Magento eCommerce Software is one of the most popular business e-commerce tools. Like any other web platform, Magento can and should be managed to obtain SEO (search engine optimization). This article will provide users of Magento e-commerce sites with five steps to optimize their websites for SEO.
The following five tips will ensure that your e-commerce site is better optimized for search engines.
1. Use Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Creating properly optimized page titles and meta descriptions forms the basic first step for SEO. If you do not accurately name and identify your web pages, how can you expect a search engine to find you?
Your Magento e-commerce website is full of content and usually contains various pages with categories and products. Therefore, ensure you correctly name your pages by doing the following:
Content pages are used to identify the content within the specific page. Use 70 characters in the title to ensure maximum optimization. Any longer than that and your title will be cut off in the Google SERP. These can be located as follows:
Magento -> CMS -> Manage pages -> Choose which page to edit -> General Information -> Page Title
The meta description can also be edited and optimum character length is 156 characters. This can be done choosing the meta description option which appears on the page information sub menu.
Category pages are used to identify the different categories in your e-commerce website. It is important not to duplicate category page titles, but if you are unsure you can check your descriptions and titles by using the Google Webmaster Tools to identify any duplication. Optimization for these pages is similar to that of content pages and can be located as follows:
Magento -> Catalogue -> Manage categories -> Choose categories
Product pages can either be optimized by editing each page description as above, although this will not be smart if you have a lot of products. In order to alleviate these problems website owners can use a custom rule to automate the product page description and title. Not all website owners will have the necessary knowledge to create their own custom rules, and therefore it is suggested that you either purchase an external SEO extension or have a custom rule specifically developed for you. A typical custom rule could look something like this:
“%PRODUCT%, %SUB_CATEGORY%, %CATEGORY%, KEYWORD % COMPANY_NAME%”
Here are some more tips for optimizing titles and meta descriptions on an e-commerce site.
2. Robot Options in Your HTML
Search engines use "robots" or "spiders" to crawl the web and find the information searchers are looking for. By adjusting the HTML code of your website you can specify how these robots are to search or crawl your pages. For example, if there are pages on your site that you do not want to be indexed by search engines, you can prevent the spiders from crawling those pages, using "noindex." You can also control whether search engines send "link juice" to pages that you link to using the "follow" and "nofollow" attributes.
In Magento, this code can be located here:
Systems -> Configuration -> Design -> HTML Head
Your robot options are as follows but should be used carefully:
- index, follow
- noindex, nofollow
- index, nofollow
- noindex, follow
3. URL Rewrite Management
Another way to better optimize a website is to change the usual dynamic generated URL into a "search friendly" URL. This is best done by your URL Rewrite Manager Tool, which usually shortens your original URL into one that contains targeted keywords. Should you experience any problems you may visit the Magento Forum for advice.
4. Generate a Sitemap
Generating a sitemap for you website will also help to optimize your Magento e-commerce website. This serves to help Google find your site more easily. You can specify how often you want a sitemap to be generated, and the Google XML sitemap generator can be used to do this. This can be located at:
System -> Configuration -> Google Sitemap
It is advised that the sitemap.xml file be saved to the root level of the server. Alternatively, a Magento extension is available which will assist you to generate your own HTML sitemap.
5. Monitor your Magento Site with Google Webmaster & Analytics Tools
As a Magento e-commerce website owner you should keep tabs on how your site is operating on a daily basis. Generate your own reports with Google Analytics to see how your site is performing in terms of traffic, links, etc. You will have to create an account with Google, but it is free of charge and easy to do. Your UA code is found on the account settings page of your Magento account.
To insert your UA code in the Google Analytics platform of your site, go to:
System -> Configuration -> Google API -> Google Analytics
Add a verification tag in the miscellaneous head feature in your Magento software to add the Google Webmaster Tools. This is located at:
System -> Configuration -> Design -> HTML Head
Here you will insert the WMT verification code. You can also check out the official Google Webmaster Blog for more tips.
An alternative method could be to upload a unique file to the server to verify your website.
Should you wish to do more in order to track e-commerce data, you can utilize Magento's GoogleAnalyticsPlus extension.
This is a guest post by Lior Levin. Lior works as an online consultant with an MA in security program from Tel Aviv University and a bunch of other startups.