Magento SEO – Definitive guide (2018)
- Magento SEO – Definitive guide (2018)
- Is Magento SEO friendly?
- Magento 1 SEO vs Magento 2 SEO
- Keyword & competitor research
- Magento SEO architecture
- Magento SEO General configuration
- On-Page SEO for Magento
- Duplicate content
- Unique content
- Customer reviews
- Technical SEO
- Linkbuilding for your Magento store
- Magento SEO checklist
- Magento SEO extensions
This is the most comprehensive Magento SEO guide on the internet. This article will show you everything you need to know about optimizing your Magento store for the search engines.
We will show you exactly what the best settings are in Magento for SEO, which Magento SEO extensions there are on the market and what to look out for. So if you want to rank higher with your Magento store keep on reading!
Is Magento SEO friendly?
Is Magento SEO friendly is is a question that we get asked a lot. In order to answer it we need to take a look at what SEO friendly exactly means. In order for your store to rank in the search engines you will need to cover three main aspects:
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- External SEO
Magento is a shopping software so it does not have a direct impact on external SEO, where it does have an impact is Technical SEO and a little bit of on-page SEO. Technically speaking the sky is the limit with Magento as long as you have a decent programmer available. So yes Magento is SEO friendly, but you will probably need to tweak things on the technical site to make it work for you.
Check out our Technical SEO section in order to make your Magento store SEO bulletproof. But don’t neglect the on-page and external SEO parts, these are probably more important than the technical side of SEO because structuring your store around properly chosen keywords and building an online presence is very, very important for search engine optimization.
Magento 1 SEO vs Magento 2 SEO
This guide will cover optimization tips for Magento but as you might know, there is a new version of Magento called Magento 2. So before we start optimizing your store for the search engines it is useful to know on which version your store is running. Are you still on the older version? Then some of the tips will not work for you as this guide covers Magento 2
Magento 2 received a lot of straight out of the box SEO features that can work to your advantage.
The full list of new SEO related features for Magento 2 are:
- You can edit the robots file in the back-end
- You can fine-tune your XML sitemap for all the different page types
- Canonical tags are now available for layered navigation
- Canonical tags are now available for pagination pages
- Images come with labels for SEO
- Rich snippets are directly integrated into Magento 2
- The Schema.org template is built into Magento 2
- Analytics, E-commerce tracking for Google Analytics and AdWords conversion tracking are finally available.
Keyword & competitor research
Research is the most important step while optimizing your Magento store. Keywords help you optimize the content of your store so that your content ranks in the search engines. Keywords shape the architecture of your Magento store and are a direct influence on the technical SEO optimization of your Magento store.
So be prepared to do keyword research and put in the time and effort. Because if you pick a wrong keyword it is going to cost you money! For example: If you pick a keyword with too much competition or a keyword that does not convert you are wasting all your effort, time and money.
When you are optimizing your product pages, category pages or normal text pages it is important to keep relevancy on top of your mind. We suggest searching for keywords that have a decent amount of volume but a low competition score in the ReloadSEO keyword discovery tool.
Pay close attention to keywords that have strong competition or keywords that don’t have a buyers intent. These keywords are often not really interesting to optimize your Magento store for. If your keyword is too broad, you will end up with visitors that are staying not very long on your Magento store (high bounce rate) and with a very low conversion rate because visitors click on your search result but don’t find what they are looking for and will leave your store. With the release of Google RankBrain this will have a direct impact on your rankings because Google can measure the time a visitor spends on your Magento store. Also, if you optimize your product or category for a keyword that is high in competition it can take a (very) long time to see any movement in the search engines.
For example, let’s say you are selling “dog food”. You should not try to optimize your category or product page for dog food. This keyword is highly competitive as you can see in our own keyword research tool:
With almost a 91,34% competition score the competition is very fierce for this keyword. So we have to dig down a little deeper; keywords like “Dog food grain free” “dog food chicken free” are also searched for but have much less competition. These keywords are interesting to try to rank for.
Magento SEO architecture
Setting up a correct architecture in Magento is critical to the success of your store. But in order to set up your site architecture well, you will need to do keyword research. If you have done your keyword research you will have a huge list of keywords by now.
The best way does divide your keywords into keywords that have a commercial intent and keywords that have an informational intent. The deeper you go into your Magento store the more commercial your keywords should be.
Lets say we have a nutrition webshop, and after doing our keyword research we ended up with a long list of keyword around the subject “protein powder”.
By first dividing the keywords in two columns; commercial intent and information intent we know which keywords to target for our category and product pages and which keywords to target for our blog pages.
[image showing columns with commercial intent and information intent]
If you are selling well known brands and products then we always recommend optimizing the product pages for the brand + name of the product. So in this example, a popular protein powder is “Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein” by the manufacturer called “Optimum Nutrition”.
Because this is a popular product there is a nice amount of search volume for this product. Now the mistake that most people make when doing keyword research is the following: They are doing keyword research and see that the product itself gets a monthly search volume of 5400 words. But when they are looking down they see that the keyword “Optimum Nutrition Whey” is getting 18,100 or “Gold Standard Whey” is getting 110.000 searches so it must be better if we try to rank for those terms right? Not really!
You should always optimize while keeping your user intent in mind. Let’s say I optimize my product for “Optimum nutrition whey”. I have no idea if the user is actually searching for my product or for another product from the same manufacturer. So even if I rank number one for that keyword, I will get a lot of search engine users that are looking for another protein powder from the same manufacturer and thus will not buy the product.
When this happens, a lot of things go wrong: You as a store owner are getting low conversion rates which is frustrating. The search engine users are not finding what they need which leads to frustration and closing your store to do another search in Google. Google will notice these users coming back from your site and thanks to the recent RankBrain release, drops your store a few positions in the search engines until you are no longer on page 1.
Optimizing the right page for the right keywords is critical to your succes! If you have a category that is
Magento SEO General configuration
There are some settings that can be improved right out of the box as soon as you have installed Magento 2.
On-Page SEO for Magento
When we talk about the on-page content optimization, we’re mainly talking about:
- The content on your website
- The Meta-descriptions
- The Meta-titles
- The image names
- The image Alt-texts
- Internal links
Content optimization is important because not only does it affect your rankings, but it also affects your AdWords quality score which can result in less advertising costs. Additionally, another great benefit is that your conversion rates will increase because the content is better written. This leads to your website achieving a higher ranking, getting more visitors and thus getting a higher conversion rates.
What you have to do is to find out what your target group is searching for. You can find this out by performing proper keyword research. This way, you will find the topics related to your industry which your target group has actually searched for. This will give you a way of making sure your store is visible to the target group. For example, writing a blog about the subject that your target group is searching for.
Once you have done your keyword research for your products, categories and content, it’s time to start writing the content. It’s of the utmost importance that you write your content for both the (potential) customers and for the search engines. This way, your customers can find the information that they’ve been looking for and the search engines will give your webpages a good ranking which will ultimately bring more visitors to your store!
The basic process of optimizing your content can be divided into two steps:
- Log into AdWords and use the keyword tool to find keywords with interesting search volume and not too much competition
- Optimize your content for that keyword
Some parts of the process of optimizing for keywords can be a bit repetitive and can be done using a technical Magento extension. If you have 10k products and all of them need a Meta-description and Meta-title, you may want to consider using a Magento extension like ‘Mageworx SEO Suite’. But, the truth is that optimizing the on page elements of your products ensures that the pages of these products will get a higher ranking.
If you have to optimize the content of 5.000 or 10.000 products, we recommend using the Pareto-principle in this case (80/20 rule) and focus on the 20% of the products which have the highest revenue or sell the most. If you optimize these products to perfection, you will see massive revenue gains in a short period time.
The On-page Technical Optimization is about the technical components of the SEO of your Magento store. This includes:
Duplicate content issues
301 redirects for old products
Magento 2 makes it possible to edit the robots.txt straight from the Magento back-end self. This is a major improvement compared to Magento 1 where you needed a third party extension to do that.
To reach the Robots.txt configuration page, go to Stores -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Design -> Search Engine Robots.
Most of these components are taken care of by Magento itself. That being said, there are a couple of components and settings where Magento’s default functionality aren’t quite optimal and, in some cases, are even downright bad for your store.
This is where extensions like MageWorks SEO Ultimate and CreareSEO come in handy. MageWorks SEO Ultimate is one of the best extensions in the market and CreareSEO is a good working, free option which can be very useful for companies with a low budget. You can also use more general tools like SEM Rush and Moz which help you to identify mistakes in your Magento store such as broken links and duplicate content.
Currently, 90% of the available SEO-extensions for Magento belong to this category.
URL structure in Magento
Linkbuilding for your Magento store
These ranking factors can have a major role when it comes to the SEO of your Magento store. Unfortunately, these are external factors which you have little to no control. Some examples of external factors are; backlinks, social media influence and guest blogging.
Backlinks are hyperlinks from other websites to your store. Google’s advice for these backlinks is to obtain these links on a natural basis. You can also try to contact bloggers and other experts for product reviews or other kinds of promotions. The best way to create this type of network is to do it yourself. This way, you can start building good relationships with the influencers. This allows you to control the contact with the influencers so that you can make sure that your ideas will be rightly implemented and that you can judge their ideas for yourself.
At the moment, there are no Magento extensions that belong to this category.
Magento SEO checklist
Below is a basic checklist you can go through in order to see if your Magento store has all the basic functions rightly implemented in the Magento back-end. If you want to rank higher and get to the more advanced SEO stuff like; competition checking, keyword tracking and on-page optimization you should check out ReloadSEO. With our direct integration into Magento we offer all the tools you need to rank with your Magento store.
- Is the home page formatted with the correct meta title and description
- Are you using canonical URL’s?
- Do you have a robots.txt file?
Magento SEO extensions
There are a lot of extensions that are available which can be of great help when it comes to SEO for your Magento store. But, before we can establish which extensions are best for your store, we will have to take a step back, take a look at some of the basic principles and think about the types of problems that the extensions will solve for your webshop.
Magento advanced seo suite
Magento 2 seo extension by mageplaza
ReloadSEO for Magento
It takes a lot of work to improve your position in the search engines. Hiring an SEO expert to do this for you can cost a lot of money. That’s why we’ve made an extension for Magento which helps you with optimizing your Magento store yourself.
We believe that ReloadSEO can be of great assistance when you want to optimize your Magento Store. You can do keyword research in our extension and after you’ve done your keyword research, you can enter the keyword for each page/collection/product/blog. This will give you real-time feedback so that you instantly know if your page is fully optimized or what you will have to change to get a 100% SEO score.
With our extension you can do:
- Direct keyword research in Magento because of the integrated connection with the Google API
- Direct rank ability feedback on the content you write
- An advanced content analysis which makes you write better and rank higher
- Easy category and product page optimization
- Snippet preview and optimization
- See directly which products or categories need optimization
This way, you can make sure that your webshop is optimized. We also keep track of the changes that are made at the search engines, so that your webshop will remain fully optimized!
We recommend purchasing two extensions. One extension that handles the technical on-page optimization and the ReloadSEO extension to optimize your content and to boost your revenue and rankings! We have seen impressive results with our customers so far because content optimization helps you with ranking higher in the search engines, improves your AdWords Quality Score and improves your conversion rates.
Some of our earlier customers have seen results anywhere in the lines between 40% revenue and 60% organic traffic increase after a few months of using ReloadSEO. We are working very diligently on showcasing those cases on our blog so people can learn from their success stories.
Magento Creare SEO
An excellent free extension for Creare. This extension handles a lot of the technical problems you might have. For example; the Magento Creare SEO extension checks if you have a robots.txt file present. If your sitemap is in order and much more.
This free extension can help you out if you are just starting a Magento store. The extension is lacking in the fields of research, competition analysis, on-page optimization, and external optimization. It covers a small field of technical optimization so advanced Magento store owners might have a little less value out of this extension.
Yoast SEO for Magento
The Yoast SEO extension checks on-page elements of your product and category pages. The plugin is popular on WordPress but had a silent launch on Magento. Nonetheless, more than 2000 stores are using the free Yoast SEO for Magento extension at the moment. The extension is lacking in other areas like keyword tracking, keyword research, competition research, technical optimization.
Magento Mirasvit SEO
The Magento Mirasvit SEO extension is another very popular extension. This is a paid extension and will help you optimize different technical aspects with your store. Once again this plugin only optimizes the technical parts of your store and does not help with optimizing your content, external backlinks or tracks keywords.
Search engines reward the thing that is most difficult to fake: unique content that adds value. Writing this content takes time and most store owners don’t put in that much effort for their content. This can be because they don’t know where to start or how much effort to put into which products. Imagine where your store is going to be in 3 years if you start writing one optimized product article every day from now on!
Try the ReloadSEO extension for Magento now! The first 14 days are free!