Magento allows online merchants to sync their stores with Amazon and integrate their product catalog with Google Merchant Center and Google Ads, as well as the Adobe Experience Cloud.
Yet, to fully leverage its eCommerce power, you need to implement strategic on-page search engine optimization.
Welcome to our Magento 2 SEO guide designed to help you get the most out of this fantastic eCommerce giant.
On-page SEO focuses on optimizing elements on your Magento website like page speed and keyword density to improve search engine visibility and organic traffic.
In practice, this means when your potential customers search for things online, your eCommerce store will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) because the keywords they use correspond to those on your eCommerce web pages.
Achieving successful search engine optimization entails publishing relevant, high-quality content, and optimizing headlines and HTML to drive qualified traffic to your online store.
Ultimately, this increased traffic multiplies leads and sales.
The gist is Magento SEO drives sales, and while business growth is the overarching goal for most eCommerce businesses, there are other nuanced advantages that come with on-page optimization.
But before we get into that, let’s briefly explain how on-page SEO works and relates to search engines and eCommerce.
Search engines like Google or Yahoo! and Bing enable users to locate information on the internet. Every day millions of people type in queries they want answers to, and these search engines provide them with a list of the best possible websites, i.e., information that best answers their questions.
But how exactly do search engines decide which URLs appear on search engine results pages (SERPs)?
Each search engine has what we call search engine robots that collect and gather data, which is then indexed and filtered through an algorithm to match users’ requests.
There are several factors that algorithms consider and on-page is one of them. For instance, if a user types in “beach umbrella” and your store has the keyword “beach umbrella” in its page copy then it should appear in SERPs.
Of course, this is a simplified explanation, and it’s a little more complex than that, but you get the idea. Google wants to offer the best user experience to its visitors, so it’s always going to rank the websites that meet its user’s criteria the highest.
To remain competitive, eCommerce businesses have to adjust their digital presence to be more visible, valuable and available to their customers. Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to do this and offers the following advantages:
SEO nudges customers to your store in the most organic way. While traffic derived from pay-per-click advertising costs money, SEO generates leads and customers from unpaid sources. Most notably, the traffic that comes from organic search results is always more valuable because it’s a result of your inbound marketing efforts.
Search engine optimization plays an integral role in content discovery. The whole point of digital marketing and content marketing in particular is to attract, engage and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant content.
No matter how good your content is, you still need on-page SEO to get it noticed online. Besides, there is no point in creating inbound marketing content if you’re not implementing Magento SEO tactics to boost your content and your website’s visibility.
Paid advertising has its benefits; however, its value stops the moment a campaign comes to an end. So, while you might amass a large sum of traffic and brand awareness, this is short-lived.
SEO, on the other hand, is a long-term investment that works 24/7. Sure you have to invest some capital at the onset, but this will continue delivering a high ROI, even once you’ve paid the initial upfront costs.
Right out of the box, Magento is already one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms, but there’s still plenty you can do to curry favor with search engines and attract more visitors than your competition.
Poor-quality website hosting compromises on-page SEO, especially if it has a slow loading time. Websites that take too long to load are penalized by search engines and rank lower on SERPs.
According to Google, 2.5 seconds is the ideal loading time, and more than 4 seconds is considered poor. Therefore, as a prerequisite, your website host should provide excellent infrastructure with fast site speed.
Most eCommerce stores use dedicated hosting as shared hosting is often ineffective for large, complex websites. The established web host, Bluehost, is one of the best for Magento stores as it comes with a reliable track record, ample disk space and unlimited data transfer.
Robot.txt files tell search engine robots which URLs they can and should access in your Magento 2 eCommerce site. Websites don’t have to have these files, although they help SEO by preventing crawlers from indexing incorrect pages.
The presence of these files is not compulsory for the operation of a website, but at the same time, its correct setup lies at the core of SEO. For example, messages that clients receive after completing an order or filling out a form are generally not indexed by Google because they don’t have true SEO value.
You can read the Magento User Guide to ensure your pages are correctly configured.
An XML sitemap is a list of website pages within a domain. It provides search engines with important information about your pages, videos and other files on your website, as well as the relationship between them.
It’s like a directory for all your pages allowing search engine bots to quickly scan and index your website. Not having an XML sitemap, specifically created for search engines, means missing out on a second chance to be indexed by Google.
Unlike Magento 1, Magento 2 does not support auto-generated XML maps. However, third-party plugins can easily combat this minor inconvenience.
Canonical tags are a powerful way to tell Google and other search engines which URLs you want them to index. A canonical link meta tag will prevent duplicate content issues if you have different versions of the same page and ensure your SEO is on point.
On the Magento platform, it’s possible to edit URLs to help Google assign the correct search value to different pages with similar content. To avoid duplicate pages, you either have to remove the category from the URL, so each product has its own address, or leave only one category path in a product URL key.
Some Magento 2 eCommerce stores have multi-store views, i.e., they contain the same content in English but are targeted at different markets. Often Google can’t identify subtle changes in currency, for example, and assumes these pages are duplicate content, which is where Hreflang tags really help.
To troubleshoot this issue, Magento 2 has a Hreflang tag (code) to distinguish between pages that have different URLs with more or less the same content, so on-site SEO isn’t negatively affected.
Keyword research is the bedrock of on-page SEO. It tells you what terms your customers are actively seeking, and the competitiveness of those keywords, and helps shape your content plan and web copy to ensure your website and marketing assets rank high on SERPs.
Keywords research is important for three reasons:
Keyword research is the starting point of all digital marketing efforts. It’s an ongoing process, so if you’ve had the same keywords for the past six months, you might want to conduct an audit and update ones that are no longer relevant or popular.
Once you’ve completed keyword research, you can go about creating content and pages focused on those keywords. Combined with other SEO strategies, this will help search engines and people find your website online.
To increase visitor engagement and reduce bounce rate, it’s essential your Magento store loads fast. A website optimized for fast site speed enhances user experience (UX) and keeps visitors interested for longer, elongating the window for potential conversions.
If your website is hosted on one server, each user who visits will send requests to the same server. This means that when your website experiences high levels of traffic, the time it takes to process each request slows down the load times for all of them.
However, with a CDN, you cache your website on a global network of servers, so when a user’s browser requests files from your site, that request is routed to the closest server speeding up loading time.
As far back as 2015, mobile searchers outnumbered desktop searches. Shortly after, Google switched to mobile-first indexing and started indexing and ranking the mobile versions of websites.
Mobile user experience plays a major role in search engine rankings—even in desktop search results. User experience has always been a factor in rankings, and mobile experience is paramount.
Screen size, simple navigation, and finger-friendly navigation are design considerations eCommerce stores have to consider when creating their online platforms. Consumers also interact with brands across platforms and devices.
It’s not uncommon to put products on their wishlist using their mobile and then check out those products using their laptop and vice versa. A great website design combines beauty and functionality, underpinned by strong SEO. Your Magento 2 website is no different!
Marketers speak about the importance of quality content, but what does that mean?
A blog can be well written and objectively be “high-quality” but if it doesn’t have any keywords, its SEO performance will be dismal. In the world of digital marketing, this does not equate to high-quality content.
Similarly, content filled with keywords in an effort to rank high in SERPs is also poor quality.
If we had to compile a Magento 2 SEO guide for quality content, we might put forth the following considerations:
Apart from content marketing assets, it’s important to optimize all your website content. Every page’s meta description and meta title should be optimized, as well as your website’s “about” pages and so on.
While on the subject of content, starting a blog should be part of your search engine optimization strategy. Your Magento 2 store might be unable to rank for keywords only using product pages or category pages.
While Magento 2 doesn’t support blogging, the Magento 2 Blog extension from Magefan can help, or you can also link a WordPress blog to your store. We highly recommend setting up a blog to keep your website content fresh and to ensure search engine crawlers regularly index your content.
While the white hat SEO practices above apply to all eCommerce stores, a few SEO tips apply specifically to Magento 2 that can drastically SEO performance.
Software updates are often overlooked, but when it comes to Magento SEO tips, the first thing you should do is check you have the latest version. In addition to security fixes, software updates usually include new or enhanced features or improved compatibility with different devices and applications.
You can either manually update through the System Upgrade in the backend or ask a professional developer to help you. The updating process can be time-consuming and complicated. Most times it’s best to hire a professional’s help—unless you want to handle search engine submission settings, merge CSS files, etc.
Magento 2’s latest update introduces improvements to platform quality, payment methods, GraphQL caching performance, and accessibility. Updating your platform can improve stability, remove outdated features and ultimately make for a better user experience.
Support Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-sourced project designed to make all mobile pages extremely fast. This plugin improves search engine visibility and increases traffic and conversion rates.
As a standalone solution, Support Google AMP allows you to make your website AMP-friendly without any additional integration with third-party services. Magento 2 stores that use this plugin experience page load times of less than half a second.
Ajax is an extension that provides an optimized sitemap to help customers select their favorite products as quickly as possible. With Ajax, matching results reflect on your store’s pages directly after customers filter specific product attributes without reloading an entirely new page. This greatly improves customer experience and often leads to increased purchases.
Using an HTTPS (SSL) certificate for Magento 2 is the best way to secure the confidentiality and safekeeping of customer data. Part of Magento SEO best practices entail making sure your customers’ data isn’t susceptible to dubious third parties.
An HTTPS (SSL) certificate ensures you’re following standard authentication and security protocols. Without it, any data you enter into your site, such as passwords and bank details, can be hacked. As an eCommerce store, one of the easiest and most necessary ways to build trust is to protect confidential data.
A web page’s meta title and meta description are what customers see displayed in search results. Ideally, each should be unique to the page and contain meta keywords that match user search intent.
Page titles are a strong SEO feature, so you’ll want to include your primary keyword along with keeping things descriptive to grab the attention of potential customers. A good meta title employs enticing adjectives and emphasizes customer pain points your content resolves.
It’s a good idea to type in a search query and analyze the top 10 Google search results. See if there’s a pattern, how they use keywords, and whether they emphasize certain product attributes.
Google only displays the first 50-60 characters of most page titles, so keep them under this number to avoid truncation. Furthermore, always include your main keywords near the beginning of the title, in case a web server rewrites or shortens your titles.
Then there’s the meta description. Its main purpose is to encourage click-throughs. Think of it like your page’s elevator pitch. While Google doesn’t consider it a direct ranking signal, you should still include your target keywords in your meta description because those words will be bolded in search results.
Writing meta descriptions for every product page from scratch can be time-consuming. To minimize the hassle, you can use extensions like SEO Meta Templates which creates editable templates. Just remember, each meta description must be unique and compelling as possible, so you can maximize your click-through rates.
Image size impacts website speed and search engine optimization. For example, if you have a catalog page with 30 products and each product image is 1MB, that means 30 MB has to be downloaded every time the page loads. This can be a major problem for mobile devices or customers with limited bandwidth.
When you optimize your images, you want them to have a good ratio between quality and size. And you want to make sure they’re not resized by CSS but rather to your specific needs. Another technique is to use lazy loading, which loads your images after the page is fully loaded, or while users scroll through the page.
Search engine crawlers still struggle to identify certain images, so it’s important to add image alt tags, so they can better understand and rank them.
Image alt tags should describe what’s in your images. You can include keywords here and there but don’t indulge in keyword stuffing.
The best alt-tag descriptions are detailed, specific, and succinct. For example, “girl-wearing-red-dress-on-park-swing” and not “girl-swing.”
Optimized product pages boost on-page search engine optimization because they provide opportunities to include keywords. People tend to view product pages the old-fashioned way—as a boring list of specifications—but today’s product pages are more like mini sales pitches, combining persuasive copy and technical information.
You should do your best to make your product descriptions informative, interesting, and detailed.
Try including the following information:
Avoid using manufacturer descriptions verbatim. If other stores are selling the same product search engines might think it’s duplicate content.
According to Google, “A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans.”
For starters, a good product URL looks like this:
Not like this:
Your product and category URLs should be succinct, consistent, and lowercase.
Moreover, Magento might generate a URL that looks like this:
This will immediately create duplication issues as multiple variations of the same products are on separate URLs. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use top-level product URLs without including the category URL and subcategory URL.
For example, let’s say you have a white dress in women’s clothing that fits into two categories:
The top-level product URL is:
Of course, not all SEO-friendly URLs are top-level. We merely used this as an example to emphasize the importance of clean URLs and why you should always check them.
Ideally, your URLs should be structured as follows:
Lastly, don’t forget to include keywords in all your pages’ product and category URLs, while keeping URLs short and sweet by avoiding filler words (such as “the” and “for”).
Schema markup is a type of microdata that makes it easier for search engines to organize information. Implementing it on your Magento website increases the chances of Google displaying rich snippets, i.e., additional information such as pricing reviews, and images.
Even though rich snippets don’t directly impact SEO, they appear above the #1 ranking spot on Google SERPs. So, even if your webpage isn’t optimized to rank on the first page of search results, obtaining a rich snippet can still get you there. And that is what makes these snippets so covetable.
They increase brand visibility and improve click-through rates (CTRs). Most internet users don’t bother with the second page of search results; therefore, there’s a high chance you’ll experience high volumes of traffic with rich snippets.
Data analytics helps eCommerce businesses optimize their digital marketing performance. Many Magento 2 store owners are unaware of the advantages of in-depth insights provided by both Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Both offer goal-related tracking and visualizations that add a new dimension to eCommerce tracking.
Google Search Console (GSC) is the most efficient way to measure your website’s traffic and performance. It’s part of Google’s ecosystem and integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics, offering a comprehensive toolkit to constantly monitor and improve on-page SEO performance.
It’s also possible to optimize website pages and meta tags using Google Search Console. The major difference between GSC and Google Analytics (GA) is that GSC measures search engine performance, whereas GA measures user engagement.
On the other hand, Google Analytics is one of the best tools for gathering data about visitors to your website and how they interact with it. It tracks organic and paid traffic from all locations, giving you a good idea of where your visitors are coming from.
Google Analytics helps to measure sales and conversions and track campaign responses. Marketers use it to break down relevant traffic information and optimize online traffic, SEO, and content marketing efforts.
It’s all good and well integrating the best extensions and analytics tools, but they won’t mean much if you don’t use them. And that’s the thing: These tools automate many processes, but they still need human input and insight to transform feedback into meaningful improvements.
Additionally, they’ll alert you to technical issues that could harm your Magento SEO efforts such as broken links, SSL errors, poor mobile optimization, and duplicate content. With all the resources at your disposal, there really is no reason not to have a powerful online store that attracts customers and generates good sales.
Of course, there is always the challenge of limited time and expertise.
We hope you’ve found this Magento 2 SEO guide useful. Optimizing on-page SEO for Magento 2 is a technical process that’s rewarding when properly executed but risks going wrong if you are unfamiliar with Magento SEO best practices. That’s where Comrade can help.
We’re an eCommerce agency specializing in Magento 2 development and search engine optimization. With over a decade of digital marketing experience, our experts can transform your eCommerce platform into a revenue-growing business. Find out more about our on-page SEO services for Magento 2.
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