Ultimate Magento SEO Guide

Ultimate Magento SEO Guide
Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platform in the world but the default implementation comes with several SEO issues.

To do SEO for an e-commerce website itself is a challenging task and it requires top-level planning and implementation.

This ultimate guide will teach you how to do Magento SEO. These techniques are tested in many different sites and you can count on it.

Table of Contents

  1. Website Architecture
  2. Preferred Domain / URL
  3. Duplicate Content
  4. Canonical URL Management
  5. HTTPS as a Ranking Factor
  6. Keywords Placement
  7. Homepage Optimisation
  8. Category Page Optimisation
  9. Magento Search
  10. Meta Title & Description Optimisation
  11. Blog Strategy
  12. Internal Linking
  13. Video / YouTube
  14. HTML / XML Sitemap

Website Architecture

First thing first, a good website structure is the foundation for online success.

Before you think about SEO, think about the website structure first.

For an e-commerce website, the structure becomes even more important because it needs ranking for higher number of keywords in general. A strong planning and proper website structure is the key to an eCommerce website success.

It’s much harder to rank a poorly design website and return will be lot less with available traffic because it causes an issue in terms of user experience.

Get it right.

SEO Powered Website Structure

 

Category structure and the SEO Impact

The most challenging task is to get the category placement right and deciding the navigation. And it might be even more challenging to plan for a website where the product range will be too high.

The general recommendation is to think from the user side (better user experience) while planning the website structure but it’s worth emphasising the importance of SEO here.

Generally, for an e-commerce website, most of the rankings are at home and category pages level and that is why the importance of website structure becomes very very important.

More you will learn in Magento category optimisation section.

 

Preferred Domain / URL

The default installation of Magento does not create a redirection for other versions of 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:

https://www.example.com
http://example.com
http://www.example.com
https://example.com

Also using /index.php and few other combinations.

It’s good to have one final preferred homepage URL and other should permanently redirect (301) to preferred URL.

See example below:

301 url redirection

You may use preferred URL testing tool to ensure your got right redirection set.

Note: A canonical URL can also do the job if it may be difficult to handle the redirection. But this option may not be the best for various other reasons.

Duplicate Content

This is a very critical issue in raw Magento installation.

Note: Here we are not talking about duplicate paragraph content which may be sourced from other places.

If a page can be accessed using many versions of URL then generally it creates duplicate content unless managed otherwise.

Dealing with Duplicate Content and URL

If the homepage is not managed properly using preferred URL or canonical URL then it will create duplicate content. Homepage duplicate content issue can hurt your ranking significantly.

Magento Product Page Duplicate Content

Apart from the homepage, Magento generates a massive amount of duplicate content in inner pages (mainly product pages).

You might have seen a particular product can be accessed using may different URLs like:

example.com/shop/first-product.html
example.com/index.php/shop/first-product.html
example.com/first-product.html
example.com/search/first-product.html
etc.

magento duplicate page content

And to ensure it doesn’t lead to duplicate content issues, a proper canonical URL setup is required.

Canonical URL Management

In both preferred domain and duplicate content heading, we discussed canonical URL. Let’s understand this in a more detail.

A canonical URL lets you manage duplicate content greatly. If setup properly it notifies search engines about 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 may 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.

magento canonical url

 

HTTPS as a Ranking Factor

In past, it was a common practice to use HTTPS in checkout pages as users enter private information and it was necessary from a security point of view.

But in recent years, Google has recommended and pushed security / SSL so much as it is a part of ranking algorithm now.
https
It is good to build new site entirely on HTTPS and there should be a strategy in place to move old site to run on SSL.

Keywords Placement

It’s much harder to do SEO for an eCommerce website.

Generally, eCommerce websites expect to rank for a more diverse range of keywords. And it is very challenging and time-consuming to create right strategy for an e-commerce website.

And SEO service provider should spend more time on planning primary, secondary and product level keywords.

We can’t cover this greatly in one post but let me cover this in general.

Primary Keywords

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.

Example:

  • 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 rather it needs to be planned based on the business need and future consideration.

Homepage Optimisation

This is very important for both big players as well as SMEs.

For large scale eCommerce implementation one may consider the brand, navigation, latest offers etc.

But for a small player, the homepage will be like bread and butter. Where SEO consultant needs to consider keywords related business revenue greatly and plan page content accordingly. Apart from a beautiful looking page with mobile consideration, few paragraphs of text are highly recommended to create link spider for inner pages with right keywords.

Magento Category Optimisation

This is equally important for both large and small scale eCommerce implementation.

Overall with my experience, i can say that this is the least managed area and untapped SEO opportunity which should be considered at the time of building the website.

A good quality content with right keywords is highly recommended but you don’t want to overload and make the page look cluttered. Category user experience is very important to ensure users get smooth purchase experience.

And this is where creativity comes to ensure you create a page with good content and visually appealing user interface.

Also, this is a great place to do inner linking which we will talk in more detail soon.

Link Building Opportunity

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.

Note: Right category planning only helps user and SEO but also a good PPC campaign.

Magento Search

Google keywords planner, helps you greatly to understand about keyword search trend and search volume.

But Magento also records detail about product search done on the website. And mostly they are very specific.

  1. People Interest
    • A good number of people search for products in the search bar and it should give you a good indication of people interest and opportunity to improve your online store.
  2. Untapped Product Range
    • You may see some search pattern which you may not offer but your customers might be interested in and you may introduce new product range based on that learning.
  3. Irrelevant Product & Search
    • You may get some search phrases which you don’t offer but due 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

We all know how important it is from SEO side.

But the problem is it’s very hard to have custom written meta title and description if you have a higher number of products.

And to deal with this problem you may consider doing a minor change to automate this completely.

Example:

Title = Buy + Product Name + Best Quality + Free Delivery

Note: You can consider this approach for products only. Custom written meta tag works much better so for home, category and other important pages, you should consider writing custom meta title and description.

Blog Strategy

Proper blog implementation is a great way to build authority.

Magento also provides blog feature but it’s not designed for blogging purpose.

It’s better to use a popular blogging platform like WordPress in a separate directory like /blog/.

It not only provides proper blogging experience but also it separates from Magento which can be managed effectively both from a technical point of view and also user side.

Proper internal linking would help you achieve more from less external backlinks.

Right linking structure helps user and search engines to find the right information.

Also, it notifies search engines about the importance of a particular page 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 and lot better.

Video / YouTube

Users make a decision very quick whether they would like to spend more time on the page or exit immediately.

And embedding right YouTube video about the product is a great way to increase user engagement and user tends to spend bit more time if the page is optimised properly with right video.

magento ecommerce video in product page

Also, if a video would be coming from official verified YouTube channel then it will create additional authority.

So, it’s good to include video in eCommerce website optimisation strategy.

HTML / XML Sitemap

These days more than user it helps search engine bots to identity new pages and crawl them on time.

Conclusion

Just building Magento website may not work or just doing random SEO on poorly design website may not return the best ranking. Get in touch with us if you need holistic planning and Magento website design in Melbourne.

If you liked this blog, comment your experience below.

Pankaj Yadav

Pankaj Yadav

Product Designer | Project Manager | SEO Specialist | Blogger
Pankaj Yadav

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