Magento SEO: How to Optimize Your Magento Store for Search

magento seoSince its launch in 2008, Magento has grown from a niche e-commerce platform into an incredibly popular content management system. With over 200,000 online stores using Magento, selecting it for your e-commerce project is a fantastic decision.

As well as being easy to customize visually, Magento is incredibly easy to set up for optimum search engine optimization. In this guide, you’ll learn 9 Magento SEO tips to help you generate as much search traffic as possible for your online store.

Are you new to search engine optimization? Learn the basics of SEO – from on-page optimization to off-page link building – alongside over 1,000 other students in our ClickMinded SEO Training course.

 

Magento CE & EE vs. Magento Go

Magento is available in three different editions: the self-hosted Community Edition and Enterprise Edition, and the cloud-based Magento Go edition. The tactics in this guide are aimed at marketers using the Community and Enterprise editions.

Are you using the hosted version of Magento called Magento Go? If so, some of the options and settings listed in this guide may not be relevant. Learn how to optimize your Magento Go website in How to Set Up an E-Commerce Store in 1 Hour course.

 

Write descriptive page titles

Page titles can make or break your SEO, especially when you operate an online store that relies on search traffic. Descriptive page titles have two key benefits: they result in a higher clickthrough rate to your website, and they improve your SEO visibility.

When your page titles include several keywords related to your product, they’re far more likely to appear in Google’s search results. For example, a product page with a product name and a description will attract more traffic than one with just a name.

Optimize your page titles to be as descriptive as possible. For example, a page with Nike Shox for sale shouldn’t just be titled “Nike Shoxit should be titled “Nike Shox Running Shoes” to attract a wider range of visitors from Google’s search results.

There’s more to on-page optimization than just writing great titles. Join more than 2,000 other students to learn the keys to successful on-page SEO in our Essential SEO Training for Marketers course.

 

Remove store codes from URLs

By default, Magento adds store codes to URLs. Store codes are unique identifiers used to locate products within your database. They’re a visual annoyance, and an issue when it comes to maximizing your search engine visibility.

Thankfully, disabling store codes is quick and simple. Navigate to the Configuration menu in Magento and select Web, then Search Engine Optimization. From here, just switch the “Add Store Codes to URLs” setting from Yes to No.

To improve your SEO even more, you may want to change your URL structure. Set the “Server URL Rewrites” option to Yes to remove “index.php” from your URLs and streamline your links.

 

Create an XML sitemap

An XML sitemap is a virtual roadmap of your website that Google and other search engines use to crawl your content. While an XML sitemap isn’t essential for SEO, it’s often tough for search engines to find all of your inner pages without one.

Adding an XML sitemap to your Magento store is quick and simple. In the Top Menu, navigate to Catalog and select Google Sitemap. From here, you can define the pages you’d like to include in your sitemap and automatically generate it using Magento.

After you’ve built your sitemap, you’ll need to help Google and other search engines find it easily. Link your sitemap in your robots.txt file using the “Sitemap:” directive, or inform Google of your sitemap manually using Google Webmaster Tools.

 

Avoid creating duplicate content

By default, Magento may create duplicate content for products that appear in more than one category. This can occasionally result in Google thinking your website has published copied content and in turn reducing your search engine visibility.

Overcoming this annoyance is simple. Navigate to the Configuration page, then visit Catalog and Search Engine Optimization. Change the “Use Categories Path for URLs” setting from Yes to No and enable the two “Canonical Link Meta Tag” options.

Do you need help with on-page SEO? Learn about the importance of avoiding using duplicate content, the value of keywords in titles and subheadings, and much more in our SEO Course for Beginners.

 

Use keywords on product pages

Not all of your customers will reach your website by searching for product names and model numbers. Many potential customers could stumble onto your website after searching for a generic keyword like “running shoes” or “men’s watches.”

Instead of optimizing your product pages solely for model numbers or brand names, try to optimize them for both brand names and keywords. Include generic keywords in your product descriptions and subheadings for a serious SEO boost.

Remember that product descriptions need to balance SEO and direct sales. While it’s always a good idea to include descriptive, relevant keywords in your descriptions, it isn’t such a wise idea to stuff your content with distracting SEO keywords.

Strike a balance between SEO and conversions using the copywriting techniques in our Copywriting for Pros course. Whether you’re store sells sports clothing or high-end jewelry, the techniques in this course will help you write high-converting copy.

 

Integrate with Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers far more than just insight into your visitors’ activity on your website. With a deep understanding of Google Analytics, you’ll be able to learn the top sources of referral traffic for your website and your best search keywords.

If you’re not already using Google Analytics, make sure you create an account for your Magento store and integrate it as soon as you can. Magento includes built-in support the for Google Analytics tracking code in the Google API menu.

Would you like to become a Google Analytics master? Learn how to track on-site behavior, monitor conversions, see which pages have the highest conversion rate and more in our Google Analytics Mastery course.

 

Optimize for ‘buying’ keywords

Not all keywords are made equal. Some are more likely to convert visitors into new customers than others. Generally speaking, “buying” keywords like product names and review-related phrases will convert more frequently than generic keywords.

This means that the focus of your search engine optimization should be keywords that are directly related to your products. If you sell running shoes, keywords like “Nike Shox review” or “Buy Nike Shox” need a higher priority than “running shoes.”

Don’t neglect keywords that don’t have such a serious buying intent. These type of keywords are known as “curiosity keywords” and while they’re not as valuable for your business, they should still be a priority of your search engine optimization.

 

Add a blog to your Magento store

Don’t let the fact that you’re an e-commerce retailer put you off becoming a blogger too. Keeping your website updated with fresh, interesting content is one of the best ways to generate traffic, and there’s no better source of new content than a blog.

A wide variety of Magento blog plug-ins are available, many of which are simple to install and configure. Alternatively, it’s also possible to install a WordPress blog in a subdirectory or on a subdomain and use a familiar, more user-friendly interface.

Keep your blog updated frequently to alert Google to your website’s activity and get a valuable SEO boost. If you’d like to attract buyers instead of blog readers, use your blog to target curiosity keywords and answer questions your customers may have.

Do you need help installing and configuring your WordPress blog? Learn the basics of WordPress installation, customization and optimization in our course, WordPress for Beginners.

 

Don’t neglect off-page optimization

Magento is one of the easiest e-commerce platforms to optimize for search, but it’s still subject to the usual rules of SEO. In order to rank prominently for competitive search keywords, you’ll need to carry out both on-page and off-page optimization.

This means building links to your store on a variety of platforms. One of the best ways to build links for your online store is by running a social promotion offering discounts and special offers for people that Tweet or post about you.

Alternatively, you can focus on traditional online public relations and generate high-value links from online newspapers and magazines. A single mention in TechCrunch or Forbes can be worth a huge amount in search engine visibility.

Want to discover creative ways to build links to your website? Learn the secrets of off-page link building that complies with Google’s search guidelines in our SEO for Small and Medium Businesses course.

 

Ready to get started?

Thanks to Magento’s user-friendly interface and great customization options, it’s easy to optimize your website for Google and other search engines. From sitemaps to page titles, each tactics in this Magento SEO guide will improve your rankings.

Would you like to learn more about creating an online  store in Magneto? Read our blog posts on choosing the best e-commerce platform and building an e-commerce website to learn more about building and optimizing your store using Magento.