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Remotely Hosted Cart Vs. Installed
Posted 03 February 2004 - 10:40 PM
I'm trying to explain to a developer why installing a shopping cart system under the client's domain so that the product pages look something like:
A remotely hosted solution where the home page www.domain.com links to another domain such as:
The first thing that comes to mind is that Google (and other SEs) consider the relationship between product and index pages, so the natural interlinking will work together to acheive better results when someone searches for "item2" in this example.
Hope I'm making sense - can anyone help me clarify this?
Posted 03 February 2004 - 11:12 PM
I'm going to go out on a limb and say as long as the shopping cart pages are spiderable, I don't think it makes much difference. The main domain will be linking to the cart pages, and they will be linking back, so I'm not sure I see how it matters which site they are on.
I'm probably missing something in the loop, but the linking structure should be the same regardless of the domain.
As long as the cart doesn't require a cookie or a session ID to view the page and contains spiderable links to other products, etc, I think it would be fine.
That being said, I do prefer to have control of the shopping cart software and am not a huge fan of carts hosted remotely- for reasons other than SEO.
Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:26 AM
Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:45 AM
Personally, I feel uncomfortable when I notice I've been unexpectedly passed to another domain name when making a purchase online.
Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:57 AM
A couple of for instances...
As Scottie mentioned, I'd have to be very sure before signing on the dotted line that the remotely hosted cart does not force the use of either cookies or Session ID's. And I'd grill the folks who do have control of the code that it will never require those items, and have it written into the contract that if they make a change like that which keeps the spiders away that I have every right to cancel the contract with no penalty.
With a shopping cart you're hosting yourself, you can usually tweak it if need be to make it spiderable. Advantage Self-Hosted.
Then there is the ability to edit the layout so that it matches that of your main site. Most remotely hosted carts offer some customization, but not a lot. I don't want to raise any questions or doubts in my potential customers minds at that crucial "buying decision" moment. So I stay away from hosted solutions whenever possible. Advantage Self-Hosted.
Third, I like to have the option of tracking absolutely everything. Not only how a visitor finds me, but what page they landed on and what page(s) people exit the site from. I track all kinds of things, because you never know what little tidbit of information may help you to see a pattern. But if you can find a pattern in what non-buyers are doing you can often correct it and increase your conversion rate exponentially. Advantage Self-Hosted.
Last is the Cost factor. A Self-Hosted solution is normally going to cost more at start up, especially if you need to set up a merchant account to process the sales. But over the long haul, a remotely hosted solution will cost you much, much more. And changing from a Remotely Hosted solution to a Self-Hosted one is a royal pain in the arse.
(Running everything through your own Merchant Account gives you infinitely more ability control potential fraud and chargebacks too, but that's another discussion.)
From the Designer/SEO perspective, this one is a bit of the toss up depending upon the client, their budget and what sort of mindset they have. Personally, when I start a site I look at it as a Business and I assume it is going to be at least moderately successful. So I don't mind paying a little bit more now, knowing I may not start realizing the savings for a year or two. Back in my design days I always urged clients to go the Self-Hosted route. But not all did.
Those who didn't take my advice, then saw their site become more successful than they ever dreamed it would because they didn't understand how effective Internet Marketing can be, have all whined to me about it eventually. It is not uncommon to see a 4 figure per month difference in the cost of Remote Hosted Carts and Self-Hosted Carts for a decently successful site selling items that run a couple hundred dollars. It's never smart to throw away that much pure profit.
The only thing they seem to whine about more than what they're losing every month is the cost to Fix it by switching to a Self-Hosted cart after the fact.
I have the same answer for both of those though... I told ya so!
<edit> Looks like I need to start typing faster! </edit>
Edited by Randy, 04 February 2004 - 10:05 AM.
Posted 04 February 2004 - 10:55 AM
If the site does not have a huge need for tracking or the funds to invest in custom programming etc, remotely hosted carts are a good option.
As long as they are spiderable, they should be fine for SEO purposes. There are some sites that just need a simple, inexpensive solution and as long as you don't forsee a huge need in the future, go with the remote one.
Posted 04 February 2004 - 07:31 PM
Well, what about this angle...
If a cart is hosted remotely, am I at the mercy of the root domain of the cart itself? What I mean is: Say www.cartsoftware.com did some really lousy stuff and got penalized by Google. Will my cart at www.cartsoftware.com/mycart/product suffer as a result?
I'd love to have the cart hosted under my client's domain - just trying to make the case based on site marketing
Posted 04 February 2004 - 10:35 PM
See if you can check one out that is live and in action. I can't imagine what they would do that would cause a spam penalty... most cart software doesn't really "think" about SE's, other than being accessible. Since the individual customer doesn't have access to modify it, you should be fairly safe.
Posted 05 February 2004 - 07:15 PM
Anyhow, the "cart" which is X-cart is hosted under a company domain like:
One customer in question has all of his products listed in the cart/catalog and while his home page is indexed on Google all of the products are not. I think the main reason is that the URL for the products are very long with what seems like session IDs and lots of variables.
Here is the URL after the root:
But, the thing that keeps nagging me is that the web company as I referred to above has a 1 out of 10 PR. I know PR is not all that big nowadays but I can't help but think that would hurt the products listed in the cart software. Also, while they probably wouldn't spam or do anything unethical, they could. So, is it legitimate to worry that if www.webcompany.com say, sets up cloaking and doorway pages for it's own purposes that the potential penalty would be carried over to the cart?
Posted 05 February 2004 - 07:41 PM
Does the XCARTSESSID part show up before you've even tried to add anything to your cart? After you've added something to your cart, that's fine. But if that pops up as soon as you hit a product page it's going to keep those from getting spidered/indexed.
Also, the commonly heald belief is that as long as you keep your modifers (productid= , cat= , page= ) to three or below you're okay. However I have seen sites with smallish PR values of 4 or below have trouble getting pages with as few as two modifiers indexed.
You can fix that problem by using mod_rewrite at the Apache level. But it's more work for you. And if you want to change the way those URL's are written by X-Cart it's going to take some tweaking fo their code.
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