Consider that for a moment: Nearly half of all eCommerce traffic comes from Google.
This percentage clearly shows the necessity of optimizing a store for search engine success.
When a store is capable of ranking at the top (or even near the top) of the Google SERPs, it is far more likely to cultivate clicks and conversions.
For merchants who are employing Magento as their platform of choice, the optimization options are practically boundless. However, those running on the default settings are far from optimized and likely require a Magento SEO expert to help turn the platform into the SEO powerhouse that it is capable of becoming.
The fact is that Magento is a top eCommerce platform, particularly when it comes to search engine optimization. Because of the open-source nature of the system, retailers can implement nearly any extension they wish and optimize the platform to the fullest.
No matter if merchants are looking for SEO tips for migrating to Magento or are just looking to enhance their existing store’s performance in the SERPs, Visiture has you covered.
Here are seven Magento optimization tips that will help retailers develop a more effective SEO strategy.
Create a Documented SEO Strategy
The fact is that a documented SEO strategy is critical to success. As the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin goes:
Alongside content, other critical components to an SEO strategy include:
Let’s go ahead and explore these elements a bit more in-depth.
Conducting keyword research is obviously a massive consideration for SEO strategies, as the terms and queries searchers use are directly related to the keywords that merchants have optimized specific pages to surface for.
However, those who have never actually conducted keyword research in the past might find the task to be a bit confusing. That said, it doesn’t require a brain surgeon to figure out how to find the right terms and phrases.
There are a variety of keyword research tools online that can aid merchants in establishing which phrases are best to include on specific webpages. Some of the most popular tools include:
Plainly put, the number of authoritative backlinks a site possesses helps Google to determine the site’s popularity and credibility. Websites that tout a generous backlink profile are likely to perform far better than those with only a few of these digital endorsements.
Notice the use of the word “authoritative” in the last paragraph. The fact is that not all backlinks are created equal. Earning quality links is the name of the game. If a merchant features a variety of spammy, low-quality links, it can end up harming their site’s SEO performance.
Therefore, the types of backlinks that sellers want to earn are those that possess the following features:
Comes from a relevant website or blog
Comes from a site that has a high domain authority
Is a dofollow link
Has a meaningful anchor text
If the backlink does not meet the criteria outlined above, then the merchant’s efforts are likely for naught.
Unfortunately, link building is often a significant challenge for many retailers. For that reason, it is wise to partner with a Magento SEO expert to help devise a strategy for earning authoritative links to a site.
Competitive measurement of SEO for eCommerce is critical for climbing the SERPs. Again, unless sellers are working alongside a Magento SEO expert, there is a good chance that they will find this process a bit confusing and ambiguous.
That said, some of the factors that are necessary to analyze at this stage include:
Website and platform
Page load times
Number of web pages
Number of blog posts
Social media presence
This list is not comprehensive, but these are some of the most common elements to explore.
If your brand would like some help with this critical task, connect with Visiture’s eCommerce SEO experts, and we can establish how your brand stacks up with rival retailers.
If retailers get a consumer to click on their site, half of the battle is over. However, if the website is not optimized correctly, merchants could end up losing visitors before they make a purchase.
To optimize these elements properly, merchants should ensure that the targeted keyword is utilized and the description is both informative and enticing, while clearly reflecting the contents of the page.
While this may seem like a tall order, partnering with a Magento SEO expert can make the process significantly easier.
An XML sitemap is a file that houses all of the website’s (canonical) URLs. Thankfully, Magento 2 features a much better sitemap functionality than its predecessor. To enable the sitemap, log in to the admin and navigate to Stores > Settings > Configuration > Catalog > XML Sitemap.
From there, retailers can fine-tune the settings for Category, CMS and Product Options according to the seller’s needs. However, this task might be a bit complex for merchants who do not possess the technical acumen to make such changes. Therefore, partnering with a Magento SEO expert is in their best interest.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a considerable issue for eCommerce websites. In fact, this is a massive reason as to why many Magento merchants struggle to climb the SERPs.
Since eCommerce websites enable sellers to have many product variations, show products across multiple categories and the like, duplicate content on product pages is a pervasive issue. As a result of such carbon copy pages, Google may end up demoting a site in the SERPs.
However, avoiding duplicate content is possible by properly implementing canonical tags. Canonical tags serve to inform Google about which page is the authoritative version or master copy.
Fortunately, with Magento, applying canonical tags is simple, and one task that merchants might not require a Magento SEO expert to complete.
To begin applying canonical tags with Magento, navigate to System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization and click “Yes” for “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories” and “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Products.”
Just like that, sellers are in business with canonical tags.
Optimize Product Images
Product page optimization is a key element for a strong SEO strategy. More specifically, one area of this task that merchants often neglect is image optimization.
Images should feature detailed alt tags that describe the image, as search engines are not yet able to “see” pictures. Therefore, the alt text is necessary.
Additionally, some essential things to consider when crafting alt tags include:
“For 70 percent of the mobile landing pages we analyzed, it took more than five seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than seven seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold… as page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123 percent.”
“Two seconds is the threshold for eCommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.”
Two seconds is a mighty high bar. Therefore, retailers must do all they can to optimize eCommerce website speeds. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to enhance load times, including:
Enable Magento Caching features and Flush Magento cache
Implement Flat Categories and products
Eliminate redirect chains
Employ a content delivery network
Choose a premium hosting service
Utilize Layered Navigation
What is often called faceted navigation goes by a slightly different name on Magento, dubbed “layered” navigation.
Layered navigation allows users to filter products in a category by a variety of different attributes. This feature is something that has become widespread on eCommerce sites. As a result, consumers expect a website to tout layered navigation.
That said, if not appropriately managed, layered navigation can cause some severe SEO headaches.
For instance, if a seller has a category page that houses 20 products that come in five different colors, five sizes and four styles. Layered navigation enables consumers to filter these products in any combination they desire, thereby turning a single category page into over 100 different URLs.
Complicating matters even further, shoppers can also arrange products by price, name, place them in ascending or descending order and more. Since these options alter the URL, merchants are now looking at over 600 URLs for just one little category page.
Naturally, this can cause some massive indexing issues if not handled correctly. For that reason, it is wise for sellers to partner with a Magento SEO expert to help implement layered navigation in a way that won’t break the site’s performance in the SERPs.
Getting an eCommerce store to the top of the search results is an incredibly time-consuming and challenging endeavor. However, by implementing the tactics listed here, sellers can help to improve their rankings in the SERPs.
That said, retailers can still struggle with getting the results they desire. When a brand can’t earn the visibility it needs in various search engines, conversions suffer.
If your company would like help optimizing its Magento store, reach out to Visiture’s professional eCommerce SEO and Magento conversion rate optimization specialists. We can help pinpoint your site’s strengths and weaknesses, and improve both areas to bring about the types of results that can help a business reach the next level of retail success.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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