Magento – Improving SEO Search Engine Rankings 2017

In my experience, search engine ranking in 2017 is due to 4 primary ranking factors:

  • Visibility
  • Content
  • Inbound Link Quality / Quantity
  • On Page factors

As a Magento store owner, you can’t control all of these factors, but you can do a lot about improving Visibility, Content and On Page Factors.

The net effect of these improvements will be more targeted traffic from Google and other search engines along with higher conversion rates and revenue – who doesn’t love that?

Here is a screenshot of Google, showing two results for the same search term – Peace Rose.

The first listing includes Keyword rich meta title, the number of ratings / average rating for this rose, shows availability and very complete meta description.

It’s an example of what’s possible with Magento and has a much more click friendly listing.

The second example is more generic / less interesting and with less relevant content.

Which would you click?

Magento has a number of built in SEO tools.

Visibility Tools:

Google Sitemap – this tool generates an xml sitemap of all categories, products and cms pages in a format suitable for search engines to read. Once you have generated a sitemap, you can submit it to google in their Search Console and they will crawl it for inclusion into their index.

You can find this in Catalog > Google Sitemap

Tip: You can also setup frequency of change for categories/products/cms pages as well as setup generation settings so it gets autmatically created every week or twice per month, depending on how often your site changes.

You can find this in System > Configuration > Catalog > Google Sitemap

Robots tag – this is used to tell search engines to crawl your site.
You want to set this to INDEX,FOLLOW.

You can find this in System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head

On Page Factors:

Search Engine Friendly Urls – Url rewrites of category and product pages.
This makes sure your catalog urls are search engine friendly.

Find this in System > Configuration > General > Web > Search Engines Optimization

Meta Title Prefix, Suffix and Default – You can use this to insert a string of text before / after your meta title on any given page.

You can find this in System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head

Default Description and Keywords – You can use this to show meta description and keywords for pages that don’t have any meta data entered in admin.

You can find this in System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head

Catalog Settings for SEO – You can set up system wide SEO settings that will help you rank better.

These include using Canonical tags for Categories and products.
Canonical tags help prevent duplicate content issues in search engine indexes, which is pretty important. There are also other settings you may want to review.

You can find this in System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization

Tip: Don’t set Magento to use the category path in the url. You’ll create a lot of issues with url-rewrites if you ever change a category path or position in the category tree.

Meta Titles for every category, product and cms page- You can find Meta Tag sections for Product pages, Category Pages and CMS pages.

Make sure the Meta Title includes keywords that actually are on the page and are keywords you want to rank for.

Meta descriptions are shown under the link in search engine results pages. If you don’t have one, Google will insert whatever they feel is relevant.

It’s better if you tell them what you want to display, since you can also include call to actions and other text to induce them to click on your link. Make sure every product has a unique Meta Title and Meta Description that’s relevant for your product.

There are also extensions that will help you improve your search engine rankings by integrating Social Media into your product pages.

Here are two recommendations that will get you started:

Amasty Google Snippets- this extension inserts rich snippets which will provide search engines much more information about your products.

Search engines use this data to insert reviews and other information in their listings. This is very beneficial for traffic, as people are much more likely to click on your link.

This extension also includes rich pins for Pintrest and Twitter Cards, which help promote your products in social media.

AddThis – this is a stand alone script that can be inserted on a product page, and shows social media icons and links so visitors can more easily share your products in social media.

It has the added advantage of keeping track of how many times someone shared your products, due to it’s built in analytics program.

Tip: Make sure to signup for an account before grabbing the script in order to take advantage of the analytics.

Content Tools:
Include both a short description and description on your product pages.
Ecommerce sites often have very little content, since search engines can’t read images. This point alone will help differentiate your site from your competitors.
Tip: Don’t use boilerplate descriptions that you get from manufacturer’s – revise it to make it unique to your site.

Make sure to setup and configure reviews- this is free content and can also enhance your rankings, as search engines will also include rating info in their search results if they are available.

You can find review setup in Catalog > Reviews & Ratings > Manage Ratings.

Tip: Magento also allows you to display custom attribute values on the product page.
It’s very useful for showing product specifications or specific information about your product. Plus it’s automated- it depends on a setting an attribute value in product admin.
For example, create an attribute called suggested_uses and then list a bunch of uses for your products.
This can be configured on a product basis, so that each product has different suggested uses.

Your visitors love content and so do the search engines.
That’s what I call a win – win.

So get busy and implement any of the above tools to improve your rankings in the future.

Good Luck!

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