The Ultimate Magento Marketing and SEO Guide to Boost Your Sites.
Need help with Magento marketing and SEO? How does Magento compare to other website building platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce or WordPress? Is Magento good for SEO? What SEO strategies and SEO tools are best for Magento? How can I get my Magento store to the top of Google?
If you’re using Magento for e-Commerce, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions before. And yes, we could say Magento is good for SEO; it’s built with a number of out-of-box SEO features.
But Magento is also one of the most complex and customizable e-Commerce platforms. In other words, if you want to rank a Magento site, you need a bit of technical knowledge and you have to be using the best Magento SEO tools. Need a little help?
This Ultimate Guide to Magento Marketing and SEO provides everything you need to know to get started and to improve your ranking on Google.
We’ve answered some pressing questions about the platform and highlighted some of the most important SEO strategies for Magento, including:
Bottom line, if you’re new to Magento, or you’re looking for new ways to optimize a Magento store, this guide will show you exactly what you can do to rank higher on Google FAST. Beyond being an awesome guide to increase your sales and help you sell more products on your Magento sites, we also give you key tips to convert more leads into customers.
Is Magento good for SEO?
The short answer is yes. But there are some considerations you need for make. SEO for Magento requires a bit of technical experience, and it’s known for being a bit more challenging to configure for the SEO and search engine marketing. So how does Magento compare to other web building platforms?
Compared to popular e-Commerce solutions like WooCommerce or Shopify, Magento isn’t nearly as user-friendly. But it does beat those competitors in terms of SEO features and functions. One thing that makes Magento good for SEO is its customization potential; it’s designed to allow users to build custom stores from the ground up.
But there are some initial SEO strategies you must use to win on Magento:
Proper SEO configuration
URL settings for search-friendly URLs
Canonical tag settings to avoid duplicate content
Creating custom XML sitemaps
Bottom line: For novices, a tool like Shopify or WooCommerce is best for SEO. Most users can build and optimize e-Commerce stores with those tools without any coding knowledge.
Magento, on the other hand, is the most useful tool for shops that sell highly customizable products – e.g. complex orders – for shops that sell thousands of products, or for shops that have a unique ordering process that requires customization. The reason is that Magento allows for more advanced development and customization.
Really, though, Magento is great for building all types of stores. But if you’re new to the platform, you might want to partner with a Magento expert or scale with WooCommerce or Shopify first.
Best Magento SEO and Marketing Tips:
You Need to Know these Before Building on Magento!
Magento SEO Tip #1:
How to Use Canonical Links to Avoid Duplicate Content on Magento
Before you try any SEO or optimization strategies for your Magento site, you should first learn about canonical links and how they affect your search engine rankings. Duplicate content is a critical concern for SEO on Magento. The platform’s default settings create unnecessary URLs for the same products and categories. That’s a problem when Google indexes two pages and sees they’re the exact same. For example, let’s say you have a red T-Shirt for sale, which can also be found by filtering your categories page by color.
This would create two URLs for the same product page:
The search engine doesn’t know which page to rank, and therefore, your ranking potential gets split between the two URLs. In other words, you’re working against yourself, preventing your main red T-shirts page from landing on Page 1 of Google. Fortunately, there’s a quick fix in Magento.
Go to System > Configuration > Catalog.
Scroll down to Search Engine Optimization and select Yes for “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories/Products.”
What does this do? Canonical links add a meta tag to any secondary pages. The meta tag tells Google that these are duplicates related to the primary product page.
Magento SEO Tip #2:
How to Create a Sitemap in Your Magento Admin
You absolutely must create a sitemap for your Magento sites. An XML Sitemap is a useful tool in Magento. It’s a simple text document that outlines your store’s architecture.
An XML Sitemap does two things for SEO:
It helps Google understand which pages are most important on your site
An XML sitemap helps Google bot and other search engine crawlers crawl your website and find new pages or harder-to-find pages
Fortunately, Magento’s latest version, Magento 2, has a number of updated XML sitemap features that allow store owners to create excellent, optimized sitemaps.
Here’s how to create an XML sitemap for SEO on Magento:
Go to Configuration > Catalog > XML Sitemaps:
Once you’ve opened the XML Sitemaps tab, you have tons of options. You can set options for each of your page types: Categories, Products, CMS Pages.
In particular, you can set:
This is how often the pages in this category are updated. You can choose Always, Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly or Never.
Magento Marketing Idea: Choose a frequency that matches your publishing schedule. If you upload new products daily, choose hourly or daily. If you rarely add new products or categories, weekly or monthly works.
This allows you to assign a value between 0.0 and 1.0 to pages. 1.0 is the highest value, e.g. the most important page(s) on your website. Your homepage receives a 1.0. Category pages and best-selling products, on the other hand, would receive a score lower than 1.0.
How to Add Images to Your Magento Sitemap –
You can include product images in your sitemap. This can help you increase the likelihood that images get found in search engines for your products. You can choose to add images for All Products, Base Only (standard products, if you allow lots of customizations), or None.
Ultimately, once you’ve configured your XML sitemap, it’ll be created and then you can submit to Google or Bing. Magento 2 also has an option for linking your robots.txt file and your sitemap.
Magento SEO Tip #3:
Enable URL Rewrites in Magento
One of our best and easiest tips for search engine marketing on Magento is the enable URL rewrites function.
Short, reader-friendly and keyword-rich page URLs are all important for successful SEO. Yet, Magento out-of-box doesn’t do a great job of writing URLs. In fact, a lot of unnecessary mark-up gets added to URLs, which creates difficult-to-read URLs that look unprofessional.
Here’s an example of how to enable URL rewrites in Magento:
The index.php modifier doesn’t add value and makes the URL unattractive. Fortunately, Magento has a helpful built-in function for creating optimized URLs: enabling URL Rewrites.
To turn on and configure URL Rewrites in Magento:
Click Configuration > General > Web
Expand the Search Engine Optimization tab
Choose YES in the Use Server Rewrites section
After you’ve completed this task, you’ll want to also enable automatic URL redirects for any of the original URLs. This will automatically redirect any traffic from the old URL to the new URL.
These are called “301 Permanent Redirects” and by setting these up properly, you will allow Google and search engines to still find valuable content that has already been created.
Go to Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization
Select YES in the Create Permanent Redirect for URLs if URL Key Changed
Magento SEO Tip #4:
Write Perfect Page Titles/Meta Descriptions in Magento
Page title remains one of the oldest and most important Google ranking factors. Well-optimized page titles can make or break your SEO strategy, and if you haven’t examined titles and meta descriptions for SEO, that’s one of the first steps you should take to improve your rankings.
Page titles in Magento are fairly straightforward, but there are some tips specifically for titles and meta descriptions that will help your store rank higher on Google. To begin your Magento optimization, page titles typically include 1-2 keywords + a brand name.
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword or Modifier | Brand Name
Here are the steps you need to take in Magento 2 to optimize page titles.
1. Update Your Magento Store’s Default Title and Description –
Optimizing your store’s homepage will help you rank higher. You’ll want to add keywords for the best title/description. To do this:
Go to Content > Design > Configuration
In the Action column, select Edit
Choose Other Settings, then HTML Head section.
Then update the Default Title section. The Default Title is the page title for your store. You should add primary and secondary keywords.
Then update Title Suffix. This is a prewritten part of the title that gets added to every page. This enables stores to standardize their page titles.
Then update the Default Description. This is a brief 160-character description of what your store is. It appears in search engine results under the page title.
Magento Marketing and SEO Tip: Use “- Brand Name” or “| Brand Name” as a suffix. This will improve the credibility of your page titles and help you establish brand awareness.
2. Optimize Individual Page Titles/Meta Descriptions in Magento -
The name of the product in Magento is the default page title in Magento. Page titles look like: Product Name | Brand Name (if a Title Suffix is used).
Here’s how to update individual titles manually in Magento:
Go to Catalog > Manage Product
Select a product you’d like to edit
Then select Meta Information
3. Mass Update All Product Titles + Meta Descriptions on Magento -
If you have hundreds of products that need to be optimized. One option is to export your product library into a .CSV file. Update the meta descriptions and page titles on the CSV. Then import the new CSV file. Magento will auto-update each title and meta description from this list.
If you want to update your Magento product catalog (i.e. what you products you are offering on your website):
Go to System > Import/Export > Export. Then select the CSV file product type.
Skip all fields except Meta Title and Meta Description.
Update all product titles and descriptions in your original CSV file.
Then, go to System > Import/Export > Import
Choose Replace Existing Complex Data in the Important Behaviors field:
Magento SEO Tip: In addition to updating the meta description and title fields, you also should mass-optimize Product Name and Meta Keywords. By using a simple CSV file, spending a few hours on your Magento site adding content, text, and image alt-text descriptions, you can maximize your search engine optimization.
Magento SEO Tip #5:
How to Use Rich Snippets and Schema Markup on Magento for SEO
Rich data in search results is the future of product marketing and e-Commerce. When your products appear in search, people want to see rich data: Price, images, product conditions, reviews/ratings, and current availability.
This is what a product with excellent rich snippets from Schema markups, along with a detailed description of the product:
Incorporating micro data allows you to do this, and add this rich information quickly. In Magento, there are two ways to integrate micro data. You can do it manually, by altering the store’s code to include this information. Most will require help from a Magento expert to do this manually. Another option is to use a Magento extension.
One of the best Magento extensions to install is called, “Google Rich Snippets.”
To incorporate micro data into your site with Google Rich Snippets:
Install this Magento extension.
Then, configure the extension. Google Rich Snippets allows you to choose a wide variety of product information for pages, including:
This extension also allows you to include Reviews/Ratings, information about your business, a business logo, site links, a search input box, and breadcrumb URLs.
Magento Marketing Tip: Rich Snippets are powerful credibility markers, especially reviews. Generate more product reviews with email drip campaigns and use an extension to make review writing easier for your customers.
Magento SEO Tip #6:
How to Use Internal Linking on Magento
Internal links are a key Google ranking factor, and without them, pages and products on your store are more difficult to find. This means one thing: They’re much more difficult to rank.
There are numerous internal ranking strategies for Magento. But one you must absolutely follow is adding related products to product pages. By adding links to closely-related (“similar”) products, along with images, you are helping customers and crawlers scan more products.
Here’s how to turn on related similar product recommendations on Magento:
Go to Catalog > Products
This shows your entire product inventory.
Choose a product you’d like to work with and select Edit.
Now you can add products to your Magento catalog:
Scroll to the bottom of the page and open the Related products, Up-Sells, and Cross-Sells
Clicking Add will allow you to select individual products to link to on your Magento catalog.
Magento Developer Tip: Have hundreds of products you’d like to add related products to? Use a plugin to automate the process. Automatic Related Products 2 is a favorite that allows users to set parameters and rollout related products across an entire site.
3 Awesome Tips to Make Your Magento Site Faster Speed:
How to reduce page load speed and accelerate your customer conversions on Magento.
Compress all of your images.
Image file sizes should be kilobytes not megabytes!
Use a Content Delivery Network (“CDN”) such as Cloudflare .
We use Cloudflare on hundreds of our websites. Each of our clients at Vail Networks has a portal to login and modify any settings that will reduce your page load speed and accelerate your website. In your case, if you are just searching for a CDN that can accelerate your site, we would recommend Cloudflare.
We highly recommend that you combine and minimize your JS and CSS file sizes because they are notorious for slowing your page speed.
Here are the key steps to combining, minimizing and reducing your JS and CSS file sizes for better page speed on Magento:
Before you begin optimizing your page speed, go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how fast your Magento site is loading.
Login to your Magento Admin Panel > Navigate to System > Configuration > Advanced > Developer.
Within JS settings and CSS settings, determine if you are already combining these two things.
Within JS settings and CSS settings, set these two: Merge JS Files and Merge CSS files to “Yes.”
After you have verified these are “Yes,” check the improvement by doing a Google Page Load Speed test and you will be able to see how fast and the types of improvements you can see. Note: the number of requests for both JS and CSS should be reduced by at least 20 to 50% overall, thus rendering your site faster.
Here are the visual steps to improve your Magento page speed and reduce page load times:
The 6 Best Extensions and SEO Tools for Magento:
Excellent Resources to Help with Your Magento E-Commerce Sites.
In the following list, you will find the 6 best extensions and SEO tools that you need to download for your Magento site. Want to take your Magento store to the next level? SEO tools and extensions for Magento can help you conduct SEO on your site more efficiently and more thoroughly.
Here are the best SEO extensions, plugin and tools to download for Magento:
ReloadSEO – From $59.99/month
ReloadSEO is one of the most popular e-Commerce SEO tools. There are versions for all the major e-Commerce platforms, including Magento. And it offers tons of great features.
Using ReloadSEO, you can leverage some great SEO data features, like rank tracking, a powerful analytics suite, and keyword research tools. Plus, Reload offers a great SEO page grader, which can help store owners visualize on-page SEO for Magento.
Here is the best SEO tool for your Magento site:
2. SEO Suite Ultimate – $299/one-time
Mageworx is a builder of a number of Magento extensions and plugins. But the SEO Suite Ultimate is an all-in-one beast that combines 6 SEO tools into one. This is the best tool for managing metadata, internal links and landing pages.
SEO Suite Ultimate provides an easy way to incorporate optimized meta tags and rich snippets into your Magento site. Plus, the Landing Pages feature helps store owners create optimized landing pages tied to specific keywords.
Here is the best SEO extension for your Magento site:
3. Advanced SEO Suite – $99/one-time
Advanced SEO Suite offers a range of tools that help optimize your Magento store. In particular, Advanced SEO is perfect for on-page SEO on Magento. For example, the tool’s SEO templates feature, allows users to create a template for perfectly optimized pages, and then use those templates across their sites.
Plus, the suite also includes an internal link generator, a robots.txt editor, and a canonical tag generator.
Here is the best SEO tool for Magento:
4. XML Google Sitemap for Magento 2 – $69
Creating an XML sitemap for your Magento store can be a powerful way to improve ranks. Fortunately, Magento offers great out-of-box tools to create your own (which you should be using at a minimum). But if you want to squeeze more SEO ranking power out of your sitemap, you’ll need a tool like the XML Google Sitemap extension.
This tool allows you to auto-generate a sitemap, which you can customize and configure, and then the tool automatically communicates with Google Search Console. Your pages get indexed more quickly.
Here is the best sitemap creator for Magento:
5. Google Rich Snippets for Magento – $300/one-time
Google Rich Snippets by Amasty (versions available for Magento 1 and Magento 2) is the perfect tool for rolling out a microdata SEO strategy. The tool allows you to add microdata to product pages, including reviews, pricing, images, availability and more. Plus, it also helpful features for integrating microdata across your entire website.
Here is the best Magento rich snippet and schema markup tool:
6. Image Optimizer for Magento – FREE
Managing hundreds of images is a challenge for most store owners. You want to use quality images, but you want to keep file sizes small for faster load speeds. That’s how Image Optimizer can help. This Magento extension scans all the images on your site, updates and optimizes images for size, and then replaces those images.
If you’re looking for a tool that can help you update hundreds of photos at the same time, this is it.
Here is the best Image Optimizer for SEO on Magento:
How to Connect Magento and Google Analytics
So how do you do connect and configure Google Analytics and Magento? We’ve got your answer here.
Although there are powerful analytics tools for Magento, Google Analytics is the best. And it’s absolutely free. If you’re serious about SEO on Magento, you should be using this SEO tool. Fortunately, you can quickly link your Google Analytics account with your Magento store and start tracking data now.
In order to configure Google Analytics and Magento takes just a few steps:
Click Store > Configuration
Open the Sales > Google API
Here you will need your Google Analytics ID. You can find that on your Google Analytics dashboard.
Enter your ID in the Account Number section of the Google Analytics drop-down menu.
Set Enable to Yes.
Then click Save Config in the upper right-hand corner.
Now, your Magento store will automatically send traffic and conversion data to your Google Analytics account. With Analytics synced with Magento, you’ll have access to rich insights, helping you determine how your product pages perform, estimate accurate conversion rates, and explore behavioral paths that lead to sales.
The Ultimate Magento SEO Checklist:
Best Tips, Tools, and Strategies to Optimize Your Magento e-Commerce Site
This Magento SEO guide covers a lot of what you can do as a store owner to rank higher on Google. Whether you’re launching a new Magento store, or you’re looking to optimize an existing property, this SEO checklist for Magento will help you visualize strategies you should be using right now:
Choose a WWW or non-WWW domain –
Magento sometimes creates two URLs for your store: yourstore.com and www.yourstore.com. This creates an SEO issue, as your two URLs compete against each other. Start by setting your preferred domain in Google Search Console. Then, 301 redirect all pages from the non-preferred domain.
Upgrade to Magento 2 –
Out-of-box Magento 2 performs more quickly. Migrating your Magento 1 site to the new platform provide a quick boost in site speed. You absolutely must upgrade to Magento 2 if you want to see the full effects of optimizing, installing, and adding the tips and strategies from the article above.
Optimize Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions –
Page Title is a No. 1 ranking factor. Don’t let auto-generated titles hurt your SEO. Spend the time to write custom page titles and meta descriptions. Doing so will make a big difference for your search engine marketing efforts.
Optimize Your Images for Speed and Information –
Images cause site lag. Use an SEO extension to optimize all images for size. You should also be using image Alt Tags. When you optimize your images for faster load times and add simple text “alt-text” descriptions, search engines will learn more and know how to best classify your site.
Leverage Page Caching –
Use a Magento extension or the platform’s built-in caching features for speed. By caching your Magento pages, you will see a faster speed and also decrease in the page load time. These issues matter for SEO.
Move from HTTP to HTTPS – (SECURE ENVIRONMENT)
Migrating your store from an HTTP protocol to the more secure HTTPS will result in fast SEO win. The safer and more secure that your site is, the more likely that search engines will send website traffic to you.
Optimize Your Site’s Default Title –
Update the default title to include a branded Title Suffix, as well as relevant keywords for your store.
Use Perfect On-Page Optimization –
Use keywords/product names in the <h1> main title on each page. Use keywords and keyword synonyms in the body copy, as well.
Set Up Canonical URLs –
Magento is notorious for creating duplicate URLs. Be sure you understand and set-up canonical URLs, especially for complex inventories.
Use Related Products Features –
Set Related Products on every product page. If you need to update across your entire catalog, an extension can help.
Set Up Google Analytics –
Integrate Google Analytics to receive better data.
Set Up Google Search Console –
Add Google’s webmaster tool suite to your Magento site. This will allow you to collect better data about the keywords people you use to find your site, as well as perform basic webmaster tasks.
Update Your Sitemap and Robots.txt Files –
Create a sitemap and robots.txt file for your site. An extension can help you configure these files.
Collect Backlinks to Your Store –
Generate backlinks to your store’s homepage and product pages. This will help these pages rank higher in search.
Check for Mobile Friendliness –
Mobile design is a key Google ranking signal. Use this Google tool to analyze your site’s mobile friendliness.
Choose the Perfect URL Structure –
Set up your URL structure for SEO. For basic inventories, eliminating category names can help, e.g. yourstore.com/productname. For more complex inventories, use category paths, e.g. yourstore.com/category/productname.
Use Rich Snippets on Your Site –
Adding microdata to product pages and your store adds credibility in search engines. This is a key e-Commerce SEO strategy in 2019.
Turn on Social Share Buttons –
Sharing buttons can help your products generate buzz, but it’s not a default setting in Magento. Use an extension to integrate social sharing.
Make User-Generated Reviews Easy –
Reviews are one of the most powerful sales accelerators. Use an extension to help customers leave reviews, or use Magento’s built-in features.
Use Breadcrumb Navigation –
This helps make your inventory more navigable. An SEO extension can help you roll out this function.
Write Original Product Descriptions –
You might be tempted to use distributor texts for products. That’s a problem. Instead you should write unique product descriptions for your Magento product listings; longer is better. Shoot for ~300 words (reviews help you generate lots of relevant words).
Create a Search-Friendly Navigation on Your Magento Site –
Be careful of allowing Googlebot to crawl filters and configurable products. This can slow indexing and cause lots of unnecessary pages to get indexed. AJAX is one tool that can help you avoid this problem.
Now You Are Ready to Optimize Your Magento Site and Increase Your e-Commerce Sales
Magento is a powerful SEO tool, but it’s also one of the most technically demanding. One of the best ways to optimize your Magento store is to hire a Magento expert developer. But if you’re more the DIY type, these tips can help you set your Magento store up for success, earn some quick SEO wins, and start ranking higher today.
We guarantee higher rankings if you follow these steps. These are all actions we’ve taken with our own clients, and we believe these are the best SEO strategies for Magento you need to know!
You should also learn about Vail Networks’ program to help companies with custom Magento web development and digital marketing.