SEO Missed Opportunities: Art.com | Cardinal Path Blog
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SEO Missed Opportunities: Art.com

Christmas is coming. It’s time to start buying Christmas gifts for your family, relatives, friends, colleagues… yes, it’s a long list. There are tons of gift ideas. Perhaps a poster is not a perfect gift for Christmas. But why not? It’s possible to find a nice art print interesting to any person.

I did a quick search in Google to find a website with large selection of posters and opened this website— www.art.com. Two things impressed me:

  • Huge selection of posters
  • Pretty bad SEO

I decided to perform some quick research on art.com to find out more about this business. As far as I know this company has no brick or mortar locations; it is online only. At the same time Spyfu shows that it has quite a big PPC budget—about $ 2-15K per day. This means that the company is interested in attracting more visitors, so let’s take a look how the website performs in terms of organic search.

A quick SEO audit of this website showed tons of missed opportunities. The most important ones a listed below:

Session IDs

The website generates new session ID every time a new visitor (or search engine bot) comes to the website. This session ID appears in the URL of a page following a “ui”

For example:

This creates duplicate content problems because the search engines find the same page listed under different URLs (one for each session ID). Google shows that art.com has about 388,000 indexed pages with session IDs in URLs

This problem could be solved by using three different strategies:

  • changing the structure of the website to avoid session IDs
  • using canonical URL tags
  • using parameter handling feature in Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer

Homepage under different URLs

The homepage of the website could be accessible under different URLs.

 

All three URLs are cached by Google, creating duplicate content problems for the most important page of the website—the homepage.
This situation could be fixed by:

  • changing the internal linking structure and using URL http://www.art.com/ in links pointed to the homepage
  • using canonical URL tag on the homepage
  • using robots.txt to block unwanted URLs

Similar products under different URLs

The website has similar almost identical product pages under different URLs. For example, the print “Mediterranean Gold” could be found under the following URLs

 

These pages have only one difference— framing options.

Once again, duplicate content problems. It makes more sense to have one page for this art print with different framing options to choose from. This approach will solve the duplicate content problem. Another possible solution is using the canonical URL tag.

Lack of text content

The website has a limited amount of text content. It’s missing an opportunity to provide the search engines with content for indexing. Perhaps the easiest way to improve this situation would be user generated content, providing visitors an opportunity to post reviews on product pages will improve the usability of the website and help with SEO.

Heading tag H1.

Presence of targeted keywords in H1 tag is one of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors. The website shows page headline in a regular div tag (for example, <div id=”ProductTitle”>Mediterranean Gold</div> ). Simple change of this tag to H1 (for example, <h1>Mediterranean Gold</h1> ) would improve on-page SEO.

Not Found Page Error

The website generates the wrong server response code for incorrect URLs. Instead of Page Not Found (code 404) error the server provides temporary (type 302) redirect to custom error page (for example, http://www.art.com/errors/404.asp?404;http://www.art.com/qwerty/default.asp). A custom error page is a great solution in terms of website usability, but this page should return correct response code: 404, not 302.

Low quality indexed pages

The website has some low quality pages available for indexing (for example, the “Email a friend” page). There are about 106,000 similar pages indexed by Google!

All these pages are almost identical and provide no value in terms of SEO. These pages should be blocked from indexing in robots.txt

As you can see, currently the website is missing many opportunities to rank better. There is enough room for improvement to make this website more search engine friendly and increase revenue generated by organic search.

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