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A Step By Step SEO Guide to Optimize Magento Site

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When it comes to setting up an e-commerce website and placing your site on a high SEO ranking position, one name that pops up in every merchant’s mind is setting up a Magento website. The e-commerce platform utilizes an open-source tech where users can get access to various options to choose from in order to set up their e-commerce website.

It is a rapidly growing e-commerce marketplace that is hit among users worldwide. It only comes second in number providing e-commerce solutions worldwide. With plenty of features to choose from the customers have the ability to customize their website according to their necessity. However, with so many customized features to choose from and due to its popularity, customers may find a hard time to rank their website high in SEO position.

Additionally, the traditional approach of ranking high SEO won’t work in this competitive marketplace. Users have to adapt to the hybrid approach in order to make their website reach a position where it has visibility and duplicate free content. Henceforth a SEO checklist will be discussed in this article that will fulfill all those parameters and allow the users with an efficient Magento backed website.

Image Source: Megahost

In order to make your Magento site with improved SEO ranking a step by step guide is listed below

1. General Technical Optimization

  • The first and foremost step that should be taken into consideration is to acquire the latest release followed by getting started and then enabling the rewrite of SEO URLs. The settings for this will be in Stores > Configuration > General > Web > Search Engine Optimization.

Configuration in Magento 2.0

Image Source: Searchenginejournal (Configuration in Magento 2.0)

  • Now moving forward the second step involve choosing the preferred domain for your site. The user has the option to set its domain into www and non www version. It is recommended to build a 301 redirect via .htacess with mod rewrite since this will disable a redirect from non www to www or www to non www and set the site to the preferred domain by the user.
  • Moving on, the configuration of Header Setting comes in next step. While setting up the website, it sets a title by default for your site as ‘Magento Commerce’ and also a default meta description. However, for the purpose of making your site is more SEO friendly and get the most traffic you need to edit the header. In order to do so you need to follow this route System > Configuration > Design > HTML Head. It is also recommended to include a new canonical tag in order to make your SEO ranking unharmed by similar content or products.

Image Source: Social9 (Configuration of Header Setting)

  • Although it offers its users to include product URLs by giving them the option to name the categories to the path, this feature does not function very well. Henceforth it tends to create the issue of duplicate content. Henceforth, you need to disable this feature for optimizing your content and not fall under the category of duplicate content and lose your ranking. In order to do so go to, System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization and change ‘Use Categories Path for Product URLs’ to ‘No’.

Image Source: Social9 (Optimizing Category by Configuring Catalog)

2. Optimizing Template

  • It is significant to use a proper template style in order for search engines to understand your text appropriately. Henceforth, configuring and setting up your heading template is significant to optimize your content. It is also significant since it establishes which part of your content is more important. Even though it is not the case that improving your heading will have a positive impact on your SEO ranking. However, it does have an indirect impact on achieving higher SEO ranking since quality heading means better text structure and readability which ultimately means better SEO.
  • By default, the template for heading 1 is <h1> and it is recommended that the main title of the web content should be in here. It should also be noted that <h1> must only be on the first page. The following step is that there should not be overuse of headings. In fact, it is aptly suggested that headings should not be on the side columns. Using keywords or texts which are related to your product is important. Unnecessary usage of texts or irrelevant content will do no good for your sites SEO.
  • The next step in optimizing your template by clearing your code. All the CSS and Javascript that might be stored in the template should be moved to external files as it won’t be of any good for your website’s SEO. This step will ensure that the search engines won’t have the hassle to download these files every time as it would be cached by the users on their first load.
  • One of the significant steps that must be taken in order to optimize your sites SEO ranking is to increase your website’s loading speed. In order to do so, you need to enable caching. These consecutive steps are to be followed then System > Cache Management then enable all of the caching features.

Enabling Cache Management

Image Source: Nerdster (Enabling Cache Management)

  • Another step that should be followed for the purpose of increasing load speed is to configure a good server and host. Consecutively, you need to decrease your external files by combining a number of external files into a single one.

3. Advanced Settings for Magento SEO and reducing Duplicate Content

After configuring all basic settings you will discover that there is still one problem that remains that is the existence of loads of duplicate content. It is one of the major reasons why your site’s SEO is being affected negatively. Whether it is for products or review pages of products, the similarity of content is found in abundance.

In addition to this, you will get tons of identical categories that may be layered with sorting and navigation options. This ultimately creates the problem of a product is available on 4 consecutive pages right after the main page where it should actually be only available.

In order to get rid of this problem and still allow the pages to spider across pages and also fix the problem regarding layered options of sorting and navigation, the following steps can be taken –

  • The first step towards solving this problem is to not follow unnecessary links. This can be done by not linking your websites login, wishlist and other pages that are regarded as non-content. A similar step must be taken for your layered navigation, add to compare, RSS feeds, etc.
  • Another step that must be taken to solve this error is the usage of the new canonical URL tag. This will help the search engines to detect identical content of your websites page and instead you can suggest your opted version of URL for every page.
  • The final step that you must take in order to index your page faster is creating an XML Sitemap. It will help search engines to locate your content. The following should be done in order to set up your XML Sitemaps manually Catalog > Google Sitemap > Add Sitemap and then choose file name, store and path view followed by ‘ Save and Generate’.
  • After setting up your XML Sitemaps you can simply follow robots.txt file code to direct the search engines towards your sitemap.xml file at http://domain.com/sitemap.xml. This will make changes in your inventory and will have to re-generate your XML Sitemaps. In order to make sure that it remains updated the aptest way is setting up cron job.

These elaborated three-step guide will help your website to be SEO friendly. While some of the steps enumerated above shall help you get your rank move into high SEO ranking position directly. Some of these steps shall impact positively upon your website’s ranking indirectly. With more and more e-commerce website coming up it is significant to follow these steps in order to make your Magento website moves up on top rank.

By appropriately following this guide it is ensured that you will be able to set up a website that is fully functional and also have an advanced design. It will get the desired attention and ultimately will give impressive performance among other websites.

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