The developers of the Yahoo! Store platform are very focused on providing the very best solution possible for their merchants. These guys understand full-well that there is a lot more to eCommerce than just providing a customizable website solution and a secure shopping cart. With that, I have a few simple ideas / suggestions that I would like to share with their team.
Generally speaking, the developers of the Yahoo! Store platform (not to be confused with Yahoo! Store designers - but the actually people at Yahoo! who've created this platform) are very focused on providing the very best solution possible for their merchants. These guys understand full-well that there is a lot more to eCommerce than just providing a customizable website solution and a secure shopping cart.
With that, I have a few simple ideas / suggestions that I would like to share with you readers, and to possible the Yahoo! Store development team as I know they stop by once in awhile - referring to you Paul B. I understand that these guys are uber-busy these days, but my suggestions are things I believe can be implemented rather easily (really, I have no idea) and will make life easier for merchants, not to mention myself, especially from a search marketing front.
5 SEO Suggestions for the Yahoo! Store Team
The following are 5 SEO suggestion the Yahoo! Store development team:
1. Editable Robots.txt Files
Please allow Yahoo! Store owners the ability to edit their store's robots.txt file. In doing so, merchants and their marketing teams will now be able to customize the depth of their search engine experience, and limit search engine spiders to crawl only those areas that matter most.
There have been numerous times when my clients and I didn't want search engines to crawl and index specific pages. For example:
- PPC Landing Pages: Pages that are often duplicated to improve PPC conversion.
- Promotional Pages: Pages that feature discounts or deals created specifically for email marketing campaigns
- Product Pages: Some manufactures request that pages and products not be found via search engines.
These are all legitimate reasons for wanting to edit one's Yahoo! Store robots.txt file, and yet doing so is not an option.
2. Add Sitemap URL to Robots.txt
Creating and distributing a website's sitemap file has become a very important part in getting one's website crawled and indexed by the search engines. Therefore, I suggest that the Yahoo! Store team integrate the URL for the Google Sitemaps file into the robots.txt file. Search engine crawlers will crawl robots.txt files, and according to XML Sitemap protocal, they will crawl the robots.txt file and record its location via the URL provided.
3. Implement Ask Sitemap Submission
Ask provides website owners with a special URL that when used will automatically ping the search engine and provide it with the location of their site's sitemap file. This URL, while pretty basic, is not really known outside of the SEM community, and could actually be somewhat problematic for merchants with little-to-no Internet or website experience.
I suggest that the Yahoo! Store team create a simplified process for utilizing this special URL. One suggestion for implementation is to provide a link that merchants can click-on in which your system automatically generates the correct "ping" address. Or, how about providing a check box which would take care of things behind the scenes.
4. Implement MSN Sitemap Submission
Microsoft Live Search has recently rolled out a program dubbed "Live Search Webmaster Central". This program allows website owners the ability to register their website and see key diagnostics and statistics regarding how their website interacts with the Microsoft Live search engine - a program very similar to Google's Webmaster Tools and Sitemaps program.
My suggestion for the Yahoo! Store team is to create a tool, similar to the one that was created for the Google Sitemaps program, which will allow merchants to easily verify ownership of their website (something that must be done before Microsoft will relinquish any kind of data).
5. Allow for 301 Redirects
I suggest that the Yahoo! Store team to allow Yahoo! Store merchants the ability to create 301 redirects. 301 redirects are a search engine's preferred way for redirecting traffic from page-to-page or site-to-site, and Store owners need to be able to redirect pages as needed.