5 SEO Suggestions for the Yahoo! Store Team

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SEO Suggestions for the Yahoo! Store TeamThe 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.

SEO Suggestions for the Yahoo! Store 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.

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3 Comments:

  1. Hey Karl,

    All good suggestions. I have heard #1 (editable robots.txt) and certainly #5 (ability to set page-specific redirects) asked from plenty of merchants. The suggestions aren't laughable by any means--both of those are valid use cases just that they haven't risen to the top of the feature request list or business priority. That's not to say we won't get to them--just that we get many requests but have limited resources so we have to prioritize how we address them (# of requests, who will it affect, impact to our business, etc).

    To speak to the difficulty of these, anything is possible--just comes down to time it would take to implement vs. the benefit merchants would see. The shared nature of our solution (many stores on dozens of shared servers) makes offering editable robots.txt or htaccess a bit more difficult than just a quick fix.

    So your readers can help me do my job (understanding merchant's needs and solving those) by sounding off on how important these features you have outlined are--not only force ranking these from one to five, but also saying where these fall when compared to other features they may want as well. My guess on rank would be 5, 1, 2, 4, 3, but I would love to hear from some merchants as to what they would say.

    Paul
    Yahoo! Store
    By Anonymous Paul on February 01, 2008
  2. My thoughts would be 5, 1, 2, 3, 4.

    From a Pay Per Click point of view, I would like to see Yahoo! Stores to be able to integrate more with Google products, specifically Analytics and Checkout.

    Currently, you need a 3rd party vendor to be able to use Analytics with Yahoo! Store and it would be easier for merchants who have come to Yahoo! because they are not that familiar with coding etc. to be able to set it up. If Yahoo! store could make it simple to utilize Google Analytics with their store, in the same fashion they've simplified Google sitemaps, that would be great.

    Also, Google Checkout currently cannot be used with Yahoo! Store's and I think that leaves merchants missing out on possible sales and by default, Yahoo! as well. So it seems a little silly that a deal hasn't been worked out of as yet.
    By Blogger Jessica Guadiana on February 01, 2008
  3. I think all of the suggestions above are great. The one other suggestion I can make as a developer would be to allow a shipping rate for each individual item. I can manipulate the website to include this feature, but it looks silly in the shopping cart considering you have an item that has an option of shipping but at the bottom it says shipping is zero. Confuses the customers.
    By Anonymous Brandi on February 04, 2008

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