The way Google ranks websites is based on a lot of different factors and constantly changing with each and every update. And with the rules of the game constantly changing, it’s hard to know what works, still works and what doesn’t.
One factor for good, organic ranking is always constant however: unique, relevant content. But besides that, there are a whole lot of other criteria search engines look for when they index your webshop. And to get the most out of those criteria, with a quick and high ROI (Return on Investment), you don’t always need to hire a professional. We’ll discuss three SEO trends for Magento webshops for 2015 and 2016, you can easily and effortlessly optimize yourself.
1. Responsive mobile design
According to research done by Marketingfacts.nl, an estimated 40 percent of all webshop traffic was generated by mobile devices in 2014. To give you an indication of the incredible rise of mobile, back in 2010, this percentage was just 3,4%. The big question that remains: have webshop owners optimized their websites to accommodate mobile users?
In one of our recent presentations, we asked how many webshop owners where mobile ready (only 20%!). There’s still a frightening amount of Magento shops that haven’t been updated and/or regularly checked for mobile devices.
As a response to the increase in mobile traffic, Google changed its algorithms in April this year, to better accommodate the exodus from desktop to mobile. For webshop owners without mobile friendly web pages in particular, Google’s decision became collectively known as “Mobilegeddon”, because of the negative effect on their organic ranking.
So what can you do to optimize your website and shop for mobile users? First of all, you should check the behaviour of your webshop for mobile users, just as frequently as you do for desktop user. Mobile users should get the best possible experience on your website, not just to get a better ranking, but also to keep your customers coming back.
To make sure Google gives you the “mobile friendly” label, you can check out just how friendly you are with this handy tool.
2. HTTPS as a ranking signal
Back in 2014, Google posted a long article about HTTPS and the effect it has on page rankings. The gist of it is that because of Google’s efforts to make the web a more secure and safe place, it has updated it algorithms to generate positive effects on websites that have HTTPS enabled on their websites.
Although Google has also stated that the change would not affect the rankings much, in our own professional experience, we’re convinced that this is not the case anymore. Especially for webshops, enabling the more secure HTTPS can yield great results in organic and AdWords rankings.
How to enable it in Magento
Enabling HTTPS in Magento is not really difficult. But it isn’t the only thing you need to do though. There’s a little bit more to it.
After buying a SSL certificate, you will need to install the certificate (depending on the operating system you are using). It shouldn’t take more than an hour for a developer to set this up.
• Make sure all HTTP traffic will redirect to HTTPS
• Use 2048-bit key certificates
• You normally buy a certificate for one year, two years, or more. Don’t forget to renew once it expires.
3. Aim for speed
The loading time of a webshop will not only have an impact on the experience of your customers, but they can also greatly impact the rankings on Google. In a blogpost, written by well known usability expert Jakob Nielsen, he discusses the “3 response-time limits”.
Ideally, pages should take no longer than a second to load. With a 1.0 second load-time, your customers will still sense a delay, but will keep the positive feeling that they can navigate freely without being limited by the computer.
Magento stores can be slow very easily and it is very difficult to get load-times of under a second. However, try to aim for under 1.5 seconds load time.
If Google encounters a slow loading page, it will not only have a negative impact on the organic ranking, but also change the quality score of the AdWords. Your Ads won’t score as high and will be more expensive per click.
An easy way to test the speed of your website is pingdom.com.
We also recommend installing the Magento plugin by New Relic. We use it for monitoring of our ReloadSEO servers and it lets you keep track of the performance of your Magento shop.
You can easily find out which pages load slow and why, in just minutes.