Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Header Tags SEO osCommerce

I received an email asking me to take a look at some code contributed to osCommerce called Header Tags SEO. I did take a look and intrigued at the output I decided to install it on a vanilla install of osCommerce. I was installing on an unmodified version of osCommerce. Most sites would not be and perhaps would not find the install to be a simple task.

Luckily (?) there is a paid option for install and as the general feeling is that this contributed code is much needed then one might pay without questioning the benefits. So what are the benefits of Header Tags SEO ? A standard version of oscommerce comes with no tags installed. Some are needed. This contribution outputs the following >

<title>Default title - Shop Home Page</title> <meta name="Description" content="Default description - Home page meta description snippet. This page allows the setting up of all of the pages in a shop. In order for this section to work on a page you must do this." > <meta name="Keywords" content="Default Keywords , _font color="#f0000"__b_osCommerce 2.2-MS2_/b__/font_Once that code has been added, the following options will allow for setting it up and applying whatever options are applicable to it." > <meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-GB" > <meta name="googlebot" content="all" > <meta name="robots" content="noodp" > <meta name="slurp" content="noydir" > <meta name="revisit-after" content="1 days" > <meta name="robots" content="index, follow" > <meta name="no-email-collection" value="http://canig.com/" > <meta name="Reply-to" content="email@canig.com"> <link rel="canonical" href="http://canig.com//" > <!-- EOF: Header Tags SEO Generated Meta Tags -->
mmm and users are installing this on their sites in the belief it will advance them in Google rankings ?

 Let us not think seriously that users are installing this to advance in any search engine other than Google. » <meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-GB" > Google does not use language tags to define language.
This is duff. » <meta name="googlebot" content="all" > This is the default setting.
This is duff. » <meta name="robots" content="noodp" > <meta name="slurp" content="noydir" > Whilst these can be valid you certainly do not need to install Header Tags SEO to include these lines in your home page content.>
This is nothing.  » <meta name="revisit-after" content="1 days" >
This is duff. » <meta name="robots" content="index, follow" > This is the default setting.
This is duff. » <meta name="no-email-collection" value="http://canig.com/" > What ?

  » <link rel="canonical" href="http://canig.com//" > Canonical tag, incorrect.

 That the canonical tags are not good are acknowledged in various places on the oscommerce forums eg http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/298099-header-tags-seo/page__st__4480 http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/298099-header-tags-seo/page__st__5000

Don't install anything with incorrect canonical tags.

They are very powerful and unless set 100% correctly you can cause more harm than good. In this instance with a code history of faults I would not touch at all at any time in the future. Any author's statement claiming resolution should be treated with caution if it seems that many have been allowed to install incorrect canonical tags on their sites for months with no recall or serious alerts.

 * Example shown is one instance of incorrect canonical tag usage. 3 more spotted. » <meta name="Description" content=" The description meta tag is not used by Google for ranking purposes. It can be good to have an enticing snippet in the search results. » <meta name="Keywords" The keyword meta tag is not used by Google for ranking purposes. » <title>Default title - Shop Home Page</title> Wayhey - A unique title is a good idea for ranking purposes ! 

This contribution encourages users to fill their header tags with the information already on the site, which is probably good that the page detail reflects the page content but to achieve this > Title Description You do not need to install Header Tags SEO contribution and if you do install Header Tags SEO then you must be sure not to 'buy into' the general feeling that this installation is a required one for your online store.

It is not. This review does not even cover the strange elements included of 'silo control' box or a column box that inexplicably redraws your already on page product description and features the same link to the page you are now.

What is remarkable further is that it seems like a whole mini-industry has grown around companies offering the installation of this code and all with the same inference that this is the magical panacea a store needs.

I am led to believe there has been some mild challenges to the value in the past but to no effect. It is the same as all junky low-level crap 'seo' of which the internet is abundant with - fighting against it is futile whilst the hope that it is a 'cure-all' is present.

Your site hopefully, would be as unique as you and the best approach would be to look at your products and categories and see how best you can deal with them. It could be as simple as echoing existing data for the page title and description and so on. Either way, be very wary of installing something that purports to offer so much by implication yet actually does little. osCommerce and SEO

Looking around since then in the forum at general seo suggestions given to new owners of osCommerce based sites, I dont see that much which would actually impact in a positive way and enhance an online store in Google's results. Installing any contribution, even a good one.. will not help your site if your contents are very poor. Duplicated product descriptions downloaded from manufacturers feeds will need alot of work and effort to give Google a reason to index and rank them highly and most of that work will centre around making your contents a unique and valuable source for users to find in their search results.

If you are having problem with indexing and ranking for your site, ask in Google's webmaster forum for independent, qualified input.

 (Update 23rd Nov 2010) Oscommerce SEO basics

» Secure your site.
  » Set the preferred domain in webmaster tools to either www or non-www
  » Avoid Header Tags SEO as a contribution.
  » Look for either a trusted canonical tag add-on to install or get one built that you can trust yourself.
  » Look for either a trusted friendly url rewriter script to install or - as above get one built that you can trust yourself.
  » Page titles. Look for a light easy script that will echo your product/category details as page titles.
  » Meta Descriptions. As above, same as the page titles. (Also note: Google will build search snippets to match the query searched)
  » Do not use currency as an option on your site without canonical tags or look to either block Google from seeing the currencies or set them as parameters in webmaster tools.
  » Languages - If offering a site in different languages and looking to rank bilingually, create new sites in directories, folders, sub domains or separate domains and avoid offering the language selection on the oscommerce url parameters.
  » Set pages like advanced search results, tell a friend and empty reviews to noindex. (Possibly delete tell a friend if not secured from email spammers)
  » Set pages with no content to return correct 404 responses instead of 200 okay responses. » Ensure that your most important aspect - content - is fantastic enough to be an asset in the search results which Google would love to return high to searchers. Duplicated drop-shipper/manufacturers feeds are not good for high scores in Google if you see many other sites with the same content. » Describe all your products in your own words and try to avoid simply swapping words around from existing indexed feeds or content. » Upload a sitemap to Google via webmaster tools and ensure you have email forwarding from Webmaster Tools set so that you can be alerted of any important messages.
 » Promote your site well and let others know you are in business.

Spammed By Fiona Hudson Kelly

After being spammed for what seems a lifetime by Fiona Hudson-Kelly "award winning entrepreneur" I thought I would take a look to see what she had to offer. I mean, who was I to ignore anything that could enhance my limited knowledge.

It is remarkable what I found and even more of note is that this appears to be in some way funded by taxpayers via business link funding. (By taxpayers = myself and like minded people)

Have a gasp in amazement at this 'presentation' on You Tube explaining to the uneducated 'Google Juice' It is also linked on the scam site Fiona Hudson-Kelly Scam


For those that simply cant watch, here is a transcript :
Google Juice = SEO

All you have to do is find out what your customers type into Google to find you - do you think you can do that ?

Put yourself in customers shoes. So for example Sue. Sue publishes books - she doesn't publish just any book, she is not your average publisher, she is a fantastic publisher you know why, she does not a one-size fits all, she figures out what the customers want and then she gives them an appropriate solution

All Sue's got to do to get the magic glass of Google juice is figure out what people are going to type in to find a great publisher like Sue

So Richard, what would you type in if you were looking to get a book published on Rugby ?

Book Publishers ? (Audience)

What you would actually type in is something like ' I want to write a book or I want to an Author ' You probably won't think about 'I want to get published'

So the people typing into Google to find Sue will be 'I want to write a book' Now all Sue's got to do once she understands what customers are writing into Google is ensure that she has got that splattered everywhere on her website.

How does Google figure out who to put at the top of the search list - does anyone know.

Frequency the keywords are used on the site, number of times site visited (Audience)- what else

Links (Audience) - which is the number of times the website is visited

Well, it is really interesting Sue cause the truth is that no knows - Google don't know how they do it !!

No one person in Google knows how to do it.

It is split across the company so no one person knows and to make it more complex they change it constantly so different things that they do affect your ranking.

What we do know is what Steven said - the two things that do work is the frequency it is used on your pages and the number of clicks that you get so if you can figure out those two things you would have the magic glass of Google juice.

How do we get the frequency of the words across the website, well this is really complicated so you need to take your pads out, your calculators out, your computers out and write this down:

Are you ready for this ?

What you have to is get your keywords splattered all over your website is - "type it in."

If 'I want to write a book' are Sue's keywords the website should be called 'Iwanttowriteabook.com' the first banner on her website should be 'I want to write a book' and the first title should be 'I want to write a book' and to get click thrus to her website all she has got to do is write articles on 'I want to write a book' and include keywords and then publish her article anywhere and everywhere that she can - to lots of websites where you can upload your article to have it published, lots of friends, family networking, where you can publish your article on their site too and as they are reading Sue's article they click through to her website giving her Google juice.

So what I have shared with you is the ultimate secret in the closet of how to not be lonely and drive traffic to finding you so if you want this magic juice what I would like you to commit to is to go out and find out what keywords your customers are using.
Is it me or did that just read like a mile of total bollocks ?

I would not know where to begin with a dissection with the aims of correction. It is beyond reasonable comment. Please, if you have heard that somewhere or paid money to hear it you would be best to disregard all aspects.

I will investigate more regarding the business link connection and the funding as I dont believe that 1. People should pay £1000 to hear crap like this. 2. That it should not be promoted with any Business Link association.

And I also think that Trading Standards should take a close look at this under the Trades Description Act. Obviously Fiona is no marketing guru and plainly has no knowledge of any elements of Google, so apart from a some tea and biscuits what is on offer to justify the expense to the taxpayer ?

It is further noted that her constant marketing methods have been troubling others. Here is the fcablog who have documented other blog posts regarding this spammed by Fiona Hudson Kelly and you can find even more with a quick search of twitter http://twitter.com/#search?q=fhudsonkelly

Respammed by Fiona Hudson Kelly

Spammed again. That she is aware of the onslaught of complaints, yet still continues the spam is remarkable for one funded by taxpayers.

On twitter, the invite is there for all "just updated my blog to discuss social media, go to my web site "

Those with prior knowledge of Fiona Hudson Kelly will be unsurprised to find a weak, uninsipriring ramble regarding nothing in particular.
Which social media should you engage in? I am often asked this question and I advise my clients to check out what their competitors and clients are doing in the mainstream social media sites before embarking on their social media strategy.
» Nice introduction. I am often asked too about what tactics I engage in. I rarely mention my spam activities and tend to divert the conversation away and suggest that instead of asking me it would be better to check out direct competitors and see what they are doing.  Simple.
To my mind Facebook has a track record of Business to Consumer engagement; take a look at the Cadbury Diary Milk page for a quick look at how effective this social media can be for B2C. If possible incentivize Facebook users to interact with you through your web site by directing them back to useful articles you have published.
» When asked how to use Facebook for marketing, I often have the same retort - 'Get Facebook users to visit your site by posting stuff they might be interested in'
Linked In is great for connecting to other professionals, keeping in touch with people you have met at networking events and finding key contact information in companies you would otherwise find difficult to engage with. Join groups with Linked In and you will soon get connected with like minded people.
» When challenged as to the best way to met others with the same business interests, this is also normally my answer. Use linked In.
I’ll leave Twitter for my next post – meanwhile do let me know how you are using Twitter within your marketing strategy.
» There will be many who will wait with interest to hear about how you have tamed twitter into becoming a powerful marketing tool.

In all, I could probably condense the 'discussion on social media' into an easier to understand segment >
  • Check out your competitors
  • Get Facebook users to visit your site
  • Meet others via Linked in
Wait - you could charge people £1000's to hear that and sell yourself as the next big marketing expert. Oh what - you already have ?

For your next blog post idea. I will save the trouble of thought. A good hookable article would be something like 'What is your online business strategy?'

And the condensed version, if the above is anything to judge from would be as follows :
  • Check out your competitors
  • Ensure your site has Google juice (see above)
  • Get your users to buy stuff

Fiona Hudson Kelly has emailed the Junk Site

Contents of the email are as follows :
Further to your very public comments of me I assume you would like to be removed from our mailing list?

Please supply your email details that we have been using and I will remove them immediately.
In response :

Please assume nothing.

You assumed incorrectly in the first instance that I would be interested in your junk mail.

As others have pointed out to you along the same lines before, simply removing the names of users who make public comment does not solve your issue and nor does it make your spam mailing list valid. The correct solution would be to cease the spam campaign and not try and plaster over it.

Removing my details at this point may also mean that I miss out on some more golden nuggets from you that are worthy of further comment.

Re-re-spammed By Fiona Hudson Kelly

29th September and new spam from the elite email marketing guru - Fiona Hudson Kelly.

Do you get one ? Did you know there is still some taxpayers money left in the pot which she needs to claim. Can anyone help her get her hands on this money ? All you have to do is sign up for the internet marketing workshop detailed below.
There is still some funding available for eligible companies to claim a training grant to cover the cost of attending our one day internet marketing workshop.

Internet marketing helps you reach more potential clients quickly, easily with very little cost.

Find out how to use e-mail marketing where you can see who is opening your e-mails, reading them and then visiting your web site using free software such as mail chimp.

Discover how to make your web site more interesting and improve your rankings in the search engines to get found by more people looking for the things you do.

The one day marketing workshops are delivered personally by award winning Business Woman Fiona Hudson Kelly in very small groups of 10 or less for small company directors.

If you employ more than 5 people and haven’t had the Leadership Funding Grant, why not go to our workshop calendar to see if there is a date and location that suits you to register your interest?
Okay, you may have to sit through an excruciatingly painful session whilst Fiona explains to you about 'google juice' and successful email marketing but it would be best in the long run for everyone concerned if all seats were filled so as to deplete the government funds allocated for this speedily.

Once the funds run out then I imagine she would have to revert to signing on for standard taxpayer benefits instead of the advanced high-income benefits currently being enjoyed.