We have our very first brave shop owner’s report! Nancy from Palmetto Engraving took the plunge and sent us her site to audit. Before we get started, I must ask you NOT to create a bunch of test accounts on Nancy’s site as you look around. I would also suggest that poorly written suggestions and nonconstructive comments are not only counterproductive, but I will not publish anything but constructive suggestions, questions and criticism.
First, kudos to Nancy and her team as the site has completely valid code and is error free. As with any php driven website software, this is a challenging task at times.
Next we looked at the load speed of her main page. The speed was 37.5 seconds at 28.8kbs. The standard is 30 seconds, but current advances in Internet speed and browser ability really make this speed acceptable. Not to say it couldn’t be or shouldn’t be improved on, but it’s fine in the overall scope of things.
Next we move in the the <head> elements:
The page title is the most important element in this data. We know this is huge on page ranking factor. In order to help you, this element should be short, 60 characters or so and 100% relevant. The title for Palmetto is 57 characters long and 100% relevant. The biggest issue here, is that the title is missing the mark.
Palmetto Engraving, Where Your Thoughts Become Treasures!
While we have no desire to see some of the spammy tactics out there used in any title, we would like to see some better use of keywords here. Something like below is probably more effective.
Personalized Gifts – Palmetto Engraving
We will not be discussing the Meta keyword tag as it’s no longer used and completely irrelevant to report on.
The Meta description on the other hand, is not used for rank, but has the very important job of selling searchers on your page — eliciting a click through.
The current description is just the generated Zen Cart description and should be changed to use the custom tag features. Keyword lists such as this will likely be completely ignored by Google in search results anyhow, but providing a relevant and helpful description can greatly increase Google’s use of it and thus your click through.
Palmetto Engraving – Jewelry Clocks Gift Certificates Pet Markers Door Knockers Military Plaques Bookmarks Ornaments Ceramic Tile Murals Entertaining Achievement/Awards Wall Art Car Accessories Gift Ideas Identity Kids Gifts Office Misc. Home Office Signs Photo Panels/ Frames Memory Boxes Custom Mugs Name Tags/Badges custom gifts, custom gift, awards, promotional items
While Palmetto Engraving hasn’t any issues with their canonical urls in Google’s cache, we can clearly see that the proper canonical www url and the non both work on the main page. You see, Zen Cart properly directs canonical urls for other pages… Just not the main page.
Normally, we would expect to see Google have one non-canonical url (IE, the main page), but in this case, Palmetto’s main page is not indexed. This is because the necessary bug fix to repair this is lacking on this Zen Cart, so hiding in the <head> of the main page is a nasty noindex, nofollow tag.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow” />
On a canonical note we also noticed that the default indexes are not setup and redirected properly as the index.php is allowed to load, undirected.
The cart’s 404 pa