Magento, one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, provides a flexible cloud-based solution to innovate and grow our business. In this age of information, we are experiencing a steady shift towards the digital world. From cashless transactions to storing important documents over cloud platform to online shopping, almost anything and everything is currently available to us over the internet. Almost all existing and even upcoming business ventures try to make optimal utilization of technology to make sure that they are able to create and maintain their brand name. Magento not only provides a business with the opportunity to open up an online store but also allows us to optimize Magento site to ensure better rank of the website on the search engine result page. It is well known that the search engine friendliness of Magento based eCommerce websites is quite optimal. Let’s have a look at some strategies to optimize our Magento eCommerce site for the search engine giant, Google.
1. Latest Magento Version
We need to make sure that we have installed the latest version of Magento out there. This guarantees the fact that we are up to date with all the recent and relevant changes made to the platform. All the performance issues and reported bugs of the previous version also get resolved in the new version.
2. URL Customizations
Some changes need to be made to the URL pattern for Search Engine Optimization.
In the admin panel we need to go to System, then click on Configuration and then Web.
- In the section named “URL Options”, we need to set the flag corresponding to Add store code to URLs to ‘No’. This makes sure that the store code is not concatenated to the website’s URL. The content of website URLs has a major role to play in the rank of the store on Google search.
In the section named “Search Engine Optimization”, we need to set the Server URL Rewrites option to ‘Yes’. This makes sure that the URLs no longer contains ‘index.php’ and thereby generate optimized, readable and search engine friendly URLs.
We now need to go to click on Design present in the Configuration section of System in the admin panel of Magento. In the HTML Heads option present here, we need to make the following changes.
- The “Default Robots” setting needs to be set to “INDEX, FOLLOW”. This would allow search engines like Google to index this Magento website and display it on the result page of any relevant search.
In the “Default Title” and “Default Description” section, we should provide the Default Title and a proper description respectively for the website. These come in handy if we forget to mention the Title and Description while creating a page. It ensures that the website contains no pages with blank information, otherwise indexing becomes difficult for search engines.
To ensure that our Magento based online store gets directly indexed by search engines like Google, we need to create a robot.txt file. This file contains commands that direct search engines of the URLs that we want it to index and also the URLs that we do not want the search engines to index. This is one of the major areas to focus during Magento eCommerce optimization of websites for improved rank on search engine results.
5. URL Duplication
Duplication of URLs should be avoided at all costs as it creates a major issue in indexing. Search engines do not appreciate the use of duplicate URLs since it creates a lot of confusion in properly indexing the contents of the store.
One common reason for the occurrence of duplicate URLs is the same product being listed under two different categories. The changes that we need to make to avoid duplication of URLs are:
- In the Configuration section present under System we need to first select Catalog. Here, we need to set the value of Use Categories Path for Product URLs to ‘No’.
We also need to set Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories and Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products to ‘Yes’. This would prevent generation of duplicate URLs for a product belonging to two different categories.
6. URL Key
Creating a URL Key whenever we add a new category, product or a page to our website makes sure that our e-Store URLs are more search engine friendly. The same can be found under the General Information section of respective attributes.
7. Google Sitemap
A Google Sitemap helps Google to properly index our site. We can generate a sitemap automatically under the Google Sitemap option present in Configuration section under System in the Magento admin panel.
In the Generation Settings, we need to enable sitemap generation and set its change frequency which corresponds to the update frequency of our store. Google always makes use of the most updated sitemap to make sure all it includes all the new additions made to the store. Sitemap settings can be modified upon addition of a new category, page or product to ensure the new sitemap comprises of all the new items.
8. Google Webmasters and Google Analytics
We can easily add a “Google Webmaster Tools verification tag” in the Miscellaneous Scripts box present under HTML Heads option, in the Design tab of Configurations in System.
“Google Analytics” can be enabled under Google API option present in Configuration under System. We need to set the Enable option to ‘Yes’ and type in our Account number in the box present below.
For making these changes on our store, it is recommended to hire a Magento developer. If we take the aforementioned points into consideration, we can optimize our Magento eCommerce site for maximum visibility to customers and get them directly on to the product page of items they are looking for. If we are able to improve the ranking of our store on search engine giant, Google by making the changes suggested above we can have more customers visiting our website ultimately leading to better chances of conversion. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) sounds like a huge concept but it isn’t one. All we need to do is make sure that we have some of the most important optimizations mentioned above in place so that the crawlers of search engines are able to properly index our website. Proper indexing means improved ranks in search engine results which means the generation of more and more leads which can provide a significant boost to our business.
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