Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world but the default implementation comes with significant SEO issues. The Magento SEO checklist guide is created after working on various sites with real implementations. Also, check out our generic eCommerce SEO checklist which is applicable to any platform including custom.
eCommerce SEO is a complex task and it requires top-level planning and implementation to optimise the website properly.
This ultimate step-by-step guide will teach you how to do Magento SEO.
First thing first, a good website structure is the foundation for online success. Before you think implementing best Magento SEO tips, think about the website structure first.
For an e-commerce website, the structure becomes even more important because it needs ranking for a higher number of keywords in general. A strong planning and proper website structure is the key to an eCommerce website to achieve success.
It’s much harder to rank a poorly design website and return will be a lot less with available traffic because it causes integral user experience issues.
It is a lot easier to plan a new website if you may have too many issues rather than putting energy to fix tonnes of issues which will be like climbing the Mount Everest.
If you do not have a greater experience with Magento Website Architecture Design then you may wish to use a readymade Magento theme like Porto or any other which may be popular in the market.
Note: Whether you use a theme provided by a third party or you do a custom Magento website design, you would need to apply your creativity to get it right.
A big tick to SEO if you get your architecture right
Generally, eCommerce websites have higher authority at homepage and category and sub-category level and hence if you will get your architecture right then it will help you greatly to run a powerful SEO campaign and you can expert greater results over time.
Category structure and website navigation
The most challenging task is to get the category placement right and deciding the navigation. And this can be a challenging job if you may be selling a vast range of products.
Think about what Google says: “Do what best for users”.
Think from the user side and make the navigation easy, at no point users should feel they are lost.
SEO consideration with website architecture
Even if you do the best planning form the user in terms of usability, you still need to think about SEO component.
Homepage Keywords: Think about the main keywords to be included to go on the homepage which works in most of the cases.
Category Keywords: For each category, you need to make your primary and secondary keywords to be included in your meta title and description. We will talk more about this in the meta title section.
Part of the planning should be to make your categories rich and avoid thin content.
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Website Authority Flow
Whether you are using Magento online store or other kinds of eCommerce website, it is important to understand the authority flow.
Generally, for a business website it’s hard to acquire links on categories or products pages. Most of the links which they get is ether the linkable aspects which may be the blog or the homepage.
And if you would like to use that authority then you need to ensure the link value is passed to important pages without going too many levels (Category / Subcateoty / Product).
As you can see in the authority diagram, the architecture has acquired links at homepage and blog page and they are being passed to categories which would get searched more by the users and they will have higher possibility to rank well.
If you may have any other important pages which might be problem-solving like how to pages then that needs to be planned properly as well to ensure any links which you may acquire that should be passed directly to key pages.
Tip: Avoid too many levels on your website unless you can’t solve in a simplistic manner.
This is extremely important, general mobile search has already exceeded the desktop.
When it comes to purchasing online until a few years ago it was mostly Desktop but in recent times, shopping using mobile has gone up significantly and it will improve even further.
If you are not focusing on mobile now then you will be mostly behind against your competition in the future. Mobile is a key SEO consideration for Magento online store.
Magento websites have more information to display in a tiny space and that is where creativity kicks in.
You do not need to start learning from scratch about mobile usability unless you have time. You can check what big guys are doing and also check out some popular themes and compare usability.
Mobile SEO considerations
Autocomplete: Allow web forms autocomplete for users to boost the user experience and help them check out faster.
Speed: Make sure your website loads relatively faster.
Search: Provide with a search feature to find products they may be searching for instead making them hard to find using navigation only which may increase the bounce rate.
Key functionalities on top: No matter where they are, allow them to access the homepage, cart, search, phone etc on top.
Preferred Domain / URL
The default installation of Magento does not create a redirection for other versions of the homepage URL.
It’s good to have only one final preferred homepage URL.
The default installation of Magento lets you access the homepage using may different versions of homepage like:
How to deal with the home page duplicate content issue?
Google recommends you should have one final URL for the homepage and other versions of your home page URL should redirect to the primary URL and it should be a permanent 301 redirect. If it may be difficult to implement for whatever reason then another method is by dealing with canonical URL.
So, let’s say you decided to use secure www version as your final URL like https://www.example.com then all other versions should redirect to primary URL or place canonical URL in HTML code like:
In both Preferred Domain and Duplicate Content heading, we discussed the canonical URL. Let’s understand this in more detail.
A canonical URL lets you manage duplicate content greatly. If set up properly it notifies search engines about the final preferred version of URL of a page so that even a page is accessed using different versions of URL search engine knows the preferred URL for the page.
The use of Canonical URL is much more important in Magento as the underlying design of Magento is in a way that a page can be accessed using many different versions of URL.
See in the example below, preferred URL is the 3rd one and all 3 URLs which shows the same page got canonical URL set.
How to setup canonical URL/Link in Magento
To setup canonical URL in Magento follow the following path:
Admin >> Configuration >> Catalog >> Search Engine Optimizations >> Change canonical for products and categories to Yes.
Once canonical URL is implemented, make sure to test it effectively to ensure it will work perfectly.
Magento Category Optimisation
This is equally important for both large and small scale Magento eCommerce websites.
Overall with my experience, I can say that this is the least managed area and untapped SEO opportunity which should be considered. A properly constructed URL structure helps in implementing effective link building strategies.
When you plan a Magento website, you need to create the set of keywords related to each category and also check if they are being searched enough so that when you will optimise your page you will get some market share among your competition.
Two must consider category planning
Think about your products and services with respect to users and plan in a way that it serves best.
SEO: Create a set of keywords related to each category to project future possibilities.
Link building opportunity
If you design your categories well then both internal linking and external linking will become easier and you can also manage them effectively with changes many be required in the future.
Proper category design and link building strategy will determine overall business success.
Generall rule of thumb should be to create a category structure in a way that you can consider 2 to 5 keywords per category.
In past, it was a common practice to use HTTPS in checkout pages to ensure user’s information is encrypted.
But in recent years, Google has recommended and pushed security / SSL so much as it is a part of the ranking algorithm now.
Security is critical when you buy or sell products online and you can choose the right SSL certificate depending on the need.
If you are starting a new business then you may take advantage of free SSL provided by many leading hosting providers.
If you are a high transection value business then you may wish to choose upper-level SSL certificate.
As far as Magento SEO is concerned, as long as you have any level of SSL you are covered.
It’s much harder to do SEO for an online store as you are not limited to just optimising for few keywords attached to the homepage.
Generally, eCommerce websites expect to rank for a more diverse range of keywords. And it is very challenging and time-consuming to create the right strategy for an e-commerce website.
And SEO service provider should spend more time on planning primary, secondary and product-level keywords.
Using Google Keywords Planner tool you can find keyword popularity based on the search volume for a specific location, Google CPC.
Generally, the best practice is to consider primary keywords to go on the homepage.
In most situations, the homepage has more authority and its good to consider optimising primary keywords on the homepage. If you may have a situation where you have got more authority on inner pages then strategy need to change your strategy accordingly.
Assume you are a massive retailer of electronic online then you may like to consider the brand-related authority on the homepage and product-related authority category pages.
On the other side if you sell very specific products like particular menswear then you may need to consider your primary keywords to go on the homepage.
There is no strict rule for keywords distribution but it needs to be planned based on the business need and future consideration.
You can consider secondary keywords to go on some categories, products and blog pages.
Tip: Its lot easier to optimise secondary keywords than primary. While doing SEO confidence is key as it keeps pushes you hard to achieve more. And if you will start to focus more on secondary first then you can start to see the change in ranking in a relatively short time.
This is very important for both big players as well as SMEs.
For large scale Magento implementation one may consider the brand to be optimised on the homepage.
But for a small player, the homepage will be like bread and butter where SEO consultant needs to consider keywords related business revenue and plan the homepage accordingly.
No matter what keyword you optimise for, do not forget to have a description somewhere on the homepage. Generally, online stores are filled with banners, products, specials etc but they do not focus on having appropriate text on the home.
In the SME sector, this is like a goldmine.
Generally, the homepage is filled with graphics if you don’t have space add appropriate writing even at the bottom of the page.
The search functionality in Magento website is very important. Generally, people to type and get what they are looking for instead of going through the navigation and locating.
Users do not have much patience when it comes to searching for things online if they can’t find they may search. Make it easier for customers and display search in a prominent manner.
This can be a great feature from the SEO side and business opportunity.
But Magento records detail about search done on the website. You can optimise for some untapped opportunities.
Searches made on the site are very specific.
A good number of people search for products in the search bar and it should give you a good indication of people’s interest and opportunity to improve your online store.
Untapped Product Range
You may see some search pattern which you may not offer currently but your customers might be interested so you will have the opportunity to introduce a new product range based on that learning.
Irrelevant Product & Search
You may get some search phrases which you don’t offer but due to poor optimisation or external factor.
You can take required action to ensure either you don’t rank for irrelevant searches or action against spam.
Meta Title & Description Optimisation
It is important to create a proper meta title and description by including the right set of keywords.
Your aim should be to get the homepage and key category pages meta tag written in a custom way to ensure you optimise for the right set of keywords.
There are many benefits to keep the blog separate.
If you may go offline with your Magento maintenance, your blog can still run.
The marketing team is generally more aware of WordPress and its easier to use.
Importantly there are many SEO benefits.
If you plan to use Magento default blog it may work fine as well.
Don’t post blogs because it can look your website filled. Post content which can add value to your users.
If you plan to do quality SEO then this is one of the most important aspects of SEO related to link building and passing the authority to important pages.
Linkbuilding is one of the most challenging tasks to implement and if you did all your hard work to get natural links then must take the right actions to distribute the authority by implementing a proper internal structure.
Proper internal linking would help you achieve more to get the desired ranking with fewer quality links.
Right linking structure helps user and search engines to find the right information.
Also, it notifies search engines about the importance of internal pages based on the number of links pointing to the particular page.
A good balance of content in categories, products, and homepage and building the linking spider is the best way of doing Magento SEO.
If your page is too long then you may consider internal anchor links then it is highly recommending. We have answered the question: does google index hash URL in full detail.
Video / YouTube
Users make a decision very quickly whether they would like to spend more time on the page or not.
One of the best way to help users stay longer on the page is by having a video embedded into the page which talks closely about the product and service you offer.
Uploading videos on YouTube with appropriate description and backlink is also very helpful to let search engine spider about the importance of the page.
Also, if a video would be coming from an official verified YouTube channel then it will create additional authority.
Note: It takes a lot of effort to create quality video and it has some benefit too so create a good balance, don’t put all your strength in just creating videos.
HTML / XML Sitemap
Unlike simple websites where only fewer pages are available, an eCommerce website has a higher number of pages and it is very important to have HTML and XML sitemap to help crawler find new pages easily.
These days more than users, it helps search engine bots to identify new pages and crawl them on time.
You can use Magento XML sitemap generator extension to get the job done easily.
Make your URLs SEO friendly. Keeping URL short and descriptive helps to detect keywords included in the URL which is a ranking factor.
Key things to consider while URL planning with SEO consideration
Do not make it too long.
Include the right keywords in the URL.
Do not repeat keywords.
Separate words by dash (-).
Managing forward slash at the end in Magneto
If you are using a clean version of URLs then make sure you have a consistent approach either to have forward-slash (/) at the end or not. Whatever you choose, be consistent.
You may set up to redirect to your preferred version.
If hard to manage then set canonical to your preferred version.
Google considers URL with and without URL at the end as 2 different pages and it can cause a duplicate content issue if you will not manage it properly.
Focus On Speed / Code Optimisation
Magento uses more resources than a standard website and hence you should use a reliable hosting where enough bandwidth is allocated to ensure the system can run without any lag.
If your website will run too slow then it will have a negative impact on your ranking. Speed is a ranking signal for Google
It is important to optimise website code and images to ensure rendering becomes faster.
You can get some great feedback about speed and possible optimisation using Google Speed Insights report.
Quality Content vs Thin Content
From the get-go, your priority should be to build quality content and merge any similar pages to make it a strong one.
It is very difficult to rank a thin content page.
Make your category and product page look rich by having proper description, images and videos.
We all know it is very hard to make categories and products pages too content-heavy like blog posts and that is why it becomes necessary to have a blog to boost the authority.
High-quality content with problem-solving in nature has much more high changes to get more natural links. When you build high-quality content make sure you have images, animation, videos, infographics along with text which makes it more user-friendly and engaging.
Make sure you have a strong internal linking strategy to share that authority which will help to rank for your main keywords.
Optimise for FAQ
Google displays frequently asked questions in the search results.
You should have a proper strategy to target questions related to your product and services and optimise it using FAQ Schema markup.
Keep Users Engaged With Discount Codes
Magento discount system offers by far the best discount mechanism with n number combinations with code and expiry etc.
There are many discount sharing sites like OzBargain and others and they have tonnes of users looking for promotion codes.
Offer discounts and feature them on different bargain sharing sites and boost visitors.
Smooth Checkout Process
This is another big one. If you can’t make the checkout easier then you will be losing revenue.
A happy shopping experience means you can expect customers will return and they will spend more time on your website.
There are many aspects of making checkout smooth.
Make the form easy to fill and ask only necessary details and allow autocomplete feature.
Offer them different payment methods to ensure they can easily pay.
Consider login as well as guest checkout.
Allow them to choose different shipping address in their my account.
If your brand is popular then you may get more search for your brand.
Optimising your site links means you can feature your key pages means you can redirect user straight to the right page which will boost the user experience.
Take Advantage Of How-To page
Generally, when you sell product and services online, buyers need more help than just buying products.
Building a strong how-to page means you can keep them engaged about how to use your products post-purchase which will be a great boost from the SEO side and you also upsell them.
Images are key for eCommerce websites but if you don’t optimise them the page will be heavy and it will have a negative impact on the load time.
From the beginning, you should have a strict guideline about uploading photos with specific dimensions and specific physical size to ensure your page will look good and it will also load faster.
A beautiful looking page gets more share but when someone will click on the link if it can’t load on time then it will have a negative impact on user experience and hence SEO.
Taking advantage of Email Marketing
When you run a promotion, collect user’s email and send them periodically email newsletters with some genuine offers which will encourage them to keep visiting your site and remember it for a go-to place for the product and service you offer.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms which can be integrated easily with the Magento system.
3 tips. Get your website foundation right. Build powerful content to solve problems. Implement creative backlink strategy. Implement this guide top to bottom and it will address the majority of Magento SEO issues.
How bad is Magento with duplicate content?
The default Magento implementation has several duplicate content issue and they must be addressed to ensure you get the best outcome.
Should we add text content on the homepage and category pages of the Magento site?
Yes. You should consider adding content (Text, Images, Videos) in your home and category pages where you expect most of the ranking. Its better to do all possible with content building and rely on fewer links as it is a safer method.
How many blogs should I write per month to rank the Magento website?
While there is no specific number but if you will focus on fewer blogs with more problem-solving quality blogs it will have a positive impact than having too many thin content blogs.
How to optimise internal linking on a Magento site?
Internal links play a vital role in ranking the Magento website. Consider your homepage, categories and blogs and pass the authority to relevant key pages.
How to make Magento website faster?
Magento is very resource-hungry platform and you need to ensure you have the right hosting with enough processing power. Also, you need to optimise your website code and images to make it lighter. You can use the google speed test and address key issues.