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Search Engine Ranking


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Having crawled around the forums a bit, I would like to suggest that the forum moderators set-up a new category for Search engine optimization. I seem to see this topic raised in just about every category here.


Thanks :)


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Absolutely!! It'd be a great help to the people who've never used OSC ( :cough: me :cough: )

"Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others."


- Danny Thomas, founder of St Jude Children's Research Hospital

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Hi All,


Yes, I would be very interested in this too. I am a professional SEO and we have recently started working optimising copies of Oscommerce for our client base. We have had some great results - many from applying modifications already available here - but I would be very interested in making a contribution back to the project in a forum about this subject.





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  • 1 year later...
Brilliant suggestion.. its a very important subject these days.


Thanks Joe - yes I was surprised that there was not more support for this when I suggested it.


I'll have a think about this again and get back to you, as always things get busier at work and I don't have the time I did 1 1/2 yrs ago!

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Having crawled around the forums a bit, I would like to suggest that the forum moderators set-up a new category for Search engine optimization. I seem to see this topic raised in just about every category here.


Thanks :)



Search engine optimisation is a tricky subject as you have a lot of companies out there doing it professionally. So you small marketting budget along with the limited time you can dedicate to it are already facing an uphill battle.


I would suggest starting like this:


- Don't redirect from www.domainname.com to www.domainname.com/catalog


Either set up your oscommerce in root folder or have a proper holding page with relevant information on it. Google puts a lot of emphasis on your initial page so this is where the real guts of your information should held. Google doesnt like indexing passed 3 levels so I like the idea of having the site in the root. Make sure you optimise your text for only about 5 key phrases. For example a plumbers merchant might optimise his site with an emphasis on Bathroom Suites, Bathroom Fittings and Plumbing supplies, rather than every product they sell. Look at the items that will make you the most money and optimise your site for these, when you get a better ranking your other products will creep up the search rankings aswell.


- Make your site W3C compliant go here to check




- dynamic meta tag creation is important find a contrib and use it!


- Use the sitemap contribution so that links to all your categories/sub categories are available from main page.


- Use the google sitemaps contribution to send google your sitemap in xml. google for google sitemaps


- Try using some thing like Internet Business Promoter, this will help you find out how your site compares to your competitors on certain key phrases and provides valuable information about your site and what you can do to improve it.


- check your site in as many browsers as you can. Every time you make a mod check them all again.


- set up a blog on your site and have it updated once per week or so.


- get your site listed in as many directories as possible that are related to your site, don't add too many links too quickly, try to grow your ranking organically. New sites will take quite some time to find their way up the rankings, be patient but keep checking. To see if your site has been spidered by google type your url into the google search box and if you get "Show Google's cache of www.yoursite.com" click on it and you will see when you were last spidered and what google saw.


- Try to get submitted into DMOZ. Some people get lucky and are listed in a few weeks, some people wait years. DMOZ is probably dead now though so not sure how important this is.


- Have a decent reciprocal links page, i.e. dont just have a load of back links, have detailed descriptions of each.





I hope this is in some way useful and in some way accurate. I have a company now optimising my site for search rankings as it is too time consuming to do it myself. But all of the above were listed as important when I was interogating them as to what would need to be changed on my site to improve my ranking.






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Hi All,


Good effort Sean - I am sure many will find your info useful as a starting point and I agree with all of your suggestions.


I too am trying to improve my rankings by doing some of my own SEO/SEM and I find it a minefield ....


A couple of tools I have found useful are (off the top of my head and in no order of importance):



1. For Mozilla Firefox an extension called SEOpen is very useful as a basic tool for backlinks, pageranks, HTML validator, link checker etc (not sure if there is an equivalent for IE)


2. WEB CEO offer a free version of their software for SEO - go to www.webceo.com for more info. You also get a free online SEO course and virtual certification as a basic starter if you are interested)


3. I would recommend installation of some sort of osCommerce referral contribution to track where your customers are coming from


4. Ensure you understand and manage your robots.txt file as most good search engines/crawlers honour it


5. Publish articles relevant to your site if possible with links back to your website (akin to blogs)


6. Find a SEO/SEM website that offers free appriasals of you site - they can often be quite comprehensive and useful


Hope this helps a little ...



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6. Find a SEO/SEM website that offers free appriasals of you site - they can often be quite comprehensive and useful


Ah it's you that uses up all my staff's time answering quotes! ;)


Seriously though, there are some good suggestions here. However don't get hung up on tools - a simple link:ww.yourdomain.com would be enough in Google / alltheweb.com / yahoo.com for most people.


Links - these are the currency of the web. If you have them coming into your site then the search engines see that your site is 'valuable' - if you have lots coming in then your site may be considered an 'authority' on your topic.


Try and get links by making material that people would actually want to link to, like a blog post /news article/ directory. Links that come from sites in_your_theme are more useful - for example don't go looking for tourism links if you are selling car parts. This concentration on your 'theme' makes your site an authority.


Don't get involved in linking schemes, automatic link requests etc. More trouble than they are worth and if you end up in hot water with the search engines it takes a long time to get clean again. If it feels shady - avoid it.


Titles on your pages - make them short and informative. Longer titles means that the individual keywords within them are diluted (less keyword density). Put your company name *at the end* of the title, not the beginning - if at all!


Meta keywords - stick your misspellings in here - yahoo will show your page on these keyword terms.


Meta description - does this sell this your site? or the page it refers to? This is the first thing people see in the search engine listings and deterimines if they are going to click you - make it count!


However beyond this simple SEO - think marketing. Try and appraoch your site as a nw user, or even better get your wife/girlfriend/neighbour to have a go with your web site - with you watching and taking notes. Does it make sense, can they buy easily, is there something they have trouble with that prevents sales. Obvious stuff but I bet you haven't done it. Usability testing can be done on the cheap - you don't need a lab and a panel of experts to hit 80% of the 'common sense' issues!


One thing I often find is that osCommerce web masters spend a lot of time and effort on their front page (index) - but completely ignore the fact that an equal/greater number of users come into their site from the product pages. Have you tried that - how do you use / approach the site from that angle?


Also as I said on another thread here - it's all about customer service. You can't beat the big guys on price but you sure can show them up on this area. If you can provide useful/quick and personal email support people will always come back - beats the hell out of a call centre in India.


Put together a newsletter - think how you can reward your repeat customers with a discount scheme - the contributions are all here - it is significantly less effort to make a resale than get the first purchase off a stranger.

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By the way - credit to Romanus for bringing this up (err in 2003). I got a bit confused with my post above and thought this referred to an old one where I offered to set up a SEO/marketing forum for osCommerce users (and would anyone be interested etc.).


Like Romanus, I feel this is a very large subject with could do with a forum in it's own right, either here or elsewhere. It would be great to share real experiences in marketing osCommerce platforms.





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