The Magento market is booming with thousands of stores trying to win customers with the best design, content, and products. However, only those that serve customer search query intent perfectly win the top positions in SERP. The reason for this is Magento 2 SEO.
Not only is it because the Magento platform has a lot of built-in SEO features, but because top-ranking Magento stores know how to apply them with the best practices and Magento 2 SEO Extensions.
If you are new to SEO or trying to make your website SEO better, make it SEO friendly, we will tell you about the best features of Magento SEO and tips to help you rank better and achieve better results.
Post Contents [hide]
- What is Magento SEO?
- Why SEO is Important for your Magento 2 Store?
- Generate Magento XML Sitemap
- Create Robots.txt
- Improve Magento Metadata
- Create Magento 2 SEO URLs
- Configure URL Rewrites and Redirects
- Set Canonical Tags
- Improve Magento Website Speed
- Optimize Magento Images
- Create Content to Drive More Traffic
- Optimize for Mobile
- How to Win Magento SEO?
However, let’s figure out what exactly Magento 2 SEO is first.
What is Magento SEO?
Just like SEO in general, Magento 2 SEO is a set of guidelines for Magento 2 stores to follow to get a better ranking, traffic, and conversions. Magento platform has the following SEO features: robots.txt, meta robots, sitemap, canonical tag, and others, which we’ll cover along the way.
Why SEO is Important for your Magento 2 Store?
We can all agree that the ultimate goal of every business is conversions. You can have the best quality products and compelling website design but still lack traffic and sales correspondingly.
SEO helps you to change that and finally makes all your efforts pay off.
Here are the benefits of SEO for Magento 2 stores:
- It allows you to improve your Magento 2 store positions in SERP.
- It boosts website traffic and visibility.
- It increases the authority of your product, category, and other website pages to customers and search engines.
- It makes your store discoverable and linkable by other authoritative websites.
- It increases your conversion rates by matching customer intent in the best possible way.
Isn’t it what you’re striving for?
So, now that you know Magento SEO is one of the main strategies you should invest your time in, we’ll cover the best practices for your Magento 2 store.
Generate Magento XML Sitemap
If we talk about the most important Magento SEO built-in features and general SEO requirements, the XML sitemap is among the top ones. It is also a crucial crawling and indexing factor to keep in mind while working with Magento 2.
Consider your website a big city with plenty of buildings (your store pages) and streets (your website internal links). To navigate it people (search robots) new to your city need a map.
This is exactly what Magento sitemap is.
It provides a roadmap for the search engine crawlers with all of the pages of your website. It helps them to understand better what your website is about and check it for new content or alternative web pages.
Magento allows you to configure Magento 2 sitemap or configure sitemap auto-generation.
Your website consists of thousands of pages, each having its purpose. However, while customers can navigate all pages of your websites, search crawlers don’t necessarily need to.
To help you define what pages search crawlers should and shouldn’t index, Magento provides the other important SEO feature — robots.txt file. It allows you to block pages like search, customers account, and checkout from indexing since you don’t need to rank for those.
The best about this feature is, you can configure it right from the admin panel. Check out this article to learn how to configure Magento 2 robots.txt, find examples and learn more about meta robots.
Improve Magento Metadata
Metadata is a piece of data included in the code of your website and visible for search crawlers. It is not visible anywhere on your website, though customers can see it in the search listings.
While it is a relevant Magento SEO ranking factor for Google and other search engines, it also increases your CTA (click-though-rate) metrics and lets search crawlers know what your website is about.
That is why it is recommended to improve metadata by including a keyword in both meta title and description.
Note: meta keywords are no longer taken into account by search engines. So it is redundant to add them in a corresponding field.
About a decade ago, search engines judged pages only on the content of web pages, not any so-called "off-page" factors such as the links pointing to a web page. In those days, keyword meta tags quickly became an area where someone could stuff often-irrelevant keywords without typical visitors ever seeing those keywords. Because the keywords meta tag was so often abused, many years ago Google began disregarding the keywords meta tag.
Homepage SEO Setting
The homepage is the most visited page on your website, even more popular than product and category pages. So, to improve Magento SEO, the first thing you have to do is to change the homepage title since it says “Homepage” by default.
Not a very informative title, right?
Choose the name that describes your Magento 2 store best and go to Content > Elements > Pages > Home Page to set it up. Remember to use keywords that resonate with your store objectives.
Categories and Products
As we've mentioned before, meta titles and meta descriptions are displayed on the search engine listings. They present your website to potential customers. Therefore, these meta titles and descriptions not only have to be compelling to increase CTA. They need to be optimized with your target keywords to attract the search crawlers.
Each product, category, and CMS page in Magento 2 has the Search Engine Optimization section. You can set meta titles and meta descriptions that highlight Magento 2 SEO features.
Just go to the product or category you want to set metadata for by Catalog > Products/Categories, search relevant product or category, and set meta title and description in the Search Engine Optimization field.
Note: your meta title and description should be under 60 characters and the meta description — under 255.
However, the optimal number of characters for meta description is about 160-170. We’d better go with that so the meta description doesn’t get cut off, leaving customers confused.
In case you have thousands of products, which makes it extremely time-consuming to set metadata for each, Magento has a handy feature — Product Field Auto-Generation.
To configure it you just need to go to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Product Field Auto-Generation.
However, there are a few precautions for you to consider:
- Auto-generated product fields are applied globally, which restricts editing these fields for some particular products.
- Auto-generated fields are applied only for migrated, imported, or new products so that you can’t edit the data e.g. if you’ve found a misspelling and expect it to be applied to existing products.
- Character limitations are applied to the fields that may result in issues e.g. placeholder is 255 and adds on to the length of the meta description.
If you decide to set metadata with the auto-generation, you should remember that you can set it manually. It will override the automatically generated fields. However, you will have to revise the meta title and descriptions which takes even more time, threatening your Magento SEO strategy.
Rich Snippets and Microdata
While meta title triggers people to pay attention, meta description drives interest and rich snippets call for action. Magento Rich Snippets is a feature that is included in Magento 2 by default. It covers all of the necessary information about the product: price, reviews, rating, name, and SKU.
The only drawback is Magento default rich snippets don’t include the Availability tag that is important for the purchase decision making. It's better to resort to Magento 2 Rich Snippets Extension that covers more.
Prefix and Suffix for Title Tags
By adding a company name to your web page you improve brand awareness and make your name more recognized. You can do that by setting a suffix in the HTML head configuration.
Go to Content > Design > Configuration, select the store you want to set title tag suffix for, and enter it in the Page Title Suffix field. You can use a vertical bar or colon to separate a suffix from the default title.
What about prefix?
The beginning of your page title tag is the most important part, and adding anything in front of it is not recommended. Just keep the prefix field empty.
Create Magento 2 SEO URLs
Not only meta information can influence your search rankings and website visibility. URLs also have an impact on your Magento SEO. It is recommended to keep them concise, shorts, and informative for both people and search robots. It is also advised to include keywords and remove the stop words from the URLs.
However, let’s cover the other Magento SEO-friendly URLs features you can configure.
Magento adds .html suffix to all product and category URLs by default. It is redundant and only makes links longer and harder to understand. So, it is recommended to remove them from your store link to make them “cleaner” and thread a simpler way for migration to some other platform.
To remove .html suffix from Magento URLs:
- Go to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search engine Optimization.
- Remove Product and Category URL Suffixes and refresh Magento cache.
Important note: remove the .html suffix from Magento URLs only if you’re just setting up your Magento 2 store. If your store existed for some time you might face 404 pages and other issues. Removing the .html suffix doesn’t create a redirect to the new page without this suffix.
Unless you manage a multi-language Magento, there is no need to stuff your website URLs with the store codes. So, you’d better remove it by going to Stores > Configuration > General > Web > URL Options and setting Add Store Code to URL option to NO.
Server URL Rewrites
One more option to boost your Magento SEO URLs is Server URL Rewrites. They remove index.php from the links and make them even “cleaner”.
To enable them go to Stores > Configuration > General > Web >Search Engine Optimization and set corresponding option to YES.
Category in URLs
Since SEO-friendly URLs have to be concise, it’s better not to include category paths in product URLs.
Here is why.
Links will be extremely long and not very informative, for products in categories that have a lot of subcategories, especially if similar keywords are used in category and product names.
Just set the Use Categories Path for Product URLs to NO and the URLs should be much more attractive.
Configure URL Rewrites and Redirects
Obviously, you can’t expect to set one URL for a product or category and leave it for ages. SEO practices change, so does Magento SEO. So, sometimes you need to create new URLs for existing pages.
But wouldn’t customers land on the 404 page with a broken old link?
No, in case you create redirects.
They help you make sure customers land on the right version of the page and search crawlers follow the right path while discovering your web page. Luckily Magento is very flexible when it comes to redirects. It allows you to create automatic and custom ones.
To create automatic redirects in Magento 2 you have to go to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization and enable the Create Permanent Redirect for URLs if URL Key Changed option.
One more option is to go to the Product Review Page and enable the corresponding option in the Search Engine Optimization section.
Magento also allows you to create redirects manually which is extremely simple. You can check out this guide to learn how to create 301 redirects in Magento and make sure of it. Yes, you will mostly need 301 redirects.
Set Canonical Tags
If you're wondering what is the biggest threat to your Magento SEO efforts, it is duplicate content. Moreover, it is considered one of the biggest SEO issues in general.
If you have one product assigned to several categories or just pages with similar content and URL keys they might be considered duplicate content. In this case, correspondingly, each of the pages will ”compete” for the search engine’s attention.
The result of this competition might not be what you expect. It can even end up with both pages being ignored by search crawlers if they are not able to decide which one to display.
Canonical tags solve this. They tell search engines which page to consider “official”. It allows you to make sure each relevant page will be paid enough attention to by search bots.
To enable canonical tags for product and category pages in Magento 2:
- Go to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization.
- Enable the Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories and Products options.
Note: mind that the canonical meta tags option is set for each store view.
Improve Magento Website Speed
Will we ever get tired of telling that website speed matters when it comes to SEO?
No, since it is all tightly connected. The slower your website, the less likely people are going to discover your awesome catalog.
On top of that, even if you did your best to optimize Magento SEO with all of the above-mentioned practices, all your efforts can go in vain if the website loads slowly. Google takes into account even the separate page elements. Not very promising.
So, one of the best ways to boost SEO is to speed up Magento 2. Fast loading website with SEO-optimized content, great navigation, and design. Here you have it. You will see the result.
Optimize Magento Images
Your Magento website images not only help you create rich content but also contribute to the slow website loading speed. Yes, we’ve covered it partially but you have to review the best tips for image optimization in Magento 2 to make sure image loading is now dragging you down the SEO ladder.
Another point to consider is image alt tags that often go underrated. If you manage them wisely they can boost your traffic through Google Image Search.
Besides, images alt tags are no longer used only to cover the needs of visually impaired users.
They help search crawlers understand the contents of your page better. That is why you have to make sure to add short and descriptive alt tags for your website images.
As an example, here is how to add alt tags for the product page image in Magento 2:
- Go to Catalog > Products and select the product you want to set image alt tags for.
- Scroll to the Images and Videos section, open the image, and set the alt text for it.
In case you want to set alt text for logos navigate to Content > Design > Configuration and choose the store which you want to configure these options for. Then, under the Header section, you will find the Logo Image Alt option.
Create Content to Drive More Traffic
Once you optimize Magento SEO for product and category pages, they will rank well. However, you might still lack on traffic. That is why you have to look for alternative ways to generate more valuable content for your customers and target more keywords.
There is no better way to do this than a blog.
Unfortunately, Magento does not provide this functionality by default. Still, it doesn’t mean you have to rely on some third-party platform and manage your blog from there. You can manage Magento 2 Blog from the same admin with your store, which is very convenient.
It offers the best SEO feature to make your blog posts rank and drive more valuable traffic to your store.
Optimize for Mobile
Finally, last but not least, and definitely not less important Magento 2 SEO factor is mobile responsiveness. It is true desktop generated more sales. Nevertheless, the number of mobile users increases dramatically. Around 79% of mobile users purchase online with mobile devices.
With such numbers at stake, you just have to concentrate on mobile more since it could be a real game-changer when it comes to SEO and sales correspondingly. The numbers don’t lie.
How to Win Magento SEO?
This title definitely drew your attention. However, you have to remember that no one will probably give you the right answer to this question. Tendencies change, so do trends and practices. Google and other search engines do their best to provide the best result to their end-users.
What can you make out of this?
SEO will constantly change. What was working a decade ago, is a big no-no now. Besides, what works well for your store, doesn’t necessarily work the same for the other.
You should remember to keep the best Magento SEO practices in mind and follow them accordingly. Only then will you achieve the results you’re striving for.
Which of the above SEO practices works best for you?