Magento SEO: Best Practices for Optimizing Magento Websites
Magento (or Adobe Commerce) is an eCommerce platform built on open-source technology. It is widely known for its versatility, flexibility, and extensive features set out of the box, making it a perfect option for small, medium, and enterprise brands. Popular brands like Ford, Nike, Hermes, etc., and over 200,000 others used Magento for their online stores.
One of the many standout features of Magento is that it allows business owners to manage multiple brands or storefronts simultaneously on one interface.
Other unique features are:
- Allows you to customize the look and appeal of your online store (thanks to its sleek, modern themes and templates)
- Provides a scalable environment for businesses of all sizes
- Loads website faster for a smoother shopping experience
- Offers various payment options, including local currencies
- Provides opportunities to create custom catalogs, pricing, and self-service customer portals for a seamless purchase experience
- Uses artificial intelligence to deliver personalized recommendations to shoppers during purchase
- It can be integrated with numerous third-party extensions, including customer relationship management tools, content marketing systems, etc.
…and many more. Check out the complete list of features on the Adobe Commerce platform.
Why is Magento a Good Option for SEO?
Magento is one of the best e-commerce platforms offering excellent SEO features out-of-the-box. It provides tools that address the three major facets of SEO – on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
You’ll also find many robust SEO-friendly extensions and plugins to enhance your website health and improve your rankings on the results pages.
On top of that, Magento websites enjoy unchecked access to Cloud-based services, modern functionalities, reliable and high-availability architecture, and so much more that guarantees peak performance at all times.
All these features contribute to improving your website user experience and overall rankings on the search engine results pages. But these tools, standalone, may not yield the best results. You need to understand how to utilize them to generate your desired conversions.
What are the Problems of Magento SEO?
As I pointed out earlier, Magento does offer excellent tools for improving your rankings on the search engine ranking pages (SERPs). However, there are some issues you may encounter while trying to optimize your site:
- Slow loading speed
- Ranking for irrelevant keywords or keyword stuffing
- Poorly optimized product titles and tags
- Duplicate URLs for product categories and pages
- Pagination and faceted navigation issues
Most of these issues are a result of any or all of the following:
- Hiring subpar Magento developers
- Inadequate understanding of the platform, and
- Hiring agencies or developers with little or no SEO experience
Magento Tips to Improve Rankings
To rank higher on the SERPs and attract a good share of leads searching for your products online, you must ensure your pages are discoverable and relevant to the search queries.
Keep in mind that the goal is not just to appear on the search results. Your target audience must resonate with your website well enough to become customers.
Moreover, SEO is no longer a sprint won by the lucky few but a marathon conquered by the persistent many. So as long as you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll be successful.
In this section, we’ll share key strategies to help improve your Magento store rankings on the SERPs:
Optimize Product Titles and Meta Descriptions
Product title tags and meta descriptions give relevance to your page and tell your customer what your product is all about. They are the second most crucial thing after content and largely influence your click-through rates.
A good product title is:
- Easy to read
- Contains relevant keywords
- Between 30 – 60 characters (or 285 – 575 pixels long)
- Unique to each page
A good Meta description is:
- Contains relevant keywords as well
- Between 70 – 155 characters (or 430 – 920 pixels long)
How to add Meta titles and descriptions to product pages
- Navigate to your Magento 2 admin
- Click Product >> Catalog
- Find Edit Product and click on ‘Search Engine Optimization.’
You’ll find the tabs to fill in your meta title and description. Leave the ‘meta keywords’ section as it doesn’t have any effect on your SEO:
How to add Meta titles and descriptions to category pages
- Go to your Magento Admin
- Look for products and click ‘Category.’
- Choose your preferred category and then click ‘Search Engine Optimization.’
- Add the required information as you did in the preceding step:
How to add Meta titles and descriptions to content pages
- Navigate to your Magento Admin
- Click on ‘Content >> Pages’
- Find the ‘Action’ section and click select:
- You’ll see a drop-down menu; click ‘Edit >> Search Engine Optimization’
Note: If you have hundreds or thousands of product and category pages, it won’t be easy to add the meta titles and descriptions manually. In this case, you need to adopt advanced metadata optimization techniques.
You can do this in two ways:
- Using the Product Field Auto-Generation feature that allows you to create a metadata product page template. Although you’re limited to using only three placeholders: name, description, or SKU:
- Use Magento 2 extensions like SEO Meta templates to create mass unique and customized meta templates for your product pages.
Use Commercial Intent Long-tail Keywords
Commercial intent keywords are the phrases or terms consumers use when searching for a specific product or service.
Users searching for these keywords are interested in buying or seeking information to inform their purchase decision.
Here are some ideas to help you find the right keywords for your site:
- Start with Google. Use the Google Auto-suggest feature to know the exact key terms your customers are using to search for your product online:
- Answer The Public is equally important in gathering user search queries on major search engines like Google and Bing:
- There are different types of keywords as well. Choose informational and commercial long-tail keywords since they focus more on driving sales. Examples of these keywords are best yoga pants for pre-teen ladies, scented candles for romantic dinner dates, how to choose a dress for prom night, etc.
Our Co-founder wrote a guide on Search Engine Journal on how to choose buyer-intent keywords for your site.
Use SEO-friendly URLs
A good URL structure helps search engine bots, and humans understand your page content and how to rank them accordingly on the SERPs.
An excellent and SEO-optimized URL should be:
- Keep it simple, definitive, and concise.
- It should contain the primary keyword. For example, ‘www.yourstore.com/product-name.’
- Use lowercase letters
- Use hyphens to separate words in the URL
How to manage your Magento website redirects and URL rewrites
To configure URL rewrites in Magento 2, follow the steps outlined below:
- Log to your Magento 2 backend and locate settings
- Navigate to Stores >> Configuration >> General >> Web
- Click on ‘Search Engine Optimization,’ and you’ll see a drop-down menu to ‘Use Web Server Rewrites.’
- Set it to ‘Yes’
Note: The default option is set to ‘Yes’. This enables your store to generate clean, readable URLs for your website pages, which improves your website visibility and user experience.
How to manage website redirects
- Log into your Admin panel
- Go to Marketing >> SEO & Search >> URL Rewrites
- Click the ‘Add URL Rewrite’ button to create a new URL rewrite
- Then, choose ‘Custom’ for a custom URL or ‘Product’ for a product URL
- If you have several store views, choose the store where the rewrite applies
- Follow the prompts and fill out all necessary information
- Click ‘Save.’
- Lastly, test the new URLs in your browser. The new target page should appear instead of the old one.
Note: For the request path, enter the old URL that needs to be redirected. For the redirect type, you can choose between ‘permanent (301)’ or ‘temporary (302)’ redirects depending on the type of redirect you need. Then, the target path is the new URL, which the old URL should redirect to.
Read more about creating custom URL rewrites on Magento 2.
Other strategies that work are:
- You may want to deactivate the product category key in your product URL if you have categories and subcategories, for example, https://yourstore.com/category/product-name. This ensures your URLs stay short.
- Avoid hassles of broken links or 404 pages when you change the URL key of a page. Simply set automatic permanent redirects for URLs in case this happens:
Set Up XML Sitemap in Magento 2
XML sitemaps give search engines a comprehensive and structured list of all your web pages. It helps search engines understand the hierarchy of your page and how to crawl them accordingly.
To enable XML sitemap:
- Log in to your admin panel
- Navigate to ‘Stores >> Settings >> Configuration >> Catalog >> XML Sitemap’
- Click the drop-down menu for ‘Categories Options,’ ‘Products Options, ’ and ‘CMS Pages Options’ and choose your preferred settings.
- Click on the ‘Generation Settings’ and make the following changes
Start Time: Insert time after 00:00 or anytime you’re not receiving orders
Error Email Recipient: Leave blank
Error Email Sender: Use system value
Error Email Template: Use system value
- Next, open the ‘Sitemap File Limits’ section
- Leave the default values except your store has more pages
- Lastly, go to the ‘Search Engine Submission Settings’ section.
- Enable the Robot.txt field and change the default value to ‘Yes.’
- When done, click ‘Save Config.’
- Then, head over to Marketing >> SEO & Search >> Site Map
- Click ‘Add Sitemap’
- Fill in the prompts and then click the ‘Save and Generate’ button
Optimize Product Images
What’s eCommerce without images?
Without any doubt, visuals are an essential part of eCommerce. They directly influence customer purchase decisions and your website rankings, too!
To optimize your product images, therefore:
- Compress and resize images to reduce size
- Use only high-resolution images
- Give your images proper file names. Avoid using system names like IMG003345.JPG. Instead, use descriptive terms like puma-male-black-sneakers.jpg
- Use SEO-rich alt tags to help search engines understand your image. To do this, upload an image to the product section. Double-click on the thumbnail to access the image details. You’ll see a box to add the alt text:
Pro tip: Use your primary keyword when writing alt text for your product images.
Optimize Your Magento 2 E-commerce Site for Speed
Fast loading speed is one of Google’s highly recommended ranking factors. It directly impacts your website user experience and overall ranking on the results pages.
There are several ways to improve the speed of your site:
- Use a robust hosting platform tailored for Magento websites. Not all hosting plans can accommodate the technical requirements of a Magento website, especially if you have a large customer base. Ask your provider for custom, scalable plans tailored to your use case.
- Enable caching features. Go to System >> Cache Management in your admin panel. Enable all the checkboxes as represented below:
- Use optimized image sizes using image compression tools and applying lazy-loading to images below the fold.
- Use a Content Delivery Network
- Clear database logs regularly. Magento 2 has the cron job functionality, allowing store owners to manage tasks (like regular cleanups) effectively. Read more on how to set up and configure the cron job on Magento 2.
- If you haven’t, upgrade to the Magento 2 version to gain access to better features and performance.
Make Your Web Pages Crawlable and Indexable
One of the significant issues Magento users face is ensuring all their store pages are appropriately indexed. This often results in faceted navigations, indexing duplicate content, etc.
Tip: Use Google Search Console or other SEO tools to find crawl issues with your site.
Modify Robots.txt files
Robots.txt files are used to tell search engine bots which URL to crawl and index on your website. These files are saved in the root directory of your website.
With Robots.txt files, you can limit the pages you want search engines to crawl on your website.
Some pages you may want to exclude from search engine crawlers include:
- Log in pages
- User shopping cart pages
- Your site’s internal search pages, such as search and catalog search pages
- User accounts and checkout pages
- URL filter searches
How to configure Robots.txt files
- Log in to Magento 2 Admin Panel
- Navigate to Content >> Design >> Configuration
- Click the Edit button. On the following screen, scroll down to the ‘Search Engine Robots.’ Here, you can configure the robot.txt content.
- Once done, click the ‘Save Config’ button to save the changes.
Note: The default setting is configured to manage crawlers and bots for store indexing.
Implement Canonical URLs for your homepage and web pages
Canonical tags help to address duplicate content issues. They also help search engines understand what they need to index for rankings.
Typically, Magento doesn’t add canonical URLs to the homepage and CMS pages. This means a product URL and the same product URL through its category will compete against each other on the SERPs.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s assume you’re running a cosmetic store. A pink lipstick with URL: https://yourstore.com/pink-lipstick/ and the same product via its category URL: https://yourstore.com/women-make-up/pink-lipstick are duplicate content.
Setting canonical tags can help search engines decide which page you prefer to be indexed on the SERPs.
To activate canonical URLs in your Magento 2 store, follow these steps:
- Log in to your admin panel
- Navigate to Stores >> Configuration >> Catalog >> Search Engine Optimization
- On the new page, look for ‘Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories’ and ‘Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Products.’ Change both values to ‘Yes.’
Use Headings Appropriately
Headings give structure to your web pages. It helps search engines understand the architecture and content of your web pages.
Headings in your Magento store depend on two things:
- How you outline headings in your content
- The type of theme you’re using
Some best practices to incorporate into your SEO strategy are:
- Include your primary keywords in your header tags, mainly your H1. Google uses the header tags to gather context for your page.
- Use only one H1 heading per page.
- Your headings should be at most 60 characters long
- Magento’s H1 is often automatically generated from the product or category name. Ensure you’re using the right names for your products, product categories, and pages
- Conduct A/B testing to determine which headings and product titles generate the most engagement and conversions
- Keep the hierarchy in mind when structuring header tags for your page. <h1> represents the title of your page, and the sub-sections are split into <h2> and <h3>, respectively:
Create relevant and informative content
Unfortunately, one of the limitations of Magento, compared to other eCommerce sites, is that it lacks built-in blogging functionality.
In this modern world, content creation is one of the foundations of a successful SEO and content marketing strategy.
Even though the product pages are focused on revenue generation, blog posts can be used to attract consumers with buyer intent. It can also be used as bait to capture leads, for instance, offering a free eBook after email sign-ups.
Luckily, there are myriad extensions, for example, Magento 2 Blog Extension, that you can integrate into your Magento store. You can also connect a WordPress blog to your Magento 2 store.
Tip: Incorporate the right keywords in your content to increase your visibility on search engines. Don’t stuff them into your content, though, as it may only harm your rankings. Instead, let it flow naturally.
Your focus should be creating human-optimized content first before SEO content. Remember, search engines are equally ranking pages for humans first!
Don’t neglect off-page SEO
Now that we’ve properly discussed how to improve your website’s technical and on-page SEO aspects, what’s next?
Leverage both factors to build a sturdy business profile. Off-page factors are relevant for building authority and establishing credibility.
Do this by:
- Engaging with your target audience on social media
- Generating quality backlinks through active partnerships and guest blogging opportunities
- Listing your website on authoritative online directories in your industry
- Having a well-optimized Google My Business profile (especially if you’re targeting one or more geographical locations)
- Building a community on social media platforms
Learn more about eCommerce SEO best practices to drive high-quality leads to your store.
Why Hire an Agency with Magento SEO Experience?
Magento is one of the most powerful, scalable, and robust platforms for building eCommerce sites. But it’s equally complex and requires a medium – high-level technical expertise. You’ll need the services of a trained professional Magento developer to build your site and maintain it for sustainable success.
In addition, you’ll need to hire an SEO expert to help improve your rankings on the SERPs. Of course, you’ll find plenty of DIY resources online to help you get started. But this is often not advisable, especially if you’re building a global business.
But let’s be honest. Hiring either or both isn’t cheap. Anyone who claims to be a professional but charges a too-good-to-be-true rate is questionable. Your best bet would be hiring an agency with Magento SEO experience.
This is because reliable agencies have a ready team of certified, skilled professionals who bring their vast experience to your project. No guesswork. They know where it hurts and exactly how to troubleshoot any problem.
Agencies like HigherVisibility have a wide range of cutting-edge tools required for success. After achieving many SEO industry-recognized awards you can feel confident you are working with an agency with proven results. Request a free custom strategy for your store today.