Even in the demo VevoCart makes no SEO attempts, as the page title and URL show here for a page that is listing men's boots ...

VevoCart and SEO

VevoCart is the asp.net offering for an online shopping cart and it was recently bought to my attention by a client.

In terms of usability I have never applied it to a website because it is so poorly reviewed. You can read some stories of woe here: http://www.shopping-cart-reviews.com/carts/VevoCart.aspx.

But the all new VevoCart version 4 is now out so I decided to revisit the demo pages and see how it stacks up in regards to SEO. The answer is not very well at all, and this is their demo so you would have thought that asp.net would have made some effort, but no.

So we’ll start from the VevoCart demo home page at http://pro.vevocart.com/

A quick look at the code shows some very dated techniques – a huge amount of inline styling (rather than a css file) makes it very code heavy.

Next I clicked on Footwear from the categories box and we see in the url ‘Footwear-list.aspx’ as the page. The title tag? Just ‘Footwear’ and the meta description is ‘This category lists the types of Footwear.’ Well that isn’t really going to help search engines index the page and rank it highly anywhere.

But it gets worse.

So I choose ‘Boots’ and then ‘Men’. The url is now ‘Men-list.aspx’, the title is just ‘Men’ and the meta description is completely empty. So at best a search engine could consider that this page is a list of men! But because that doesn’t match the content which are shoes they could equally become suspicious that the page is spam.

Clicking on a shoe to see more details and we do get a decent product page although the ‘Tell a Friend’ option opens a ridiculously over complicated text editor. I just want to tell a friend, not write a book with endless styled text! This feature was also in version 3 of VevoCart, someone must be very proud of it. That’s not SEO related, just an observation.

There are countless smaller errors as well. Most of the images have no alt (alternative text) tags to tell search engines what they are about. Even the product images themselves have no alt tags.

This makes the shopping cart impossible for users who switch off their graphics, and this means many of those on mobile devices or the visually impaired.

Canonicalization issues abound. The home page is sometimes linked to as http://pro.vevocart.com/ and sometimes as http://pro.vevocart.com/Default.aspx.

Case insensitive URLs exist even though were pointed out in 2008 by SEOmoz (see point 10 of their article in http://www.seomoz.org/blog/11-best-practices-for-urls which states モdon’t ever, ever allow any uppercase letters in your structureモ). Well VevoCart obviously lets that go to the wind!

Much of this, I am aware, can be tinkered with but if this is the flagship demo then I would have thought that showing off what it can do for Search Engine Optimisation would be important. If they don’t care about it here, how much did the programmers care about it when creating the cart.

Now why would asp.net create a shopping cart with the SEO abilities of your average tortoise? At first I thought it was because they have no interest in pleasing Google, only Bing.

But that couldn’t be right, even Bing likes title and description tags.

Ultimately I can only conclude that VevoCart concentrates on other features and if you find the right one there for your business then go ahead. But avoid it like the plague if you need a shop that pleases search engines ヨ you’re better off with X-Cart.