When you’re trying to build up your ecommerce business online, it can get a little tricky, especially if you’re new to all of this. Worry not, because we’ll be breaking down into different sections what Magento does to the search engine optimization (SEO) process. This is to help you better understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.
So take your time when it comes to learning how you can utilize Magento SEO in optimizing your website for Google ranks.
What is Magento SEO?
Magento is an ecommerce platform created in the United States that handles multiple functions of SEO for you. It assists in assessing whether your ecommerce website is readable, scalable, and if it’s attracting regular visitors via organic search.
It will let you do the following tasks on your site:
- Manage your sales
- Review the site’s organic traffic
- Customize every page’s layout and meta tags
- Handle what content is uploaded to your site
- Mobile-friendly for better user experience
- Check how your products look on the site, and more!
Through these functions, Magento has become one of the leading ecommerce platforms and you should definitely try it out! You’ll have access to important features you will need to bring your site to its full potential.
Once you learn and understand how to properly use all of this, you’ll be able to maximize the potential of Magento in no time. Using this method can give you the boost you need in rising through the ranks!
During your search about Magento SEO, you probably came across two types—Magento 1 (M1) and Magento 2 (M2). You can use either, but it’s highly advisable to purchase Magento 2 because of its advanced features. Also, due to the fact that M1 will no longer be supported so it won’t be updated anymore.
We will explain to you what features each Magento version has and what greatly differs between them. Understanding the similarities and differences will help you determine which ones suit your marketing style the most.
Magento 1 (M1) was released in 2008 by Adobe. It provided the basic functions needed to operate SEO and digital marketing on your browser. This includes the following:
- Marketing, Conversion, and Promotion Tools
- Site management
- Basic SEO tools (i.e. sitemap, URL checker)
- Catalog Management and Browsing
- General customer service options
- Analytics and Reports
Over 100,000 ecommerce sites use M1 as their platform. Since it’s the first version, it’s clear to say that it will have its issues and bugs that won’t match with today’s technology.
Recently, M1 has lost its support due to the significant improvement Magento 2 provides. Nevertheless, there are companies who still use M1 for various reasons, especially when it comes to funds.
Of course, M2 has the highest advantage against M1 due to the tweaks they did to the program so it can handle more tasks than ever. Not only that, but it’s more efficient in bringing your site to the top!
It tackles all the issues that M1 previously had and it was designed to significantly improve that performance. That’s why it’s advisable for you to upgrade from M1 to M2 if you haven’t already.
Magento 2 has been proven to be SEO-friendly for newcomers and veteran users of M1. There are over 25,000 users for it as of now and you can be a part of that! If you purchase M2’s subscription, you’ll have access to all the features from M1 and even more!
These features include but are not limited to:
- 2-factor authentication
- Supports the latest version of PHP coding*
- Customize meta tags for every page
- Canonical tags
- URL optimization
- Editing changes in Robot.txt
*For anyone new to web development, PHP coding is basically a widely-used code used in HTML and suitable for web programming.
With these functions, you’ll be able to vastly improve your site’s performance once you get to understand what each one does and how it affects your site.
The only downside when it comes to getting M2 is that since it’s the latest version, it’ll definitely be more expensive. There is a huge gap between their prices but that’ll be further explained in the next section.
For now, we’ll explain to you the main differences between these two and why it’ll probably be easier for you to use Magento 2.
Major Differences Between Magento 1 & 2
In comparison, M2 is by far more superior than M1 in every aspect. It’s no surprise since it is the most updated version and continues to get patches to improve its performance.
Here are all the functions M1 lacked in that M2 was able to vastly improve to enhance your user experience:
- Faster loading speed & response time
- 2-factor authentication
- Supports more codes such as PHP, HTML5, CSS3, and Require.js
- Stronger security algorithm
- Mobile-user friendly
- Stronger security system with consistent updates/patches
For a detailed explanation, we’ll dive into the unique features of Magento 2 and how it’ll make an impact on your ecommerce site later on.
Compared to Magento 1, there are no 3rd party extensions for its integrations which makes the whole process so much quicker. Creating and building your website is made simpler with Magento 2 as it displays a more minimalist layout to work with when you want to edit pages.
The SEO system isn’t too different from M1, but they have added new features such as canonical tags and the capability to edit meta tags. There are more tasks you can edit such as the URL, redirects, product pages, and more!
Magento 2 handles it all for you to ensure excellent quality services for you and your customers. You’ll be able to monitor your store’s performance online by checking the enhanced dashboard in M2. It’s much easier to read, especially for any beginners in ecommerce
As mentioned before, M1 and M2’s costs are vastly different from one another. It’s one of the reasons why, despite M1’s suspension, old users stay with M1 and haven’t migrated to M2 yet.
Since it’s the older model, M1 extensions are significantly cheaper than M2. It ranges for a couple hundred dollars while M2 can reach over $500, depending what extension you get.
Note that when you shift from M1 to M2, the cost of that will depend on how much data you are transferring from one to the other. The more data needed to transfer to create a website under M2 will require more funds for you to pay.
Knowing all of this, you can determine which will suit your budget and what features appeal to you more.
Which Magento Extension Should I Get?
Now that we’ve established there are two versions, there are various extensions you can use to apply Magento’s functionality on your site. This list will mostly focus on Magento 2 due to Magento 1 effectively ceasing its services as of June 2020.
You can check out these Magento Extensions and pick which one suits you best:
- Ultimate SEO Suite for Magento 1
Let’s start off with the best for M1, which is the Ultimate SEO Suite. There is another Ultimate SEO Suite for M2, but the one we’ll be talking about in this section is made specifically for Magento 1.
This Ultimate SEO Suite is created by Aheadworks and it’s an exclusive part of the Magento 1 EOL program. Using this plugin for your Magento 1 extension allows you access to all the basic SEO tools you’ll need to do the job.
It offers the following functions:
- Split the Google sitemap for better organization
- Index your images to the Google search
- Utilizes canonical tags to avoid duplicates
In terms of pricing, there is only one version and it’s a one-time payment. Get this for your M1 program and you’ll need to pay only $159 from their Aheadworks’ official website.
- Mageplaza’s Magento SEO 2 extension
Now let’s move forward with the popular Magento 2 extensions. We’ll begin with Mageplaza’s version.
Mageplaza exemplifies a minimalistic layout to organizing your site and doing SEO work. It’s been proven to be more than capable in helping your website rise through the ranks.
It has demonstrated a 32% growth rate of improving your rank, 198% increase in traffic, and 100% prevention in duplicate content. You’ll also have access to the following tools that’ll assist you in this journey:
- Multiple SEO modern templates
- Set a template to organize all your metadata
- Crosslink all relevant pages to one another
- Provides a SEO checklist to narrow down your tasks
- Let your business grow with Magento 2’s multi stores
If you’re interested in getting Mageplaza’s version, you have three plans you can avail to:
- Standard – Free
- Professional – $199
- Ultimate – $349
All of these plans are one-time payment which means that once you purchase a plan, it’s yours for a lifetime. So think about which one is worth your investment because it’ll help you in the long run.
If you decide to get it from Mageplaza, they don’t just offer one-time payment and lifetime access. There are more benefits you can attain from this purchase such as it’s 60-day money back guarantee offer if you believe it doesn’t fit your standards.
You’ll also have a year’s worth of access to their customer support. For this premium support, it’ll all be free for one year!
Lastly, you’ll get to receive consistent updates for your lifetime purchase and reap in its benefits.
- ReloadSEO’s Magento SEO 2 extension
Over 1,500 stores are using ReloadSEO’s version of Magento 2 right now. It establishes a good foundation for people who are starting out in setting up their SEO engines.
The design has a sleek modern layout and readable charts or reports to lessen the complexity of SEO work. It displays a simple and aesthetically pleasing board for you to review your site’s health, statistics, and meta tags.
You can use these features to upgrade your site’s performance:
- On-page optimization
- Receive up-to-date information about keywords for your content
- Google rank tracker
- Receive reports on best-performing pages
- Manage your site’s health
One of the neat features you gain from this is the fact that you can receive immediate feedback regarding the effectiveness of your meta tags. When you input all the necessary details for a page, you’ll see real-time grading and suggestions on how to improve your meta tags.
Luckily, if you simply want to test out if this plugin works for you, ReloadSEO offers a free 14-day trial.
As for prices, you have the following options to avail to per subscription plan:
- Starter plan – $59 / month
- Business plan – $99 / month
- Professional plan – $149 / month
You can choose whether you want to pay monthly or annually. If you choose to pay the annual plan, then you get a 20% discount off of the usual total if you paid monthly. Here are the final prices for the annual subscription:
- Starter plan – $590 / year
- Business plan – $990 / year
- Professional plan – $1,490 / year
- BSS Commerce’s Magento SEO 2 extensions
Under BSS Commerce, there are numerous Magento 2 extensions you can purchase to enhance the main program’s performance. It offers an all-in-one package where you can access snippets, breadcrumbs, meta tags and redirects.
Here are some of its unique features:
- Out-of-box HTML sitemap & XML sitemap
- Robot meta tag for crawling and indexing
- Canonical and HREFLANG tags
- Supports OpenGraph and Twitter Card for social media purposes
- 301 redirects
You have countless options on how you can manage the meta tags and organize the linking for your website in this extension. With the all-in-one SEO package they have, you’ll be able to gain more features and more customization options than default M2!
Since there are a lot of M2 extensions from BSS Commerce you can get, we’ll narrow it down to the main one you’ll need. The prices below is based on their standard price listed on their website:
- Magento 2 SEO Extension (Community) – $199
- Magento 2 SEO Extension (Enterprise) – $349
This isn’t a subscription-based plan, so once you buy it, it’ll stay in your account forever and supply a lifetime of updates. Along with this, you’ll receive 1-year of free support from their service team if you encounter any problems.
- Mirasvit’s Advanced SEO Suite for Magento 2
Similar to the others, you’ll have full control over the SEO tools in Marasvit’s Advanced SEO Suite. This is compatible with Magento 2 and adds new functions such as the relationship tags into the program.
The Advanced SEO Suite for Magento 2 offers these features:
- Flexible configurations to rich snippets
- Automatic crosslinking
- Relationship tags
- Simple SEO template designs
- SEO toolbar for quick access to functions
What relationship tags can do for your website is create an alternate version of your page in a different language. This feature is very ideal if you’re handling stores set in different countries or have a multi-language option. This way the alternate version of your page can appear in their respective language’s store.
Fortunately, the Advanced SEO Suite only has one price for you—$149. It’s a one-time payment deal and you’ll be able to use all of its features. But if you’re feeling a bit hesitant, they have a demo you can test out first.
How to Optimize Your Site to Magento’s Standards
In general, both Magento 1 and 2 along with their respective extensions possess common properties that help you in creating a good SEO foundation for your business. For this section, we’ll break down every function each one attributes to fit the Magento SEO standard.
Configure for Crawling and Indexing
Making sure that your website can be crawled and indexed is essential because this is one of the main steps in order to get your website to the first page of any search engine.
Let’s define these times first. Crawling is basically when any search engine like Google reviews a page from your website. Take note, though, just because your page has been crawled doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s indexed.
There are various factors to consider when you’re aiming to get your page indexed by Google or any other search engine. These factors mostly comprise proper keyword usage in the content and proper linking. By doing this accurately, it will get your pages indexed and have a place in the search engine results.
Now that you know why it would be important to have your pages crawled and indexed, we can tell you how you can get it approved by any search engine:
Edit the URL structure
When you construct your URL for the website, you have to make sure that it’s SEO-friendly. A way you can do that through Magento 2 is to have a concise URL that describes what’s on the page.
Depending on what your product is, the URL suffix can be long but this kind of setting is still optimized within M2’s standards.
Sometimes there could be confusion if you constantly change the URL’s name, need to redirect an old link to a new one, or if the products are under different name categories.
When it’s like this, there is a setting called ‘canonical tags’ that will help you categorize your links properly.
Organize your products by using the canonical tags feature, which is more known as the canonical URL. When you create a canonical URL, this is what the Google bot crawlers will prioritize first.
You can set it up by going to the settings then go through Setting > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization. Here you can add category paths and connect the links to its appropriate canonical tag to avoid duplicates.
Avoid duplicate content
The problem when it comes to having duplicate content is that when you have it, there’s a chance it can be crawled by Google. This will cause unnecessary actions on both ends and that could really damage your SEO grade.
This is commonly addressed by creating canonical tags to prevent any duplicate pages from appearing. If you’re not careful enough when it comes to avoiding duplicate content, then there’s a possibility for you to get penalized by the search engine.
All you have to do in Magento is simply click on General > Duplicate Content. It should be a quick process to eliminate all the duplicates because you need to manually activate the canonical tags. Click on the ‘Yes’ option to remove it for better crawling and indexing.
Utilize the nofollow link
Nofollow links are common in websites and these are the ones you don’t want to get indexed. In order for the search engine to not crawl these pages, you’ll have to list your page under the nofollow links.
There is usually a list in any Magento SEO extension where you can note when a page should be labeled under the noindex,nofollow option. Setting it to this mode will make sure that this page is not meant to be indexed and not shown on any SERPs.
It’s essential to know what Robots.txt is because this is what’s going to help crawling on any of your pages. These bots communicate with web crawlers to help them identify what parts of your website should be scanned.
One of the best features Magento 2 has to offer is that you’re able to edit Robot.txt. You’ll be able to fix it to how you want it by going through Stores > General > Design. From here, you can monitor which pages the bots crawl on and which ones you don’t want indexed by Google or any search engines.
Adjust any of the meta tags
Meta tagging is what determines how you’ll appear on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This, of course, affects the site’s organic ranking, traffic, and engagement with your customers.
In some of the extensions discussed above, they offer visual aid to show your SEO score per page. It depicts in either green or red scores to show if which parts pass and which don’t. Depending on what extension you get, it can also offer suggestions or feedback about your meta tags.
These are the essential elements for meta tags:
Searching up what are the proper keywords needed can help you boost your ranks. You can use numerous tools such as Google Keywords Planner or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to find the keywords that you need.
The meta-title is going to be the first thing that people will see when they search on Google. It has to be eye-catching while still relevant to the content of the site. Similar to the meta description, it’s helpful to include the main keywords to help boost its rate in appearing in the SERPs.
Along with the meta-title, it’s very important that you have an appropriate meta description to match it. Usually, you’ll need to include common keywords when you write out the meta description to boost the chances of it appearing on any search engines’ first page.
The ideal number of characters to have for your meta description is around 150 – 160. This is to give you a good idea on how much of the description can be seen by anyone who searches it on a search engine.
If you own an ecommerce website with a vast array of products, the process of putting your product on the site is simpler with its product settings function. This is a separate setting for businesses with a long list of products and you can either manually input the information or set it to automatic mode.
Under metadata, there is also the homepage, categories, and content management system (CMS) to monitor as well. These factors are
Audit & Health Check
Adding an audit and health check option to your site allows you to observe your site’s performance. When you use the SEO audit option, your website’s performance will be based on how it’ll be graded and suggestions on improvement.
By having an audit, it will be able to analyze and check if there are any problems with your site in terms of SEO. You can then identify what is affecting your site and you can fix whatever complex SEO issue you might come across.
Health check comes hand-in-hand with audit because both serve the purpose of checking the ranks of your pages along with its keywords. Through here you could track down which keyword is very effective for your site. It will give you a general idea on how your site’s performing.
Images help out with improving your SEO score because it provides visual aid for your readers to know what your business is about.
For Mageplaza’s Magento 2 version, there is a neat function called Image Optimizer. If you got that version, you can quickly access this by clicking through Stores > Configuration > Mageplaza > Image Optimizer.
Any image that you upload here will be compressed and optimized for your website. Doing this lets your webpage load quicker and it accepts various image formats like JPG, GIF, PNG, and others.
You can manage the images and their quality here. Pick how you want to edit and display your images through several options, so you can fully make it compatible with your site. If your business primarily comprises a variety of products you’re selling, images can help boost your page’s quality.
Page Loading Speed
You’ve probably encountered problems with a site’s page speed and you might’ve thought that it was due to your internet connection. Sometimes this problem can be related to how you’ve managed your web design via your SEO platform.
A website’s speed actually affects your standing in SEO ranking, so if your site is slow, you have to fix that immediately. Also, no one would be able to stay on your page if it takes so long to load. Optimize your site’s speed by making sure that your site follows some of these recommended actions:
- Adjust your site to the system’s requirements
- Use a simple theme
- Monitor and configure your cache accordingly
301 or 302 redirects
There might be times when you have to remove a product off of the site’s shelf and for some reason, your visitors end up going to that page instead of the updated one. When this happens, usually you can use the redirect option they have for Magento 2.
To save their time, you can use the redirect feature to have the link send them to the updated version. These are done through either the 301 and 302 redirects
- Code 301 – permanent redirect
- Code 302 – temporary redirect
Magento 2: Advanced SEO Services
While it’s expected that Magento 2 will tackle the main functions of SEO services, M2 extensions have extra features that can further improve your and your visitor’s user experience.
Here we’ll explore specific features that Magento 2 SEO could provide:
How is Magento 2 SEO-friendly?
Considering how Magento 2 is one of the most commonly used SEO platforms, it’s safe to say that it is definitely SEO-friendly. It is very flexible in delivering what your site needs to reach SERPs and getting to the first page.
Once you install Magento 2, efficient tools like XML / HTML sitemaps and page filtering will assist in organizing the data and retain the necessary pages for your site. Being able to edit with Robot.txt is a huge step in getting bots to crawl onto your pages.
XML / HTML sitemap for Magento 2
Most of the time Magento 2 utilizes XML sitemaps but for some M2 extensions, they are able to add HTML sitemaps to the combination as well.
To access this feature, you click on Stores > Configuration > Catalog > XML Sitemap.
The difference between these two is that XML is more automated by the system while HTML is more user-friendly. They both have their own advantages and disadvantages, but if you want to focus on search engines, the XML sitemap is for you. The HTML sitemap is made to be user-friendly and focuses more on how people use the site.
With the HTML sitemap, there is some freedom because how it works is based on the number of people who visit the site. It’s a bit easier to manage where the bots crawl on it since you can edit the sitemap to do that.
We have stated the multiple SEO functions under Magento 2, but you’re probably wondering what truly makes it different from other platforms. We’ll highlight here some of the features that stand out for Magento 2:
Image Alt text
As mentioned before, images can help boost your SEO score in the ranks. It isn’t as simple as uploading a picture to your website though. Unfortunately, Google won’t be able to read the image as it is. That’s where Image Alt Text comes in!
You can check and edit it by clicking through Product > Basic Settings > Images and Videos > Alt Text. Here you’ll see that you can insert Alt Text to any of your images and you can even add Alt Text when you upload the image.
Microdata / Rich Snippets
The addition of rich snippets was a vast improvement from Magento 1’s system. For every product page, you’ll be able to add a brief description for it that appears on Google. So when visitors search up your store, they’ll be able to see the product pages and their appropriate descriptions.
No need to limit your SEO prowess with only Magento 2! You can use Google Tools alongside it to utilize everything to their maximum potential. This includes tools like Google Analytics to help review your site’s progress and Google Keywords Planner to search for relevant keywords to use for your content.
Set up a multi language store
To reach out to more people around the world, it’ll definitely help your business if you’re able to set up multiple language options on your site. It becomes more accessible for users with different languages and can increase your organic traffic.
Since Magento 2’s key feature is that it’s able to accommodate numerous websites and online businesses at the same time. If your business adopts various niches, this is what’s going to help you and reach your business out to the world.
SEO Navigation tool
In Magento 2, you can organize your website by adding filters via its layered navigation tool. This allows you to filter your products into different categories, so it’s easier for any user to search what they are looking for on your site.
To monitor how the navigation works, you can check it out by going to the settings and choosing Setting > Configuration > Catalog > Layered Navigation. Activating this feature will enhance user experience and allow smooth navigation to anyone exploring the pages.
Conclusion: Advantages of applying Magento SEO to your site
This is going to be all for your ecommerce website, so you want to make sure that it’ll do its job and attract any visitors online. Magento has proven itself to countless users that it has the most important functions needed to build your online rank repertoire.
It has the necessary functions you need to get your site on track to the number one page of any search engine. From helping anyone new to meta tags, pages, indexing, and other SEO-related tasks, this can help you catch up to other competitors.
It’s beneficial to learn how to use Magento SEO
So you’re probably wondering if you should learn how to use all of this. It’s easy to hire someone who has an idea about how to utilize it, but if you want to save money and have control over how your site goes then it’s best you learn now!
Learning how to use Magento will let you understand how to efficiently use all the tools and customize the site as you deem fit. You can also get to understand why your website might not be improving and what you can do to get it back up to speed again.
Best Magento 2 SEO Recommendations
We highly recommend you try out the Magento 2 extensions we mentioned here:
- Ultimate SEO Suite for Magento 1
- Mageplaza’s Magento SEO 2 extension
- Reload SEO’s Magento SEO 2 extension
- BSS Commerce’s Magento SEO 2 extension
- Mirasvit’s Advanced SEO Suite for Magento 2
When you’re choosing between which Magento SEO fits the bill, remember to take into consideration how long you’ll be using it, how many sites you’re managing, and if it’s within your budget.
Try out any of the demos to test out how it’ll work for your business and explore what Magento SEO has in store for you!