No marketer can overlook the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in their marketing strategy. These following Magento SEO tips are especially for you – the Ecommerce merchants.
Because SEO is the decisive factor of the online store’s success. The better you do SEO for your website, the more customers can get access to your product/service, leading to a bigger chance of brand broadening. However, SEO is never a simple task and it is even more complicated when doing SEO for an ecommerce website which contains a large number of product lists.
One of the reasons that make Magento 2 become a popular ecommerce website platform is its SEO-friendly features such as URL rewriting, image optimization or Google Sitemap. You can check out Magento 2 SEO Checklist for more details. There is also a Magento 2 SEO Extension as a complete solution for all of the issues related to SEO. Besides, there is also basic SEO tips you should know to enhance ranking and traffic to your Magento website.
1. Update the Latest Version of Magento Platform
Tip number one is to always update your Magento to the latest version of Magento. New releases will have best SEO support features updated. This is the thing you want to have if you want to get high rank in search engine.
Other than that, Upgrade to the latest version contains a lot of enhancements include performance enhancements, Bug fixing and most importantly to strengthen the security. Magento itself always recommends all the Magento users to upgrade the newest release version as soon as possible.
Check out this useful Magento 2 Download & Updates article
2. Optimize the URLs
It is better if URLs of your website do not have any codes. In Magento 2, you can follow these steps to clean URLs: Store => Configuration => General => Web => URL Options, and then set Add Store Code to URL to “No”. After this configuration is saved, product/category codes will not be automatically added to your URLs, which make it more SEO-friendly.
To radically clean URLs, in Search Engine Optimization menu, turn Server URL Rewrites to “Yes”. The phrase “index.php” will be removed from your URLs as well.
In general, URLs themselves don’t have a major impact on a page’s ability to rank. But they are still a minor ranking factor. The most important highlight of optimizing the URLs is to improve the user experience. No one wants to see a URL link with full of numbers and non-sense letters. URL friendly gives both human and bots a more clear view of what the page will be about.
3. Use proper keywords
Magento 2 has default sample content for product title and description, but it is not standard for SEO. You need to edit them by go to Content => Design => Configuration. The UI will show you a Design Configuration table, choose for example a store view you want to edit. In Other Setting => HTML Head. Meta title and description should be keyword-rich and unique. With the title, one rule is putting important keywords near the beginning of your title as much as possible in order for search engines to realize them more easily. In the description, the keyword also needs to appear as well. One more thing is eliminating words like “the”, “and” from your title. Do a similar action for category title and description, you will have a more SEO-friendly site.
4. Optimize product images
The next Magento SEO tip for you is to not forget to optimize product images on your site.
First of all, the name of the image file should accurately and clearly describe what the image is about other than a series of meaningless words and numbers. For example, instead of IMG00231, you should name it black-acoustic-guitar. The file’s name eventually becomes part of the image’s URL, so naming your file something in plain English will make your URLs easier to navigate and understand for the search engine.
The alt text of a picture is shown when users hover their mouse over the picture or websites can’t render the image for some reasons. When search engine scans your website, it can not see what’s in your picture, the only thing search engine can read is the text. The alt text describes the image to search engines so they can understand them. You can add your keyword in the alt text, but remember to add your keyword with a reasonable dose.
Size of the image is also a thing because it affects the loading speed. Normally, almost half of the e-commerce shoppers will not wait over 3s for a page to load. PNGs image are so popular these days, but in term of small size and quality, JPEGs are better choices over PNGs.
5. Avoid Duplicate Content
Having unique content is one of the key factors in SEO. Search engine crawlers take it low on site with duplicate content (multiple URLs pointing to the same or similar content).
To solve this, you should explicitly tell Google which URL is authoritative (canonical) for that page. If you do not do this explicitly, Google will make that choice for you or might consider them both of equal weight, which might lead to unwanted behavior. That’s also the benefit of the canonical tags.
In Magento 2 Default setting, you can manage to use Canonical Tag for both Product and Category. To enable the Canonical Tag option to figure out this problem. Go to Store => Configuration => Catalog => Catalog => Search Engine Optimization. Then Set ‘Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories’ to Yes, ‘Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products’ to Yes.
6. Speed up your site
Loading speed can influence the site ranking. As Google has stated, low loading sites are not preferable. Only one lower second can drop the site ranking. There are various Magento SEO tips for you to speed up your site, below are some simple but easy ways for you:
- Enable all caching features (Store => Configuration => Advanced => System => Full Page Cache)
Set ‘Caching Application’ to Varnish Cache and then configure a few Varnish configurations such as Access list, Backend port & Backend port. These set up can make your subsequent page loads faster without much server load.
- Enable Flat Catalog Categories and Flat Catalog Product (Store => Configuration => Catalog => Catalog => Storefront)
A flat catalog is updated automatically, contains all the necessary data about a product or category in a single table. so that flat catalog indexing can significantly speed up the processing of catalog and cart price rules.
- Reduce the number of external files that can be downloaded from your server
7. Generate a Sitemap
Sitemaps are vital for SEO purpose. Crawlers follow the links in the sitemap to all your pages of a website and then crawl things back for the search engine. In Magento 1, you can generate both XML and HTML sitemap. Unfortunately, Magento 2 only has XML sitemap setting. If you want to generate a HTML sitemap you need to customize or use the extension like Dynamic HTML Sitemap for Magento 2 to create one.
To configure the Site Map, for example how frequently the map is updated or what is included, go to Store => Configuration => Catalog => Catalog => XML sitemap.
To generate XML sitemap, go to Marketing => Sitemap. Then add sitemap and add name and path for that new sitemap. Then choose Save & Generate.
Check out this XML sitemap in Magento 2 Generation Tutorial
8. Modify Robots.txt File
Why should we take a look at the robots.txt file? In case you create a site without real products, Magento adds a robots.txt file to your site so that search engines will not index it. Your site is real, right? So don’t let robots.txt file prevent search engine find out your site.
By Magento 2 default, Robot setting is “INDEX, FOLLOW”. In case you want to change it, go to Content => Design => Configuration then Choose store view you want to change the Robot.txt setting. And then scroll down to Search Engine Robot, you will find the configuration for it here.
9. Build Internal Link network
To get better SEO result, building internal links is a Must. By following links search engine crawlers can define the relationship between the pages, posts and other content on your website. The next Magento 2 SEO tips is to build a great network of internal links just by using the default Related product feature.
You can easily link a product with its related items following this configuration: Catalog => Products. Then you choose a product to edit. Go to Related Products, Up-Sells, and Cross-Sells => Related Products => Add Related Products.
Bonus: Start with Low competitive keywords
To SEO a keyword or a group of keywords to top rank needs a lot of work. And it is even more difficult if your site is new and has low authority. So to choose a high competitiveness keyword to SEO is extremely time-consuming. You need to create a outstanding content and promote it so hard to get the result. That’s not a good way to deal in the situation.
Instead of trying to promote competitive keywords, just find the less competitive one and try to SEO them first. This is actually the quickest way to grow your search traffic. Tool likes Keywords Explorer can help you figure out which keyword is easier to SEO via a score named “keyword difficulty” or KD for short.
Applying 9 tips above is completely free, easy to do but still can bring a lot better organic traffic for your site, increase site rankings and search engine visibility. We hope with these tips, you can get some ideas to improve your website SEO ranking. Remember to stay tuned with us, the article will be updated frequently to bring you more useful SEO tips.