go!
Installing the Commerce.cgi script was quite straightforward, and I could easily adapt the templates to match the style of my client's existing web site. Once the cart was installed and running, I tried adding the Search Engine Advanced hack. There were a few complications, but the support staff at Commerce.cgi helped me sort it all out.
The results are very pleasing indeed. All the dynamic pages appear as static, and Google, Yahoo and MSN have started to index the site.
You can see the site up and running at Tea From Taiwan - specializing in hand processed oolong tea.
I would highly recommend Commerce.cgi for anyone looking for a highly configurable shopping cart. It is suitable for small to medium sites and offers great support through their BBS.
Copyright 2005 by Ross MacIver
This article may be redistributed freely on the Internet or in ezines as long as the resource box and hyperlinks remain intact.
Ross MacIver is the director of Best Online Content. We provide quality content for your web site and offer a full range of design and SEO services.
Google Wireless - Search Away From Home
For so many web surfers, it's almost automatic to type Google.com in to our address bar when we want to search. So big and well-known is Google that many browsers have a built-in search box or typed shortcut for Google searches. In fact, we tend to associate Google with search so much now that the word itself is commonly used as a verb, as in "let me Google that". It's much the same as Band-Aid, Kleenex, and Xerox, where the brand name is so pervasive that it's very often substituted for the generic function of the item the brand is applied to.
3 Principles Of Google
When online "Use it. Use it. Use it."
SEO #2: On-page Optimization
Yesterday you should have read the first course out of 6 courses that will help you get a TOP rank in the search engines and get EXPLOSIVE LASER TARGETED TRAFFIC for Free. Today we move on to course #2 and study on-page optimization. Please read today's course very carefully and take some time to test what I'm about to tell you on your own webpage. Alright let's start!
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The top three search pages- the only place you'll be noticed they say. Unfortunately, they are correct. How can you possibly compete with millions of pages? Many represent thousands of dollars of professional search marketing and optimization per page, backed by budgets on which most of us could retire. How can the little guy have a chance armed with an already out-of-date search engine marketing book and a ream of now dog-eared, printed web pages on the topic? Do you really think you have a chance to land those top spots? Yes, you do? the same chance the big guys have!
How To Use Google As A Niche Website Builder
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Fixed Point of Reference
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Going To Market: Keywords and Backlinks, Part 1
As I waded into the 'Make Money Online' waters on the Internet, I felt I needed to do some research on what keywords might help me generate traffic for my websites. I am very, very new to this whole Internet marketing arena but at the simplest level it seems that the keys to generating income are:
Attack Of The Killer Google Zombies!
Don't share this with people of a nervous disposition because I really can't restrain myself any longer.
The internet is the largest market place on earth. It offers unparalleled access to an international base of consumers ? and referrers. However, the internet is also an extremely overcrowded place. With such an opportunity to make a business presentation to the world, many companies seek to take advantage of this unique chance for global exposure by creating a website. Yet simply having a website is not enough. A website alone will be lost in the crowd ? a crowd of over 4 billion webpages indexed on the Google search engine alone. A website needs to be visible, and in a highly targeted manner, so that a company can connect specifically with potential customers. If any company is serious about generating sales within the largest marketplace on earth, investment is required in one form or other of internet marketing.
What Did We Learn from the Great Search Engine Experiment!
Last Week I did a Search engine Experiment. I wanted to see if I could brand myself as the coolest guy in the universe. I created a web page that said Mike Makler is the coolest Guy in the Universe. In that Web Page I repeated that Phrase over and over. In less then 24 Hours I was Number 1 in Yahoo for the Phrase coolest Guy in the Universe in Double Quotes. A Few hours later I was no where to be found in Yahoo.
Search Engine Spiders Lost Without Guidance - Post This Sign!
The robots.txt file is an exclusion standard required by allweb crawlers/robots to tell them what files and directoriesthat you want them to stay OUT of on your site. Not allcrawlers/bots follow the exclusion standard and will continuecrawling your site anyway. I like to call them "Bad Bots" ortrespassers. We block them by IP exclusion which is anotherstory entirely.
Sitemaps 101 - Back to SEO School
Sitemaps are without doubt one of the most often ignored and undervalued aspects of search engine optimization. You've probably spent a huge amount of time working on pages of original content, keyword density and getting incoming links but never once spared a thought for a sitemap for your new creation.
SEO and Google Indexing - Why It Requires A Complex Blend of Skills
If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Getting a company's name and products, or services, onto the first page of a genuine Google search isn't a trivial piece of work. In fact, there are four distinct skills that a search engine optimiser needs to possess. Most people possess one or maybe two of these skills, very rarely do people posses all four. In truth, to get to all four, people who are good at two of these need to actively develop the other skills. Now, if you are running your own business, do you really have the time to do this? Is this the best use of your time?
Page Rank Purgatory - Simple Things You can Do to Keep Your Web Site Out of Search Engine Hell!
Are Meta Tags Really Dead?
Common Sense Approach to Search Engine Optimization
Most web surfers start their sessions at a search engine or a web directory. There are a number of different methods you can use to capture their traffic and drive it to your site:
13 Tips For Good Search Engine Placements
When used properly in combination with other basic search engine tactics, these tips can help to dramatically improve your placement with the search engines and increase the traffic to your web site.
7 Search Engine Optimization Strategy
Search engine optimization refers to the technique of making your web pages search engine friendly so that search engines are more easy to understand and analyze your website. Consequently, your site has a better chance to gain high search engine ranking.
To Understand the Success of Website Ranking
Time is a factor
Google Tests Expanded Search To Include Printed Works
Google Labs is currently testing Google Print, which returns results from within scanned printed books along with Google's standard web search results. The searcher doesn't have to do anything special - the printed work results are already included in the Google database. Searchers have the option of narrowing their search by including, for example, the word "book" in their search terms. For example, a search on "home repair" might return a variety of web sites, online merchants, etc., while changing the search to "home repair book" will help filter the results to include more material scanned directly from books.
Hiring An SEO Constultant - 10 Reasons Why You Should
It crosses every webmaster's mind anytime they see an ad or an email for search engine marketing. Many small business owners wonder what they're missing by not doing it. So should you hire a consultant? Search engine traffic make up at least 85% of all traffic to a website. So of course, search engine optimization is very important. But what, if any, will be the consequences of doing it yourself? Would it be beneficial to a website owner to hire a professional SEO consultant, or just plod along and hope that they are doing it right? This is a valid dilemma to face, and I will show you why it should be an easy decision. There are ten reasons why hiring them would be to your benefit.
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