Magento Search Engine Optimization

Optimize Your Magento Store For Search Engines

Magento Search Engine Optimization

Magento is an open source platform for building e-commerce shops that provides the merchant a flexible way of adding shopping cart system, as well as quick way to modify the functionality and content of their online stores. There is no doubt that Magento is the best E-commerce site builder which is available today, along with editions ranging from small scale open source community edition to large-scale massive enterprise grade application i.e. SaaS-based Systems. Magento also supports SEO, apart from powerful marketing tools, catalog-management etc. In this article we are going to tell how you can optimize your Magento store so that they rank better in major Search Engines. Keep reading to know the tips!

Before starting the actual optimization of your store, the first step in optimizing your store for Search Engines is to know about your keywords. You need to research on keywords which people would be using to find your website. It is very important aspect for search engine optimization. The best keyword research and competitor analysis will help you to reach targeted audience and determine the maximum ROI.

Shop Configuration

It is the first place to start optimizing your magento website. Check the search engine optimization options in the web configuration section. Go to system->Configuration->Design->HTML Head and you will find some settings for SEO. For better results, you should set up favicon, default title, default description, default keywords, default robots.txt and also use option to add miscellaneous scripts like google analytics and others. You can also prevent your website to be indexed and force your URLs with www. or without www. You can also setup Auto-redirect to base URL using 301 permanent direction.

There are many important options available for Search Engine optimization at below location :
Go to System-> Configuration-> Catalog -> Search Engine Optimization

You can setup & configure things like:

Auto generate Sitemap
Popular search terms setting
Popular search terms setting
Product URL Suffix Setting
Use categories path for product URLs setting
Create Permanent Redirect for URLs if URL Key Changed setting
Page Title Separator setting
Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories setting
Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products setting

XML Sitemap Generation
Once you are done with Configuration, you can generate XML Sitemaps for your store. The Sitemaps are protocols that allows the webmaster for a website to inform Search Engines about the URL's that are available on a webpage or websites for crawling. Go to System-> Configuration-> Google Sitemap to generate sitemap automatically. You should submit the XML sitemap to Google webmaster tools. For better crawling results, use Yahoo webmaster tool also.

You can use robots.txt to prevent the Search Engines from indexing any specific area or section or webpage in your website. This file tells the web robots about which areas of the website should not be crawled or scanned.

Google Analytics Code
Create your account at Google Analytics and you will get traffic tracking code for your magento website. You can use this code to track users/visitors in your website. Go to System > Configuration > Google API and enable the UA-Tracking Number.

Page Content Optimization

Magento has an inbuilt Content Management System where you can manage all the contents of your store like product pages, categories, product descriptions, static pages etc. All you have to do is to use the researched keywords as maximum as possible in these content pages of your shop.

Customer Reviews
If you are running your e-commerce web portal and missing the section of customer reviews then you will not get good results in Search Engines. So, in order to improve your performance in SEs, you should include Customer reviews in your website. There are few extensions in magento which will let you send e-mails to customer automatically for getting reviews, offer discount on your products and publish their reviews on your product page. Use relevant micro data for your product page which you want to generate good click through rates.

Product Videos
Use videos, if possible, on each product page which will make your page more link worthy and rich in content. Good demonstration of product through videos may also help you to increase the conversion rates.

Microdata markup
Search engine support microdata and vocabulary languages. So, choose markup properties related or relevant to your product attributes. Making some markup changes can get some major improvement in search engine rankings.

Q&A Content
Use question and answer section for better user engagement on product pages. Sometime question and answers help to generate good content. It also helps to improve the conversion rates. You can add some third party extensions for adding discussions on your magento store.

Social Sharing buttons
Social signals are very important for better search engine rankings. Infact now Google has started to give priority to those websites which has good social media reputation and engagement. There are many extensions in the Magento which will add the social sharing functionality to your store.

Page Speed
Good website speed is a very important factor for Search Engine optimization. It not only affects your rankings in Search Engine but also affects the conversion rates. A user may not want to wait long for purchasing a product. So, website speed optimization is important for even getting good results in Search Engines. If you have missed our previous article on Magento Speed Optimization, then you can read it here.

Open Graph Tags
You should also add Open Graph tags in your magento e-commerce store pages. These tags help to be more effective on Facebook shares. Facebook is a big platform which drive lots of potential for referral traffic and thus help in making your store better for Search Engines.

Search Options
You definitely need to have a Search box in your magento e-commerce website. This will indirectly help you to know the best keywords which your customers are using to find your products. So, with a Search history you can know the most popular keywords search on your store and then can modify your contents to present the results in Search Engines.

Breadcrumb Optimization
Do not ignore the importance of having a breadcrumb navigation in your store. It not only helps to navigate users easily but it also helps the Search Engine crawlers to jump from one landing page to another landing page. Also, a customer can conveniently navigate from categories to subcategories.

Image Optimization
High quality images are required to make your ecommerce website very attractive. But they are also very useful for Search Engine Optimization. If you keep descriptive image file names, alt attributes, and image sitemap etc, they can bring more traffic and can be used to optimize site for Search Engines.

Meta title
Usually a Magento e-commerce website may contain thousands of product pages so adding meta title for each page is a very difficult task. But with help from an experienced Magento developer you can generate Meta titles for each product page automatically. You should have product name followed by brand name or website name in your meta title.

Meta Description
Meta descriptions are not very important for search engine rankings but they drive good click through rates (CTR). It is a perfect place to show product information, call to action, unique selling promotion (USPs) etc in your ecommerce magento websites.

Unique Product description
The latest Panda updates, tell us that it is very important that each product page in your magento store should have unique product description. So, do not forget to optimize your product description.

Page URL
It is pretty basic requirement for Search Engine optimization. You need to have readable page URLs through which the Search Engines are able to relate your pages to your keywords. Most of the time product page url contains canonical URLs so it should be passed through rel="canonical". And don't includes categories in page URLs for your ecommerce magento website.

Heading tags
Usually in magento website, the H1 tag is generated automatically by the template. But do not forget to optimize each page for H1 tags. If your Product page includes more than one heading tags then it should have priority H1, H2, H3.. H6.

Thats all for optimizing your magento store for Search Engines. Apart from these above tricks, do not forget to establish internal as well as external backlinks in your website for off page search engine optimization. High quality links are like a vote for your website and more number of votes deserves a good search engine ranking.
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