9 practical tips for successful Magento SEO
- Crawling and indexing
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Structured data
- Create a sitemap
- Use canonical URLs
- Optimise images
- Final thought
How to boost your Magento store’s organic search findability
Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising your Magento webstore so that it can be found more easily by consumers when they perform product searches. This can be achieved by ranking higher than your competitors on search engine results pages (SERP) and offering consumers more targeted search results to drive them to relevant product landing pages.
Over 70% of the traffic to a typical Magento webstore comes from search, with Google accounting for the lion's share of that traffic at 60%. The other 11% comes from other search engines such as Bing or DuckDuckGo.
Google's popularity means that from an eCommerce point of view it is the most important search engine to consider. Although the details of the Google algorithm are kept secret, it's well known that in order to serve up the most relevant results, webpages are ranked by Google for:
To determine where to rank your webstore in SERPs, Google accesses and analyses every webpage, so that it can return the most relevant search results for consumers. This raises the question: what do you need to do for your Magento webstore to rank higher in SERPs than your competitors and offer consumers more relevant products?
In this article we will explore some Magento SEO best practices that will help make your webstore more findable and your search engine listings more engaging for consumers.
Crawling and indexing
The way search engines find out about your webstore is by crawling and indexing its content. Making that process easier for search engines, helping them to know what to index, will help boost your webstore’s SERP ranking. But what exactly are crawling and indexing?
Crawling is when a search engine scours the internet using robots called crawlers, analysing webpages, checking URLs, keywords, tags and content to build up a picture of a website to reference for more relevant search results.
Indexing is the organisation and storage of crawl data. When webpages are indexed, they will be findable by users when their search criteria match with the most relevant crawled data.
A title tag is the title of a webpage that shows in SERPs as the clickable text line in search result. The title tag describes the page topic in a brief sentence and is one of the most important SEO elements to get right for consumer engagement.
Key things to remember when creating title tags:
- Keep line length between too 50 - 60 characters
- Place the most important keywords at the beginning of the title tag
- Ensure that title tags are unique and easy to read
For Google, this does not guarantee that your page will rank highly, but by following these simple rules a well-crafted title tag is more likely to rank higher and will certainly help to engage consumers.
Meta descriptions give a summary of your webpage’s content. The meta description appears below the title tag, and just like the title tag will help to engage consumers, maximising click-rates to your webstore.
As with title tags, there are some best practice conventions to follow to optimise meta description’s effectiveness:
- Keep line length between 155 - 160 characters
- Ensure meta descriptions are easy to read and contain keywords
- Prevent duplicated content by making meta descriptions unique
Meta descriptions do not affect search page ranking. They are however vital for increasing click-rates from SERPs. They are an opportunity to advertise and promote page content to help entice consumers to choose your brand or products over your competitors. Note: Google does not always include meta descriptions.
Text headings help consumers and search engines understand your webstore’s on-page content, and they act as signposts to help guide consumers reading your pages, indicating what a paragraph or section is about. Headings also help to define which content elements are more important and how they are related. For SEO, headings should include keywords.
Headings are organised from H1 - H6. Using this heading hierarchy enables search engines to better understand what a particular webpage is about, helping it to serve your content up to consumers whose search criteria best matches that content.
With Magento, headings are formatted using the style sheet associated with a theme at the page builder stage.
A well-structured heading hierarchy helps consumers quickly scan a page and helps search engines easily understand its structure and topic.
Stick to these heading best practices:
- Don’t wrap logos or images within H1 heading tags, as the H1 heading conveys the main topic of the page
- Use only one H1 heading per page
- For optimum readability, stick to a maximum heading length of 60 characters
- Don’t apply H2 headings to product names on product category overview pages
- Build up your heading structure with a logical hierarchy
- Be smart about your product-category, product, and page names, because these names will be used as the H1 headings by default
- Don’t use H1 headings in the body content, because that can lead to having multiple H1 headings
Using structured data (also called schema markup) on your webpages, for instance on product pages, will help to lift your SERP ranking by making it easier for search engines to crawl and index content. Structured data communicates to search engines what your data means. Without it search engines can only tell what your data says, and they have to work harder to determine context.
For example, let’s take your company contact information. You could just include this information at the bottom of your homepage, which would be fine for consumers who want to contact you. But a search engine won’t necessarily recognise that content as ‘contact information’—it will need to be told that’s what it is. Structured data enables you to tell search engines your content’s purpose, rather than taking it at face value.
On SERPs an important structured data element is the ‘rich snippet’. This is additional relevant information that displays with the title tag and meta description to help engage consumers and increase click-rate. Popular snippets include positive review ratings, product and pricing information.
Also, adding social media links using rich snippets to search results will help to not only boost click-rate, they will also help to drive traffic from social media, increasing your social media reach.
There are a wide range of extensions available for Magento to create rich snippets. Some are free while others have a cost attached. Best practice when using extensions:
- Use only trusted third party Magento SEO extensions
- Do not overload your webstore with too many extensions, as it could slow it down
- Consult with your Magento development partner when considering SEO extensions
Create a sitemap
An XML sitemap is vital for successful Magento SEO. It’s the blueprint for your webstore and tells search engines which pages in your webstore are most important. Search engine crawlers will follow the links in your XML sitemap to every page in your webstore. So, having a well-structured sitemap will help search engines to find and index the right information about your webstore and your products.
Use canonical URLs
Canonical URLs tell search engines which URLs to index for specific pages.
As your webstore grows, it can be a challenge to prevent duplicate content. Duplicated or near duplicated content causes problems for crawlers. This is important because URLs can have variations that point to the same content.
If you have two similar pages, and they are both eligible to rank for certain keywords, the crawler won’t know which of the multiple URLs it should send traffic to. The best way to address this issue is to select preferred URLs, which are known as canonical URLs. Failure to create canonical URLs and the duplicate content problems that occur could result in your webpages not ranking as well on SERPs.
Optimising images in your Magento webstore will help boost your SERP ranking. There are four important factors for Magento SEO image optimisation: filename and alt text, image size and format.
Image file names should accurately and clearly describe what the image is rather than being a series of unrelated words and numbers. For example, instead of file name IMG02390.png, the name should describe what is in the image: blue Nike zip hoodie 12.png or Shure SM57 microphone 09.png, etc.
Alt text, or alt tag, describes what’s in the image and is the text that you see below an image on a page. This has SEO and accessibility benefits, not only helping search engines to contextualise images but also to enable consumers with screen readers to know what’s in an image. Alt text best practice:
- Keep image descriptions accurate and specific
- Make it short and use keywords
- Use plain English
Image size impacts Magento SEO performance because of download speeds—the bigger the file the longer it will take the page to load, running the risk of shorter attention span consumers clicking away. Compressing images will enable them to load more quickly while maintaining quality.
To ensure all of your images have a uniform size and look, Magento includes an image upload resizing option to ensure all images match a specific pixel size. This automatically resizes images using configuration settings, which can help with performance of zoom, faster page load and keep a uniform look across your product images.
Search engines want to ensure that the results they return to consumers are going to offer not only the most relevant webpages, but also offer webstores with the most user-friendly shopping experiences. A big part of this is favouring webstores that offer consumers outstanding mobile UX, ranking them higher in SERPs than webstores that don’t.
With the rise of omnichannel shopping, mobile devices have become an integral part of online consumer journeys, whether making a final purchase or as part of pre-purchase product research—comparing products and prices.
Having a dynamic webstore means that your pages will render well on any size screen, whether point-and-click or tap-and-swipe, giving consumers the right type of UI for their device.
Magento webstores can be built specifically for mobile using a progressive web app (PWA) approach. That means a webstore that is built for mobile first, with the ability to look good and offer great UX on desktop or laptop. A PWA gives consumers a native app experience in- browser, so there’s no need to download a naive app to their device.
Although PWA and native app mobile shopping UX are comparable, unlike native apps, a PWA is SEO indexable.
Magento 2 features PWA Studio, a set of developer tools for building PWAs, making it easier and faster to create a PWA webstore. With PWA faster page load speed, more intuitive UX and easy switching between your webstore and other websites (compared to native apps), a Magento PWA webstore will offer consumers more satisfying shopping experiences, with SEO able to be improved and higher SERP ranking achieved.
Implementing a well-planned and diligent Magento SEO strategy will help boost your webstore’s SERP ranking, serving up more relevant search results and driving higher purchase-intent traffic to your webstore. Getting your SEO strategy right is crucial for eCommerce success, for increased customer acquisition and ongoing bottom-line growth.
Is your Magento webstore tuned for high performance SEO? If you would like to know more about how a comprehensive SEO strategy can help your Magento business thrive, then get in touch today for a chat with one of our Magento SEO specialists.