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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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’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.
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
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
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:
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:
Meta tag templates
Unique product URL automation
Internal and external cross links
Redirects and pagination
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: