Recommended setup to keep search engines happy
I could think of enough tips and tricks for the Yahoo Store platform to fill a whole book (hint: it’s coming…), but there is one issue that keeps coming up over and over again when I work with new Yahoo Merchant Solutions customers.
When you sign up for a new account several domains are established:
- www.your-domain.com, which by default links to your web hosting space.
- store.your-domain.com, which by default links to your store editor pages.
- **store.yahoo.com/yhst-yourstoreid, **which also links to your store editor pages.
- shop.store.yahoo.com/yhst-yourstoreid, ditto.
This is not an ideal setup because search engines may think that you have duplicate content (which is bad) and there is the real possibility that your site will be indexed with store.yahoo.com/yhst-yourstoreid instead of the preferred www.your-domain.com. Furthermore, if you use the (in my opinion) preferred way of building your store – the store editor – your store pages will be under store.your-domain.com instead of the more logical www.your-domain.com.
Fortunately, Yahoo does provide the tools to rectify this situation, which I will detail here. Again, this tip applies to new Yahoo Merchant Solutions customers, who have built their store in the Store Editor and not inside the web hosting space with store tags. If this applies to you, also make sure that you do this as soon as possible before the search engine crawlers come knocking on your door!
- Log in to http://store.yahoo.com
- Click on domain control panel
- Click on the link
- Click on Edit and change the destination to your Store pages.
- In the Store Manager, click on the Domain Names link.
- In the dropdown, choose the www option
- Next, we should create a custom error page. This is useful for site visitors and we need to tell search engines not to index non-existing pages. Click on the Store Editor link.
- Click on Contents. If you don’t see this button, click on the red arrow in the toolbar.
- Click on “New”.
- type in the desired id of the custom error page, such as 404.
- Give the page a meaningful name and…
- …and some meangful text.
- Next we need to add a search engine directive to not index the 404 page. To do this, click on “Override Variable” and choose “Head Tags”.
- Copy whatever code you have in the Head Tags variable and paste it here. Next, add the following code:
- Hit Update when done.
- Publish the store.
- Almost done.
- Back in the Store Manager, click on Preferences and…
- and type in the id of the error page just created – in our example 404.
- Last step, publish order settings.
Now, site visitors and search engine crawlers will only see one domain – www.your-domain.com. Your web hosting space is now accessible via site.your-domain.com, which you can obviously continue to use. Note also that your email settings and accounts are not affected.