Right out of the box, Magento is already one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms.
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 SEO experts have 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.
The 20 Best SEO Tips for Magento Sites
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.
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 little longer 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 incredibly easy 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.
Like, 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 extremely easy 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.jpg instead 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 – not to improve your rankings. Describe the product in detail to someone who needs that information to make a purchase. If you can do so while including 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. Optimize Your Content with the Right Keywords
When it comes to eCommerce, the meat and potatoes of SEO are product titles and descriptions.
Provided that you create them with keywords in mind, that is.
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 unless you 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 really add up over time.
9. Update Your Magento Site to the Latest Version
This might be one of the easiest ways to improve your Magento store’s SEO and enjoy a number of other benefits in the process.
It’s always a good idea to update your store to the latest version of Magento. Among other things, doing so will give your site a mix of core security improvements. These updates also automate fixes for any problems related to the previous version of Magento.
Technically, you can update your Magento store to the newest version manually.
However, this is also a time-consuming process even for those who know what they’re doing. If you’ve never updated Magento before, the process can be time-consuming and risky. One mistake could cause serious problems for your Magento site.
Hiring an experienced Magento developer is highly recommended to avoid any major issues with your site.
Not updating your Magento site to the latest version could mean missing out on user-friendly features or those that would benefit your customers’ experience.
But it will also mean your Magento store’s SEO potential remains limited compared to competitors that also use the platform and have had it upgraded.
Again, this is best left to a professional, but we have a post detailing the process and cost of upgrading a Magento site if you’re curious about what it all entails.
10. Make It Easy for Search Engines to Index Your Magento Site
Even if you’re ticking every box for optimizing your Magento site, all that work will be in vain if Google and other search engines can’t crawl and add it to their indexes.
Until this happens, your site literally won’t show up in searches – much less high enough in the rankings to drive lots and lots of traffic.
On the other hand, by making it easy for Google and other search engines to index your website, you stand a much higher chance of appearing nice and high in the SERPs.
How to Check if Your Magento Site Is Being Indexed
You can check if your site is being indexed by Google a couple of different ways.
The first method is by going to Google and actively searching for your website.
For me, this would mean going to Google and typing in site:IWDAgency.com
And, sure enough, there’s proof our site is being indexed:
I can even see EXACTLY how many pages (718) – and which ones – can show up in Google’s search results.
The other way is to go into Google Search Console and select “Coverage” under the “Index” header:
On the graph to the right, check the “Valid” box to see how many pages Google has indexed for your site:
The report will even show you if Google is indexing pages that aren’t in your sitemap. If these pages are important to your Magento store, it’s best to add them to your sitemap and resubmit it to Google Search Console.
If you find that any pages are in your sitemap but still aren’t showing up when you do the aforementioned “site search” method, add the URL to the inspection tool at the top of Google Search Console for feedback directly from Google about what’s wrong:
11. Make Sure Your Magento Store Is Fast
Website speed has always been important.
Google has been pushing website owners to prioritize speed for years now, but they recently turned up the pressure even more by introducing their Web Core Vitals report – which largely measures site speed.
Of course, it’s not just Google that will notice if your Magento site is slow. Customers will, too.
After all, site speed is directly related to customer satisfaction. If a customer has to wait any longer than three seconds, most will click away.
If Google’s users don’t like something, Google won’t like it. Hence, why site speed is so important to your Magento store’s SEO.
Google favors websites with excellent loading times so much, that it will often push fast pages higher up their search results based on that metric alone.
Picking an SEO-friendly Magento theme is a good first step, but there are also others you can take to make sure your store keeps Google happy.
Enable Caching for Your Magento Store
Another way to improve your Magento site's speed is to enable caching.
See, whenever someone visits a page for the first time, your site’s server loads everything it’s supposed to show. Magento then makes a copy of this page and automatically caches the content being displayed.
This way, when the visitor returns, the cache of that page is available to show. The server doesn’t have to generate it all over again.
So, make sure your Magento site’s caching is enabled. Sometimes, developers turn it off while they’re working and forget to turn it back on once they’re finished.
Another great way to speed up your Magento site – and improve your rankings in the process – is to merge and minify its CSS and JS files.
In simplest terms, doing this will condense the total number of individual CSS files that your store has to handle into fewer files. The result? A store that loads much faster.
However, this is another time when it might be best to hire a Magento developer for the job. It’s not exactly the most challenging of jobs, but non-developers will probably struggle.
Check Your Hosting
If you’ve tried both of the above tactics and you’re still having issues with your site speed, then it could be your hosting that’s the issue.
In that case, you’ll want to shop around for a hosting provider that specializes in Magento sites.
Given the platform’s popularity, there are a number of great options on the market. Many of them even come with inbuilt configurations to automatically help optimize your Magento site for speed.
Do a Regular Speed Audit
As much as it would be nice to think site speed optimizing is a one-time job, unfortunately, it’s an ongoing process.
So, get into the habit of checking your store’s speed once a month. There could be all kinds of reasons your site slows down from one month to the next.
For example, there may be plug-ins that are causing problems or other issues that are slowing down your site.
You could hire a developer to give your site a monthly health check or just use a website audit tool that will notify you when your site load time increases.
You can also run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for a comprehensive breakdown of how fast it loads and how this affects your visitors.
12. Treat Your Magento Store’s Title Tags as a Priority
The term Metadata is used to encompass the meta title, meta description, and any meta keywords.
For a long time, conventional wisdom was that all three of these components were essential for ranking your website.
However, things have changed in recent years.
Meta Keywords Won’t Help Your Site
For one thing, meta keywords don’t matter as a ranking factor anymore. So, even though Magento gives you a space to enter them, they’ll have no effect on Google.
Meta Descriptions Will Only Help Your Site a Little
What about meta descriptions?
Meta descriptions kind of matter but only if Google shows them to its users.
See, Google rewrites meta descriptions more than 70% of the time.
So, while it’s a good idea to include a meta description for each page on your Magento site – and even include keywords (which Google will bold when relevant) – these short descriptions won’t directly help your pages rank better.
Title Tags DEFINITELY Matter
Title tags are the ones that actually matter.
You usually want to include your main keyword in them and use the rest of your roughly 60 characters to entice searchers into clicking.
Interestingly, Google started rewriting title tags this past year, too – over 60% of the time, no less.
But given how important these tags are, I still encourage you to put some thought into them.
13. Show Off Your Magento Store’s Flattering Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are a great way to boost the conversion rates on your Magento site. According to a survey done by IDS Fulfilment, using customer reviews on your site may increase conversions by up to 58% and increase revenue per visit by 62%.
That’s great, of course, but how do customer reviews relate to your store’s SEO?
Well, if you add “review” structured data to your site, Google can show what others think about your Magento store’s products. Flattering reviews naturally increase clickthrough rate, which – as a result – will improve your Magento store’s rankings, too.
14. Don’t Take Down Product Pages When They’re Out-of-Stock
If you follow all of the above SEO advice, you’re going to eventually have a problem – albeit a good one.
You’ll get so much traffic that you’ll start selling out of products.
Obviously, you’ll just go ahead and order more.
But what do you do with the product page for that item in the meantime?
Whatever you do, don’t delete the page or even take it down.
Far too many business owners do this thinking that they can just repopulate the page when their products are restocked with no harm done.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even if you’ve been selling that item for years, Google will treat the new product page as just that – new. It’ll need to climb the search engine ladder all over again.
Instead, update the product page to say the item is temporarily out of stock. This way, the page continues its presence on Google. You can even continue using the SEO tips in this article to keep improving its rankings. When you replenish your supplies, the page will be there ready to convert customers.
For even better results, add an email form to the page, so that users can sign up to receive a notification when the item is available again.
15. Use Canonical Tags to Avoid Duplicate Pages
If you have a large eCommerce store, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll run into issues with duplicate content.
Sometimes, this is unavoidable.
For example, if you offer a guarantee, you should include this information on all of the product pages this policy applies to. There’s no need to come up with hundreds – or even thousands – of ways to reword this guarantee, though.
However, other times duplicate content can confuse Google, making it difficult for the search engine to know which page to show when someone searches for a term that applies to more than one. In short, you end up with pages that are competing against one another.
This problem is often referred to as keyword cannibalization.
In any case, the goal should be to make each of your pages as unique as you realistically can.
For those products when it makes sense for the majority of the content to be similar, consider using canonical tags to tell Google which of these pages should take priority in its results. Magento makes this painless enough. Head to Stores > Configuration > Catalog.
Scroll down to the Search Engine Optimization section and select “Yes” where it prompts you with “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories” and the one right below it, “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Products.”
16. Your Magento Store Must Be Mobile-Friendly
Back in 2016, mobile web viewing overtook desktop viewing as the dominant way users accessed the Internet.
This is why your Magento site must be mobile-friendly.
Another big one is that Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its rankings.
In other words, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’ll be at a major disadvantage compared to all your competitors who put mobile users first.
This is one more reason to use a responsive theme for your Magento site. This means that it's compatible with any device and automatically changes to fit the screen size it’s being viewed on. Using the Magento page builder can help you see if your theme is responsive.
Another great option is a Progressive Web App (PWA), which will help to make your Magento store look and behave more like an app.
Nothing is quite as mobile-friendly as an app.
A PWA will:
- Help load the content quicker even on slow bandwidth
- Improve performance on mobile
- Provide a better experience for customers
And building a PWA is quicker and more cost-effective than building an actual app for your company.
17. Implement Lots and Lots of Internal Links
Maybe one of the best – but most overlooked – strategies for improving a site’s SEO is interlinking.
It’s not just that you have complete control over the links on your own site. It’s that you can quickly change them or their anchor text whenever you want.
Lots of interlinks make it easier for your shoppers to get from one part of your Magento store to another, which is great for improving your UX. These links can also help drop your bounce rate, which is great for improved rankings, too.
But robust interlinking also makes your site easier to explore for Google, too.
Popular SEO platforms like Ahrefs and Semrush make it really easy to find which pages on your Magento site aren’t getting the interlinking they need to win over Google. As a rule, every page should have at least two links pointing at it. You want to avoid pages with no interlinks – also known as “orphan pages” – at all costs.
At the same time, make sure that your interlinking makes sense. Don’t link from one page to the next just to meet the aforementioned quota. Take your time to ensure interlinked pages are relevant to one another.
Finally, don’t settle for “click here” or other nondescriptive phrases for your links. Use natural language, but try to include keywords whenever possible. Google will pick up on these, which can help improve your rankings for those words.
18. Set Up Schema Markup on Your Magento Site
Schema markup is a type of microdata that tells search engines how to organize the information on your site. By using schema markup on your Magento site, it's easier for additional information – such as images, pricing, and availability – to show up on search engine’s result pages.
In turn, schema markup can improve clickthrough rate, which – as we’ve already covered – is great for SEO.
There are all kinds of user-friendly tools out there that make adding schema markup a breeze, so this is one SEO tip that you definitely don’t need a developer for, even though it’s extremely powerful.
19. Make Full Use of Your Site’s Blog (You Have One, Right?)
Please tell me your Magento site has a blog.
Even though Magento is primarily known for its eCommerce capabilities, no site should be without a blog these days.
And there are plenty of blog extensions for Magento that make it easy to add one to your site.
There are also plenty of reasons to have a blog, but you can probably guess the one I’m going to highlight in my final tip on, you know, Magento SEO.
The more blogs you have on the same topic, the more you’ll tick Google’s boxes for E-A-T, which stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.”
E-A-T is easily one of the most important ranking factors, so the more you can do to improve your Magento site’s profile in this regard, the better.
Let’s look at how this can actually work.
Say your Magento store sells t-shirts. You might have a blog post that looks at the latest t-shirt trends, another on how to care for them, and another on ways to dress up or dress down your t-shirt selection. Chances are there’s an endless list of topics you could cover.
By increasing your online presence with the addition of blog posts, you stand a much better chance of getting seen by shoppers.
And as you continue to publish blog posts, make sure you interlink them with lots of keyword-rich anchor texts.
20. Build Backlinks (The Right Way)
Backlinks have been a well-known ranking factor for years now, but most business owners don’t know how to go about getting them.
While it’s definitely helpful to use blogs to collect them naturally, this approach takes A LOT of time. Most blogs don’t generate much in the way of backlinks unless they’re at the very top of Google.
Depending on how competitive your market is, it could take years before you have a decent number of blogs ranking that well to generate those kinds of links naturally.
Of course, following these SEO tips should definitely help with that.
Nonetheless, if you’d prefer to see backlinks ASAP, you have two options.
And, ideally, I recommend you pursue both.
Use Professional Backlink Builders
The first is to hire a company that will go out and get those backlinks for you. Usually, they own or have relationships with other sites that can create the links you need on demand.
This will get you the quickest return, but you need to do your research before paying anyone to create backlinks like this. Ask for case studies, specifically any that highlight success within your industry.
And don’t skimp here. Good backlinks can be expensive, but cheap backlinks will have no effect whatsoever.
Work with a PR Team
Digital PR has become increasingly popular in recent years as a means to build powerful backlinks.
In many ways, this approach is no different than traditional PR. It’s just that the primary goal isn’t positive buzz or brand recognition. While those are great, the priority is getting backlinks from powerful websites Google loves.
The results can be amazing for your Magento store’s SEO, but this strategy will take time. That’s why I recommend using professional backlink builders at the same time – if possible. This way, your Magento site gets some decent backlinks while you’re waiting your PR investment to pay off.
Effective SEO for Your Magento Store Is an Ongoing Process
While the SEO tips above will produce dramatic results for your Magento site’s search engine rankings, it’s important to remember that effective search engine optimization is an ongoing process.
But if you regularly invest time into your website by doing things like publishing blog posts, checking your site’s speed, and adding interlinks when appropriate, you’ll find your Magento store’s traffic continues to grow.