June 28, 2019 by Ben Chafetz

5 Key SEO Strategies for Your Magento Store

Finally!

You’re done setting up your Magento store.

Products, shipping, categories, the whole kit and caboodle.

Time to sit back and watch the Benjamins start rollin’ in, right?

Not quite.

Your Magento storefront may be great, but your customers still need to find it – and choose it over the competition.

That’s where SEO comes in.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 key strategies proven Magento SEO strategies that will help you boost your SEO rankings, get more attention for your store, and bring in more customers.

1. Optimize Your Product URLs 

By default, Magento adds store codes to your product URLs, which can make them look a bit ugly and clunky. For example, your URL may look like:

These long, clunky URLs aren’t doing much for your SEO. On top of that, they’re not so user-friendly.

As a rule, you want your URLs to be simple, and contain very few numbers, nonsense letters and unnecessary information. The KISS philosophy works best here. The simpler, the better. Both for your users, and for your search engines.

To reconfigure your URLs, follow these steps in your Magento backend:

  1. Log into your Magento administration panel.
  2. Click Stores > Configuration > General > Web > URL Options.
  3. Next, set Add Store Code to URL to “No.” Once you’ve saved this configuration, product and category codes will not be added to your URLs, which makes it more SEO-friendly and more user-friendly.

You can also remove “index.php” from your URLs.

To do this, navigate to Stores > Settings > Configuration > General > Web > Search Engine Optimization. Then, toggle “Server URL Rewrites” to “Yes.” 

2. Avoid Duplicate Content and Use Canonical Tags

If your website has duplicate content, it may be penalized by Google. 

Of course, you always want to use original content – but that’s not always possible. Sometimes, you’ll have a few URLs with the same content. For example, you may have a few different links that lead to the same product. 

The links below are all valid, but they lead to the same item, so they could be seen as duplicate content by search engines, and you could be penalized for this.

  • mydomain.com/pants/jeans/bootcutjeans.html
  • mydomain.com/casual/jeans/bootcutjeans.html
  • mydomain.com/bootcutjeans.html

The best way to avoid being penalized for duplicate content is to use “canonical” tags. 

By using this tag, you can mark duplicate pages, and specify the “canonical,” or “preferred” version of a specific page, and direct search engines to that page. All of the duplicate pages will just be treated as links to the canonical version of the page.

To quickly add canonical tags to your Magento installation, just log into your Magento admin panel. Then, select Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization. Then, set Canonical Link Meta Tags for both Categories and Products to “Yes.” 

Then, Magento will automatically choose the most relevant “canonical” page for a certain item or category, and set it for you.

For more information about canonical URLs and how they affect your store, this guide from Moz is a great resource. 

3. Optimize Product Images For SEO and Better Loading Times

When you’re optimizing your product pages for SEO, don’t forget about optimizing your product images. There are three key takeaways on how you can maximize the SEO impact of each image.

First, name the image file that accurate and descriptive.

For example, if you’re selling a black backless dress, the product image file should be named, “dress_black_backless.jpg” rather than something nonsensical, like “IMG12034551.jpg.”

The file name will be part of the image URL, so using words and descriptions for its filename will make it easier for search engines to scan. If you don’t add any alt text, the image will just be ignored by search engines.

Next, set the alt text for every product.

Search engines can’t interpret image files – instead, they read the alt text to determine what a picture is. Based on this, the alt text is a good place to use keywords you’re trying to target. 

Using our above example of a black backless dress, the alt text should read something like: “black velvet backless dress with string closure.”

Finally, you should make sure your images are optimized to load quickly.

Half of all consumers will leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, so slow loading speed can reduce your ability to convert customers – and also adversely affect your SEO rankings. 

Large, poorly-optimized images can often be a big culprit of slow loading times. Because of this, you should optimize your images by shrinking them as much as possible, and using a compressed image format like a JPEG instead of a lossless format like PNG. 

You don’t have to do this manually, either.

There are a number of Magento extensions that will automatically optimize any image you upload, such as Image Optimizer by Apptrian. 

4. Build Internal Links with Related Products

Internal links are a great way to help build up your SEO rankings.

Internal links help spread link equity between different pages on your website, and make its structure more clear to search engine crawlers.

For example, linking to a specific category of item, like “Handbags” from a page on your website that has a high SEO ranking can help boost the ranking “Handbags” category by giving it more link equity.

You should always look for internal linking opportunities when building new pages and adding content. One handy way to automatically integrate more internal links into your website is with the “Related Products” feature that’s native to Magento.

It works like this.

If a customer is shopping for a particular handbag, you could link to other products in that category, and your customer will see these suggested items whenever they view that product’s page.

To configure this feature in Magento:

  • Select Catalog > Products
  • Choose the product you want to edit
  • Go to Related Products, Up-Sells, and Cross-Sells > Related Products > Add Related Products.
  • Add the URLs for the products that you would like to add to this product’s description. Once you do, they will be linked, and they will appear whenever a customer views that product.

Not only does this make for a better shopping experience, it helps you build more internal links into your website in a natural, simple way. 

5. Write Your Own Product Descriptions 

Our final tip for better Magento SEO may be the most important.

Write original detailed product descriptions. Never copy them from somewhere else – like a manufacturer’s website.

There are a few reasons why copying content is a big no-no.

First and foremost, you can be penalized by Google for copying content from other websites, and using it on your own website. 

There are other SEO ramifications as well.

Writing your own product descriptions allows you to target specific long-tail keywords, which can help the item you’re selling rank higher on Google and other search engines. 

By taking the time to write your own product descriptions, you can choose one or two keyphrases or keywords you want to rank for, integrate them into the description, and boost the SEO profile of the product – which is a very good thing.

Additionally, writing your own product descriptions helps you sell the item more effectively, compared to just yanking a boilerplate description from another website. This guide from Oberlo is useful if you want to learn more about how to write product descriptions that will help you sell more products.

Follow These 5 Tips and Boost Your Magento SEO Rankings

If you’re having trouble getting your Magento store to rank highly on major search engines like Google, the above tips are a great place to start. Got more questions? Want to learn more about how you can build a better Magento eCommerce site? Check out the 121eCommerce blog now, and you’re sure to learn a thing or two.

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