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Have you been using Magento for a while but not getting the results you want, such as traffic to your website and an increased online presence?

While Magento has built-in SEO (search engine optimization) settings, in order to improve your visibility even further, you’ll need to do the extra legwork by configuring its SEO features, following best practices and installing SEO extensions.

In this article, we’ll share top Magento SEO features you can utilize, best practices you can implement and SEO extensions you can install to help you achieve the results you want.

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What Is Magento SEO?

Magento’s popularity as an open-source eCommerce platform earned it a place in the top five eCommerce providers in the United States in 2020.

Given Magento’s superiority in the eCommerce world, it’s highly known for its SEO features and prompts that enable you to improve your site’s search ranking and online presence.

Magento SEO includes a set of search engine optimization features such as canonical tags, sitemaps and robots.txt files to help improve your online visibility and search engine position.

How Does Google Notice Your Magento Site?

Before we dive into the top Magento SEO features, let’s look at how Google gives your eCommerce site (or any website in general) a chance to show up on search engine result pages (SERPs)

Crawling occurs when a web crawler (web spiders and Googlebots) finds your pages on the internet, follows the hyperlinks on those pages and “fetches” their data until they’ve indexed or stored all of the pages.

Indexing occurs when you ask Google to notice your new page or post. This is your way of telling Google, “Hey, I added something new to my site and you should take a look at it.”

Think of an index as Google’s database. When your users search — for example, “What are the top brands for sports wear?” — Google scours their database to find every page that includes those keywords, synonyms to your keywords and pages that might answer the search intent.

This is how your site shows up on Google when your keywords match your user’s search query.

Ultimately, understanding the process of crawling and indexing allows you to better understand the how’s and why’s of your search ranking.

Woman searching for products on Google on her smartphone
Google notices your page through crawling and indexing

Top Magento SEO Features

Now that you understand how Google works, here are the top Magento SEO features you can utilize to improve your search engine position and increase your website’s traffic.

1. XML Sitemap

Imagine going to a supermarket you’ve never been to before. Since you aren’t familiar with the layout and where the items are at in the store, you have to navigate your way through each aisle to find what you’re looking for.

Wouldn’t it be easier if someone gave you a map, right when you walked in the door?

A similar logic applies to sitemaps. Sitemaps contain a list of all your page URLs. Using these maps, crawlers can easily crawl and index only the content you want to show Google — say, your new pages that contain your latest products.

2. Robots.txt

Robots.txt informs search engine crawlers which pages they can crawl (or not crawl) and index.

It’s typically used to manage crawler traffic to your site and prevent certain pages from appearing on Google.

So why use Robots.txt on your Magento site?

If you have low-performing products — say, a perfume that wasn’t a hit — you can configure your robots.txt files to hide the page for that product.

To hide product pages, mark them with the nofollow or noindex tags.

You can also configure your Magento site’s robots.txt file by following these steps:

  • In your admin sidebar, click on Content, Design, then Configuration
  • Locate the “Store View” you want to adjust and select “Edit”
  • Click on the “Search Engine Robots” dropdown
  • Add your robots.txt commands in the “Edit custom instruction of robots.txt File” field

3. SEO-Friendly URLs

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a unique web address for a certain page.

In the online world, long URLs don’t directly impact your ranking on SERPs, but a short and readable URL improves click-through rates and allows for easier monitoring.

In addition, short URLs are more memorable and give better credibility to your brand.

Fortunately, Magento 2 has a built-in functionality that shortens your URLs. You can also install an extension such as URL Rewrite Regeneration to configure and shorten your product URLs.

4. Canonical Tags

Multiple URLs pointing to the same product causes duplicate content. For example, let’s say you tag black sweatpants in both “casual” and “sports” categories, causing two separate links to lead to the same product or content.

Or, let’s say you copy and pasted a product description from your manufacturer’s site and recycled the exact same description on your website.

In short, if Google sees similar content on different sites, the content will be excluded from SERPs.

You can utilize the Canonical Tags feature to manage duplicate content and disregard other identical content on your Magento site.

Just go to the Admin panel in your Magento backend, look for “Use Canonical Meta Tag for Categories” and “Use Canonical Meta Tag for Products,” and choose “Yes” from the dropdown.

5. HTTPS

If your site isn’t secure, your customers may be hesitant to enter their credit card details when making a purchase.

This is where Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) comes in. HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that safeguards the data shared between your site and your user’s network.

Data sent using HTTPS is protected using a Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) that offers three layers of protection: encryption, data integrity and authentication.

Enable your HTTPS in Magento 2 with these steps:

  • Change your image settings by going to Stores, Configuration, General, then Web
  • Click on Base URLs (Secure) and configure the values of Secure Base URL and Secure Base Link URL ensuring that they start with https
  • Click on “Yes” for the following fields: Use Secure URLs on Storefront, Use Secure URLs in Admin, Enable HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) and Upgrade Insecure Requests

In addition, update your Magento 2 website to the latest version to keep your site protected.

Woman using her smartphone and laptop for online shopping
Ensure your Magento 2 site is secured by always updating your site to the latest version

Magento Search Engine Optimization: Best Practices To Follow

From implementing an SEO-friendly URL structure to adding SEO extensions, here are some SEO best practices to give your e-store that extra nudge in improving your search ranking and website traffic.

1. Implement An SEO-Friendly URL Structure

Implementing an SEO-friendly URL structure allows you to incorporate relevant keywords for your product or category pages to position them on search engines.

For example, you can use this structure for your product, category and sub-category pages:

  • Product page: Your domain name/category-sub-category/product-name/
  • Category page: Your domain name/category/
  • Sub-category page: Your domain name/category/sub-category/

2. Write Unique Product Descriptions

Your products are the real star of the show.

Unique product descriptions can help answer potential questions and provide key information to help nudge your website visitor to conversion.

While it may be tempting to recycle product descriptions from your manufacturer, it can lead to duplicate content issues.

Duplicate content confuses Google, making it choose between the identical pages to decide which should rank in the top results. This can prevent your page from being displayed on SERPs. Ouch!

To create product descriptions that sell, think of your customer’s wants and pain points.

3. Optimize Your Images

According to a recent survey, 36% of consumers used visual search when shopping in 2018.

With consumers exploring new products and websites through image search, you need to optimize your product images for search engines.

To improve your image SEO:

  • Compress your product images: Unfortunately, high quality images have large file sizes, which can cause your website to slow down. Compress your images to reduce image sizes and improve your site’s loading speed.
  • Create descriptive file names: Clearly describe your images and insert the keyword you’re ranking for in your file names. Descriptive file names allow Google to understand your images and display them when your users enter relevant searches.
  • Utilize alt tags: An alt tag or alt description is an HTML attribute that offers a text alternative for search engines to display, when your user’s browser doesn’t show your product images. Creating alt tags for your images allows search engines and users to know what your images contain. Similar to descriptive file names, alt tags should include keywords you’re trying to rank for on SERPs.

4. Integrate SEO Extensions

While Magento has built-in SEO features that allow you to personalize and shorten URLs, optimize meta tags and edit canonical tags, alt tags, and configure robots.txt files, Magento SEO extensions allow you to simplify the SEO process.

Due to Magento’s steep learning curve and its reputation as being more challenging to manage than other eCommerce platforms, adding SEO knowledge into the mix may be overwhelming — especially if you’re a beginner.

To keep your SEO worries at bay, you can use Magento SEO extensions to do the following:

  • Increase functionality with user-friendly features such as product searches and an easy checkout process
  • Improve backend efficiency to help you manage your store, analytics and inventory
  • Reach a wider audience thanks to language translation extensions
  • Increase your online visibility by ranking your site higher on SERPs

Here are the do’s and don’ts when selecting your Magento 2 extensions:

  • Do’s:
    • Make a wish list of the SEO features you want
    • Allot a budget to spend on premium Magento extensions
    • Ensure the extensions are compatible with your version of Magento
    • Talk to a team of developers and get their support and recommendations before integrating extensions
    • Take advantage of free extensions
  • Don’ts:
    • Don’t select extensions that don’t have a developer’s support
    • Don’t overstuff your Magento platform with unnecessary extensions
    • Don’t integrate extensions that aren’t compatible with your Magento version
    • Don’t download extensions from unreliable sources

Top Magento SEO Extensions

Need help simplifying your Magento store’s SEO?

Here’s our list of top choices for Magento SEO extensions selected by our experts.

1. Super Easy SEO By Magenest

Living up to its name, Super Easy SEO by Magenest is an all-in-one solution that makes SEO a breeze for your Magento e-store.

It allows you to ditch manual input of SEO metadata for over 10,000 stock keeping units (SKUs), enables search engines to find your products with image alt tags and prevents duplicate content.

This extension also offers free lifetime software updates and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Super Easy SEO by Magenest features include:

  • Crawling and indexing
  • Structures data markup
  • Cross links
  • SEO content quality audit
  • Category SEO templates

2. Magento 2 SEO Extension By Mageplaza

If you’re looking for an affordable yet robust solution that offers SEO features such as URL rewrite, canonical link meta tag and sitemap integration, Magento 2 SEO Extension is for you.

Magento 2 SEO Extension enables you to increase your online presence and rank higher on SERPs, allowing you to generate more traffic to your site.

Magento 2 SEO Extension by Mageplaza features include:

  • Canonical link meta tag
  • Canonical URLs
  • Image optimization
  • Sitemap integration
  • URL rewrite

3. Magento 2 Rich Snippets

Magento 2 Rich Snippets displays your site’s key information on Google search results, including product sizes, ratings and colors.

Magento 2 Rich Snippets features include:

  • Rich snippets
  • Product reviews
  • Indexing

4. SEO Toolkit By Amasty

SEO Toolkit by Amasty is an all-in-one extension that allows your site to rank among the top positions on Google with powerful tools such as a one-click SEO analysis, redirect, pagination and adding rich snippets.

It allows you to save money on paid ads and gives you control over your SEO.

SEO Toolkit by Amasty features include:

  • Rich snippets
  • Meta tag templates
  • Unique product URL automation
  • Internal and external cross links
  • Redirects and pagination
  • Sitemaps

5. SEO Suite By Emipro Technologies

SEO Suite is an all-around and affordable Magento SEO extension that comes with a user-friendly dashboard so you can manage all of your SEO settings from one location.

SEO Suite by Emipro Technologies features include:

  • Indexing
  • Dynamic templates management
  • Built-in robots.txt editor

6. Magento 2 SEO Plugin From FME Extensions

If automation and a cost-effective solution are what you’re looking for to handle your site’s SEO, Magento 2 SEO from FME extensions has you covered.

This SEO plug-in enables your site to reduce your search engine optimization workload and improves your search ranking.

Magento 2 SEO plugin features include:

  • Meta titles, descriptions and keywords automation
  • Image alt tag optimization
  • Canonical tags
  • Rich snippet
  • Hreflang support
  • Sitemaps

7. URL Rewrite Regeneration

While Magento 2 allows you to configure your URLs and remove .htmls, it doesn’t have the option to regenerate URL rewrites for your products.

This is where the URL Rewrite Regeneration extension comes in.

URL Rewrite Regeneration features include:

  • Indexing
  • URL rewrites
  • Multiple storefront support

8. Ultimate SEO Suite Plugin from Aheadworks

Ultimate SEO Suite prevents duplicate content from occurring thanks to canonical tags.

Canonical tags inform crawlers which duplicate pages you want to promote, giving you control over which URL displays on search results.

Ultimate SEO Suite Plugin from Aheadworks features include:

  • Canonical URLs on your sitemap to increase opportunities of your page being indexed
  • Google sitemap pictures support to allow Google to index pictures and add your page to picture search
  • Auto-change to canonical URLs to automatically update your product URLs to canonical URLs
  • Complete multi-store support

9. Magento 2 SEO Suite from Swissuplabs

Magento 2 SEO Suite from Swissuplabs is an affordable SEO extension that’s filled to the brim with SEO features, such as rich snippets, canonical tags and XML sitemap.

Magento 2 SEO Suite from Swissuplabs features include:

  • Meta tag automation
  • Sitemaps
  • SEO friendly URLs automation
  • Rich snippets
  • Hreflang support

10. Magento 2 SEO Extension by Webkul

Magento 2 SEO Extension by Webkul offers a variety of features to improve your e-store’s SEO.

From displaying rich snippets of your products and categories on SERPs to allowing your customers to share your products on their Twitter and Facebook accounts, this SEO extension has you covered.

Magento 2 SEO Extension by Webkul features include:

  • CMS pages which allow you to create, edit and publish your website content without utilizing code
  • Product and category rich snippets
  • Sitemaps
  • Hreflang support
  • SEO meter for Magento
  • Sitelinks search box
  • Search engine robots

Wrapping Up On Magento SEO

It’s no secret that Magento has a reputation of being a superior eCommerce platform thanks to its usability and built-in SEO features.

While you can rely on Magento’s default SEO settings, taking it a step further and installing helpful extensions can help you increase visibility for your brand.

Some of Magento’s top SEO features that you can utilize and configure include XML Sitemap, robots.txt, SEO-friendly URLs, canonical tags and HTTPS.

To further streamline your SEO process, follow SEO best practices, including:

  • Implement an SEO-friendly URL structure
  • Write unique product descriptions
  • Optimize your images
  • Integrate SEO extensions
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