Many retailers are focused on increasing their social presence or optimizing their online advertisements. But, in fact, 51% of all visitors from B2B and B2C websites come from organic search. This blows paid search and social out of the water.
With the majority of visitors are coming from search engines, it’s critical to optimize your Magento store for search. This post will focus on increasing your Magento SEO ranking.
Magento SEO Setting Changes
Making these setting changes won’t automatically increase your rankings. That can only come from optimizing your product information and other SEO activities.
However, making these changes will help make your URLs more search friendly, and make sure your pages are being indexed by Google, Bing, and any other search networks. This is a necessary start to making your Magento webstore SEO friendly.
Search Engine Friendly URLs in Magento
Making your URLs search friendly is important, because search engines put a lot of weight on the semantics of your URLs. In other words, a URL like www.somepetstore.com/glass-fishbowls/ is much more appealing to a search engine, than something like www.somepetsotre.com/products?id=13242.
Your URL should describe the thing on the page. In the case of Magento, that will usually be a product or category.
There are two main changes you will want to make in Magento to make your URLs search engine friendly.
- Go to System -> Configuration -> Web -> Search Engine Optimization
- In the “URL Options” menu, select No from the “Add Store Code to URLs” option.
- In the “Search Engine Optimization” menu, select Yes from the “Server URL Rewrites” option
These changes will make it so your URLs are clean and easy to read from a human, and a search engine, perspective. Now your homepage won’t include /index.html after www.your-site.com, and your URLs will no longer be crowded with a nonsensical store code.
Magento SEO Indexing
Of course, you also need to tell search engines that you want them to index your website’s pages. This is indicated in a meta tag, where you specify whether you want the page to be indexed and if you want crawlers to continue through the links on the page. Magento makes it easy to set this.
To do this you need to set your “Default Robots” to “INDEX, FOLLOW”.
- Go to System -> Configuration -> Design -> HTML Heads
- Change the “Default Robots” setting to “INDEX, FOLLOW”
Now, all of your pages, by default, will be searchable from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and any other search network.
Default Title, Description, Prefix & Suffix
The last change you will want to make is to ensure there’s no empty product data. By filling in a default title and description, these will be used for any products where you have not specified a title or description already. These changes can be made on the same screen where you changed your “Default Robots”.
Also, in addition to title and description, you can add a prefix or suffix to your titles. For example, if you want to add your company name as a prefix, all of your product titles will then show up as, “Company Name Product Title”. This can help your Magento SEO rankings by increasing your brand recognition.
These are the most significant changes that will have an effect on your SEO. For a complete list of changes you can make, take a look at Yoast’s “Definitive Guide” to Magento SEO or Moz’s YouPost on Setting Up Magento for the Search Engines.
Magento SEO & Product Information
While making setting changes may help your Magento SEO some, the only way to truly optimize your store for SEO is to present good content. And, in the case of a webstore that means you must keep up-to-date and accurate product information.
You need to have all of your product information, including a title, description, & keywords, up to date for every item you sell. They should also incorporate keywords that you’ve decided to target. Good page structure, often determined by product categories, is also important.
Product data is the most crucial part of getting your product pages to rank well in search engines.
Manual vs. Automated
As your company grows, so will the number SKUs. When dealing with thousands of simple and matrix products, it’s extremely difficult to manually update your data.
And if you sell on multiple channels, you can end up making the same change several times, while accounting for specific variations across channels. (eBay and Amazon use different category structures, for example.)
This is why for a retailer who anticipates growth should use a Product Information Management (PIM) application. This is the easiest way to keep up-to-date product information on all your channels for the best SEO results.
Product Information Management (PIM)
A PIM solution will allow you to keep an updated record of all your products, for all your channels, from one central location. A PIM solution makes cleaning up your data much easier.
You can bulk edit your products based on certain shared attributes. You can deal with data issues like one system calling it “green” and another calling it “GRN”. You can also prefix and suffix any product data if you want to add your company name for branding, or possibly the text “Clearance!” if you are running a clearance campaign.
The PIM enables you to keep search engine friendly product data more easily than by managing the data manually. And, this is critical functionality for today’s merchandiser.
What to do next
Now that you have optimized your Magento webstore for SEO, check out our post on why you need a product information management System. In that post you’ll learn about all of the benefits of a PIM solution (many of which go beyond SEO). Or, if you want to improve your Magento store even more, check out our post on the 5 best Magento extensions of 2014.