VirtueMart Sometimes Causes SEO Problems

Be careful with Virtuemart and your efforts at Search Engine Optimization.

We had an SEO client during January who suffered from an odd problem that has overtaken 2,800 pages according to a Google search

It seems that VirtueMart sometimes appends a random set of characters to the end of URLs in other parts of the site. It might be a content page, another component or a static content item, but it can happen to all of them and then end up looking like this:

The problem is easy to miss because the normal URLs work without any problems. The only way to diagnose the issue is to use a search engine to analyze your site.

I don’t believe that this can be attributed to any one particular Search Engine Friendly URL tool because we found examples with each of the following setups:

This issue has been raised on the Virtuemart forums and the best that has been produced so far is a work-around rather than a solution. The poster suggests that if the menu links to Virtuemart iare hardcoded rather than created inside of Joomla, the problem can be avoided. However, because the matter was urgent, we ended up disabling VirtueMart on the client’s site and I haven’t had the chance to test whether this solution really removes the pages from search engine listings.

If you’re running VirtueMart and you’re not sure it you have this problem, go to Google and search for "inurl:"?virtuemart" and your domain name.