SEO – Search Engine Optimization has been, for years now, an absolute must for everyone involved in online business. If you don’t do your SEO right, you’re basically invisible to search engines, and therefore, to your prospective customers as well. This is especially important for ecommerce merchants. They rely greatly on search engines to bring them traffic so, naturally, you want to optimize your shop just right.
In this article, we’re going to share with you nine essential SEO tips for Magento to help you boost traffic to your online shop.
Make sure you’re using the latest version of Magento
Before you do anything else SEO-wise, you need to check to see what Magento version you’re using. This is important since the platform puts out new, very useful features with each update and oftentimes those features are essential for your SEO efforts.
It’s not just about the strictly SEO-related features either. New updates also bring better security features and bug fixes which improve performance. All this is very important since search engines love fast, efficient websites that perform well and serve their customers with what they need quickly and efficiently.
Use keywords wisely
Keywords represent one of the pillars of SEO. They are the terms you use throughout your content to let search engines know what your content is about. They should also correspond with the search terms people use when looking for something online.
With Magento 2, product titles and descriptions are the most important keyword-related content types. They should contain your relevant keywords, but you also need to make sure you’re not “keyword stuffing” – just slapping too many keywords around randomly and with little cohesion and sense. Try to put the keyword near the beginning of the product title and repeat it (with variations or synonyms) a few times throughout your product description for the best effects.
Check your URLs
You’d think URLs are not that big of a deal anymore since hardly anyone actually types in the web address anymore, but you’d be mistaken. URLs are actually very important, because search engine crawlers pay attention to them. They show both the users and the crawlers what a particular page is all about. They should, therefore, be clear, clean, and devoid of codes, numbers or nonsensical letters and symbols.
Remove all duplicate content
Search engine crawlers do not react very favorably to duplicate content. Different URLs pointing to the same or very similar content are always a bad signal for crawlers, so you definitely want to make sure all your content is unique.
If you can’t or don’t want to get rid of some of the content, don’t worry, there’s an easy workaround for this. You need to tell crawlers which URL is canonical or authoritative for a particular page, so that it only looks at that URL and ignores the other one.
Magento 2 allows for setting canonical tags for products and categories.
2buy1click has offered its client Continual SEO Content and Brand Enhancement service which helps Increase Traffic and Preserve Brand Quality.
Optimize your images
Many Magento merchants overlook the importance of properly optimising product images. The first thing you need to do is give your product image files proper names. Don’t use generic titles like “IMG_003.” The name of the image will eventually be used in the URL so you want to make it clear and understandable to everyone, including search engine bots. It can be something like “purple-canvas-tote,” “vegan-facial-cream” or “black-plaid-shirt,” anything that accurately describes what is actually pictured on the image.
Another essential thing here is the alt text. Since search engines can’t actually see images, it’s important to use alt text to describe what the image represents. That way, the search engines can crawl and index it properly.
Optimize your site speed
Everyone hates slow-loading sites and by “everyone” we also mean search engines. In fact, Google has officially stated that websites that are slow to load get poorer rankings. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to make your Magento shop load faster.
First of all, you should enable caching features. We recommend use of Varnish Cache which is designed to significantly improve application performance. Varnish boosts your Magento store by cashing a copy of the page in memory the first time a user browse through that page and then delivers a cached response immediately after it is required again. What this means is you can generate much more traffic and your store’s performance and scalability will skyrocket.
Another thing you can do to speed up your shop is to merge CSS and JS files, which will greatly reduce your pages’ loading times.
2buy1click is experienced in installation and configuration of the Varnish Cache which helps your site keep up with any demand of visitors or requests made to your site
Create a sitemap
Sitemaps are very important for SEO since crawlers use the links in sitemaps to reach your pages and index them. If you don’t have a sitemap yet, you should set one up right now.
Magento 1 supports both XML and HTML sitemaps, while Magento 2 by default only works with XML. However, there are extensions for creating HTML maps for Magento 2 websites. The best would be to contact Magento Developer or Agency like 2buy1click who specialises in all apects of SEO.
Improve your internal linking
Internal linking is an important SEO practice. Search engine crawlers follow the links on your website and that’s how they discover your pages. Having plenty of pages pointing to one another also helps crawlers define the relationships between your pages.
In Magento 2, you can use the default Related product feature to create a strong internal link network. Navigate to Catalog and click on Products. Pick one product and then go to Related Products, Up-Sells, and Cross-Sells. Here you can easily add related products by clicking on the button next to Related Products.
Check your robots.txt file settings
Robots.txt is a file that is included in every Magento 2 installation. Its purpose is to be read as an instruction to the crawlers, telling them how you want them to index a particular page.
The robots.txt directives you can use include FOLLOW/NOFOLLOW and INDEX/NOINDEX.
FOLLOW instructs the crawlers to check back later to see if there are any changes or updates, while NOFOLLOW instructs them not to come back. INDEX tells them to index the page while NOINDEX means you don’t want a particular page to be indexed.
You might be wondering why anyone would want the crawlers to skip indexing some of the pages, right? The thing is, it’s actually good SEO practice to exclude certain private or internal use pages, as well as cart and login pages, checkout and thank-you pages. And that’s precisely what robots.txt directives allow you to do.
We hope that, with this article, we’ve managed to give you some useful ideas on how to improve your Magento website’s search engine ranking and boost your traffic.
SEO is a big, complicated field, but you shouldn’t be afraid to dive into it. Take one step at a time, read up about different SEO practices, stay up to date with the latest trends, and you’ll see the positive effects not just for your traffic but for your sales as well.
If you feel this is a bit tricky or you simply don’t have time to dive into abundant world of SEO, why not sign up our Continual SEO Content and Brand Enhancement service to Increase Traffic and Preserve Brand Quality.