SEO Tips and Tricks for Magento Stores

March 11, 2013
Karen

You have just been given your Magento site. You want to start adding your products so that you can launch your store. You probably aren’t even thinking about Search Engine Optimisation right now. SEO can sometimes seem to be a mysterious art and your web developer will have taken care of a lot of this for you.  However, there are some simple measures you can take while adding your content in order to improve your Magento store’s prominence in search engine listings.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are used to help search engines identify what a particular page is about.  Ideally, each and every category, product and CMS page on your site should have metadata written for it.  In reality, this might be a mammoth task and there will be times when you won’t get chance to fill out all of this information.  For this reason, it is wise to specify a set of default meta keywords and descriptions.  Do this by going to 'System' -> 'Configuration' -> 'Design' -> 'HTML Head'

Meta Descriptions

Make certain that all meta descriptions are populated and that they are unique throughout your site.  The meta description is indexed by search engines and is often used as the snippet that is shown on search result pages.  Google tends to show only 150 or so characters, so it’s pointless to write anything much longer than this limit.  It is important to make this enticing so that people will want to click on the search result.  If any of your pages do not have a meta description, the search engine will generate a snippet for you, which is usually just the first bit of text it finds on you page that contains the words that were searched for.

Page Titles

Make sure that every page title you use for categories, products and CMS pages is unique.  If you have a lot of products with the same name, you will have to start getting creative with your words!

Google tends to cut off page titles after about 68 characters, so keep page titles below this limit.

The default page title is set in 'System' -> 'Configuration' -> 'Design' -> 'HTML Head'.  Set this to something sensible, since this value will be used anywhere that you forget to specify a title.

The ‘Title Prefix’ and ‘Title Suffix’ fields can be used to add your store name to all pages.  Unless your store name contains strong keywords or is a particularly well known brand, I recommend using the suffix.  This will put your store name at the end of the title, giving it lower priority than the words in the page specific titles.

Page Content

Write your page content to please people not the search engine; otherwise you will get a high bounce rate.  When a high proportion of your visitors bounce – visit one page and then leave the site – Google may detect this and use it as a negative metric.  Including plenty of keywords that are relevant to your products will be sufficient to benefit Google and keep your visitors interested.

Categories

Categories should not be seen as just a way to group your products together.  Category landing pages should in many ways be treated as if they were their own website.  Try to include keywords that are specific to the product category you are addressing.

The most important sections to complete for each category are:

Page Title – this is an optional field and if left blank Magento will just use whatever you typed in the ‘Name’ field.

URL key – this is the URL to be used for the category page and can play a vital role in SEO.  Get some good keywords in here, but keep them relevant.  Avoid words that on their own are very generic (e.g. the, and, value, quality).

Description – this appears on the category landing page.  You can use this space to link your key terms to other areas of the site.  A concept known as link building.

Meta Description – See info on meta descriptions above.

Products

All of the principles covered in optimising your category pages apply here as well.  You can further improve the number of keywords in your page by using descriptive file names for your images.  If you fill in the ‘label’ fields for each image, this will populate the title and the alt tags on the page.

Now that you have finished optimising and creating your content, be sure to read my next article in which I will cover submitting your sitemap to Google.