If you run, or are thinking of starting an online store, one of your top priorities must be to make sure that the desired customers find you. There is no magic bullet that can help you sky-rocket your sales. But understanding SEO (search engine optimization) will definitely help you generate more leads.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)and why is it important?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing traffic to your website, by obtaining a high-ranking on the search results page of a search engine (Google, Bing, etc).
In the e-world, users turn towards search engines to find solutions, look for answers, or locate e-stores. It’s important to rank above your competition to get noticed.
It is important to note that SEO is not a simple task, especially when it comes to optimizing it for big e-commerce platforms like Magento.
Magento & SEO
Among all e-commerce platforms, Magento is the most powerful when it comes to SEO. And Magento 2- the latest version of Magento has been totally revamped and geared up to improve the default SEO capabilities thus greatly reducing the burden of SEO functionality.
Let me walk you through how you can apply proven on-page and on-site SEO principles like title tag and Google sitemap optimization to your Magento store.
When put into practice you’ll get more high-converting traffic landing on your Magento product and category pages.
#1. Product Page Optimization
Magento 1.X, as you might have already seen, offers robust product page optimization. Every product page has the meta tag settings with the ability to set up standard tags such as: meta title, description, and keywords.
Although, Google has devalued the importance of metadata to some extent, it still remains important to have unique meta-product descriptions and meta keywords.
Magento 2 has a few additions.
One of the additional features to have been incorporated in Magento 2 is Product Field Auto Generation that creates a product meta-text based on the product attributes. But as it uses only one template, the meta-text for all the products gets changed.
You can find the Auto-Generation feature under Stores >Configuration >Catalog.
Product Image labels
Another crucial Magento 2 feature is the ability to use product labels, using which you can not only draw a customer’s attention but also improve SEO by applying labels to the products that too without the need of any third-party extension.
#2. Category Page Optimization
While optimizing the category pages, you must make sure that the canonical URLs are set properly to avoid any duplication caused by layered navigation.
The canonical URL is the preferred version of a web page. Sometimes when the same page content can be access with different URLs (for example, the product category pages), specifying the canonical URL helps search engines understand that the content is not duplicated but rather the same, and point to the preferred version.
This layered navigation feature in Magento gives customers an easy and effective way to search a store catalogue.
Another useful enhancement in Magento 2 is the URL preservation feature. This feature gets rid of the query parameter URLs. So you can keep the same URL while updating any filter or sorting options for category pages and won’t include URL parameters like limit, sort or mode.
#3. Rich Snippets
Addition of rich snippets is one of the huge improvements in Magento 2. It shows structured markup data from e-commerce websites in Google results.
With snippets it’s now possible to make your pages stand out in search results by displaying attributes like rating stars, price, currency and even the product image (which is quite rare). Enabled by default in Magento 2, it helps to improve both SEO and CTR.
#4. Site Indexing
This tells the search engine bots which information to index.
Magento 2 makes it possible for you to edit the robots.txt file right from the admin’s section, under Stores > General > Design
XML sitemap is a roadmap of the site to the search engine crawlers.
In Magento 2, lots of enhancements have been observed in XML Sitemap. You can now set the priority and frequency for Product, CMS, Category and other pages individually.
Apart from them, Magento 2 facilitates the addition of XML Sitemap to a robots.txt file automatically. This feature is located in Store > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > XML Sitemap.
Schema.org is added by default to the Magento 2 template. The main usage of Schema.org is improving the website rankings and marking up your Magento website content with metadata about itself.
#5. Universal Google Analytics, Ecommerce tracking and Adwords Conversions
This is another major improvement in Magento 2 that organizes and collects the data of the customers to track their behaviour. To allow Google Analytics to track Magento store activity, first you will have to enable e-commerce tracking which is easier in Magento 2. What’s more? It even finds keyword to build your site conversion.
This feature is located in Stores >configuraton > sales >Google API
#6. Google Tag Manager
Along with the integration of Universal Google Analytics, e-commerce tracking and Adwords conversion, a new feature called Google Tag Manager has been integrated.
It provides the ability to create and update tags for Magento 2 anytime, whenever needed thus creating more SEO opportunities. This feature is available only in the Enterprise Edition.
Magento is designed to be SEO-friendly by default and the SEO capabilities of the platform have vastly improved in Magento 2. These SEO functionality improvements only make it better to optimize any e-commerce website for search engine rankings making it more powerful than its precursor. And in case the default Magento 2 SEO options are not enough to satisfy your needs, then you can tweak it using various third party solutions available.
There are many more things that you can do to make your site rank higher using both the traditional as well as methods specifically catered to Magento needs. I hope with this article you get a fairly solid starting point for your own store.
Did I miss out on anything? Let me know in the comments below!