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50 Magento SEO Tips and Hints

Magento Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving website to increase its visibility in search engines. It’s often used as an Internet marketing strategy, and, moreover, SEO has become the strongest Internet marketing tool ever.

The fact that it is very topical at the moment, let's talk about simple but sufficiently effective ways of improving your online store. More traffic doesn't mean more purchases but it's definitely a big step towards it.

According to the latest research of a global search engines market share, Google is still a confident leader with 87,6% of market. That's why it makes sense to orient theMagento SEO optimization for Google search. Bellow you will find some advices on how to make you online store ranking better than it is, how to pick correct keywords, work with links, and which Google sources you can use to check the data of your store and control the changes.

Search engine market share 2012

Magento SEO Tips


Make Your Pages Ranking Well



  • Adopt each web page for a unique relevant keyword

  • Make sure you have at least 200-250 words per page

  • Remember, title tag is the most important element on the page. A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. Ideally, you should create a unique title for each page on your site.


Title tag

  • Pay special attention to Home page, as it is the most important page

  • Don’t forget about heading tags (H1, H2)

  • Use contextual links

  • Text links are much better than graphic links

  • Alt tags for images are also helpful

  • Meta tags don’t improve rankings

  • Meta description can influence what’s displayed in the search results, as it gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about


Meta tag

Improve Your Keyword List


The selection of keywords for you web site is what you definitely should start with. Search engines use them when searching results for a particular request. Keywords can make or break your search engine ranking. Optimize the number of keywords per page, as overusing can cause your site to be banned for spamming.

Check the popularity of keyword searches using special tools for that:

  • Google Keyword Tool – you can type in any word, phrase or website name. After that, you will get a list of keyword ideas and data showing how often words are searched and their ad bid competition.


Google Keywords Tool

 

Source: https://adwords.google.com/


 

  • Google Trends – this service shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most.


Google Trends

 

Source: http://www.google.com/trends/




  • It is also important to check the competition of keywords in the search engines. One of the most famous ways is to calculate Keyword Effectiveness Indicator (KEI) score:
    KEI= (volume of searches per month*)^2/(total number of competitors**)
    For example, let’s compare the keywords we’ve decided to work with.
    magento extensions = 6,600^2 / 775,000 = 56.206

    magento extension = 8,100^2 / 333,000 = 197,027
    The higher the KEI score, the more attractive the keyword is to target (assuming it's relevant to your business). That means the “magento extension” phrase is better for using as a keyword. It still has a large number of searchers but at the same time a smaller number of competitors.*To obtain the number of competing web pages, go to Google.com and search your keyword phrase with quotation marks
    ** According to the data of Google Keyword Tool


Increase the PageRank with Links


PageRank – Google algorithm for measuring a page’s importance; other search engines have similar measures. PageRank scores from 0 to 10.

  • Inbound links play a key role in determining rankings

  • Quantity is not the solution for link popularity, it’s more about quality, importance of the page and its relevance

  • Keep in mind: each web page has its own PageRank score

  • Check your PR with Google Webmaster Central or/and Google Toolbar

  • Do your best to offer link-worthy content. Keep it fresh and interesting

  • Provide an RSS feed

  • Use social media


RSS and Social buttons

  • Try to get good keywords in the hyperlink text

  • Use footer and site-wide links that are leading to the internal pages on your website. Probably, they are cannot be your primary SEO strategy, as they don’t have much value for Google, but make sure the content of site-wide and footer links is relevant.


Footer links for SEO

  • Sites with higher PageRank get crawled earlier, faster, and deeper by Googlebot

  • Participate in the blogosphere. With help of blog, you can make deep links to your ecommerce site.


Rethink the Structure of Internal Links



  • While thinking about inbound links, don’t forget about internal links, as they are matter too

  • The PageRank of your home page gets distributed to your deep pages by virtue of your internal linking structure

  • Links are very important for search engines, so spread them wisely within your site. Pay attention to:


      • site hierarchy

      • guided navigation

      • site map

      • breadcrumb navigation



    Breadcrumb navigation for SEO



Tag cloud for SEO

Influence the Click Decision



  • You can get a synergistic effect of being at the top of the natural results & paid results. Some companies prefer to use paid Internet marketing methods, as the results are more immediate. But the truth is that any good Internet marketing plan should use both paid and organic tools.


Organic and Paid search results

Source: http://www.google.com




  • Grab user's attention with a trustworthy call-to-action proposition in your descriptions

  • Don't forget that your title tag is critical

  • Search results are tailored to the user, so you may be the number one for some results but not to others


Keep Abreast of Your Online Store


Check the data relating to your SEO activities.

  • Number of pages indexed

  • Google PageRank

  • Link popularity

  • Alexa

  • Positions in the search results for important keywords


Magento and SEO Configuration


Basic Magento Search Engine optimization


Magento allows to configure several SEO-related aspects, and he first scope of options belong to the entire Magento store. Found under System -> Configuration -> Design -> HTML Head the section allows to set up proper SEO basics in just several clicks.

  • Favicon is an image representing your web store in browser tabs and  despite it doesn't affect your SEO it makes your recognizable among other we sites;

  • Default title and default description are the top level attributes of any Magento store and normally include company or brand-relevant information. If specific titles or descriptions are provided, Magento will use the above attributes for all pages across the store;

  • If necessary, you can also provide Title Suffix or Prefix. Usually they are hyphenated company or brand names;

  • Default keywords. Currently most search engines ignore provided keywords, so you can also leave this field blank;

  • Default Robots.txt file directives for search engines are INDEX, FOLLOW for live web stores.


Magento URLs and Duplicate Content


Duplicate content is one of the most important things for SEO, so you need consider it carefully in order avoid any chance of search engine penalties. There are several options regulating the above issue all located under System -> Configuration -> Web. In order to avoid duplicate pages with and without the WWW prefix you need to enable the 'Yes (301 moved permanently)' option  for the 'Auto-redirect to Base URL' field. Depending on  the Base URL Magento will only show search engines either www or non-www versions.

If you want to get rid of the index.php string in your URL, you should set the 'Use Web Server Rewrites' option to 'Yes'.

The canonical URL settings are located under System -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Search Engine Optimizations. This section doesn't only cover canonical URLs, but also some other valuable SEO settings:

  • Autogenerated Site Map. Enabling this option allows you to get autogenerated Magento site maps in .xml and .html;

  • Product URL Suffix. The suffix added to your  product URLs and usually set as .html;

  • Category URL Suffix. This is the suffix added to category URLs. It can be either .html or just a trailing slash.

  • Use Categories Path for Product URLs. This option adds category paths to product URLs however it's better to disable this functionality since it may cause some faults when used in conjunction with canonical URLs. In addition, shorter URLs are  usually better for SEO in general.

  • Create Permanent Redirect for URLs if URL Key Changed. This option allows you to create 301 redirects from previous to current URLs, when the URL key  is changed for  certain pages.

  • Page Title Separator. This is the symbol that separates words in page titles. It is usually recommended to be set as hyphen.

  • Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories. And finally, here are the canonical links for different Magento pages, including categories. The functionality is strongly recommended to be enabled in order to avoid duplicate content.

  • Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products. This option adds canonical URLs to product pages.


Except the optimization of single pages with their titles, descriptions, or Magento Meta tags, there are yet some general SEO optimization steps related to the whole store, including site maps and robots.txt settings.

XML Sitemap Generation

The easiest way to index all required pages is adding them to a sitemap. Magento allows you to configure the priority of pages and crawling frequency. The configuration options are located at System > Configuration > Google Sitemap. Then, we need to generate a new sitemap and place it to the root  Magento directory. That's all. But, you  should also know that Magento allows generating several sitemaps e.g. for certain store views. In this case, you can provide different sitemaps with different names according to you preferences.

Robots.txt

And one more especially important for Magento stores is the Robots.txt  file. The thing is that Magento has quite a lot of pages and folders that should not be indexed by crawlers and in this case the Robots.txt file directives are just indispensable.

The secret of SEO success is that there is no secret. The best advice is to keep it simple and think about your visitors. Good luck!