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clamor
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Hi All

 

I have been doing an SEO audit on my website and there are issues with the site being accessible via both www and non www URLs. I prefer www but the sitemap automatically generated within cubecart shows non-www URLs. Is there any way to change the sitemap generation settings? I am thinking of doing a 301 redirect to www but this won't work well if the sitemap references non www URLs.

 

All the best

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Hi

On the SSL page of your Store Settings, do you use the www. version of the url in the "Standard Store URL" and if you use SSL (which all stores should use !) do you also have the www. version of the url. These should always be the same (either with or without www.) and set to your preferred setting.

After that you should always do a 301 redirect from non www. urls to www. and also from the /index.php url - this ensures no chance of duplicate content penalties from Google for having 4 different urls presenting the same page.

Finally you should always have a Google Webmasters account and specify for your website the preferred domain - ie either with or without www.

The CubeCart built in sitemap is OK and is much better than not having a sitemap at all so was a great addition for V5. However, it isnt configurable (our product has some 50 configurable parameters that are set once at installation) and doesnt produce separate image / video / news sitemap files (all of which are extremely useful for any websites having these items)

Thanks

Ian

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I have a redirect set up and cubecart generates the correct www. URLs in my sitemaps. For SEO purposes you should always set up a redirect so that only one of the URLs is used. Personally i prefer the www to be included.

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After that you should always do a 301 redirect from non www. urls to www. and also from the /index.php url - this ensures no chance of duplicate content penalties from Google for having 4 different urls presenting the same page.

 

Whenever I have redirected the /index.php url it has always broken my store. I've just done it again to test it and I can't add anything to the basket. Cubecart seems to reference the /index.php in its code so redirecting away from this seems to mess something up. I stand to be corrected but if you redirect it, test it.

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Personally i prefer the www to be included.

There is supposed to be no difference between the two but I also personally prefer www. to be included and we use that for all our own and client sites. If you check out most big sites (google.com, facebook.com, bing.com etc) you will see that all of them use the www. and if it is good enough for Google then...

Whenever I have redirected the /index.php url it has always broken my store. I've just done it again to test it and I can't add anything to the basket. Cubecart seems to reference the /index.php in its code so redirecting away from this seems to mess something up. I stand to be corrected but if you redirect it, test it.

We do it for most / all of our CubeCart hosting clients and as long as it is done correctly it works perfectly and we never have any problems

Thanks

Ian

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Hi Ian and ayz1

 

No, I am not using the SSL as that page looked too complicated and I thought PayPal would offer sufficient security. I probably need to rethink that approach. I do have the www for the standard store URL on the SSL page but I have not filled in any of the other boxes. I have a separate landing page for the domain. Most of the SEO violations relate to multiple canonical formats caused by the www vs non www issue and unnecessary redirects due to forward slashes appearing at the end of links. It is all a bit strange.

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No, I am not using the SSL as that page looked too complicated and I thought PayPal would offer sufficient security. I probably need to rethink that approach.

The need for an SSL certificate is far greater than the requirement to use it for a few payment gateways (Only those where the credit card details are entered on your own site such as PayPal Pro, SagePay Direct, SagePay iFrame - which we are releasing for V5 today !!). The accepted view is that ANY site where you have a login (whether that is an admin login or customer login) should always use an SSL. CubeCart additionally protects all cart and customer account pages adding further security to sensitive customer data ! There is already a move from many sites to encrypt every single page and this will become the accepted view very soon. In addition to all of the legitimate security issues, many potential visitors to an E-Commerce store will often look for signs that it is encrypted (url bar notification / padlock etc) and many will leave immediately if they arent seen - even one lost sale a year easily covers the cost of a basic SSL certificate !

I do have the www for the standard store URL on the SSL page but I have not filled in any of the other boxes. I have a separate landing page for the domain. Most of the SEO violations relate to multiple canonical formats caused by the www vs non www issue and unnecessary redirects due to forward slashes appearing at the end of links. It is all a bit strange.

Following the suggestions will sort most if not all canonical issues due to www. and non www. issues. If you have not upgraded from the 5.2.8 shown in your signature, then do so as 5.2.9 included fixes for canonical issues created by different sorting methods which we discovered and fixed for some of our clients and was then added to that release.

Thanks

Ian

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We do it for most / all of our CubeCart hosting clients and as long as it is done correctly it works perfectly and we never have any problems

 

Tested this on a non SSL site. If you redirect the index.php surely this will create a loop?

 

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Thanks. I have updated my signature and I will look into an SSL certificate and setting up SSL. I don't really understand many of the suggestions above. I can organise a 301 redirect but I am not sure how or why this should affect the way the sitemap generates. It also does not explain the forward slashes forcing unnecessary redirects. Activating SSL seems to be a separate issue. I may have to manually edit the sitemap.

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Tested this on a non SSL site. If you redirect the index.php surely this will create a loop?

It works perfectly 100% of the time whether with or without SSL (makes no difference) as long as the redirect is created correctly - you have to redirect exactly index.php with nothing following it or you will have problems which I am guessing is what you are doing.

 

Thanks. I have updated my signature and I will look into an SSL certificate and setting up SSL. I don't really understand many of the suggestions above. I can organise a 301 redirect but I am not sure how or why this should affect the way the sitemap generates. It also does not explain the forward slashes forcing unnecessary redirects. Activating SSL seems to be a separate issue. I may have to manually edit the sitemap.

Activating SSL is a separate issue BUT if you already had one and had used different paths in your store url and SSL url that can cause problems. Putting correctly formatted 301 commands in place will sort out the canonical issues and sitemap generators follow those commands as well.

CubeCart does not as standard add trailing forward slashes so where are they coming from in your store ?

Sent you a pm but you can get a sitemap from http://www.web-site-map.com/ tried it for your website and it looks ok.

These online services are generally very good (and obviously completely free) but have several disadvantages :

1) As a store owner you have to remember to create a new sitemap every week / day (depending on how often you add / delete pages from your site)

2) They create a website sitemap which is great but dont do image, video, news sitemaps which are also extremely important.

3) Many have limits on the size of the sitemap that can be created - they are generally OK for small websites or very small stores but many stores would go over the limits allowed

Thanks, that is a great suggestion. I have a similar sitemap in the public html folder but I should probably replace or delete the automatically generated one in the store folder.

If using any form of third party generated sitemap, you need to delete all other sitemap files and then add the new one and dont create one through CubeCart. You should also remember to update your robots.txt file to tell the search engines which sitemap file to look for - your current version will list the wrong one !

Thanks

Ian

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It works perfectly 100% of the time whether with or without SSL (makes no difference) as long as the redirect is created correctly - you have to redirect exactly index.php with nothing following it or you will have problems which I am guessing is what you are doing.

 

I was setting the redirect correclty but wether it works or not is dependant on the stores SEO settings. If the settings were the default then it didn't work but if the seo urls were enabled and .htaccess file was installed the redirect worked. It was a clean install I tested it on with the default settings. Worth documenting just in case anyone comes accross the same issue.

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Tried the index.php redirect on a new install and a live store and could add products to the basket but neither would go to checkout. Took it off until I can test it further. Clamors website is now down so proceed with caution when using redirects.

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I was setting the redirect correclty but wether it works or not is dependant on the stores SEO settings. If the settings were the default then it didn't work but if the seo urls were enabled and .htaccess file was installed the redirect worked. It was a clean install I tested it on with the default settings. Worth documenting just in case anyone comes accross the same issue.

I cannot see why it would make any difference at all how a store's SEO settings are set (why would anyone ever run a store without SEO urls switched on anyway and I dont have time to test currently on a fresh install but these are two separate things). Of course a .htaccess file is required and if using Apache then mod_rewrite needs to be installed but otherwise it works fine when written correctly

 

Tried the index.php redirect on a new install and a live store and could add products to the basket but neither would go to checkout. Took it off until I can test it further. Clamors website is now down so proceed with caution when using redirects.

Constructing .htaccess rewrite commands that work correctly can be complicated but I will repeat that if done correctly work perfectly - we have them installed and working perfectly in excess of 100 live CubeCart stores !

Thanks

Ian

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Hi

 

Yes my site is down due to a 301 redirect . I am not panicking yet as it is hosted in Germany and there is often a delay when making any major changes. I don't know where the trailing forward slashes are coming from but I have not made any modifications to the store  - 692 SEO violations.

 

The information above about the sitemaps and robots.txt is useful. I am hoping that the CubeCart sitemap with generate properly when the 301 redirect is in place. In regard to restrictions on the size of sitemaps by online providers, one of my SEO violation alerts was as follows:

 

The page at " /sitemap.xml" contains 338 links. Too many links in the same page may affect the indexing process that is used by search engine crawlers. This may result in poor search rankings for the page or in the search engine ignoring the page.

 

The size of the CubeCart generated sitemaps could be a problem if this is true. The sitemap referred to was generated by an online provider.

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Yes my site is down due to a 301 redirect . I am not panicking yet as it is hosted in Germany and there is often a delay when making any major changes.

Who made what changes to your site that caused this - they should be easily reversed by backing out these changes. This type of problem is not one that will have a delay - it is instant. Being hosted in Germany makes no difference.

I don't know where the trailing forward slashes are coming from but I have not made any modifications to the store  - 692 SEO violations.

Trailing slashes can only be added via custom urls, incorrect rewrite commands or some third party change

Thanks

Ian

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Hi

 

No custom urls, incorrect rewrite commands or third party changes. I am using CubeCart out of the box so to speak. In general, I find I need to wait for the server at the hosting end to update for any changes to activate. My partner has reversed the 301 redirect and the site is still down. Anyway, thanks for all the advice. We will try to get the store back online today.

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Hi Again

 

I am still a bit perplexed about the trailing forward slash issue so I checked the main.php file to find the following:

    <title>{$META_TITLE}</title>
    <link rel="canonical" href="{$CANONICAL}" />
    <link rel="shortcut icon" href="{$STORE_URL}/favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="{$STORE_URL}/skins/{$SKIN_FOLDER}/styles/common.css" media="screen" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="{$STORE_URL}/skins/{$SKIN_FOLDER}/styles/{$SKIN_SUBSET}/layout.css" media="screen" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="{$STORE_URL}/js/styles/styles.php" media="screen" />

 

Could the forward slash at the end of each entry be causing the problem?

 

Also, I am happy to report that the store is back online. The problem was caused by default settings at the hosting end that point to both www and non-www. This caused a loop when the 301 redirect was set up. I will contact the hosting provider for advice on how to get around this.
 

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Hi

 

I'm back! The website and store is now back online - it has actually been online for a few days. The 301 redirect is now working and the sitemap is also generating perfectly as www. I don't understand this but Havenswift-hosting was correct. For the benefit of other members,  the redirect needs to be done at the cPanel level and not at the server level. I am not game to redirect the index.php file yet but I have entered a redirect into the index.html file head area.

 

I have resolved most of the SEO violations and I am down to three. One relates to excessive css code on the landing page so I moved the code to a css single file but I it has not resolved the violation. The other relates to the sitemap being too long but I will have to live with this.

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Regarding the excessive CSS code, would this be embedded CSS code, or CSS code brought is as a <link> resource?

 

If as a resource, I had commented on a ridiculously large 830K CSS file but didn't comprehend its true nature at the time.

 

The jQuery UI theme builder (at the jQuery UI site) allows one to select what 'theme' you want your UI elements to have, or to choose them all, and have the appropriate CSS packaged for you. Apparently CubeCart did not make any specific choice in its acquisition of the CSS file.

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Hi

 

Sorry my post wasn't more clear. The page with the excessive code is my fault and not a CC issue. I set up a separate landing page with a CSS menu bar and that is the cause of the problem. I also included social media buttons and this made the problem worse. I have moved the social media script further down the page and I will try to set up a simpler navigation menu. I may abandon the landing page and set up a redirect straight to the cart. I think it is better for customers to see products immediately rather than going through a landing page first. I am working on the SSL certificate first and this is another challenge as I have to change my IP address. The store will probably be offline again for a day or so.

 

For information, the violation warning is below and it seems to be sensible advice:

 

Search engines will largely ignore CSS code but large quantities of CSS code that precede the actual text will force the text content further down in the HTML. Since search engines may analyse only the first 100 KB of a page,  it is possible that the CSS block may prevent search engines from indexing any page content.

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  • 1 month later...

More on sitemaps.

I generated a sitemap.html last week using www.xml-sitemaps.com/ and found the word " Uitverkoop" in the title.  ie

 

<tr><td class="lpage"><a href="http://www.harrisorganicwine.com.au/shop/index.php?_a=saleitems" title=" Uitverkoop - Organic Wine - Swan Valley">Uitverkoop - Organic Wine - Swan Valley</a></td></tr>

 

I assume this is inserted by cubecart, not the sitemap generator.

Can anyone shed some light on this?

regards

Duncan

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When CubeCart makes a sitemap, the database is queried directly and if the SEO is enabled, will use the 'friendly' names that either: you have created and entered in the Custom SEO URL Path for the product, document, or category; or CubeCart had automatically created from a combination of the product's category and product name, the category name hierarchy, or document name.

 

Having an outside entity scan through your site will use whatever URLs it sees. But I see that this entry is causing some confusion. The friendly name for /index.php?_a=saleitems is typically www.store.com/sale-items.html. The question becomes: where did the scanner find the saleitems link having started from the Homepage?

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