The Magento market is booming with thousands of stores trying to win customers with the best design, content, and products. However, only those who satisfy the customer search intent win the top positions in SERP. The key to success? Magento 2 SEO.
Not only is it because Magento has a lot of built-in SEO features, but because top-ranking stores know how to apply the best Magento SEO practices.
If you are new to SEO or trying to do search engine optimization for Magento, you've landed in the right place. Here you'll learn about the default Magento SEO features that help you to rank better. Besides, we'll also give you an insight into the best Magento 2 SEO Extensions that might come in handy.
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However, let’s figure out what exactly Magento 2 SEO is first.
What is Magento SEO?
Magento 2 SEO is a set of guidelines for Magento 2 stores to follow to get a better ranking, traffic, and conversions, just like SEO in general. Magento platform offers the following SEO features by default: 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 fall behind on traffic and sales.
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?
Now that you know Magento SEO is one of the main strategies you should invest your time in, we’ll cover the best SEO features the platform is packed with.
If we talk about the most important Magento SEO built-in features, the XML sitemap always pops up near the top. It is also a crucial crawling and indexing factor for any website.
Consider your website a big city with plenty of buildings (your store pages) and streets (your website's internal links). To navigate it people (search robots) new to your city need a map.
It is exactly what a 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 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. So it's definitely a benefit.
Robots.txt and Meta Robots
Your website consists of thousands of pages, each with a unique purpose. 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 another important SEO feature — Magento 2 robots.txt. It allows you to block pages like search, customer account, and checkout from indexing. You don’t need to rank for those.
The best thing about this feature is, that you can configure it right from the admin panel.
Metadata is a piece of data included in the code of your website and visible to search crawlers. It is not visible anywhere on your website, but in the search results.
It is a relevant SEO ranking factor for Google and other search engines. It also increases your CTA (click-through rate) metrics and lets search crawlers know what your website is about.
Each Magento product, category and CMS page has the Search Engine Optimization section that allows you to specify the meta title, description and keywords.
Moreover, if you have thousands of products, setting metadata for each might be extremely time-consuming. So Magento has a handy feature for that — 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
Meta title triggers people to pay attention and meta description drives interest. But it's rich snippets that 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.
You don't have to enable them anywhere, this feature is enabled by default.
The only drawback is Magento default rich snippets don’t include the Availability tag which is important for purchase decision making. It's better to resort to Magento 2 Rich Snippets Extension which covers more product structured data.
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, short, and informative for both people and search robots. It is also advised to include keywords and remove the stop words from the URLs.
So, let's see what SEO-friendly URL features Magento covers.
Although Magento adds .html suffix to all product and category URLs by default it only makes links longer and harder to understand. So, it is recommended to remove them from your store link. It will make URLs “cleaner” and make migration to some other platform simpler in the future.
Magento allows you to remove .html suffix from URLs in Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search engine Optimization.
Prefix and Suffix for Title Tags
Adding a company name to your web page improves brand awareness and makes your name more recognized in search. So, Magento allows you to set a suffix in the HTML head configuration.
You can do that in Content > Design > Configuration > Page Title Suffix. You can use a vertical bar or colon to separate a suffix from the default title.
What about prefix?
Since the beginning of your page title tag is the most important part, adding anything in front of it is not recommended. We'd rather you keep the prefix field empty.
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”. This option in enabled in Stores > Configuration > General > Web >Search Engine Optimization.
Category Path in URLs
Since SEO-friendly URLs have to be concise, it’s better not to include category paths in product URLs. Category path in URLs makes them extremely long and not very informative (especially if a product is in a category with a lot of subcategories).
If you still want to include categories in product URLs, note that you need to enable canonical tags to avoid any duplicate content issues. Whatever you choose Magento has an option for that — Use Categories Path for Product URLs.
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, and 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 robots follow the right path when crawling your page. Luckily Magento is very flexible when it comes to redirects. It allows you to create automatic and custom ones.
You can create automatic redirects in Magento 2 in Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization > Create Permanent Redirect for URLs if URL Key Changed.
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. Yes, you will mostly need 301 redirects.
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 or URLs, they might be considered duplicate content.
In this case, each of the pages will ”compete” for the search engine’s attention. The result of this competition might not be what you expect. Search crawlers can even ignore both pages if they can't decide which one to display.
Canonical tags solve this. They tell search engines which page to consider “official”. It allows you to make sure search bots pay enough attention to each relevant page.
In Magento, you can enable canonical tags for products and categories in Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization. Setting them up for other pages, like CMS pages and blog, requires a custom solution.
Note: canonical meta tags option is set for each store view.
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 features, all your efforts can go in vain if the website loads slowly.
Magento comes with a bunch of default speed optimization features too. So, if you want to boost SEO you need to speed up Magento 2 as well.
Your website images not only help you create rich content. They also influence the website loading speed and ranking correspondingly.
Although Magento doesn't offer a lot of tools for image optimization by default, it still pays attention to the vital features. Image alt tags, in particular, often go underrated. If you manage them wisely they can boost your traffic through Google Image Search.
Besides, image 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.
Each product image in Magento has a separate field for alt tags in the Images and Videos section.
It is also important to set alt text for logos in Content > Design > Configuration > HTML Head > Header section.
How to Win Magento SEO?
This title definitely drew your attention. However, no one will probably give you the right answer to this question. Tendencies change, and so do trends and practices. Google and other search engines do their best to provide the best results to their end users.
So, SEO will constantly change. You should remember to keep the best Magento SEO practices in mind and resort to the best SEO extensions if necessary. Only then will you achieve the results you’re striving for.