What is probably the most important thing when it comes to an online store visibility?
Yeah…you guessed right. It is Search Engine Optimization, or simply SEO.
If you can do Magento Store SEO by yourself then it is great. However, what if you have a poor exposure to this whole optimization thing? Let us explain to you with a real life example. One of our clients was struggling to establish an online presence with some niche cups and mugs products. She approached us for help, as she was not getting expected results for past 6 months.
The problem was her products were somehow not getting highlighted within top 50 Google results even after putting in efforts. At first glance, everything looked fine in terms of good relevant keywords, unique product descriptions, as well as appropriate text everywhere. Adding to all these were a niche market with very few competitors. Considering all of these, her site should have ranked well but it was just the reverse.
After deeply analyzing the entire store, it was revealed that there were lot of issues associated with SEO settings related to Magento. They looked negligible individually, but when these small issues combined, it did make an unpleasant impact on the traffic and rankings. Let us reveal these issues and their solutions so that you do not make the same mistakes.
From Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, the default Magento installation is not useful because SEO settings are simply insufficient enough to fight out the competition. However, these settings are still important to install third party extensions by tuning up everything. Analyze every single configuration point in order to change the default settings accordingly.
Issues & their Solutions
Avoid using default description
By entering text in System >> Configuration >> Design >> HTML Head >> Default Description, Magento will take that text as a Meta Description for al pages instead of using custom names. So, avoid that because you need to keep unique Meta tags for every single page.
Multilanguage store with identical URL
If your store has multiple languages versions with same site URL, then it has an adverse impact on the overall store SEO. Hence, ensure that for different languages, there are different associated URLs. It is not just applicable to only product pages but also applies to Magento store pages as well.
Deleting pages or URL changes minus a 301 redirect
Deleting pages altogether or changing the page URL without setting up an appropriate redirect will lead to many 404 mistakes. It is not fatal from search engines perspective, and Google says it is fine to have a few. However, Google also expects to fix up the 404 pages as much as possible with proper 301 redirects. The reason being, a 404 page can turn out to be quite scary from a visitor’s perspective. Hence, go to System >> Configuration >> Catalog >> Create Permanent Redirect for old URLs.
Optimization of images neglected
As a default setting, you cannot change product image name as well as add an alt tag by default in Magento. For bringing search engine passive traffic, make use of alt tags and SEO optimized names to your images.
Magento XML sitemap as a default setting
Herein default settings are way beyond simple. It just includes category and product pages devoid of images. In order to have your pages getting indexed as well as re-indexed in a rapid manner, an upgradation of the sitemap is necessary. Ensure your content before actually submitting the same to Google Webmaster. A common mistake always lies in submitting sample products sitemap.
Rich snippets ignored
At the first place, Magento does not create rich snippets. For better attention and exposure, rich snippets are vital especially when they deliver more clicks and higher CTR with Google. Moreover rich snippets to be made only once leading to increase in sales, traffic, clicks, till the time Google exists.
Loading speed not taken into consideration
A website’s loading speed is one factor that highly affects Google rankings. Adding to that, a customer’s return as well as website bounce rate depends on the store’s speed. As far as marketing and SEO goes, Magento is quite slow. In return, Magento promises more possibilities and features. Hence, working on the performance of the site is vital through cache solution.
Duplicate issues avoided
The websites with duplicate content are big criminals in the eyes of Google. Moreover, Magento filled with it such as:
• Same URL for multiple pages
• Same product in different categories
• Product sorting
• Same product variations
SEO optimization for layered navigation neglected
Ignoring SEO settings while tuning up layered navigation in Magento, whether third party or default, is a big mistake, which may lead to hundreds of duplicate content and messy URLs. With more navigation options, SERPs are highly affected by messy pages. This may influence the overall rankings in a real bad way because of too many irrelevant pages.