osCommerce is undoubtedly the most popular open source ecommerce system available today. It has been around for a long time and whilst this does mean that it is not particularly cutting edge in the way it is put together, it also means that it is tried and tested and guaranteed to work well.
One of the other great things about osCommerce is the fact that it has also spawned various offshoots or forks. Most notably these include Zen Cart and CRELoaded. There are a few other less well know osCommerce offshoots as well. These are basically packages that have taken the base osCommerce system and added a selection of customisations and extra features to make it a more complete package.
My particular preference is the CRELoaded version of osCommerce. This version includes an excellent templating system making it very easy to get the store to look exactly how you want with minimal fuss. It also includes some excellent catalogue management tools including the incredibly useful and powerful easypopulate system. This system allows you to edit your products via spreadsheet. With a little modification it can handle bulk insertions of tens or even hundreds of thousands of products.
Edmonds Commerce are a freelance PHP development specialist and have years of experience with all flavours of osCommerce. If you have any customisation, optimisation or SEO requirements for your existing osCommerce store, or if you are looking to set up a new ecommerce site based around osCommerce – Simply get in touch.
Many organisations choose to outsource some or all of their SEO efforts. SEO is at once simple and also complicated. The basic principles are simple enough, but if you do things slightly wrong then you may inadvertantly do something which is actually counter productive to your SEO efforts.
To combat spammy sites, search engines use various methods to check if a site is spammy or not. Unfortunately like any automated system there will always be false positives. What this means to you is that if you accidently do something which the search engines will regard as spammy, you might actually harm rather than help your search engine performance.
Unfortunately there are many organisations who market themselves as SEO professionals and offer SEO services, but will at best do you no good and at worst could actually trigger your site to be labelled as spammy by the search engines and get you penalised.
Today I received a well written email from a UK based company (I won’t name names) offering a link building service with a free 30 day trial. Why not is the first instinct – a free trial is worth having I suppose.
Upon ringing the company and speaking to one of their represenatives, I quickly determined that this company is not one that I would like to be handling any aspect of my SEO efforts. Here are the things that got me worried:
Searching Google for the company name did not bring them up
If nothing else, every web site should rank number one for its own name. I asked them about this and they told me that they do not want to rank in the search engines…? An SEO company that doesn’t want to rank in the search engines….
Their website has a pagerank of 0 – a white bar in the Google Toolbar
Many people will tell you these days that pagerank is not important. In general I agree, however having no pagerank at all is a particularly bad sign, especially considering the fact that link building is intended to build link popularity which is pretty much what pagerank is about. For a link building company that’s ridiculous.
They were unwilling to offer any examples of sites that they have done SEO for
They quoted privacy for this which is fair enough, however I am sure that a happy client would not have any complaints if their site was used to demonstrate the value of the SEO companies services.
They only place links on their own network of sites
This is where it starts to get really bad. The technique they use is widely acknowledged to be a spamming tactic which Google can detect and will penalise. Getting your link spread across this link farm will almost certainly get your site penalised.
A real link building company would search out sites that are “out there” on the internet that are in the same niche as your site and will try to get these sites to link back to your site. It’s an incredibly difficult and laborious task which is why so many people outsource it.
I have looked into loads of different companies that offer a link building service and have yet to find one that actually does what it says on the tin. I have seen companies that simply add your link to a bunch of link farms that they control (as in this case) which is at best totally useless.
I have also seen companies who charge high monthly rates for links on an ongoing basis. All these guys are doing is simply renting links for you. This is another tactic which Google is going after in a big way. The value of hired links is now questionable. There is no real need to use a middle man for this service as there are plenty of link renting sites set up that you can organise your own link rentals should you decide to go down this path.
In my opinion any SEO tactic that requires ongoing payment to sustain is not real SEO. To me real SEO is like building a wall. Every action you do is another brick in the wall. Your wall gets bigger and stronger every day and with consistent effort you have built a nice solid house that brings consistent traffic with no ongoing investment.
If you would like to discuss SEO services with Edmonds Commerce by all means get in touch.