Magento SEO

Magento SEO: How to Set Up Your Store, Rank Higher & Increase Traffic

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By Can Olken

Posted on November, 12, 2020

In the right hands, Magento is an effective store for SEO. 

But unless you’re an SEO expert already, it can be very difficult to know how to get going with your Magento SEO or know what are the most important optimisations to make. 

Today, I am going to show exactly how to set up your Magento store to rank higher and increase traffic. 

In fact, this is the exact process we’ve used with our Magento clients to grow their traffic by an average of 170% over the last twelve months. 

This is a step-by-step guide for intermediate users. If you’re not overly technical you’ll love the actionable steps you can implement to boost your SEO rankings and drive more traffic to your website.

Let’s get started.

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What is Magento SEO? 

Magento is one of the world’s most popular, and powerful, eCommerce platforms, with 250,000 merchants currently using it to set up their online stores and connect with new consumers.

In addition to its user-friendly eCommerce website-building features, Magento is also popular for its powerful search engine optimisation (SEO) functionality.

Magento SEO features are accessible, making it possible to increase your organic search rankings possible without advanced technical knowledge.

As an eCommerce store owner, if you know what features to use—and how to use them—you will be on your way to boosting your search rankings and increasing traffic to your store.

To help you do just that, we’re going to delve a little deeper into Magento 2 and provide a definitive SEO checklist to help you get the most from the platform’s search optimisation features.

Is Magento 2 SEO-friendly? 

Magento 2 is one of the world’s most SEO friendly eCommerce or website building tools, with a host of built-in search engine optimisation features including:

  • Product page optimisation tools
  • URL editor
  • XML sitemap generator
  • Meta description and title tag tools
  • Robot.txt functionality
  • Google Analytics integration 

Magento SEO admin panel

The pros

Magento 2 provides some basic  SEO optimisation features straight out of the box (as soon as you install the platform)—enough to get you started (accessing more advanced features will require extensions or plugins). 

The majority of Magento 2’s SEO functionality is intuitive and as such, easy to implement. In addition to its accessible SEO features, it’s simple to optimise speed and performance of Magento 2 with the right platform extensions. 

Magento 2 is a scalable, customisable eCommerce platform designed to help busy business owners to increase their search rankings while driving more traffic to their site.

The cons

While Magento 2 is SEO-friendly, if you have an optimised Magento 1 theme, you won’t be able to transfer it over, which means you’ll have to start from scratch. Also , not every original extension is available on Magento 2. 

While Magento 2 comes with a host of SEO functionality improvements, there are occasional glitches and setbacks with certain features. But, you can usually fix these with regular software upgrades.

Essential Magento SEO Tips

Now that you’re better acquainted with Magento 2, let’s look at the essential tips. 

To steer you towards success, here’s a Magento SEO checklist for a strong technical foundation:

URL structure

To help you store rank higher in search engines, you should ensure that your pages URL structures are just right. Here is an optimal format for your reference:

Example URL with category path

http://www.exampledomain.com/main-category-keyword/subcategory-keyword/product-primary-keyword

Example URL without category path

http://www.exampledomain.com/product-primary-keyword

By following this URL format, including your primary target keyword, and being as descriptive as possible, you will make it easier for the likes of Google to index your store’s product pages.

You can use Magento’s URL structuring functionality to create catalog URLs to improve structure and avoid duplication issues. 

Navigate to Stores > Settings > Configuration>Catalog on Magento’s Admin Sidebar and follow this official tutorial to configure your catalog URLs.

Magento SEO configuration

Google Analytics

One of the most notable Magento SEO features is the fact that you can integrate Google Analytics to track additional data-driven insights based on user behaviour and page engagement.

To integrate your Google Analytics with Magento, you should follow these steps:

  1. Login to your Magento store admin
  2. Head to Stores > Settings > Configuration
  3. In the left hand panel, expand Sales and select Google API.
  4. Expand the Google Analytics section/drop down: set Enable to ‘Yes’, enter your Google Analytics account number, and save. 

Magento Google Analytics setup

Meta Information

Your meta information—your meta description and title tag—are important SEO signals. Not only will optimising your meta information help to increase your search rankings, but by using descriptive, enticing copy, you will drive more clicks and traffic to your store.

1. To update your page meta information in Magento, visit: 

Content > Elements> Pages > Edit, navigate to ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ accordion header, and fill in in the Meta Titles and Meta Description fields..

Magento meta data

2. To update your product or category meta information in Magento, visit:

 Catalog> Inventory>Products/Categories, select the product or category you need, navigate to ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ accordion header and fill in in the Meta Titles and Meta Description fields.

Magento product meta data

By the way!

If you need help optimising your SEO & content to increase your Magento store’s traffic & rankings, we offer a host of professional SEO services here at Bubblegum Search.

Heading Tags

Setting your headings correctly while making your titles or headlines relevant as well as compelling will enhance your Magento SEO efforts.

Heading levels develop a hierarchy that arranges your content, helping search engine bots better understand your content when indexing every page on your website. 

Using the Heading content type in Magento’s Page Builder stage, you can add a text container with a heading level ranging from H1 to H6. These headings will be arranged in accordance with the style sheet linked to the theme you’re using for your online store or website.

For advanced on-page heading optimization, you can use the SEO Page Title Overwrite extension to update and optimise product and category page titles to make your site more keyword rich and SEO friendly.

Faceted Navigation

Faceted navigation is an effective SEO technique for eCommerce store owners as it enhances the user experience (UX) by allowing consumers to filter for products or items based on different categories or criteria.

An issue with faceted navigation, is that you can run into duplicate content issues while making certain products difficult to index—having a negative impact on your search rankings in the process.

You can use Magento to create faceted navigation for your store. But, to ensure your efforts are SEO-friendly as well as user friendly while avoiding any duplicate content issues, you can enable the Canonical Meta Tag in Magento 2.

Magento canonical link meta tag

By enabling any faceted/filter pages with canonical tags, you can eliminate duplicate content issues, concentrate page views, and boost your site rankings—a wise strategy & even more so, if you frequently add new product or category pages to your website.

For technical assistance, guidance, and advice, you can talk through your Magento SEO needs with a Bubblegum Search SEO expert.

Duplicate Content 

As mentioned, duplicate content can have a negative impact on your store’s search rankings by using up your crawl budget and making it difficult for search engines to select the preferred or best-optimised version of a particular page or URL.

However, it’s not just faceted navigation that can cause issues. When you have an eCommerce store with an expansive range of product pages, query strings and URL variations, it can create duplicate content issues. 

For your reference, here’s a common example of duplicate URL content:

http://www.example.com/keyword-x/

and

http://www.example.com/strore-category/keyword-x

The example above can be fixed by ensuring products don’t have a category path. 

Navigate to Stores > Settings > Configuration>Catalog on Magento’s Admin Sidebar >Expand the Search Engine Optimizations section>Set Use Categories Path for Product URLs to ‘No’.

Magento category path

But, as mentioned in the previous point, there is another simple way to fix duplicate content and preserve your Magento store’s SEO integrity.

If you have duplicate content that you cannot resolve from your Magento store, either by enabling the canonical meta tag, or setting the product path, you can still use canonical URLs to inform search engine bots which is the prefered version to index and avoid any issues.

However, to do this for your Magento store, you will need to consult the services of your web developer or purchase the Canonical URL extension with more advanced options.

Crawling & Indexing

XML sitemaps help search engine bots crawl your website effectively and in turn, rank higher, by acting as a digital roadmap.

While generating an effective XML sitemap for your Magento store is possible, the platform’s out of the box XML customisation is limited. 

As such, to get the most from this feature and develop an XML sitemap for improved crawling & indexing, you will need to work with your web developer or add this XML sitemap plugin.

Here’s how to remove or exclude any unwanted 300 or 400 status URLs from your sitemap once you’ve installed the plugin:

  • Catalog> Product (or category)>Edit> >Search Engine Optimization
  • Head to > Exclude Sitemap and select Yes.

Magento exclude sitemap

Site Speed

If your store is poor performing or slow loading, it will affect your search rankings while having a negative impact on web traffic and engagement. 

In fact, 37% of potential shoppers bounce from a web page when it takes longer than five seconds to load.

You can improve your Magento site’s speed and performance with the ‘Page Speed’ plugin—you can also try these approaches:

  • Download the latest Magento store update by downloading the metapackage
  • Uninstall any irrelevant extensions or plugins by connecting via SSH to the root of your Magento installation (the folder that contains the app folder) and comb through the list of all plugins or extensions, including their enable / disable status.
  • Enable caching by navigating to System > Tools > Cache Management.

If you are not very technical, I would highly recommend working with a Magento web developer to implement these changes and make further site speed improvements. 

Robots.txt

Robots.txt is vital to your SEO search rankings as it’s a file that will tell search engine bots which pages to crawl and help ensure only relevant pages are indexed (but does not stop indexation or deindex pages already indexed). 

To update your Robots.txt in Magento and create a set of commands that ensure that only indexable pages are crawled, you must go to Content > Design > Configuration, find the Global configuration, and navigate to Search Engine Robots.

Magento search engine robots

This official Robots.txt guide from Magento will help you customise and configure your Robots.txt to rank higher.

301 Redirects

301 redirects are essential to your Magento store’s SEO health as well as your site’s user experience. A permanent form of redirect, with a 301 status code usually attributes 100% of link equity, or ranking power, to the redirected page. There are exceptions, for example, if your redirect takes you to a page that isn’t relevant to the original.

If you have a page or URL that has moved to a new location, you must add 301 redirects and fortunately, Magento makes it fairly straightforward for you to do so.

To create 301 redirects for pages in your Magento store, go to Admin Panel > Marketing > SEO & Search > URL Rewrites and press the ‘Add URL Rewrite’ button. 

Magento 301 redirects

From there, you can ‘Create a URL Rewrite’ to set your request path (URL to redirect), the target path (Destination URL), and confirm your redirect type (301).    

Magento SEO Plugins & Extensions

Both Magento 1 & 2 come with a host of dynamic out of the box SEO features, but, to further increase your search rankings and web traffic, investing in plugins or extensions is worthwhile. In addition to the plugins or extensions we’ve already covered, here are other powerful Magento SEO additions to consider:

  • Reload SEO dashboard
  • SEO Friendly Images optimiser
  • Improved Layered Navigation
  • Landing Pages creator
  • Extended Rich Snippets

You will find all of these SEO plugins or extensions and more by exploring Magento Marketplace.

Frequently Asked Questions About Magento 2 SEO

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Q: Can I use Yoast SEO for my Magento store?

A: Yes, Yoast SEO is a free plugin that was initially developed to help with on-page SEO optimisation for WordPress. Now you can integrate Yoast with Magento 2.

Q: Is Magento SEO difficult to learn?

A: If you’re not technically-minded, you will be able to use most Magento 2 SEO features with a little tuition and practice. 

Some aspects of the platform will require the services of a web developer, but you will be able to pick up most of the platform’s functionality by familiarising yourself with the dashboard. There are also a wealth of tutorials online that will help you master most key aspects of Magento 2.

If you’re a business owner in need of expert advice and assistance concerning your Magento 2 SEO efforts, Bubblegum Search will save you time while boosting your search rankings, leaving you to focus on what you do best—running your business.

Q: Is Magento 2 mobile-friendly?

A: Naturally, your website needs to be mobile-optimised for healthy SEO rankings and consistent web traffic. The goods news is, Magento 2 themes are mobile-friendly, and the store checkout is optimised for mobile too. If you’re collaborating with a developer, you should make sure they use responsive web design.

Over To You!

Magento 2 is an excellent option for eCommerce business owners looking to rank higher in search engines and increase their levels of web traffic.

The platform comes with most of the tools you need for increased SEO success and by following our advice, you will be able to get the very best from the platform’s search-based features and functionality.

For more SEO rank-boosting insights, read our 50 essential small business SEO tips. And, if you have any Magento SEO advice or questions, get the conversation started by leaving a comment below.

Can Olken works as an SEO Executive at Bubblegum Search. With an ever-growing passion for everything SEO and a knack for content creation, he aspires to become an expert in the field. Occasionally writes about hip hop and movies.

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