So, you’re working already with Magento or just started using this great ecommerce solution? And you find it difficult to perform better in the Search engines? Maybe our ultimate list of SEO tips and tricks for Magento can help. However, be aware that there is no such thing as the golden rule or trick that will bring you the number one position! But there are actually a number of things you can do to improve the way your website is handled by the Search engines. Ok, a lot of the things we mention below are general SEO tips and not only valuable for Magento users. But we also give you some things that especially are important to your Magento installation. Please note that this article is the first one in a series about Magento SEO. We recommend to subscribe to our RSS Feed or free newsletter to keep you posted on new Magento SEO articles in the near future.
So, content is king. Right? What does that mean for your webshop? First of all, I want to emphasize that you should never write your content for the search engines. Write it for your visitors! That is the most important for sure. Writing for search engines will only deliver you a higher bounce rate.
Secondly, you should carefully think about your product descriptions. And certainly do not copy them from your suppliers. That will only deliver a product detail page that is very similar to what your competitors are doing. Be different, make an effort and write something original yourself!
Make sure that your homepage is already delivering valuable content. Do not use only animations, or even a splash page. Flash can be even worse if it is not used in the correct way. Normally these kind of issues will hardly give you a problem on the average Magento store.
Will the search engines index your store?
First things first, so let’s make sure that your Magento store can at least be indexed by the search engines. In Magento, you can easily do that by going to Configuration — Design — HTML Head and changing the value of Default Robots to ‘Index, Follow’. After saving you can test it by looking at the source code and checking if the meta robots tag actually shows ‘INDEX, FOLLOW’. Normally this should already be correct.
Page titles and description
The Magento CMS gives you enough possibilities to make sure your content is optimized. You already did your keyword analysis I suppose? So you know what to do when writing content within your store?
Let’s look at the page titles and meta descriptions. You can edit the page title by going to: Magento — CMS — Pages — chose your page — General Information — Page Title. For the meta description please go to ‘Meta Data’ instead of ‘General Information’.
Please note that Google will only look at first 67-68 characters for the page title and about 155 characters for the meta description. Anything longer than that will be discarded from the search engine indexes. Users will still see it in their browsers although.
Outside of the CMS, when creating categories and products, you can (should) also pay attention to these fields: edit the category page titles in Magento by going to: Magento — Catalogue — Manage Categories — your category. Please make sure that the titles and descriptions you use are unique, otherwise you might get ‘duplicate content issues’. Because of the above, the only correct way to do this, is to do it manually. Write your own, logical, keyword extensive meta descriptions and titles for the best results!
Magento uses by default the product name as a page title on the product detail page. But that’s not always good enough. Of course also in here you can simply edit these details on the product itself.
One more thing: you can still fill the meta keywords for these pages or products. However, these are not so important anymore to the search engines. You may easiliy leave them blank.
As mentioned, it is wise to spend some time on the meta desccription, page title and url key for your categories. However, there’s a setting in Magento that might cause ‘duplicate content’ issues. By default the name of the category will be added to the url. We recommend to switch this off. You can do this by going to System -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Search Engine Optimization and set “Use categories path for product URL’s” to “No”
Another setting that can be important is found at the same settings page. Set both Canonical Link Meta Tag fields to Yes. Why? Because this will prevent Magento from generating duplicate content when you’re having the same product in multiple categories.
An often overlooked possibility to increase traffic coming from the search engines are your images. Use these simple tips to improve your results:
- Use descriptive filenames. So no img03425.jpg anymore, but more something like this for example: sony-lcd-television-42inch-black.jpg
- For each product image, you can set the title and alt tags by changing the label for each product image. This value will be used for as well the title as the alt tag.
That’s it for this first part of our Magento SEO series. In the upcoming articles we’ll talk about Magento themes and tools. Follow us or subscrive to our RSS feed to learn more. By the way, we’d love to see your Mangento seo tips and suggestions coming in of course!