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Do I need the Header tags/SEO Urls contributions for Bootstrap 2.3.4?

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There's no doubt that the SEO URL contributions are still very useful and relevant. They are not compatible with the bootstrap version, at least not USU5 by FWR Media, but the changes you need to make are described in the support thread.

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Searchers don't see the URL in results anymore the way they used to. They now see the page title and the breadcrumb trail.

 

@@Hotclutch - http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/408676-do-i-need-the-header-tagsseo-urls-contributions-for-bootstrap-234/?p=1742157

Your view on that?  


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I am well aware that searchers don't see the URL in results the way they used to anymore, and secondly the canonical tag is one way of trying to address duplicate content issues, it is not the only way and not the best way IMO. For the examples I gave I prefer the way the SEO URL addons remove duplicate content than having to place canonical tags. Your suggestion that there is no such thing as a SEO URL and that the SEO URL addons are not needed is not accurate IMO.

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Pagination is another poor area wrt SEO in osCommerce which creates duplicate content, left unattended. To use the canonical tag here is simply the wrong approach.

Edited by Hotclutch

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Pagination is another poor area wrt SEO in osCommerce which creates duplicate content, left unattended. To use the canonical tag here is simply the wrong approach.

 

@@burt @@Hotclutch Section of my canonical header tag module file which includes pagination

} elseif (basename($PHP_SELF) == FILENAME_DEFAULT) {
        if (isset($cPath) && tep_not_null($cPath)) {
		  if (isset($_GET['page']) && $_GET['page'] == '1') {
          $oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="canonical" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath, 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
		  $oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="next" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=2&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
		  } elseif (isset($_GET['page']) && $_GET['page'] != '1') {
			if (isset($_GET['page']) && $_GET['page'] == '2') {
			$oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="canonical" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=' . $_GET['page'] . '&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />' . "\n", $this->group);
			$oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="prev" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath, 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
			$oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="next" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=' . ($_GET['page']+1) . '&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
			} else {
			$oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="canonical" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=' . $_GET['page'] . '&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />' . "\n", $this->group);
			$oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="prev" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=' . ($_GET['page']-1) . '&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
			$oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="next" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=' . ($_GET['page']+1) . '&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
			}
		  } else {
		  $oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="canonical" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath, 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
		  $oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="next" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'cPath=' . $cPath . '&page=2&sort=2a', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />', $this->group);
		  }
        } elseif (isset($_GET['manufacturers_id']) && tep_not_null($_GET['manufacturers_id'])) {
          $oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="canonical" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT, 'manufacturers_id=' . (int)$_GET['manufacturers_id'], 'NONSSL', false) . '" />' . "\n", $this->group);
		
		} elseif (!isset($_GET['manufacturers_id']) ) {
          $oscTemplate->addBlock('<link rel="canonical" href="' . tep_href_link(FILENAME_DEFAULT,'', 'NONSSL', false) . '" />' . "\n", $this->group);
        }

Let's make things easier for new osCommerce users http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/402638-discussion-about-hard-coded-database-tables/?p=1718900  Getting there with osCommerce 2.4! :thumbsup:

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^^ I do something similar in my osCommerce. You still have to distinguish between the different sort parameters. eg. page=2&sort=2a is different from page=2&sort=2d and page=2&sort=2a is different from page=2&sort=3a etc

 

Then you have to give attention to the products_new.php page which puts the sort parameter before the page parameter in the URL.

 

As far as SEs are concerned page=2&sort=2a and sort=2a&page=2 are different URLs creating duplicate content.

 

This discussion has been raised previously and shot down by the coders on this forum.

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@@Hotclutch

 

Come up with a working solution and release it as an addon. Create a support thread for it, and see what happens. Others will then be able to see it, use it, test it, and you never know improve it. If you got enough people talking about it, then you may change peoples minds.


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@@frankl - many thanks for sharing that code :thumbsup:

 

@@Hotclutch - if you have something similar, please share it for the benefit of the community - give it back and what goes around comes around.  You are benefitting from the community's hard work, time and effort by using the Responsive version on your spares site, please pay it back by sharing your code.  Between your code and the code given by frankl we may just be able to create something and put into core.

 

@@14steve14 - amen to that.

 

If we can harness the knowledge of many people, osCommerce becomes better and better.  

The few that are contributing code, time, effort, cannot be expected to do it all.

Edited by burt

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IF YOU MAKE A POST REQUESTING HELP...please state the exact version
of osCommerce that you are using. THANKS

 
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The worry over parameters, like sorting, is a non-issue, IMO. The search engines are smart enough nowadays to understand their purpose. They will judge them as a whole and decide which page, in the case of sorting for example, is the most relevant and list that first. A canonical tag is useful, and should be used, because it lets the shop owner decide which page is the most relevant. In the end, if the page is properly optimized for the search engines it won't make any difference. How google handles the parameters can be seen here.

 

Regarding duplicate content, that scared a lot of people when it first came out. But today, unless the duplication is blatant, not much is done with it. It is perfectly acceptable for two pages to have the same content. Google even wants it in some cases if you use google shopping. The idea behind duplicate content is to stop abuse. As long as one isn't trying to take advantage of ranking by duplicating pages, it is another non-issue.

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The canonical tag is useful, and should be used. The problem comes in when it is used incorrectly, and the storeowner may not even be aware that he/she is using it incorrectly. The effect can be that pages, typically product pages, are starved of pagerank and start underperforming in the index, or drop out of the index altogether. This is typically what happens when you start to exclude the page parameter with a canonical tag.

 

You can't place all your products on the home page or top category pages, so how else do you get pagerank to them if not with pagination. Sorting also helps to spread pagerank. With one click of the sort button you can bring products which are deep in your structure, nearer to the top.

 

There's some inefficiency with sorting and pagination in the stock osCommerce, created by the sort by button. The sort by button changes the order of the page and sort parameters in the URL and creates a mountain of unnecessary duplicate content.

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@@Hotclutch

 

So what is the answer then. Show the changes that need to be made, or provide a help sheet to let store owners know what they need to do to make things better. Store owners generally have no clue to SEO and have no real idea how to use the tools that they have available. Post what store owners need to do, give us a bit of help. Stop us going wrong and making mistakes. If code needs to be changed to make things better, lets see it, so it can be discussed, and if found to be good and beneficial hopefully it will get included in the core code. At the very least you can release it as an addon for others to use.


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The canonical tag is useful, and should be used. The problem comes in when it is used incorrectly, and the storeowner may not even be aware that he/she is using it incorrectly. The effect can be that pages, typically product pages, are starved of pagerank and start underperforming in the index, or drop out of the index altogether. This is typically what happens when you start to exclude the page parameter with a canonical tag.

 

You can't place all your products on the home page or top category pages, so how else do you get pagerank to them if not with pagination. Sorting also helps to spread pagerank. With one click of the sort button you can bring products which are deep in your structure, nearer to the top.

 

There's some inefficiency with sorting and pagination in the stock osCommerce, created by the sort by button. The sort by button changes the order of the page and sort parameters in the URL and creates a mountain of unnecessary duplicate content.

The use of a canonical tag should be automatic. The shop owner should never have to do anything with it. Also, it's purpose is only to let the search engines know what you prefer as the page to represent that group. It doesn't stop the other pages from being searched but the one in the canonical tag will be returned for them in the listings. But the products on each page will still be ranked and listed as any product so there's no need to list them all on the home page. One should install addons like the google sitemap and All Products SEO so that links to the products are more quickly reached but the search engines will eventually find them all without them.

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Just to put things into perspective, for my site category pages are rarely shown when people are searching for products. Even when people search by my category titles (i.e. Household Recycling Widgets) Google usually presents the most relevant product page rather than the category page.

 

What are other people's experiences?


Let's make things easier for new osCommerce users http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/402638-discussion-about-hard-coded-database-tables/?p=1718900  Getting there with osCommerce 2.4! :thumbsup:

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It makes sense that Google would present product pages when specific product searches are made. You will find that your home page and category pages rank for more general or non specific queries. Your best source of information in this regard is Webmaster tools under search analytics.

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The use of a canonical tag should be automatic. The shop owner should never have to do anything with it. Also, it's purpose is only to let the search engines know what you prefer as the page to represent that group. It doesn't stop the other pages from being searched but the one in the canonical tag will be returned for them in the listings. But the products on each page will still be ranked and listed as any product so there's no need to list them all on the home page. One should install addons like the google sitemap and All Products SEO so that links to the products are more quickly reached but the search engines will eventually find them all without them.

 

The canonical tag does not work like this in my understanding. If you have a group of 2 URLs and you assign a canonical tag to the one, then Google consolidates all worth onto that one URL. The other one becomes worthless in SEO terms. It does not have pagerank and it can't pass pagerank. So any products or links you have on that 2nd URL becomes starved of pagerank or link juice.

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@@Hotclutch Yes, you are correct, though PR is only one SEO factor in hundreds of ranking factors. But when you are talking about a product listing page, there isn't any difference between page 1 and page 2 on a site other than the products being displayed so it doesn't matter which of those pages rank well. The searcher will end up there. If it were possible to have a different title for page 1 and 2 then it might matter but since that isn't possible, without playing around with the code, it's of no consequence. Any PR that is meant for that group of pages will be given to the page the canonical tags points to or, if one isn't present, to whichever page the search engines decide is the most relevant.

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@@Hotclutch Yes, you are correct, though PR is only one SEO factor in hundreds of ranking factors. But when you are talking about a product listing page, there isn't any difference between page 1 and page 2 on a site other than the products being displayed so it doesn't matter which of those pages rank well. The searcher will end up there. If it were possible to have a different title for page 1 and 2 then it might matter but since that isn't possible, without playing around with the code, it's of no consequence. Any PR that is meant for that group of pages will be given to the page the canonical tags points to or, if one isn't present, to whichever page the search engines decide is the most relevant.

 

A page with zero or limited pagerank is never going to be included in the index, unless it has some extraordinary content of interest. If a page is not in the index then none of the other ranking factors count for anything. Product listing pages are unique even if the order of products on them varies only slightly. These pages do not really rank for anything, but they are hugely important in so far as spreading pagerank within the site is concerned.

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No, that's not correct. There are many sites on the web with a home page of a page rank of 0 and they are listed with the search engines. PR is really just a tie-breaker, for the most part. That is, if you and I have competitive shops with a page on each ranking close but mine is above yours, if you increase the PR of yours, it will be moved above mine. For example, I have a page listed on google where I rank at position 4 our of over 500,000 but the PR for that page is 0. If I worked on improving the PR it might raise the position up but, for the most part, it is not an important factor.

 

A product listing page is like any other page of a site. If it is optimized properly it will list well. Many sites will just use it as it comes so that it only lists products with hardly any relevant text on it. Such a page will not rank well, in most cases.

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