Having a high quality, professional eCommerce website is great but it’ll be pretty useless if no one can find it. The best way to increase the visibility of your Magento site is to improve its SEO. Here we’ve provided a list of eleven Magento SEO tips to help you optimise your eCommerce website for search engines.
1. Make sure your site can be indexed
There’s little point in optimising your Magento website for search engines if they can’t actually index it. Make sure search engine spiders can index your site by going to System > Configuration > Design > HTML Heads and then change the Default Robots setting to Index Follow.
2. Tell search engines what needs to be indexed
There’s going to be pages of your Magento site that you want search engines to index (product pages, category pages etc.) and pages you don’t want them to index (cart, account etc.) You can prevent search engines from indexing unimportant pages by going to your template files and adding ‘no follow’ tags to the links.
Creating an XML sitemap is a great way to direct search engines to the content you want to be indexed. You can submit your sitemap to Google and use Google Webmaster Tools to see how the search engine is indexing your pages.
3. Use Canonical URLs
If you’re clued up on SEO you’ll know that duplicate content is something to avoid at all costs. If you are using the same content over and over again, Google is likely to be penalising you for it. The good news is that you can use canonical URLs so you don’t get penalised for duplicate content on your product and category pages. In the past you needed to use a separate module for this but now you can simply go to System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimizations and choose yes under Canonical Link & Meta Tag.
4. Customise your product names and descriptions
Many eCommerce business owners make the mistake of using the product names and descriptions sent through by their suppliers. The problem with this is that they’re not usually search friendly. When you’re adding products in Magento, we recommend creating unique product names and descriptions for each of them, featuring relevant keywords that customers are likely to use in their searches. You can do the same for category names and descriptions too.
5. Create unique meta data for your products
Although meta descriptions won’t directly affect your Magento website’s SEO, they can have an impact on the number of people that click through to your product and category pages. It is therefore important to make sure that you update the default meta data for your store and make it unique.
You will need to create your meta title and meta data on a page by page basis. You can do this by visiting the individual category and product pages in the catalogue section of the admin panel. Make sure your descriptions feature keywords that are relevant to your products, as this will help search engines to match them to users’ searches.
6. Don’t forget your image alt tags
In addition to helping you make sales, your product images can also improve your website’s SEO. All you need to do is make sure you optimise the image file names and alt tags. By including relevant keywords in these fields, you will stand a good chance of having your images rank on Google Images and Google Shopping.
7. Create keyword rich CMS pages
It’s great if you have created content pages for your Magento site like an ‘About Us’ page or ‘Policy’ page however if you want to improve your website’s SEO, we highly recommend creating keyword rich pages too. For example, you could create a ‘how to’ page or a Q&A page that answers customers’ questions about your products. In addition to boosting your Magento store’s SEO they will also give customers more confidence in buying your products. Try focusing on one keyword (and variations of it) per page.
8. Get blogging
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start a blog to supplement your Magento eCommerce store. Writing about your products or services is great but try and vary your content a little to make it more interesting for your customers and less salesy. Sharing industry news and your opinion on relevant topics is a great way to build up a reputation as an industry expert. The more knowledgeable you are, the more your customers will share your content and trust your brand. Not only that but Google also favours industry experts, so if you’re creating insightful content, you’re likely to receive a rankings boost too!
9. Use a responsive theme
Make sure you are using the latest version of Magento Community so you can benefit from its responsive design theme. Using a responsive web design will ensure your site is easy to view and use across all platforms. By offering a better experience to customers, you stand a good chance of increasing your search rankings.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that Google has recently launched a new algorithm that elevates the rankings of mobile friendly websites. By going responsive, you will be able to increase your Magento eCommerce store’s rankings in mobile searches.
10. Improve page speed
Page speed plays an important role in SEO, so if your Magento website takes more than a couple of seconds to load it could negatively impact your rankings. This is due to the fact that if users are clicking off your site before it’s loaded properly, your bounce rate will sky rocket and signal to Google that your site isn’t meeting the needs of users.
There are a number of ways you can speed up your website and therefore improve its SEO. One way is to enable caching. This will allow users to store a cached copy of your Magento eCommerce site on their computers, so that it loads quicker when they revisit it in the future. There are also a number of Magento extensions that can improve your page speed.
11. Create high quality backlinks to your Magento site
It’s all very well and good having your on-site SEO sorted but you also need to consider what’s happening off-site. A great way to improve your Magento store’s SEO is to build natural, high quality backlinks to it. You can do this through guest blogging on industry relevant, high authority blogs. Get a link from them and they will pass their link juice (page rank) to your website and help you to increase your search rankings.
These are just some of the different ways you can improve your Magento website’s SEO. Get in touch for more information about Magento marketing and SEO.