Friday, 29 June 2007

Yahoo! Stores - hard coded duplicate content

I read this post on the Yahoo! Stores blog. The Yahoo! stores blog is there to scratch the surface of online marketing for merchants new to the scene; it's probably great for giving people introduction to subjects, and leads to follow up, but for old dogs there's not a huge amount of new information. It certainly lets us see that Yahoo!'s helping its merchants, and that they're doing well from their help and the amazing Yahoo! store system. Anyway, in this SEO-oriented posts, Karl Ribas brought up some valid points, including a little intro to duplicate content:

Duplicate content was a pretty big concern at SMX, as having non-unique content on your website is quickly becoming a bigger and bigger problem for online merchants. ... From a search engine’s point-of-view, their one and only goal is to serve a variety of quality results per query, not multiple versions of the same content


Fantastic advice!

Yahoo! stores have cleverly helped us out here. As we all know, visiting the root URL - / - of a domain should really show the homepage; no redirects, no frames, just a plain and easy HTTP 200 response with some good content. And, to their credit, Yahoo! have managed this millimetre scale hurdle.

Now, we also know that in most circumstances, it's great to have a link to your homepage on every page in your site, right? After all, it's the most important page, and where people like to navigate from - so great to provide a link to in case they get lost.

Yahoo! have cottoned on to this little nugget of wisdom, and kindly added a link named "home" to the homepage of a site on every one of its sub-pages. Well, kind of. In fact, it's a hard-coded link, using the link text "home" (also hard-coded - heaven forbid anyone decides that using all-lower-case looks awful, or would prefer slightly less heterogenous link text here):

Dear Zack,

I think you might've got your wires crossed. I'd like to change the
small H is my yahoo stores / store editor system, I don't really mind
about yahoo web hosting. There are options to change all the other
tabs, but the name for the "home" page seems kind of elusive, even
though intuitively I expected them to be in the same place. Could you
check and come back to me ?


Hello Leon,

Thank you for contacting us.

It's not possible to change the 'H' in the navigation bar because the
links are hard-coded into the store software.

We apologize for the inconvenience.


This locked-down and widely shown link points to some strange, new page that's mentioned nowhere else in the store - to "/index.html".

<ul id="nav-general"><li><a href="index.html">home</a></li>


"What's this new-fangled index.html?" I hear you cry. "Where's my homepage?". Well, don't worry! Yahoo!'s kindly duplicated your homepage content for you onto this new URL. So search engines can NOT ONLY get your stuff at the root page, as standard, but now you'll find your link weight directly split between links to / - added by you - and links to /index.html - forcibly inserted by Yahoo!.

What do Yahoo! think of this? Can we get it changed?

Hello Leon,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Store Support.

Although this feature is not currently available in the Yahoo! Store
software, we do consider your feedback regarding the features you'd like
to see a very important part of how our development team decides which
features to add to the Yahoo! Store software.

We do not currently have an estimated time for if or when this feature
or any other features may be released. However, we do release a regular
newsletter to all of our merchants at the following link:

http://www.insightsforum.com/

You can see previous copies of the newsletters at:

http://store.yahoo.com/vw/merchant-newsletter.html

We appreciate your feedback. We've forwarded your comments to our
development team for review.

We believe this solution should resolve your issue, if it still
persists, please call us at 1-866-800-8092.

Please do not hesitate to reply if you need further assistance.

Regards,

Andre


Thanks Andre! I'm not sure what led you to believe it should resolve my issue, I'm fairly sure you just told me that it wasn't resolvable. Have you tried visiting http://www.insightsforum.com/ ? I'll save you the trouble:

Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)



Well, maybe the archive mentioned has something useful. Let's take a look at the last post:

February 2005-
Note: Insights has switched formats. While you will continue to receive monthly newsletters, all articles are archived on the Insights Forum site rather than a single HTML file.


Thanks Yahoo!. That's pretty good.

Will you stop duplicating my content soon please?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leon,

If you do not want the link to be "home", you could always edit the RTML. This would not be that difficult of a change (though arguably this could be made into a variable to edit as with other content).

To the bigger issue you pointed out, this problem has already been addressed. The 301 Redirect setting feature was updated to include not only non-www urls but also index.html. If you do not wish to split any page value for your home page, you can set the redirect setting in the Domains section of the Store Manager.

Paul

Leon Derczynski said...

Dear Paul,

It's a shame you don't work for Yahoo!, and thanks for providing a good and useful response. As you can see, Yahoo! customer support were both contradictory and useless; my attempts to contact them via their blog were met with a wall of silence.

I can't find a way to redirect a single page with 301 via this part of store manager, though - how did you do yours?

 
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