Magento 2 SEO tips: The Ultimate Guide to High Ranking in 2019
Magento search engine optimization (SEO) can make or break an ecommerce website. When people go online to purchase a new product or service, they start with a search.
Around 93 percent of online experiences derive from a search engine (Google, Baidu, Yahoo!, Bing). By and large, customers have no idea what brand to choose, so they tend to search with a query and rely on a search engine to guide them.
Recent SEO research states that 75% of users only scan the first page of search results. If your company doesn’t show up on the first page on Google, there is a high probability that your potential customers won’t find you as there is an abundance of online stores offering similar items. Even if you are selling better quality products, it doesn’t matter because from a customer’s point of view, you don’t exist.
If you want to rank high, then you need to make SEO a top priority for Magento ecommerce stores. SEO is the most efficient tool to make your website visible in search engines and generate targeted traffic. We’ve compiled a list of Magento SEO best practices that will help to drive more traffic to your website.
The importance of SEO for Magento websites
SEO is the practice of driving traffic to your ecommerce store from the search engine results page (SERP). It doesn’t matter if your retail business is a startup or a Fortune 100 company — you need SEO to boost your ecommerce store’s cost-effectiveness.
SEO improves your online presence on Google and other search engines. In contrast to more traditional marketing, like TV, newspapers, or radio, you’re connecting with customers during the buying process.
The general advantages of SEO are:
- Helping your potential customers find you
- Expand into new markets
- A cost-effective way to improve your bottom line ( organic traffic is free)
- Proper SEO implementation can lead to high conversion rates
- Long-lasting effects, making it a great investment
- It is much easier to increase brand awareness with SEO
- Boost your marketing efficiency
Technical Magento 2 SEO
Now that you know why SEO matters, let’s talk about technical SEO tips for Magento you should use to unlock the true potential of your ecommerce store.
- Speed up your ecommerce website
The page load time is one of the key factors that affect search engine rankings. Google penalizes slow websites by putting their pages further on the list. If your ecommerce store loads fast, the search engine crawlers can reward you for it. There is a large diversity of tools that can help you test the speed of your webpages.
Once you have measured the speed of your ecommerce website, there are various practices you can apply to optimize your site loading time. Check out our article to find out the best ways to speed up your Magento 2 store.
- Upgrade to the latest version of the Magento platform
Upgrading to the Magento 2 version will give you access to new functionalities, such as improved SEO features, advanced built-in security options, performance optimization, bug fixes, and more. The Magento development team updates the platform regularly with the essential features
Magento 2 has introduced many improvements to SEO. Among them are Fields Auto-Generation and Schema.org. Auto-Generation aims to set templates for product metadata. Schema.org helps to boost the search engine rankings of your ecommerce store. Furthermore, rich snippets on the Magento 2 catalog pages make your product data much easier to crawl by search engines.
- Optimize your product images
One of the Magento 2 SEO best practices is to optimize product images on your website. So what does image optimization have to do with SEO? Optimized product images are essential as they ensure that the website storage is not overloaded with too much storage and lead to higher rankings in organic search results.
The image should be of high quality. Image optimization is applied to reduce the file size of your images while maintaining its high resolution. Compressor.io is one of the best tools when it comes to decreasing the size of your images and maintaining high quality.
Don’t forget about the alt tag. When the customer is looking for a certain product, Google can rank your site’s product higher as it can recognize image title and alt tag. So make sure that all the images have proper alt texts or alt attributes. The name of the image file should clearly characterize what the image is about, not just meaningless words.
- Use a mobile-friendly Google Search Console and Google Analytics
One of the best ways to improve the search engine presence in Magento 2 is to set up a Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both tools are free and easy to implement.
Google Search Console is an administration and reporting service created for webmasters enabling you to measure your website's traffic and improve its organic search presence. With Google Search Console, you can monitor and fix errors that may affect your search rankings.
Google Analytics is a practical tool to monitor the performance of your Magento SEO strategy. With Google Analytics, you can gain a considerable amount of SEO and marketing insights (custom segments, top-performing pages, mobile traffic, and more). The given data from Google Analytics can help you make further alterations to your data-driven SEO strategies.
- URL Structure
A URL, or "web address", indicates the location of a resource (such as a web page) on the web. URLs are the key elements of Magento 2 search engine optimization as they help to describe a web page. URLs optimized for SEO tend to be short and keyword-rich.
The accurate URL structure is crucial for SEO optimization. Well-structured URLs help search engines systematically provide meaningful results to users and make relevant connections between various pages on your Magento store. For instance, the search engine can see that a certain product belongs in the same category, e.g. “shorts”, which belong in the larger category of men’s clothes.
To make sure your URL is well-structured and accurate, we recommend determining what categories and subcategories you’ll be using and how you’ll present them in the URLs that belong in each category.
- Ensure your ecommerce website has a proper SSL Certificate
One of the key things is to ensure your Magento store has a proper SSL (secure sockets layer) Certificate. Why is that so crucial? Since 2014, Google penalizes websites that don’t use SSL Certificates. As a result, the ecommerce stores that don’t use SSL Certificate are likely to rank low in the search results.
- With HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol), data between the web server and the web browser is not encoded and can be easily stolen.
- A secure version called HTTPS (“s” stands for secure) involves the use of an SSL certificate, which helps to create a secure encoded connection between the web server and web browser.
When you move to HTTPS, don’t forget to track your migration thoroughly in Google Search Console and Analytics.
SEO tips for Magento 2
- Keyword and competitor research
A crucial aspect of Magento SEO best practices is conducting effective keyword research. Search engine crawlers scan your store for keywords that can help to find out where you belong in search results.
We recommend starting your keyword research by analyzing your target audience and competitors. Take the time to perform thorough keyword research to select the ones that are relevant to your content. Make a list of competitors' online stores and review their product pages. Check out what keywords are directing customers to your competitors' websites.
One of the tips you should try is to find less competitive keywords instead of promoting the most competitive ones. Use these keywords in your content and in the meta tags. You can also monitor the performance of each keyword using these tools: Ubersuggest, Webmaster, Keywordtool.io, Answer the Public.
- Add a blog page to your Magento store
Apart from product pages, if you are searching for another way to expand your keyword strategy, we recommend starting a blog. Research shows that ecommerce websites with a blog typically have 434% more indexed pages.
With a blog, you can have numerous unique URLs and pages of content with targeted keywords you usually would not use when selling items. In addition, blogs will drive maximum exposure for your business. You can showcase your product range or provide step-by-step guides that encourage customers to make a purchase.
- Build internal link network (backlinking)
The next Magento 2 SEO tip is to build a great network of internal links. Your blog allows you to create internal links. By following links, search engine crawlers can determine the relationship between the pages, blog posts, guest posts, and other content on your ecommerce website. Internal links can forward users to other blog posts or to product pages. A backlink is a link you get when someone is referencing your site (post) on other websites (posts).
The use of internal links and backlinks will help to strengthen your Magento SEO strategy. The more high-quality websites that link to you, the more likely customers will click on your store and go through your products.
- Use Canonical Tags / Robots.txt to avoid duplicate content
Duplicate content can be a threat to Magento SEO optimization. Magento’s default configuration creates redundant URLs for the same products. This can cause problems when Google crawls your pages and notices they’re identical.
Thus, to avoid duplicate content, you should build one main link (canonical) for all the other links. The canonical link is an HTML element that looks different but references back to the same page. These links allow search engines to distinguish duplicate content and avoid any negative effects.
Go to Admin > Stores > Settings > Configuration > Catalog. Scroll down to SEO and choose “yes” for “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories/Products.”
The Robots.txt file tells search engine bots not to crawl disallowed pages of your ecommerce site.
- Magento 2 XML Sitemap
One more Magento SEO best practice is to set up an XML sitemap for your Magento 2 store. XML sitemaps are just text files that identify data types. This protocol helps search engines to easily understand your website structure while crawling it and list a website’s most important pages.
Fortunately, Magento 2 by default has a number of updated XML sitemap features that enable merchants to create amazing and optimized sitemaps. Go to Configuration > Catalog > XML Sitemaps. The open options for the XML sitemap allow setting the category, CMS (content management system) pages, priority, and update frequency of the product.
- Social Share Integration
Social media enables you to promote your quality content on multiple channels. Search engines like Google use social media sharing info to define the relevance of pages.
By adding social media sharing buttons to the Magento 2 store you encourage customers to share the content they are interested in, whether it is a blog post or a winter coat on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. These buttons won’t only help to drive traffic from social media but will also make your website more visible on the Internet and improve the engagement rate.
If you’re having trouble gaining higher rankings on major search engines like Google, Baidu, or Yahoo!, keep up with the above mentioned Magento tips to unlock the true potential of your online store.
The information covered in this blog post is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many other things to take into account when it comes to Magento SEO optimization. Thus, the best way to optimize your Magento 2 search engine optimization is to hire an experienced Magento development agency that has a vast experience in creating SEO-friendly websites.