Right ‘out of the box’, Magento has a solid SEO friendly architecture but understanding the areas for SEO is critical for long term success with your store.
Now, there are plenty of blogs you can read for all the settings you can make in the configuration (e.g. dropping the .html in the URL) but this article focuses on a hybrid approach or an “updated SEO approach” for Magento. This is also not an exhaustive piece on Magento SEO, it’s a an overview written for the layman. It’s summary / methodology that we like to follow and a practice we have seen bring results.
It’s aimed at you, the prospective client!
SEO Basics for Magento
Your meta title tags, meta descriptions, image alternative text, URLs and link anchor text should all follow a pragmatic guide. Rather than drag you through yet another guide on these simply head over to Moz.com for full tutorials on best practices. This is an important area but’s not the only one.
Example: If I have a product in Magento called “Variable T-Shirts for Men”, then that is what I will have for the product name, meta title and URL. I may also write a meta description like “Variable t-shirts for men come in red, white, and blue”. I will follow that up with a decent on-page description of this shirt as well. Something unique, clever and relevant. The image I upload will be named “Variable T-Shirts for Men”. These are the basics although these also use to be (many, many years ago) what
The Code (simplified):
- URL: http://www.variabletees.com/variable-t-shirts-men/
- <h1>Variable T-Shirts for Men</h1>
- <meta name=”description” content=”Variable t-shirts for men come in red, white, and blue” />
- <img src=”http://www.variabletees.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/…/variable-t-shirts-men.png” alt=”Variable T-Shirts for Men”>
Keeping your writing semantic when you build products, categories and articles is important for a.) human legibility b.) great for the this virtual index cards Google and the other search engines hold. Again, head over to Moz.com for in-depth information on semantics in your descriptions and page structure.
Write for humans and not just for web crawlers. Paragraph should be paragraphs. Headers should conform to some hierarchy.
Localization and Personalization
This is an area that a lot of prospective and even a few current clients often forget. Google doesn’t just serve up one massive result for all googlers out there. They now weigh in your search history and your physical location. What does this mean? Well sometimes not much if you have a really specialized niche but for the majority of us it means the results for a New Yorker may be different from someone searching for the same terms in Utah. Wait, what? Yes, Google is taking your location and your search history and weighing that against a long string of other variables.
Get involved. Even if it is a Linkedin company profile, this at least gives your company some “street cred”. Use Twitter to handle your customer support or to keep track of deliveries. You may simply just want to use it to garner feedback from the community or broadcast events. Once you make a post don’t ignore it, be sure to comment back or re-tweet, to extend the conversation as much as makes sense. Sharing other content, and having a genuine conversation will make it more likely that your followers will share and comment on your content, helping your SEO rankings.
This is a tough one to fully understand but one things resonates with everyone; speed. How fast does your site pull up? How fast do deeper pages pull up. How fast do you pages pull up from an Ipad, Android phone, and laptop? Google has specially stated that this will affect ranking and results. If your server often goes down or is not tuned for speed, it sends an instability alarm to Google and other search engines. Mobile and desktop efficiency is key. Are you loading a separate mobile app vs. a responsively designed site?
Well, this is no surprise and continues to be a huge part of your Magento SEO strategy but quality will win out from quantity. Your backlinks should be coming from a plethora of sources now. There are bloggers, networks, review engines, shopping sites, government sites, educational institutions, etc.
The biggest takeaway from this article is simply a bullet list you should be checking in with or vetting when talking with new agencies.