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Dynamic and User-Defined Meta Tags

About Meta Tags and Search Engines

Meta Tags certainly do not carry the kind of importance that they used to have years ago. Today most search engines ignore the Keywords Meta Tag, and - according to most experts – Google's page ranking algorithm ignores both the Keywords and the Description Meta Tags.

Yet, Meta Tags still play a role in your overall search engine optimization strategy. For example, experts agree that the Title Meta Tag is still crucial to good page rankings. Also, under some circumstances, the meta description might be used as the description in the search engine result pages (SERPs), thus influencing the user to click on a given result. Providing a meaningful description has a positive effect on the click-through rate (CTR).

Beyond search engines, a Title that matches the page content definitely makes sense and allows for better bookmarks, for example. So take advantage of the features mentioned below to associate good Meta Tags - especially the Title - with you store pages.

How Meta Tags are handled

The code in pc/header.asp

Imagine an e-commerce store that has 500 categories and 5,000 products: it would be close to impossible for the store manager to manually add Meta Tags to all of them one by one. The code that you have added to header.asp will take care of automatically creating the Title, Description, and Keyword Meta Tags for every page in the storefront (see how to properly create //header.asp//).

ProductCart will automatically generate them based on product and category information available in the store catalog. Let’s take a closer look at this feature and see how you can take advantage of it. First, confirm that your header.asp file contains the following code towards the top of the page.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<!--#include file="include-metatags.asp"-->
<html>
<head>
<%Session.LCID = 1033
if pcv_PageName<>"" then%>
<title><%=pcv_PageName%></title>
<%end if%>
<%GenerateMetaTags()%>
<%Response.Buffer=True%> 

Among these lines of code are the ones that deal with the dynamic generation of Meta Tags. The following include statement:

<!--#include file="include-metatags.asp"-->

… loads onto the page the file that takes care of this task for you. The file is called include-metatags.asp and is found in the pc folder.

How Meta Tags are created

Meta tags are added to the page as follows, in the following order (e.g. think of a product details page):

  1. Store Manager-Specified Meta Tags
    If Meta Tags have been specified for a product, a category or a content page (*) using the ProductCart Control Panel (when adding or modifying a category, a product or a content page), then that information is used on the corresponding product or category page. This feature was introduced with ProductCart v3.
  2. Automatically Generated Tags
    If Meta Tags have not been specified, ProductCart automatically generates them using the category/product/page name for the Title, and a portion of the category/product/page description for the Description tag. If you have thousands of products and therefore are unable to manually enter optimized Meta Tags for each of them, this feature provides a sensible solution.
  3. Default Meta Tags
    For pages other than product and category pages (e.g. “View shopping cart”, “Search”, etc.), ProductCart uses the default Meta Tags that are found in the file pc/include-metatags.asp.

(*) Meta Tags for Content Pages were introduced with the ProductCart v3.51 update, a free update for version 3.x users.

Editing the Default Meta Tags

Make sure to edit pc/include-metatags.asp before launching your store to replace the default content with yours. Otherwise, you will see that many of your pages carry the “ProductCart shopping cart software” Title tag. If that is the case, it means that the default tags still need to be edited.

To edit this file, do the following:

  1. Download pc/include-metatags.asp to your desktop using your favorite FTP program.
  2. Open it in Notepad or an HTML editor.
  3. Save a backup copy of the file before editing it so that you can revert to the original version if your edited version creates any problems on your storefront.
  4. Edit the file by locating the following code. Specifically, you need to edit the following lines:
    1. Const DefaultTitle = “ProductCart shopping cart software”
    2. Const DefaultKeywords = “shopping cart software, ecommerce software, asp shopping cart, shopping carts, ecommerce solutions, e-commerce, ProductCart, NetSource Commerce”
    3. Const DefaultDescription = “We offer shopping cart software to run ecommerce stores. Our shopping carts are used by businesses to build and manage an online storefront.”

      As the comments in the file indicate, you should not need to edit any other area of the file. If you are an advanced user, you can choose to edit other sections of the file to further customize the type and number of meta tags dynamically generated by ProductCart.

  5. Save the edited version of include-metatags.asp and upload it to your server. Browse the store and pay attention to the page title shown by your browser to see if it properly changes as you browse your store catalog. If you are using Internet Explorer, select Source from the View menu to view the source code for the page. You can then see exactly what meta tags ProductCart generated for the page.

QR Code
QR Code Dynamic and User-Defined Meta Tags (generated for current page)