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Beginner’s Guide to Magento SEO

Magento is a great system but it takes a little work to make it more SEO friendly. In this Magento SEO tutorial, I’ll take you through some of the common settings to look at and tasks that you or your developer may want to undertake.

Setting up Google Analytics in Magento

This is a very easy step as Magento offers a simple field to add your tracking code to. Log in to Google Analytics, find your tracking code and then in Magento go to System -> Configuration and then Google API.

Simply set enable to yes and pop your tracking code in the box below then click ‘Save Config’. Afterwards go back to Google Analytics to confirm it can see your code.

beginner seo guide magento how to setup google analytics

We’ll also add Google Webmaster Tools at this time, to demonstrate adding miscellaneous scripts to your pages. Still in System -> Configuration head to the Design tab and scroll down to the section ‘HTML Head’. Here you can add miscellaneous scripts, such as meta tags for verifying Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Just paste the supplied meta tag into the box below and save your configuration again.

beginner-seo-guide-magento-how-to-setup-google-webmastertool

Setting Default Meta Tags

Magento allows you to set some sensible defaults for your meta tags. Of course, with things like meta descriptions you want them to be unique for each page, but to avoid them being blank if you forget to fill them in you can set a default value. You can also set a suffix for your title tags, so you don’t need to remember to add your brand name, for example.

This is set in the same section as the miscellaneous scripts from the last example, namely the HTML Head section of the Design tab in System -> Configuration.

  • Fill in a default title, something along the lines of: “Keyword A | Keyword B | Store Name”.
  • Add yourself a Title Suffix if you like: “ | Store Name”
  • Fill in a default description that describes your website

I’d advise leaving Default Keywords blank. It has no SEO value, some say it’s a sign of spam and it gives your competitors an easy look at your keyword targeting.

Setup Your Sitemap

A sitemap is a good way to show Google the structure of your website. Again in System -> Configuration go the Catalog section and select the ‘Google Sitemap’ tab.

Set the frequencies relevant to your own store. You can optionally add in an email address for error messages to go to.

beginner-seo-guide-magento-how-to-setup-sitemap

Handling Canonical URLs

Commonly on an e-commerce website the product filters can lead to you having multiple paths for the same items. Consider the following scenario of someone selecting a product:

  • Women’s Clothes -> Marks and Spencer -> Jumpers -> Size Medium
  • Women’s Clothes -> Jumpers -> Size Medium -> Marks and Spencer

As you can see your product filters can generate multiple URLs for the same product. To point out to Google that this isn’t typical duplicate content use a Canonical URL to demarcate the original. This URL will have a canonical tag that refers to itself, all other URL variations for the same product will point back to this original URL too.

In System -> Configuration, go to the Catalog tab and scroll down to the Search Engine Optimisation box. Enable the last two options: “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories” and “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products”.

adding cannonical tag magento

Whilst we’re in this section let’s take a look at some other useful settings. I’d advise enabling the Autogenerated Site Map and optionally Popular Search Terms. Remember to save the configuration!

Helpful Magento SEO Extensions

There’s a whole brace of Magento Extensions out there that can help you with SEO. Prices vary from free to hundreds of dollars. The free ‘Creare SEO’ is reasonably capable and highly rated, or there’s Advanced SEO Suite for $149 which has extra capabilities and is also very highly rated. Take a look at your requirements, your budget and pick accordingly!

I hope that’s helped you with your SEO on Magento. If you favour any particular Magento SEO extensions let me know in the comments!

About Owen Radford

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Article written by Owen Radford, Marketing Manager at Elementary Digital.

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