If you are considering an e-commerce enabled website, or adding a shopping cart to your existing website you will want to:
– Ensure that you can maximize your organic search engine exposure
– and ensure any existing rankings are not lost
While some shopping carts are being created with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, many other shopping carts are still not very search engine friendly.
Optimizing Shopping Carts
Whether you are intending on having a search engine optimization company assist you with your shopping cart optimization, or you will be handling it on your own; you will want to ensure that you have access to what’s needed to complete the job.
Below we will cover some areas of importance if you want a search engine friendly e-commerce website.
Server Level Access
While most website owners love a “hands off” approach, it is crucial to have server level access when optimizing a shopping cart. Various files that are located in the root folder may need to be uploaded, edited and revised.
These files can include:
- .HTACCESS File
- Robots.txt File
- Google Verification File
- Template Files
Having server level access ensures that the needed modifications can be made by you, a web developer or professional SEO expert.
All website templates are not created equal. Often times a website template is created with the website user in mind; not a search engine spider.
The ability to modify the shopping cart template ensures that you are able to incorporate headings, sub-headings, unique titles, Meta descriptions, meta keywords and a search engine friendly navigation system that can be easily crawled by the search engine spiders.
The default settings used in a shopping cart or content management system (CMS) is not always search engine friendly.
You will want to ensure you enable specific settings that will help to increase your website rankings and indexation.
These types of settings would include:
- Mod-Rewrite / Search Engine Friendly URL Rewriting
- Textual Navigation Structure
- Silo / Hierarchy Product Structure
These areas can literally make or break your website’s ability to be indexed and achieve any rankings within the major search engines.
As many shopping cart developers are coming to understand the importance of search engine optimization, they are continually adding modules and add-ons to help with natural rankings. However, it is your job to ensure that these areas are used in a way to maximize your exposure.
Below are some tips on which options to consider when choosing a shopping cart:
1. Always check for updates to ensure that you have the latest version of the shopping cart software.
2. When looking online for updates or add-ons, search Google with the shopping cart name and the words seo or search engine friendly
3. Include any updates that help generate a Google / Yahoo! Sitemap
4. Look for updates that include upgrading to a “flat file structure” or “URL Rewriting”
5. Add any updates that allow for unique titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords
6. Include any updates that help create text links to related products
Website and webpage content
Although content does not come with the shopping cart, it is often times provided by the manufacturers.
You will want to take any content supplied by 3rd parties and either revise it or add unique copy to it as much as possible. Duplicate copy will not help you achieve high rankings in the search engines and may result in all your hard work and effort being in vain.