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• Last Updated: 04/14/2020
• ( 6 minutes reading )

How to optimize your Catalog Content for SEO in X-Cart

Introduction

A solid SEO strategy has the potential to boost your brand impression and sales. Here are two essential facts:

  • 44% of the shoppers state that they tend to start their online shopping with a Google search
  • Around 37% of eCommerce store's traffic comes from Search Engines

In X-Cart, there are a few primary aspects that require focus when it comes to the SEO of your Online Store.

  • Clean URL
  • Meta Elements
  • robots.txt
  • XML sitemap

In case you have followed our X-Cart guidelines, you should be familiar with some of these elements. In this tutorial, we are going to summarize everything and consistently overview each of the aspects.

 

Clean URLs

URLs are one of the essential elements of SEO. Тhey are fundamentally important and considered as a significant ranking factor. Clean URLs or the so-called SEO-friendly URLs are shorter versions of standard URLs that contain the keywords describing the content of a specific page. SEO URLs are not only beneficial for better indexing and search engine ranking, but they are also easily readable by humans. Here is an example for better understanding.

Standard X-Cart product URL:

http://hostarmadatutorials.com/xcart/cart.php?target=product&product_id=31

Clean X-Cart product URL:

http://hostarmadatutorials.com/xcart/16-piece-dinner-set.html

X-Cart generates Dynamic URLs (Standart URLs) for your store pages, which are based on a query from your database. Of course, you can set it up to create Clean URLs by default. To do so, please log in to your X-Cart Admin Area and navigate through the left-hand side menu bar to Store setup SEO settings.

When there, under the "General" tab, you can see the "Enable clean URL" setting. Please make sure it is set to "Enabled".

 

Enable Clean URLs

 

With this done, X-Cart is going to generate SEO Friendly URLs for your store pages automatically. By default, the Clean URLs are created based on the page name. You are allowed to edit them when creating or editing your products, categories, and content pages by unticking the "Autogenerate Clean URL" checkbox. This allows you to enter a custom URL value.

 

Meta Elements

Meta elements (Page Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords) are included in the Head section of each store page and provide information about the content of the corresponding page. These elements might have a significant impact on your store ranking. Considering that in X-Cart you have robust control over them, you should use them with attention to the SEO optimization of your Online Store.

The title element determines the text displayed in the browser title bar and the page bookmarks.

The meta description tag element consists of a summary describing the content of the page. Web crawlers use this tag to determine the nature of the page, and part of the meta description is displayed in search results.

The meta keywords tag element is used to provide the keywords related to the content of the page. Nowadays a very few Search Engines rely on this tag. However, it cannot hurt to include the keywords.

In X-Cart, you are allowed to customize the default site and home page title, meta descriptions, and meta keywords. This is done within the "SEO settings" page. You can find them under the "General options" section.

To edit each of the values, please click on the corresponding Pen icon.

 

Edit Title and Metadata

 

This action takes you to the "Edit labels" section, where you have to click on the Text Label to change it. Upon doing that, a text field appears below intended for the value. In case you have multiple languages installed on your store, please pay close attention to the language you are currently editing.

 

Edit Site Title

 

When ready, please click on the "Save changes" button and go back to the "SEO settings" section to edit the rest of the elements.

Under the "Page title format" section at the "SEO settings" page, you can find settings that allow you to control the text format of various page titles.

 

Page Title Format

 

The title, meta description, and meta keywords elements for your product, category, and content pages are customizable on a per item basis while creating or editing the corresponding page.

 

robots.txt

The robots.txt file contains instructions on which pages or files Web Robots (Web Wanderers, Crawlers, Spiders) are allowed or unallowed to index. The primary function of the robots.txt file is to restrict Web Robots from accessing site pages and consequently to prevent overloading websites with requests.

X-Cart comes bundled with a default robots.txt file located under the root directory of the installation. This could be an issue for X-Cart installations performed on subdirectories, i.e., yourdomain.com/store.

When Robots intent to crawl your website, they look for the robots.txt file based on the URL. They remove the path segment from the URL, i.e., "/store/index.html/" and place "robots.txt" right after the first forward slash, i.e., "yourdomain.com/robots.txt". With this in mind, if X-Cart is installed under subdirectory, the Robots would not be able to locate the robots.txt file. Therefore, what you need to do is move the robots.txt file from the subfolder to the root folder. You can do that using your favorite FTP Client or the "File Manager" tool integrated into your cPanel account.

 

XML Sitemap

XML Sitemaps are used to inform Search Engines of the available URLs for crawling. Detailed instructions on how to generate your sitemap and submit it to Search Engines you can find in our How to generate a Sitemap in X-Cart and submit it to Search Engines tutorial dedicated to this matter.

 

To sum up, in regards to improving your SEO, you have to focus on each of the above-described elements. We sincerely wish you a high ranking and notable overall results. We would like to welcome you to contact our Support Team if you have experienced any difficulties following our instructions. 

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Sebahat
Content Marketing Specialist

Sebahat is a young and bright woman who has become an invaluable part of our team. She started as a Customer Care Representative, mastering that role and, along the way, growing into a tech-savvy individual who is well acquainted with every support layer of the company. Driven by her aim to improve our customers’ experience constantly, she is committed to enhancing the extraordinary support we deliver.