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Overview of Magento – The SEO perspective
Magento is a very popular open source software that is used as an e-commerce solution by many different companies around the world. Like every other website an e-commerce website also needs to be search engine friendly so that it can be found easily and the website can benefit from that in the form of new customers. Luckily Magento has many search engine related configurations that if set in the correct manner can work wonders for your website. Since a good search engine ranking is important for most of the e-commerce website I have compiled a few SEO tips if for those using Magento.
- Which keyword is right for you: Choosing the right keyword is an important task. It may seem quite straightforward but there is more to it than meets the eye. You may be searching for a keyword based on its relevance on the website and you may be right where you stand. But you also need to consider a few more factors like who is your potential audience and what keyword do you expect them to use when searching for a product that you happen to have. There are many tools available on the internet that help find the right keyword but not all do it correctly. The tool from Google – Google Adwords estimation tool comes close however (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal).
- The content: The first thing you should do is make as list of the unique or special qualities of your product. For example if you are selling computers and are selling them cheap and offering free support then you should design your content based on those facts. The content throughout the website or on the relevant pages should be focussed on those two features or keywords like ‘Cheap Computers’ and ‘Computers with free support’. Your existing content is likely to be making use of the word ‘Computer’ and even emphasising it since it is computers you sell but the changes of that keyword generating leads for your are very low since it is a very generic word.
- The Product itself: The title of your product should be relevant and above all make sense to the targeted audience. If you are using industry jargon as the name of your keyword then that is fine only if your targeted audience is expected to by industry related and aware of those words. In general using industry jargon is greatly discouraged sine a very small set of people will be able to understand that. Furthermore if you have a brand name associated with the product, make sure you mention it along with the name of the product. Once you have selected the name of the product, make sure to use the same name throughout the website. It helps to use images for the products and what is better is labels for those images. Labelling of images can be done from the Magento Administration Panel.
- Front Page: Restrict the length of the content on the first page to less than 100 words. But make sure to include your best selling points in the content. This will not only give you a competitive edge, it will also help convert visitors into new customers.
Now that we have taken a brief look at the SEO factors that are important for Magento it is only appropriate that we also a quick tour of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques within Magento itself. Magento happens to be one of the most search engine friendly systems and all the features are accessible from the website administration panel, which go like this:
- First and foremost make sure you are using the latest version of Magento.
- Follow this path in the Admin menu System => Configuration => Web => Search Engine Optimisation. Once there, first select ‘URL Option’ item and change the setting for ‘Add Store Code to URLs’ to ‘No’. As the name suggests this will prevent the store code from being added to the URLs. The next tab called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ has more options that need to be set. Here you need to change the setting for ‘Server URL Rewrites’ to ‘Yes’. This will removing the annoying ‘index.php’ from the URLs and thus making it more search engine friendly and readable too.
- Follow this path in the Admin menu System => Configuration => Design => HTML Heads. There are a couple of settings that need to be made here too. First change the setting for ‘Default Robots’ to ‘INDEX, FOLLOW’. This will allow search engines to index your website and list them in the search results. Two more changes here. You need to decide the default title and description for the pages that you create in Magento by entering them in the boxes ‘Default Title’ and ‘Default Description’ respectively. Doing this ensures that every page of yours has a some information, making it easier to index.
- Create a file by the name ‘robots.txt’ and place in the root directory of your Magento installation. This file is generally used to mention which URLs the search engine should avoid. It can do many others things to though the explanation for that is beyond the scope of this article.
- The products, categories and pages that you make should ideally have a good and short description. This will help search engines a great deal when they are displaying relevant information visitors.
- It is good practice to avoid the duplication of URLs. This can be achieved by simply going to the Admin menu System => Configuration => Catalog => Search Engine Optimization and changing the setting for ‘Use Categories Path for Product URLs’ to ‘No’.
- It is quite common for you to have the same product in multiple categories. In such cases to prevent Magento from generating duplicate content follow the process mentioned here. Goto the same section again which is System => Configuration => Catalog => Search Engine Optimization and change the setting ‘Canonical Link Meta Tag’ field to ‘Yes’.
- The product categories and images are also a good means to attract traffic from a search engine. This can be done by using intelligent names for the images. For example if the product is a LCD TV from Sony of 24 inches, instead of using the default image name like DSC0011.jpg it is advisable to rename something along the lines like sony-lcd-tv-24inchs.jpg. In addition to that a meaningful description and title for the image will go a long way in terms of SEO.
- Magento has this unique feature which allows you to create a URL key when adding a category, product or page. This helps makes your store become more search engine friendly too.
- Magento can help you generate a sitemap too. Simply go to the admin menu System => Configuration => Google Sitemap. Once there you need to select the ‘General Settings’ tab and enable the sitemap generation. There is also a field called ‘Frequency’, set this is per your requirement. For example if there are likely to be changes or addition daily then set this option to ‘Daily’. The benefit of doing this is that it helps Google to index your website.
- It is possible to add the Google Webmasters Tools verification tag to your Magento website via the administrative section. Simply go to the admin menu System => Configuration => Design => HTML Heads. Place your Google Webmasters Tools Verification Tag in the field for ‘Miscellaneous Scripts’.
- You can even enable Google Analytics by going to the admin menu System => Configuration => Google API. Set the option for ‘Enable’ to ‘Yes’ and enter your account number in the box that says ‘Account Number’.
It is one thing to make an e-commerce website and a completely different matter to make sure you make many new customers. There are companies that spend a fortune developing their e-commerce website but opt out of a SEO contract. There are also those who do opt for the SEO contract. Either way it is important you understand the importance of making your website search engine friendly. Besides which you should also be aware of the many optimisation techniques that Magento has to offer. At the end of the day, there are not many SEO experts who know the inner workings of Magento enough to be able to make such optimizations. Such tasks are usually carried out by a good Magento web developer or the client themselves.However at Alakmalak we do understand the importance of making a website search engine friendly. This is one company that has been around since a long time and successfully developed more than 2000 web development projects for companies from all around the world. Thus you can be confident of having great results when you choose Alakmalak for your next web development project.
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