Zen Cart SEO | Building Backlinks

If you want your web site to rank well in the search engines you need to implement a link building campaign. The number and quality of links pointing to your web site (backlinks) will increase rankings and boost your web traffic.

Internal Linking

Make sure the main sections of your online store are linked from the home page because when submitting your site to directories you only submit the home page URL not all the internal URLS. Search engines will crawl the pages that are linked from your home page.

1. Create a Site Map

A Site Map page includes links to all your internal pages. Some internal links may be several directories away from the home page. Search engines may not crawl these pages. A Site Map linked to the home page will enable search engines to crawl all your pages. Fortunately the Zen Cart Store generates a site map page automatically. You can edit your site map page by logging in to your admin panel-tools-define pages editor and select define_site_map.php from the drop down box.

2. Link to other pages within your content

If one of your internal pages mentions “stainless steel sinks” in its content, link that phrase (anchor text) to the main stainless steel sinks page. This will help boost its rankings because you have a link pointing to it that contains the anchor text “stainless steel sinks”

3. Practice deep linking

External links pointing to your internal pages are known as deep links. The more deep links you get the more traffic you will attract to these internal pages. When obtaining deep links make sure the anchor text is related to the content of the internal page. For instance use “stainless steel sinks” as the link text when linking to the stainless steel sinks page.

Building backlinks through internal links will fortify the theme of your web site, increase page rank, rankings and attract more visitors.

Build 1000s of NEW BACKLINKS to your Zen Cart Store with
highly effective “Article Marketing Strategies

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design, Web Hosting, SEO

Zen Cart SEO | How to Optimize the Content

Each page of your web site is an entry point for your visitors. An online store usually contains many pages. Most visitors will not enter your site through the home page but through its internal pages. The content for each page should be optimized separately to attract the maximum amount of traffic. This means you need to target a different keyword phrase for every page.

How to optimize your home page content

The content on your home page should include your main keywords. For example SinkBiz.com sells stainless steel sinks, porcelain sinks and eco taps. Stainless Steel Sinks is the keyword phrase that gets the most searches according to the keyword research tool WordTracker and is the main product being sold so I placed that phrase at the beginning of the title meta tag and also included it in the opening paragraph.

Here’s the title tag:

Stainless Steel Sinks | Porcelain Sink | Eco Taps – SinkBiz.com

Noticed how I placed the name of the web site at the end. It wouldn’t get much traffic if I placed it at the beginning as no one would be searching for Sinkbiz.com. Stainless Steel Sinks is also included in the navigation links and in the banner title to make it obvious to visitors what the site is about. The keyword phrase “kitchen sink” is also used in the short description under a few of the products on the page.

When optimizing a web page don’t clutter it with your keywords but mention them naturally through the page e.g. paragraphs, navigation links, product descriptions and header tags (h1, h2).

Attract 1000s of NEW visitors to your Zen Cart Store by creating
highly effective “Article Marketing Strategies

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design, Web Hosting, SEO

Zen Cart SEO | Create a Google Site Map

So you’ve set up your Zen Cart Store but it doesn’t appear in Google yet. One of the best and fastest ways to get Google to crawl your pages is to create and submit a Google Site Map. It helps Google to identify what pages are the most important and how frequently they change.

How to create a Google Site Map

1. Create a Google Webmaster Tools account

From this account you receive a constant analysis ie
Diagnostics, Statistics, Links, Site Maps and Tools to enhance your site.

2. Create your Site Map

* Go to http://www.sitemapspal.com and enter your site’s address.
* Copy the code that it generates for your site and paste it into notepad.
* Save the text file as sitemap.xml
* Upload this file to the root directory (same place as your home page) of your web server.
* Submit the Site Map to your Google Webmaster Tools account.

Once your Zen Cart Store has been indexed by Google you will be able to monitor it anytime by accessing your Google Webmaster Tools account and view the statistics generated by your Site Map.

Attract 1000s of NEW visitors to your Zen Cart Store by creating
highly effective “Article Marketing Strategies

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design, Web Hosting, SEO

Zen Cart SEO | Create a Customized 404 Error Page

When visitors mistakingly type the wrong address into their browser bar they receive the dreaded “page not found” page. If you check your site statistics you may find hundreds of people are receiving this error message. You need to put a stop to this by creating a customized 404 error page.

How to create a 404 error page

1. Use your hosting administration panel

Login to the cpanel that comes with the hosting package of your web site and click on the icon that’s named “error pages.”

Select “404” and insert the parameters in the top box ie

referring URL
visitor’s IP address
requested URL
server name
visitor’s browser
redirect status code

Click save

The 404 error page will automatically be created on the server.

2. Create a customized 404 error page

This is the best option because you have control over what to place on the page.
This is what you should include:

* Write the message “Sorry, you have reached this page in error.”
* Direct visitors to your home page or site map by including the URLS.
* Ask visitors to report the error by including your email address.
* Save the page as 404error.html and upload it to the server.
* Test the error page by typing the incorrect spelling for your web site URL

3. Zen Cart – edit: define_page_not_found.php

Zen Cart has an error page built in to it that contains the site map listing all the pages on your site. It still needs to be customized by adding text to the top of the page that explains why your visitor has arrived there and what they should do…return to the home page or click on any of the site map links.

Edit the error page by by logging in to your admin panel-tools-define pages editor-define_page_not_found.php-click save.

Test the error page by typing www.domain.com/define_page_not_found.php

By creating a custom 404 error page, you will stop losing visitors and make more sales.

Attract 1000s of NEW visitors to your Zen Cart Store by creating
highly effective “Article Marketing Strategies

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design, Web Hosting, SEO

Zen Cart SEO | Dynamic URLS vs Static URLs

Online stores and content manangement systems automatically generate dynamic URLs. These are usually very long urls containing a bunch of characters whereas static urls are much shorter. Shorter(static) URLs were considered to be search engine friendly so site owners would convert dynamic urls to static ones. To do this your server would need to accept what’s called mod rewrite. You create a .htaccess file on the server containing code that automatically converts a dynamic URL to a static URL.

Google’s latest announcement

Google recently announced it now indexes dynamic urls. For example if you enter Remington Stainless Steel Sinks in the Google search box you will notice the URL for that web page is extremely long, however it appears on the first page of Google. This means Google now indexes dynamic URLs.

Search engine modification module

If you still prefer to create short URLs install the “Ultimate SEO URLs” mod.

It will transform a dynamic URL from