Right out of the box, Magento 2 is already one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms.
Add that to the many reasons we love Magento 2.
Still, there’s plenty you can do to improve your Magento site’s ability to gain favor with Google and attract more visitors than the competition.
Our eCommerce marketing agency has been working with Magento 2 since it debuted back in 2015. So, I asked my team to use this experience and come up with a list of the absolute bestMagento 2 SEO tips – ones they’ve seen make the biggest difference for our clients.
8 Magento 2 SEO Tips You Should Implement Right Away
One of the main things I looked for when I put this list together was SEO tips that you can implement immediately.
Yes, content is still king.
Of course, you should build a robust backlink profile.
Site speed is alwaysimportant.
However, for this list, I focused on 8 SEO tips for Magento that won’t take months – or even years – to apply.
I hope you’ll take a second to read through this entire post and then just a littlelonger to put these tips into play, so your Magento 2 site starts seeing a lot more traffic in the very near future.
1. Set Your Magento Site’s Preferred Domain (& Enforce It)
Your site probably already has enough competition as it is.
So, don’t let WWW and non-WWW versions of your Magento site compete against each other for rankings or create frustrating canonical issues.
Why does this happen?
From an SEO perspective, Google views the WWW and non-WWW versions of your Magento site as two distinct entities. This means, try as you may, you could easily run into duplicate content issues. Of course, you’re actually competing with your own site for rankings, too.
Fortunately, this is an incrediblyeasy problem to fix or just avoid altogether.
Simply go to the “Secure” and “Unsecure” Base URL located in the core_config_data table in phpMyAdmin) and set this preference within Magento.
Then, enforce it by using two ways to follow up:
- Enforce a 301 redirect from the incorrect version to the correct one with a mod_rewrite in your .htaccess file
- Select your preferred URL in Google Webmaster Tools
Congratulations, you just took one of your competitors out of the game (if only the others were so easy).
2. Use Tiered XML Sitemaps
Hopefully, you already have a sitemap for your Magento site. If not, follow this post to build a sitemap ASAP and upload it for Google.
Even if you do already have an XML sitemap, if your eCommerce websites is large, I recommend that you create a“sitemap of sitemaps” that breaks out categories into more bite-sized chunks, the kind that Google can crawl with ease.
No one likes to be ignored, but that’s often what happens to pages that are listed at the bottom of a long, awkward sitemap – the kind that seems to go on forever.
To avoid this, break out your site into naturally flowing chunks – perhaps by category – and create sitemaps for each large section.
Then, list the URLs of the other sitemaps in a primary sitemap, like this:
In your Admin panel, go to Catalog -> Google Sitemap -> Add Sitemap and add your primary sitemap.
If you want to be certain Google sees it, you can also add your sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools, showing the giant search engine exactly where to look.
That’s all there is to it. No matter how big your Magento site might be, this SEO tip will make it much more inviting to Google the next time its crawlers pay a visit.
3. Enable Server URL Rewrites & Disable Store Codes in URLS
Like I said before, I chose these SEO tips for Magento because they’re easy to implement right away, so you start seeing results in no time.
Nonetheless, this next one is still really simple.
But first, let me quickly tell you why it’s so important.
The URLs of your Magento website play a big role in what Google thinks of each individual page. Among other things, Google looks at keywords, dynamic character strings, and other factors to help it better understand what a page is about.
To make this easier on Google, you want to keep your URLs as short and to-the-point as possible.
While I recommend you audit all of your URLs at some point to trim them of any unnecessary characters – or beef them up accordingly – that is definitely a long-term process.
However, you can easily clip off any“index.php” text that may currently be adding unnecessary length to your URLs without investing a lot of time into the process.
All you have to do is go to System -> Configuration -> Web -> Search Engine Optimization, and, under“Use Web Server Rewrites”, select“Yes”.
That’s all it takes to eliminate index.php from your URLs and ensure they’re easy to read.
From this same screen, under the“URL Options” menu, select“No” under“Add Store Code to URLs” to prevent these strings of code from being plunked into your URLs.
Now, you have nice, lean URLs that Google will love.
4. Disable the Category Name from Your URL Path
Listen, I love Magento.
But if I’m being honest, Magento doesn’t do a great job when it comes to adding category names to all of your URLs.
This is a problem because the practice of automatically adding those category names can lead to some pretty messy URLs. Load times can increase, too (never good), and, again, it’s easy to run into those pesky duplicate content issues.
To keep this from happening, just go to System-> Configuration -> Catalog -> Search Engine Optimization and change“Use categories path for product URLs” to“No”.
Rejuvenation does a great job of controlling the URLs for their product pages like this:
The category URL is: http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/categories/lighting/table
But notice how they remove“lighting” and“table” from the actual product URL above.
It’s a much cleaner, simpler URL that’s extremelyeasy to achieve with Magento 2.
Long, messy templates don’t do your Magento SEO any good – not to mention that having to reload these elements over and over again can really hurt your load time.
My advice is to move these into external files, so that visitors cache them on their first load of the page. This way, search engines don’t have to download them over and over again.
Every additional file that requires downloading necessitates another connection to the server, so it’s wise to combine and reduce the number of files floating around out there. One of the key areas to focus on is stylesheets because Magento doesn’t do a great job with them by default.
Combine all of your stylesheets into just one new one (except for print.css) to keep things buzzing...quickly!
6. Optimize All of Your Images
In the rush to upload images and get product pages live, you may neglect one of the easiest ways to put relevant keywords on your Magento site: adding ALT attributes to your images.
Optimizing your product images with text will ensure the visually impaired understand everything on the page, but it’s also an easy way to put extra keywords on your product pages.
Here are the basics:
- Give all of your images keyword-rich names like antique-lamp.jpginstead of generic filenames like jpg. Search engines use these filenames when determining image rankings.
- Use an informative, succinct and, keyword-rich alt description to help search engines understand the content of your images. Just be careful about keyword stuffing. Remember that the reason Google wants image attributes is to help the visually impaired – notto improve your rankings. Describe the product in detail to someone who needs that information to make a purchase. If you can do so whileincluding keywords, so much the better.
- Give the image a descriptive and meaningful title. Usually, this will just be the product’s name, but if you think other descriptors will help the visually impaired – and Google – go ahead and add them.
Yes, this is a little bit of added effort, but as anyone whose product pages have ever hit the first page can attest, it’s well worth the minor investment.
7. Get Rid of Empty Robot Metas
Magento has a strange proclivity for showing non-set meta robot tags as follows:
<meta name="robots" content="*" />
Unfortunately, this can create problems for search engines.
To keep that from hurting your Magento site’s SEO, remove this code altogether.
There is no lack of modules and plugins that make this easy to do, even if you have no experience with coding, so look through the marketplace for options that make this important SEO tip a simple step.
8. Never Overlook the SEO Basics
When it comes to eCommerce, the meat and potatoes of SEO are product titles and descriptions.
You can create blog posts.
You can invest in different types of media.
You can add all kinds of product schema.
But if the product titles and descriptions on your Magento site aren’t created with SEO in mind, you’re losing traffic and conversions. It’s as simple as that.
So, while I definitely hope you use all the Magento SEO tips I just covered, please never lose sight of these basics.
Accessing your products’ titles and descriptions is easy. Both are on the actual product pages themselves.
To optimize your product titles:
- Make sure all of your product titles are unique but consider the keywords people use when searching for them, too. You have 50-60 characters for a title tag, so if there’s room, throw in some sales copy, too (e.g. “high-quality”, “affordable”, “durable”, “stylish”, etc.) – anything that will get the click over your competitors.
- Whenever possible, place the keyword for your product description as close to the beginning as possible. Google crawls left-to-right and will give it more weight.
- Leave out product numbers or SKUs unlessyou know that your audience actually searches for them in Google. Otherwise, you can put them at the top of your product descriptions where visitors will be able to find them right away.
To make your Magento site’s product descriptions SEO-friendly:
- Just like with your titles, create product descriptions that are 100% unique. If you have similar products (e.g. two turtlenecks: one black, one white), you can always use canonical tags to let Google know you’re aware of the duplicate content, so you don’t face any SEO problems.
- Focus on long-tail keywords whenever possible. That’s where the competition will usually be lowest, but the intent-to-buy is highest.
- Use your main keyword in the H1 and then wherever it makes sense in the product description itself.
Even if you have thousands of products, you can start implementing this SEO advice right away by working through 5-10 a day. The ROI from these simple changes will reallyadd up over time.
Don’t Choose Google Over Guests
Obviously, I’m a big fan of using SEO to put our clients’ Magento sites in front of as many customers as possible.
And I highly recommend that you use the above tips to do the same.
That said, the Golden Rule of SEO is to always focus on users, not bots.
No matter how optimized your site is – including your titles and product descriptions – if you haven’t created a Magento site that is user-friendly and engaging, all of the traffic in the world won’t amount to much.
If you want any help with optimizing your site or just have any questions, feel free to contact us.