Magento is an open-source ecommerce solution that can be used to build a fully functional virtual storefront. It’s customizable, and the sky’s the limit for what you can create with the platform.
Because so much work goes into creating the site of your dreams on Magento, however, it can be easy to accidentally overlook SEO when building it. Magento does have some basic SEO features in place, but if you really want to be competitive in the search engines, those baseline features won’t cut it.
In this post, we’re going to take a close look at specific ways that you can optimize your Magento site for SEO so you can get the most out of your site going forward.
1. Start with an Audit
SEO audits are often overlooked, but they should be an essential part of optimizing your Magento site, so they’re our first tip to optimize your Magento site for SEO. And now, thanks to a number of available tools, the process is easier than ever before.
My personal favorite for SEO audits is SEMrush’s audit feature, which all work incredibly quickly and reliably. All you need to do is enter in your site’s URL, and SEMrush will do the rest. This tool will not only flag issues that you could have caught, like duplicate content, but also analyze backend factors like the crawlability of your site.
A site audit will be able to show you the most glaring issues your site currently has, and many of the site audit tools will also give you some helpful hints about how you can fix them.
2. Write Unique, Keyword-Dense Product Descriptions
One mistake that a lot of ecommerce sites make is writing about their products in similar ways, or using the same basic text in almost all of their product descriptions. Not only is this boring for a customer to read, but Google also isn’t much of a fan either.
Duplicate content robs you of the opportunity to create unique product descriptions that contain a variety of different keywords. Switching up your keywords is important, because it will allow you to appear in more searches. Use your product descriptions to try to rank for as many relevant keywords as possible so that you’ll be able to hopefully connect with potential customers no matter what term they’re using to search.
Note that product descriptions are an excellent place to optimize for long-tail keywords , which users may be searching for when looking for specific products or services.
3. Use Canonical Tagging
We’ve just discussed the importance of writing unique product descriptions for every single product page. But what if that isn’t actually an option?
Some products may have nearly identical descriptions just by their nature, especially if you want to aim for consistency, have a large inventory and want to keep things simple, or need to phrase product descriptions a certain way for legal or technical reasons.
If you’ve got duplicate product descriptions on your site, use canonical tagging. This allows you to tag similar product descriptions, letting Google know that these are duplicate copies intentionally, sparring you any negative consequences you may have experienced otherwise. You can learn more about setting up canonical tags here.
4. Opt for SEO-Friendly URLs
This is one Magento SEO tip that a lot of site creators might remember to do on their main pages, but completely overlook for most of their product pages.
SEO-friendly URLs should contain the keyword you’re trying to rank for. They also shouldn’t be too overwhelmingly long; keeping it simple with something like “long-sleeve-red-shirt” is going to be a lot better than “long-sleeve-red-shirt-for-the-cold-weather-in-winter.”
Ideally, your URLs should contain categories and subcategories to help find your content a little easier. This might look like “www.website/clothing/shirts/red-butterfly-shirt,” which organizes the URL by category (clothing) and sub-category (shirts) before finally giving the product name (red butterfly shirt). Internal site structure is an important part of having an SEO-friendly site, and that includes the URL structures, too.
5. Make the Most Out of Your Metadata
Metadata includes meta titles and meta descriptions that you can write for each page on your site. They’re the snippets of text that will be shown to users in the SERPs, and it can absolutely determine whether or not users click on your link instead of someone elses.
Your metadata should include the target keyword you’re optimizing for, and you should use close to the full amount of text possible in order to possibly hit more keywords, establish context, and encourage users to click.
If you really want to get creative, you can add rich snippets to your metadata, which are essentially coded pieces of data that can give users more information that’s updated in real time.
An example of this is pricing information for specific products, which is automatically updated as the price of a certain product changes when it goes on sale or clearance. Reviews are another great example, as some rich snippets will automatically update to show your most recent reviews in the meta description, using social proof to your advantage. You can learn more about how to add rich snippets to your metadata here.
6. Prioritize Site Speed
There’s a good chance that you already know the importance of site speed from the customer’s perspective. Users expect a site that can load at the speed of light, and if your site hasn’t loaded in three seconds or less, there’s a good chance that they’ll be clicking away.
Google also takes site speed into consideration, so making sure your loading times are good will absolutely have a positive effect on your SEO standing. Users clicking away, after all, means high bounce rates, which can come into play with Google’s algorithm.
If you aren’t sure where your site stands in terms of loading times, use an online tool like PageSpeed Insights or TestMySite to evaluate your site loading times based on different factors. Make sure to look at data for both desktop and mobile, because the loading times will often be different.
7. Add Customer Reviews to Your Site
Customer reviews will not only be a powerful selling force thanks to the psychology behind social proof, but they can also have distinct SEO benefits. Most review plugins now offer crawlability, meaning that Google will be able to read the reviews and testimonials on your site just like they would any other text.
And, if your reviews keep coming in overtime, that’s a great bonus, too: Google likes fresh content, after all. Being able to establish credibility while simultaneously attracting new customers to your site through a boost in search is a huge opportunity that you don’t want to overlook.
Ready to add more reviews to your site? You can check out Magento extensions like these:
Even though Magento sites typically start out with solid baseline SEO, it will be to your advantage to optimize for search results in every way possible. Every blog post, site page, and product description should be fully optimized for unique target keywords. Using the different suggestions in this post will help you ensure that your site is fully optimized to crush it in the search engines, expanding your reach as much as possible.
What do you think? How do you optimize Magento for SEO? Which strategies are you going to put into place first? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!