How to Use the Canonical Tag in Volusion

If you use Volusion as your ecommerce hosting solution, you home page can be found using the following 3 URLs:

  • www.yoursite.com/default.asp
  • www.yoursite.com
  • www.yoursite.com/default.asp?Redirected=Y

And, did you know each one of those links can and usually do have a separate Page Rank in Google?  These “duplicate” pages can hurt your overall rankings and diminish your hard built link juice if you do not take corrective action.

Search Engines Make Bad Assumptions

Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing all make assumptions about your site and since each one of those pages actually do exist they are unable to decide on which page you really want indexed.  Sounds a bit ridiculous I agree and most Volusion business owners or SEOs are surprised to learn their home page exists in 3 different URLs.

In actuality, this was not only a Volusion problem and existed on virtually every site on the internet.

To remedy this multiple URL problem, in February 2009, Google, Yahoo and Bing all announced support for the canonical tag (see: Google’s official blog announcement) which allows you to specify exact the format you desire for your URLs.

The format of the canonical tag is:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.YourPreferredURL.com/" />
and must be put inside the <head> section of the of the duplicate page.

Implementing the Canonical Tag in Your Volusion Store

Now implementing the canonical tag in Volusion requires a bit of coding since your entire store is dynamically created from a single, one-page template.

Note: Failure to follow these steps can lead to issues with your store.

1)    Open Volusion’s LiveEdit Editor

Volusion Editor

Volusion Editor

2)    In the upper right corner, in the Shortcuts box, click on your currently live template

Volusion Template

Volusion Template

3)    Now it’s time to enter the canonical tag into your <head> section.  However, you’ll need to wrap it around a special Volusion <div> tag as follows:

<div id="if_homepage">
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.YourPreferredURL.com/" />
</div>

What this <div> tag does is extremely important.  When your Volusion store page is rendered this code will force it to insert the canonical tag ONLY on your home page which is what you need.  Failure to surround it by this special <div> can have a disastrous affect on your search engine rankings.

4)    Click “Save Changes”

5)    Open your Volusion store to ensure it is still operating as expected.

Implementing this code does not mean those URLs will no longer work or redirect to your preferred URL.  But what will now happen is Google will see all three and combine their importance and relevancy into your single, preferred URL.

Erik Ellsworth is a SEO and Volusion Consultant

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About Erik Ellsworth

Erik is the CEO for Convergent7 Services. He’s always trying to improve your rankings and conversions. And, he’s a big NHL hockey fan.

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