SEO with Magento: Tips to Optimize Your Magento Store and Improve Organic Traffic
December 7, 2019
Currently, there’s around 7.6 billion people in the world. According to Statista, there were roughly 1.6 billion global consumers.
That means just over 20% of the world’s population are shopping online.
The number of global consumers is expected to rise to over 2 billion by 2021.
You’re likely to find plenty of prospective customers in that pool of consumers. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other online retailers with the same desire.
As many of 24 million other eCommerce stores, actually.
SEO with Magento ensures that more of those customers find your store before the competitors selling similar products.
In this article, we’ll look at the out-of-the-box Magento SEO settings you can (and should) customize in order to maximize your organic search visibility.
Why SEO with Magento is Important
According to data shared by Inviqa and Sleeknote, 59% of consumers age 16 to 36 go straight to Amazon before shopping anywhere else online.
Amazon may have a ton of market share, but they don’t always have what customers are looking for. When they can’t find it on Amazon, the second stop for most customers is online search.
Of those who don’t immediately make a purchase, 35% of Google product search turn into a transaction within 5 days.
While around 24% of Business2Consumer marketers say paid search has the biggest impact on revenue, with 26% of traffic coming from Google Adwords/Shopping. Over one-third of all web traffic to online stores comes from search engines.
It’s also worth noting that organic search and SEO has a 14.6% conversion rate compared to an average of 1.7% for traditional outbound methods.
That makes it extremely important for eCommerce brands to ensure their marketing strategy includes SEO with Magento.
Follow these tips to improve your SEO with Magento and eliminate some of the most common SEO issues impacting Magento stores.
Eliminating Duplicate Content in Magento
The main issue with duplicate content is that search engines like Google won’t typically display duplicate entries or pages it views may be duplicated. This can hurt your product visibility if you want product pages to rank across different categories, or variations of the same product.
Some of the most common causes of duplicate content include:
Variations that appear as duplicate content
For product filtering duplicates and product sorting duplicates, dynamic pages may be created when you filter products or sort based on a specific attribute. While this is an acceptable approach, you don’t want search engines to index these dynamic pages and inadvertently see key pages as duplicate.
To prevent this, go to your Google Webmaster Tools and navigate to Crawl > URL Parameters. Next, click on “Configure URL Parameters”. From here, you can see virtually all the parameters of your Magento store.
Locate the parameters you don’t want indexed and change the setting from “Let Google bot decide” to “No URLs”. This will prevent those dynamic pages from being crawled and indexed in the future.
Fixing Duplicate Variations
If you’re creating unique product pages for each product variation, but using the same titles and description, you’re manually generating duplicate content. The best approach to product variations is to create a single page for all variations of your product.
When that approach isn’t ideal, then choose a single “master” product page and refer to it using the rel=canonical tag from all other variations.
Likewise, if you have multiple pages for product variations, always write unique content for each variation page to ensure those pages aren’t seen as duplicate and hidden in organic search.
SEO Settings with Magento to Solve Duplicate Content
Magento 2 provides a number of settings you can use to help avoid duplicate content issues and display your unique content to improve SEO. You’ll need to configure these settings for your Magento store in order to benefit.
1. Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories: The rel=canonical element helps prevent duplicate content issues, as mentioned above. You can enable canonical tags for categories in your store by navigating to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization.
2. Canonical Link Meta Tag for Products: The same section allows you to enable canonical tags for products as well.
Note: This set of options also provides the option to use category paths for product URLs. Enabling this option provides a boost to SEO with Magento as optimized category names can provide keyword relevancy and search visibility to specific products.
Showing off category URLs in organic search can also attract more clicks, as the URL tells visitors you carry other similar products as opposed to only showing the URL for a single product.
An XML sitemap is important because they make it easier for Google to find and identify the pages within your website. This is far more important for stores with a large catalog or a lot of pages, but it’s relevant to every eCommerce store owner.
You can find a number of settings for the generation of an XML sitemap by navigating to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > XML Sitemap.
The settings you should pay close attention to in terms of SEO with Magento are:
Automatically adding all images to your sitemap when they’re added to the site
Setting update frequency to Daily
Submitting the URL of the sitemap to your Robots.txt
Adjusting the number of pages and file size of your sitemap file
Manually adding relevant pages to the sitemap that aren’t added automatically (like .PDF files and other docs)
Configuring Meta Tags for Products
Magento 2 allows you to use templates to auto generate meta data for your products.
Meta data is important because it’s the meta data that will be displayed as snippets of a specific page within the search results.
While meta data has minimal impact on search rank, the contents of your meta data have a significant impact on click through rates when customers find you via organic search.
For Magento, the auto-generated meta data is created on a global level. But you shouldn't rely on the auto-generation. For the best results when it comes to SEO with Magento, you should manually edit the meta data (title and description) of each product page so they’re eye-catching, detailed, and unique.
You can do this by navigating to Catalog > Products > Select & Edit Product > Search Engine Optimization
Any settings you change here will overwrite the global meta descriptions you apply in the auto-generation settings.
Optimizing Category Pages
The categories in your store, like products, are individual pages and are prime candidates for optimization. To edit the meta data for categories, navigate to Catalog > Categories > Search Engine Optimization.
Don’t just let your category pages be a gallery of relevant products. Customize your category page to include optimized text that is engaging and helps the consumer find the best products.
Even a single paragraph using your brands tone can help tell a story and keep the shopper engaged. Likewise, that content establishes relevancy which is important to SEO with Magento and will help your category pages rank in search.
Any content pages you add will also feature settings for SEO with Magento. From the admin panel navigate to Content > Pages > “content page name” > Search Engine Optimization.
Customizing URLs for SEO with Magento
Any time you create a product or page, Magento will automatically generate the URL using the minimum data you provide.
For example, when you create a product page, Magento will automatically generate the page slug/URL according to the product SKU used.
While this saves time during the creation process, you won't always be generating search-friendly URLs.
Ideally, every page URL should be optimized using primary and/or secondary keywords most likely to be used by your target audience when they search online.
Despite being automatically generated, you can still edit them to create a unique, optimized URL.
For products: Navigate to Catalog > Categories > “product page” > Search Engine Optimization > URL Key
For categories: Navigate to Catalog > Categories > “category page” > Search Engine Optimization > URL Key
Boost Site Load Speed to Improve SEO with Magento
Site speed was added as one of many ranking factors in organic search as more users moved to mobile devices with variable load time capability and data/bandwidth limitations. Since smartphones accounted for 61% of retail site visits last year, Google’s goal was to serve its users (your customers) with sites that were mobile friendly and loaded quickly on any device.
Here’s some changes you can make in Magento to improve SEO and site performance:
1. Navigate to System > Cache Management and enable all caching features then Flush Magento Cache
2. Navigate to Stores > Catalog > Catalog and Enable Flat Catalog Category and Use Flat Catalog Product
Merge CSS Files: Yes
Minify CSS Files: Yes
You should also look into page load speed-improving Magento apps such as Shogun, which uses image compression and lazy loading to improve the performance of your store.
Optimize the Default Title and Description
Each page of your site has a title and description you can set, as mentioned previously. Your store also has a primary title and meta description designated for the Home page.
When you create your store, Magento will automatically select a default title and description. Take a few minutes to optimize these fields for SEO.
You’ll find these options by navigating to your Magento admin and choosing Content > Design > Configuration.
In the Design Configuration, click on “Edit” for your store.
Next you’ll scroll to edit the HTML Head where you’ll find the default title and description fields. Try to optimize these fields using keywords relevant to your brand, products, and audience. Also keep in mind that your title length limit should be 50-60 characters and the description should be 150-160 characters (including spaces).
Add More Content to Improve SEO with Magento
For improve search visibility, nothing beats adding quality authoritative content to your site. The best way to do that is to add a blog or article resource to your store. A blog lets you share relevant information, update customers, educate them, or share entertaining content relevant to your products and their interests.
Optimized blogs can generate a ton of free, relevant, and ready-to-convert traffic to your site.
Magento functions as a CMS (content management system), and you can also dive into the Magento marketplace to find blog extensions that give you more control over creating blogs and articles on your eCommerce store.
Another option is adding a resource center and knowledge base. With some customer services platforms and extensions, you can create a community knowledge base to help customers or visitors with frequently asked questions, troubleshooting, and more.
All of that content can be optimized to help bring in low-cost organic traffic to your store.
Set Yourself Apart from the Competition
As mentioned above, there are over 20 million online stores on the internet today, and that number is growing fast. You'll need to grab the attention of potential customers for your store to succeed. Follow the tips and steps outlined above to optimize your Magento store today and leapfrog your competitors in the search engine rankings.
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Derek is the founder of Thunder Bay Media and lover of everything related to content writing and copywriting. He has 15+ years of copywriting, content writing, and digital marketing experience and is a featured guest blogger published by more than 30 marketing publications.