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Improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 14, 2012

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Introduction

Improving your website's ranking in search engine results is critical to making the web an effective part of your business.                There are many reasons why a website may not rank highly or may not be properly indexed. In this article, you'll learn some tips and tricks to optimize search engine indexing and make it easier for potential customers to find your site.

Optimizing your site

Websites that use our platform are 100% search engine friendly. All of the major search engines are aware of all the content on your website. Web content is a term that includes your web pages, announcements, FAQs, literature (PDF documents), shopping catalogs and more. Of course if you place content in secure areas, it is automatically                excluded from the list of content that is available to the search engines.

At regular intervals, the system produces your website's site map in the format specified by Google and Yahoo. These search engines will index your site map and add all the content on your website to their database. At any time you can review the site map document that we produce by visiting the following URL:

The site map can be found at http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml

This is only the first step to begin fully optimizing your site. Research the topic further                to get the best results.

Enabling sitemap.xml

It is necessary to enable the live optimization to alert the system to create the sitemap.xml file. Go to Admin > Search Engne Optimisation and enable the sitemap.xml option.

The system may take up to 24 hours to compile it.

NOTE:  Only enable live optimization after you have added your domain name by going to Admin > Manage Domain Names. This optimization process can result in your staging domain name receiving search preference if you create your site's site map before specifying the final domain name for your site.

Once the system has compiled the site map, go to                      http://YourDomain.com/sitemap.xml in a browser. All of the site map links will be displayed. Visit the Google Webmaster tools page and submit the site map to ensure all of the pages are indexed.

Hiding pages from search engines

Before or after you've enabled Google/Yahoo/Live Optimisation from the Admin menu of your Online Business, you can hide various pages from being indexed by search engines.  When you are editing your page on your Online Business Administration area, click the "Add META data to this page" link.  On the following dialogue, select the "robots" field to edit.  Change the default value from "INDEX,FOLLOW" to "NOINDEX".  Its advisable that if you are working on content that is not ready for indexing you adjust this META tag before you start the Optimisation service.

Using catalog names in URLs (SEO Friendly)

All catalog URLs in the system are in the following format:

http://www.yourdomain.com/CatalogueRetrieve.aspx?CatalogueID=XYZ.

Although the URL for every catalog is permanent and does not change, you can choose to use a different format for your catalog URLs to ensure a higher level of SEO friendliness.

When creating links to your catalog from any web page or from navigational menus, use the following format:

http://www.yourdomain.com/_catalogue_catalogueID/CatalogueName

So if your catalog is called Dishwashers then your URL would be:

http://www.yourdomain.com/_catalogue_catalogueID/DishWashers

Replace catalogueID with a number which is generated by the system.

Navigation menus

Please note that the default dynamic menu type is designed for focus on easy design and use. To optimize your site for SEO purposes, choose the CSS (HTML only) dynamic menu type.

Other SEO information

To ensure good SEO practices, all redirects within the system are 301 Permanent Redirects.

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Improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 14, 2012

Copy link to clipboard

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Introduction

Improving your website's ranking in search engine results is critical to making the web an effective part of your business.                There are many reasons why a website may not rank highly or may not be properly indexed. In this article, you'll learn some tips and tricks to optimize search engine indexing and make it easier for potential customers to find your site.

Optimizing your site

Websites that use our platform are 100% search engine friendly. All of the major search engines are aware of all the content on your website. Web content is a term that includes your web pages, announcements, FAQs, literature (PDF documents), shopping catalogs and more. Of course if you place content in secure areas, it is automatically                excluded from the list of content that is available to the search engines.

At regular intervals, the system produces your website's site map in the format specified by Google and Yahoo. These search engines will index your site map and add all the content on your website to their database. At any time you can review the site map document that we produce by visiting the following URL:

The site map can be found at http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml

This is only the first step to begin fully optimizing your site. Research the topic further                to get the best results.

Enabling sitemap.xml

It is necessary to enable the live optimization to alert the system to create the sitemap.xml file. Go to Admin > Search Engne Optimisation and enable the sitemap.xml option.

The system may take up to 24 hours to compile it.

NOTE:  Only enable live optimization after you have added your domain name by going to Admin > Manage Domain Names. This optimization process can result in your staging domain name receiving search preference if you create your site's site map before specifying the final domain name for your site.

Once the system has compiled the site map, go to                      http://YourDomain.com/sitemap.xml in a browser. All of the site map links will be displayed. Visit the Google Webmaster tools page and submit the site map to ensure all of the pages are indexed.

Hiding pages from search engines

Before or after you've enabled Google/Yahoo/Live Optimisation from the Admin menu of your Online Business, you can hide various pages from being indexed by search engines.  When you are editing your page on your Online Business Administration area, click the "Add META data to this page" link.  On the following dialogue, select the "robots" field to edit.  Change the default value from "INDEX,FOLLOW" to "NOINDEX".  Its advisable that if you are working on content that is not ready for indexing you adjust this META tag before you start the Optimisation service.

Using catalog names in URLs (SEO Friendly)

All catalog URLs in the system are in the following format:

http://www.yourdomain.com/CatalogueRetrieve.aspx?CatalogueID=XYZ.

Although the URL for every catalog is permanent and does not change, you can choose to use a different format for your catalog URLs to ensure a higher level of SEO friendliness.

When creating links to your catalog from any web page or from navigational menus, use the following format:

http://www.yourdomain.com/_catalogue_catalogueID/CatalogueName

So if your catalog is called Dishwashers then your URL would be:

http://www.yourdomain.com/_catalogue_catalogueID/DishWashers

Replace catalogueID with a number which is generated by the system.

Navigation menus

Please note that the default dynamic menu type is designed for focus on easy design and use. To optimize your site for SEO purposes, choose the CSS (HTML only) dynamic menu type.

Other SEO information

To ensure good SEO practices, all redirects within the system are 301 Permanent Redirects.

Topics

Documentation

Views

61.1K

Likes

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Explorer ,
Jun 12, 2012

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To ensure good SEO practices, all redirects within the system are 301 Permanent Redirects.

Actually, that's not entirely accurate. An important exception is the RSS feed, which does 302s, unfortunately.

Whenever an item appears in the RSS feed, the title of the item links back to the source website. This link, however, is never the SEO friendly url. It's a variable url that gets a 302 redirect to the SEO friendly page.

Take the latest post from the Business Catalyst blog, for instance. The url is http://www.businesscatalyst.com/_blog/BC_Blog/post/DreamsCreative_Win_Double_at_Middle_East_Internet...

Although that's the actual link of the post, in the RSS feed the link to the post is http://www.businesscatalyst.com/RSSRetrieve.aspx?ID=41&A=Link&ObjectID=294231&ObjectType=56&O=http%2...

If you check the HTTP response for that link, you'll find the response code is 302.

Why the RSS 302 is bad for SEO

RSS is one of the easiest ways to get links back to your site. You simply publish the content, it gets picked up and you get links back to you from all (or most of) the sites that grabbed your feed.

Those links can pass link juice back to your site ... except when they are 302 redirects.

In my opinion, this is a serious SEO challenge for the blog and other RSS-generating elements.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 13, 2012

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Are you saying that RSS feed links are being indexed, since they use temporary 302 redirect instead of 301? I checked index for a few sites which have RSS feeds enabled and I can't see any. Also, what do you mean by "Those links can pass link juice back to your site ... except when they are 302 redirects."?

-m

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Explorer ,
Jun 14, 2012

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Hi Mario,

First, let's establish that quality links to my site are a major factor in my site's ranking. And RSS is one of the easiest way to get links back to my site. Other sites will embed my RSS feed. When they do, they'll be linking back to my site.

So in my previous post, I wasn't saying that RSS feed links are being indexed. I was saying that the primary SEO value of RSS feeds revolves around links back to my site.

I was also complaining, because Adobe BC's handling of links in RSS (at least the one in the title that links back to the post) totally undermines the link-building value of RSS.

If a link points to a URL that has moved, a redirect is needed. If you do a 301 redirect, the new page gets the value from that link. If you do a 302 redirect, the new page receives no value from the link. Y'all do 302 with the /RSSRetrieve.aspx? call. For more, read: http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/redirection

-b

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 14, 2012

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I see. I didn't realise that this is a big component of RSS use. I think you have a good point there.

-m

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Explorer ,
Aug 30, 2012

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Were is

Go to Admin > Search Engne Optimisation ?

When I look at the /sitemap.xml the files are 6 months old and doesn't reflect the actual site! How do you refresh the sitemap?

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New Here ,
Aug 31, 2012

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I too was unable to find Admin > Search Engine Optimization.  I assumed at first it was because I am the lowly programmer, so I logged on as my boss, the big honcho, who has rights to everything.  I still couldn't find anything different. 

Then it occurred to me to go back to the old interface, and there it was, the Admin menu, with the SEO menu item.  Glad I found it, because I found that my sitemap was not enabled.

Where would I find this option in the new interface?

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New Here ,
Aug 31, 2012

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This is in response to the advice on hiding pages from search engines.  What I had in my robots tag was NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW, but after reading this I changed it to just NOINDEX.

Unfortunately, I'm having the same results I reported earlier.  Yes, it does generate the following tag:

 

<META name="robots" content="NOINDEX">

But just 5 lines down, it has this tag:

<META name="robots" content="index, follow">

Would not the second tag overwrite the first?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 04, 2012

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Hi Bev,

Please provide the URL of that page so that we can look into this for you.

Thanks!

-m

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New Here ,
Sep 05, 2012

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Thank you, but it will not be necessary.  I went poking around in the html code, and I found this line in the template:

 

<META name="robots" content="index, follow">

After I removed the line of code and updated the page, the only robot line was NOINDEX, as it should be.

It had to have been me that hard-coded it in there, because there is no Add Meta Data option for templates, but I've not idea why.  I didn't know what robots were back then, and they still conjure images of "Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!"

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New Here ,
Oct 10, 2012

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There are a number of unrequired system pages on my client's site  that are being indexed by Google that I would like to hide with the the NOINDEX method.  However, they are not visible through the File Manager or through FTP.  The pages are:-

www.clientswebsite/contents/en-us/basket.html

www.clientswebsite/contents/en-us/d27.html

www.clientswebsite/contents/en-us/favorites.html

How do I get access to these pages so that I can hide them from Google?

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Explorer ,
Oct 11, 2012

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Jim&Stella,

You should have access to the root of the site. If you can't add the NOINDEX tag to the pages themselves, you can upload a robots.txt file to the root and block the crawling of these pages.

Here's the official guide: http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html

Google also published a nice article on it in their Webmaster Guidelines: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156449

Just be careful to Disallow only those pages you don't want crawled. Everything else with a link to it will be. The basic lines you need are

User-agent: *
Disallow: /contents/en-us/basket.html
Disallow: /contents/en-us/d27.html
Disallow: /contents/en-us/favorites.html

Just paste that in a notepad file, save it to the root of your site with the filename "robots.txt", and upload it to the root of your domain: www.clientswebsite/robots.txt.

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New Here ,
Oct 11, 2012

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Justin,

There is some really good information in your post.  The method you suggested is ideal for me, as I need to exclude the entire "en-us" folder, not just the entries I included in my post.  After reading the examples in your references, I can see that the "Disallow" can also be used with folder URLs

On a side issue, how did you get the forum post to "frame" your lines of code?

Cheers,

Jim

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