If you run online store that is proudly powered by Magento, you know that it is a platform that is rather straightforward, and that its out of the box solutions will offer you a lot! You will also find out that it can be customised in so many ways, and adjusted to your needs at all times. It is great! So, without wasting any more of precious time, let us show you how to ensure that your Magento store is easily found by your customers, and rewarded by search engines.
So you have done your research and decided to go with Magento! That is just perfect, we are confident that you will get to know all of its perks right away, as there are many.
One of them is definitely the possibility to optimize your store without working long hours next and suffering from numerous dilemmas.
But, if there are any, we firmly decided to remove them with this blog post, as we bring you detailed procedure that will help you optimize your online shop properly.
Magento and SEO
By default, Magento is loved by search engines, but nevertheless, you will need to perform additional adjustments in order to set up your store’s SEO properly.
We already wrote a tutorial on how to generate sitemap in Magento and now, we want to show you basic settings that could help your store become easy to find by both – search engines and of course – your customers.
It is important to mention in the very beggining – sitemap is not a ranking factor. It is, however, important to let search engine bots that your store’s Urls are available for crawling.
That means that setting up your sitemap is important, but these couple of sentences coming from Google Webmaster, you should have in mind at all times:
“A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.
Also, your sitemap can provide valuable metadata associated with the pages you list in that sitemap: Metadata is information about webpage, such as when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and the importance of the page relative to other URLs in the site.”
It is important to know, however, that Google for example, will not penalize you for not having one.
To begin, you should navigate System – Configuration after you log into your Magento admin panel. All the settings you will need can be found here.
We explained in one of our previous articles what search engines like and don’t like in terms of search engine optimization, and – having page related keywords in your Url is something that search engines will most certainly reward.
The fact that Magento uses its own built-in Url rewrite feature, makes it extremely easy to improve your store’s search engine rankings.
On the other hand, ignoring your Urls can damage your online store in so many ways.
That is why your next step should be setting up Url Options. Navigate to Web and choose Url options.
Firstly, you have to decide whether you will Add Store Code to Urls – we suggest you select “No” from the dropdown menu. Choosing ” Yes” would add unnecessary terms to your Url.
Auto-redirect to Base URL in short means that Magento will redirect from:
http://www.myonlinestore.com/ to www.myonlinestore.com, as you can read below the dropdown menu.
You should know at this point that you should enable canonical Urls when these kind of changes are made. But first, you have to understand canonical Urls.
What are canonical Urls?
We wouldn’t love (or become dependant) on Google to this extent if it would offer us irrelevant results or tons of duplicated content for every search we initiated.
Search engines (and not only Google, but Bing and Yahoo also) strive to give the best possible experience to user, and by doing that, they have to know which content is original, and which is the duplicate in order to show relevant results.
In order to prevent such behaviour, canonicalization was introduced.
The easiest way to explain it would be to imagine a website that contains lots of pages with identical content. In order to find out which one is relevant for the user, number of ways are implemented to indicate which one of the Urls is the the one that is relevant for Google and as such, presented to end user.
Of course, when it comes to your blog, you would suffer from bad rankings, and low site visits, and that would be bad. But in case you run online business, it would mean loses and possibly shutting down your business.
And you cannot let that happen.
It can be result of a bad Url, similar to example below, but it can also be caused by printer friendly versions of your content. Session IDs are also what frequently causes duplicated content.
This usually happens when you assign different ID (that is stored in Url) to every user that visits your website.
Solution is rather simple and effective – you should simply create 301 redirect from your duplicated page to your page with original content.
Web Server Rewrites
Once you are done move on to tab Search Engine Optimization.
There, you have the possibility to remove index.php from your base Url and you get a great looking Url.
Essentially, if you choose “Yes“, you will enable Magento to replace dynamic Urls with the ones that are static and, more important – search engine friendly.
Magento is great and so popular for its Url rewrite feature. It makes it so easy to switch from dynamic to static Urls. Static Urls are what will ensure that search engines have done a great job indexing your Magento online store.
Search engines will actually penalize your site for having broken links.
Let us try and explain it through an example – if you move one product from one to another category for whatever reason, a broken link will appear.
These broken links can bring lots of damage to your online store. And not only that, but they are useless for search engines.
Setting up your store’s name and changing default Magento settings is another important task you have to execute when dealing with SEO.
Among other things, you need to set up your store’s name, meta title and enter description. These settings can be found under Configuration – Design.
First, you will notice that uploading Favicon is an option, and we suggest you do it. It will make your store more personal and in general, you should not miss out on opportunity to showoff your great logo.
If you are not familiar with ways to create favicon, we suggest you try Favicon Generator.
You will create great favicon in no time and make your website stand out for being more personal.
Next – you should set up your Title. Title Magento Commerce comes by default with Magento installation and you should definitely change it to reflect your online store.
We suggest you go through phrases containing descriptive keywords you have previously targeted. Place for other keywords should ideally be Title Prefix.
Another important thing is to make sure that Default Keywords and Default Description fields are empty. Also, you want to set field Default Robots to – INDEX, FOLLOW.
Congrats, you are done! Simply click Save Config orange button and you are all set!
Search engine optimization (SEO) are three words that can either make or brake your online business. Today, when stuffing your content with keywords is simply not enough, you have to explore other options.
Some of them are rather technical, but if you are serious about your online business and want every little detail to be top notch – you will have to get to the technical side of things eventually.
After all it is the only way to have your store fully prepared to become successful go to place for online shoppers.