Post by ksjones » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:45 pm

Hi All,

Been looking at OpenCart for about a week, and scratching my head a lot!
Its very simple to install, fast to re-style and perfect, it just lacks the SEO stuff completely!

That aside it'll serves its purpose for now but one thing I would like to get working is the mod_rewrite/ URL Alias stuff can't find a .htaccess file in the latest version at all??? Is the development going backwards or am I crackers?

Quick fix could someone post the full script and i'll just copy it in.
2 versions would be helpful, one for top level stores and one for sub-folder stores.

Cheers all, Kelvin.

P.S. the .htaccess file isn't just hidden!  ::)

//_____MOD

OKAY, installed the latest version 1.1.7 and the URL Alias option just isn't there... backwards coming forwards!

Please hurl abuse at me if i'm wrong, because otherwise this just looks like suicide on OpenCarts part!
Last edited by ksjones on Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Daniel » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:14 am

If you mean the SEO URL's they are a complete waste of time and they are very buggy.

There already is a ISO standard on how URL's should be setup.

URL aliases are ok for small sites but when you have multiple categories, products, pages, sort orders, search words etc.. things get messy.

If you only know about SEO urls then you don't know a lot about SEO.

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Post by nde » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:16 am

Oh yes, Google should have NO problems with OpenCart 1.x URLs.

There isn't much SEO anyways, just websites done right and other websites that smell fishy.

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Post by ksjones » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:11 am

Thanks for your reply Daniel,
its actually the second time we've spoken... the first was via email when I gave you a heads up about the copyright notice on your website, pointed out a bug and suggested that you have a customer facing showcase gallery. You got back to me straight away, not with a response that I had expected as I felt that suggesting that the copyright be up-to-date would help you to promote your product to a wider audience, but nevertheless your willingness to lead this project in such a hands on role is admirable.

If I can just explain my background in brief perhaps it'll explain where I'm coming from; First off i've been in graphic design and marketing through printed media for 8 years, 1 year into this is started website design on static HTML and CSS, 4 years ago I started on website "optimisation" and 3 years ago PHP.
I look at the options for online carts and I see, Magento as an extremely complicated system that needs weeks of work to fully customise, OSCommerce as a very dated but stable solution that is soon to be releasing V3. And OpenCart, a tidy, quick to deploy and vastly expandable system that could really compete with the other 2, there are others but these are the ones that interest me as the way forward.

My point on contextual URLs was one that covered 2 things, firstly a small amount of extra keywords or plus markers that can help with search engines, perhaps not the big ones but site rankings in smaller engines can play a part in your raking in the larger. Secondly a human friendly URL helps to sell products, the more iterations of a product name promoted to the reader can upsell the product massively - think of it as repeating something you need to remember three times.

Mod_rewrite isn't simple to deploy over a paginated website, but rewrite the product and category URLs and the pagination variables can just be listed after that: ...../(.*)$ ...../$2 - further to this using RewriteMap would allow for much faster implementation. Its not something that can easily be added in but if you make a move in that direction it will be adopted and used, bugs can be reported and fixed, and the development can increase.

All this said Google will indeed have no problems with full URLs, its a search engine, it sees a link and follows it!
But as search engine BOTS become move sophisticated and more human like, which one are they likely to 'prefer'?

Keep up the good work.

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Post by Daniel » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:55 am

Google have done acomplete u-turn on SEO URL's.

Googles own blog:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. ... -urls.html
Last edited by Daniel on Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ksjones » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:49 pm

From "Googles own blog":
However, as a matter of fact, we at Google have made some progress in both areas. While static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates because users can easily read the urls, the decision to use database-driven websites does not imply a significant disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking.
There are 4 things that should be lifted from this single sentance, some of which have been highlighted in my previous post.

1. 'Google have made some progress in both', suggesting that Google do indeed treat it as a cause for concern and something that there BOTs have to work at to really see what is going on.
2. 'static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates', ok they use 'might' but this is a term we can use if the evidence isn't solid for a fact but certainly the increase of clickthrough rates is key.
3. 'does not imply a significant disadvantage', therefore implying that there is still an advantage.
4. The fact that Google even post such a lengthy blog entry suggests that there is still need for clarification, and throughout there is a clear suggestion that making Googles life easier will inturn make ours easier.

Your attitude to this would be nice, and will make the difference between my using the system and promoting it ahead of the others for future use.

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Post by fido-x » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:12 pm

ksjones wrote: From "Googles own blog":
However, as a matter of fact, we at Google have made some progress in both areas. While static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates because users can easily read the urls, the decision to use database-driven websites does not imply a significant disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking.
There are 4 things that should be lifted from this single sentance, some of which have been highlighted in my previous post.

1. 'Google have made some progress in both', suggesting that Google do indeed treat it as a cause for concern and something that there BOTs have to work at to really see what is going on.
2. 'static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates', ok they use 'might' but this is a term we can use if the evidence isn't solid for a fact but certainly the increase of clickthrough rates is key.
3. 'does not imply a significant disadvantage', therefore implying that there is still an advantage.
4. The fact that Google even post such a lengthy blog entry suggests that there is still need for clarification, and throughout there is a clear suggestion that making Googles life easier will inturn make ours easier.

Your attitude to this would be nice, and will make the difference between my using the system and promoting it ahead of the others for future use.
With regard to point 2, in the quote from Google that you posted--
"static URLS might have a slight advantage because users can easily read the urls"
This has nothing to do with any indexing done by search engines and everything to do with "human readability". After all, it is easier to understand "http://www.storename.com/product_name.html" than it is to understand "http://www.storename.com/index.php?rout ... duct_id=24".

And point 3, "does not imply a significant disadvantage". By the same token, it does not imply any significant advantage either.

The whole issue of search engine frlendliness is down to what the user searches for, ie do they search for a known "product_name" or do they search for an unknown "product_id".

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Post by ksjones » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:55 pm

Cheers fido,

Indeed it does not imply a significant advantage but it suggests a slight advantage over not having it - why make work for the search engines? Its these miniscule tweaks that build a bigger picture and all help.

With regards to this not having anything to do with indexing, it takes me back to my original point that
a human friendly URL helps to sell products
which is down to "human readability".
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Post by nde » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:56 am

fido-x wrote:
ksjones wrote: From "Googles own blog":
However, as a matter of fact, we at Google have made some progress in both areas. While static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates because users can easily read the urls, the decision to use database-driven websites does not imply a significant disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking.
There are 4 things that should be lifted from this single sentance, some of which have been highlighted in my previous post.

1. 'Google have made some progress in both', suggesting that Google do indeed treat it as a cause for concern and something that there BOTs have to work at to really see what is going on.
2. 'static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates', ok they use 'might' but this is a term we can use if the evidence isn't solid for a fact but certainly the increase of clickthrough rates is key.
3. 'does not imply a significant disadvantage', therefore implying that there is still an advantage.
4. The fact that Google even post such a lengthy blog entry suggests that there is still need for clarification, and throughout there is a clear suggestion that making Googles life easier will inturn make ours easier.

Your attitude to this would be nice, and will make the difference between my using the system and promoting it ahead of the others for future use.
With regard to point 2, in the quote from Google that you posted--
"static URLS might have a slight advantage because users can easily read the urls"
This has nothing to do with any indexing done by search engines and everything to do with "human readability". After all, it is easier to understand "http://www.storename.com/product_name.html" than it is to understand "http://www.storename.com/index.php?rout ... duct_id=24".

And point 3, "does not imply a significant disadvantage". By the same token, it does not imply any significant advantage either.

The whole issue of search engine frlendliness is down to what the user searches for, ie do they search for a known "product_name" or do they search for an unknown "product_id".
To your last sentence: yes, but the title tag is much more important.


To me this post makes it more than clear that Google doesn't care about dynamic URLs. Of course that doesn't meant that there would be no advantage for end users (if the URLs are rewritten). But then again, eBay and Amazon are a perfect example, just look at their product URLs. But then again these sites don't really need Google for their busines.

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Post by fido-x » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:45 am

The only "real" advantage I can see in using static URLs, is so the user can go directly to "http://yourstore.com/product_name.html". As far as using a search engine to find the product at your store, entering "product_name + store name" in the search string will return the relevant results, regardless of whether you are using static URLs or dynamic URLs. After all, it makes no difference to the robots that do the indexing in the first place.

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Post by jty » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:01 pm

fido-x wrote: The only "real" advantage I can see in using static URLs, is so the user can go directly to "http://yourstore.com/product_name.html".
Another reason is when changing a sites software, static URLs can be used do 301 redirects in the htaccess file
I recently lost all my indexed urls becaused I upgraded from asp without static urls to opencart.
I was unable to map the dynamic urls to do a 301 redirect. Lost all the indexed urls in google.

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Post by fido-x » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:38 pm

The way Google's robots are trawling the web, they would have re-indexed within 24 hours. They visit my site on a regular basis (at least twice a day). In fact, it's almost regular enough to set my clock by  ;D

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Post by jty » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:44 pm

Yer, Google is fast but I'm not getting 24hrs. More like a few days/a week/couple of weeks
But I lost my page 1 listing  :'(
Oh well, I'll just have to work to get back up there

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Post by nde » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:09 am

Google usually comes to my site twice a day. About once a week they need more than 24hrs.
Their webmaster tools and a sitemap file are really helpful.

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Post by qahar » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:54 am

Daniel wrote:If you only know about SEO urls then you don't know a lot about SEO.
nice quotation, i will always remember this.. thanks Daniels

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