- Magento SEO: Overview
- Magento SEO: Facts and Information
- Magento SEO: Tutorial and Course
- Magento SEO: References
Magento SEO: Overview
Tutorial and Course for Magento SEO is the ultimate SEO tutorial and course created by SEO University to help you to learn and understand Magento SEO and SEO Process, including On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
Magento SEO: Facts and Information
People make use of search engines for a wide variety of purposes, with some of the most popular being to research, locate, and buy products. Ecommerce sales reported by the US Census Bureau were a healthy $71.2 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Forrester Research forecasts that US ecommerce retail sales will reach $370 billion by 2017, outpacing sales growth at brick and mortar stores. SEO for ecommerce platform including Magento and Shopify have become more and more important.
One of the main reasons Magento is fast becoming the e-commerce platform of choice is the fact that, from the ground-up, it has been built with the foreknowledge and flexibility required to optimize every page, every product, and every snippet of code within its framework for search engines.
Optimizing a Magento website can be rather tricky at times, especially when you try to figure out how best to optimize a specific phrase on a particular page while you navigate a huge quantity of files and hundreds of different configuration settings. It can sometimes seem a little daunting, but thankfully, it's not all that bad. Magento has been built by people who have as much passion about your website as they do about their own software, and as such, they are always looking to improve the internal optimization of their platform.
They've already provided you with a variety of tools that you can use to better prepare your Magento store for search engines. Not only this, but due to the open source nature of the Magento platform, there exists a growing community of developers and SEO specialists who constantly innovate and experiment with different ways to improve the framework.
Like any good e-commerce content management system, Magento allows you to adjust certain elements of each product, category, and CMS page features such as titles, meta information, and headings. Magento is rather good at delivering these simple SEO requirements.
It has, however, its SEO shortcomings, and this Tutorial and Course for Magento SEO will teach you how to tackle some of the most common issues that may arise. We hope that with this Tutorial and Course for Magento SEO, you'll be able to make use of all the tools Magento has provided for you as well as implement some of the more advanced SEO techniques. You should also be able to repair several of those unfortunate SEO flaws that are, to be fair, inherent within almost all large open source frameworks.
The primary goal of optimizing your Magento website—and one that you must always keep at the forefront of your minds—is to enhance the experience for both your customers and search engines. A better experience for both will give you the best possible chance of increasing your number of visitors, converting those visitors into customers, and boosting the overall sales figures for your Magento website.
Magento SEO: Tutorial and Course
Magento SEO: Overview
There are two Magento editions that those planning to start an eCommerce store can choose from: The Magento Community Edition and the Magento Enterprise Edition.
Magento Enterprise Edition is the high performance, scalable eCommerce solution for fast-growing and large businesses. It has the enterprise-class features and the flexibility you need to create an eCommerce solution tailored to your unique needs. And it helps you drive more traffic to your store, convert browsers into buyers, and boost online revenue. Magento Enterprise Edition was designed with SEO in mind, so it's easy for customers to find your products online. Magento Enterprise Edition's shopping cart software generates SEO-friendly URLs, a Google site map, and customized meta tags, and so on.
Magento Community Edition is the perfect solution if you're a developer or SEO-savvy merchant that wants to explore the flexibility of the Magento eCommerce platform. You can modify and optimize the core codes to make it more SEO-friendly.
There are many similarities between Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition, but also a few major differences. Wherever possible, you will try to highlight some of the features that may appear in one or the other of these platforms, and also reference in which version certain features were added or removed.
One of the most direct monetization strategies of Magento SEO is driving relevant traffic to a Magento site to boost sales. Search traffic is among the highest quality traffic on the Web, primarily because a search user has expressed a specific interest through his or her query, and when this matches a service, product, or brand a website carries, conversion rates are often extremely high. Below are some factors to think about when considering Magento SEO:
When to employ SEO for Magento?
You should employ SEO for Magento when you have products/services that are directly for sale on your Magento website.
Keyword targeting for Magento
Pay per click (PPC) advertising is an excellent way to test the efficacy and potential ROI of keyword targets. Find those that have reasonable traffic and convert well, and pursue them further. You'll often find that the more specific the query is - brand-inclusive, product-inclusive, and so on - the more likely the visitors are to make the purchase. The best use of this tactic is for generic terms that you will find harder to win on than brand/company named terms, so you can decide if they are worth the effort.
Quality content creation & optimization for Magento
Your Magento site will need to provide interesting, unique, and accessible content for both users and search engines in order to begin gaining traction in organic search. The links and social sharing that come from such content are highly influential in increasing overall Magento site traffic, as well as improving organic search performance.
Creating link-worthy, deeply engaging content should be the primary focus of any Magento site seeking search and referral traffic, and should be incorporated into both the content development for SEO strategies for Magento sites. Manual link building is always an option, but scalable strategies that leverage a community or customers can be equally, or even more, valuable. But you should know that content that keeps users on the page, instead of clicking away rapidly is a signal of quality - and also serves to increase the value of traffic to the page (improving page monetization through advertising).
Magento SEO: On-Page SEO
Magento SEO: Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO is even more powerful than On-Page SEO when it comes to increasing your Magento site's search engine results on search engines. For more information about Off-Page SEO for Magento, please visit Off-Page SEO.
Magento SEO: Performance Optimization
By default, Magento is certainly not the fastest platform in the world, but there are numerous ways available to help speed up the loading time of its pages. Magento provides you with a selection of methods through its own configuration, and you can save time off your load speed by enabling those features.
Search engines such as Google take load speed into account as a ranking factor. It is therefore extremely important that you optimize your Magento website for speed as much as possible.
Magento SEO: .htaccess Optimization
The .htaccess files allow developers to make server configuration changes on a per-directory basis. Magento comes packaged with many .htaccess files, but the one which you will be dealing with in this section is the .htaccess file found on the root of your installation. As mentioned in this Tutorial and Course for Magento SEO previously, in order to edit your .htaccess file, you must make sure that the web editor you are using can see the hidden files.
The most basic of performance-based .htaccess tweaks that you can make are implementing Content-Encoding (mod_deflate/mod_gzip) and Expiration Headers (mod_expires).
The gzip compression essentially presents the browser with a zipped version of the file. Compressing the file before transferring it reduces the download time required. You should add the following lines of code to your root .htaccess file in order to use these methods (if available on the server):
The tags will activate your configuration if the server has the correct module installed. You've added both the mod_deflate and mod_gzip configurations; however, you can choose to use one or the other in your own .htaccess file.
The next step is to set up your expiration headers, which will tell the browser to use its own cached version of your file if the expiration date of the current file is in the future. This will also reduce the download time for your users. Refer to the following code snippet:
The time in seconds sets the future expiration date for that certain type of file. On a correctly-configured server, just by adding these few lines of code, you can reduce the loading time of a standard Magento CE installation on average anywhere between 0.5 to 1 whole second.
Magento SEO: Server-Side Performance and Scalability
There is really only so much you can do with .htaccess tweaks and Magento's default configuration to speed up the loading of your web pages. Typically speaking, the faster and more powerful the server, the quicker your pages are rendered. There are many different types of servers available, but for Magento websites, the best performance can be gained through either dedicated hosting or super-fast cloud-based servers.
However, the most drastic improvements can be seen through the installation and configuration of specific web application accelerators. One increasingly popular HTTP accelerator is Varnish Cache. This caching method has been talked about a lot in web conferences around the world, and has been used to great effect when installed alongside Magento. In short, Varnish stores a version of the fully rendered page the first time any user visits that particular page. The cached version is then returned to subsequent users rather than Magento having to compile all of that data again. The result is consistent; less than 1 second load time for the remainder of the cache lifetime.
- Up to 250 times faster than a default Magento installation.
- Allows for incredible scalability while reducing hardware costs.
There are also other alternative caching methods available that are worth considering:
- Redis: This is an in-memory, key-value data store.
- Memcached: This caches data and objects in RAM to reduce the load on the database (or other external calls).
Additionally, content delivery networks (CDNs) can be used to offset the traffic from your server for various files on your website. Apart from this, the user's geographical location is used to determine the closest server to them in order to provide the content.
Making changes such as these means nothing without the ability to test your page speeds, so you have also taken a look at some of the most popular page-speed tools available recommended by SEO Software and Tools. For additional information that further help you to adapt the way you structure the content of your pages and configure your servers, please visit the Tutorial and Course for Magento Performance Optimization.
Magento SEO: Analyzing & Tracking Your Visitors
Once e-commerce tracking has been enabled on your Google Analytics (GA) profile, you will find many new options available to you across the various sections within GA.
Across most of the pages inside Google Analytics, you can click on the E-commerce button within the Explorer menu to change the table of data that is presented with data relevant to sales:
By selecting this button on your GA pages, you will be presented with e-commerce-specific data for your chosen section. For example, by navigating to Behavior | Site Content | Landing Pages and clicking on the E-commerce tab, you will be presented with:
- Revenue: Total revenue accrued through customers landing on this page.
- Transactions: Total number of transactions from this landing page.
- Average Order Value: How much on average a customer spends after landing on this page.
- E-commerce Conversion Rate: Percentage rate of visits to sales.
- Per Visit Value: An average value-per-visit of this landing page.
All of this data can be used to better optimize your individual pages and tweak them for improved conversion rates. The same can be said for the e-commerce data provided through the Explorer button across many of the GA sections.
One particularly important section that becomes available for you after enabling e-commerce tracking is Conversions | E-commerce and everything beneath it. This whole section is dedicated to providing you with e-commerce reports from your Magento store. The following is a brief summary of each of these pages and what you should take from them in order to better analyze your conversion rates:
- Overview: This page provides you with a timeline graph of your primary metrics (conversion rate, average order value, quantity purchased, number of transactions, revenue, and so on) so that you can see your sales performance over a specified time period.
- Product Performance: This page is useful in evaluating how often each product is ordered and the revenue each individual product is generating.
- Sales Performance: This page will, by default, show you the most profitable dates within a given time frame. This is useful to quickly determine whether a specific marketing campaign had a major impact on sales compared to the other dates.
- Transactions: This section provides you with the information for each order. Each row contains information such as the specific products purchased (by clicking on Transactions), revenue made, tax applied, delivery charges charged, and also the quantity ordered.
- Time to Purchase: This page shows either the average days taken from the time a customer first enters your shop to the time they checkout, or (depending on the distribution setting) the number of visits it had taken the customer to eventually purchase.
Google Analytics provides you with quick and easy methods for extending the default dataset on these pages and are vital in transforming what are essentially sales reports into sales analytics.
Choosing a secondary dimension allows you to add a column to your default dataset so that you can analyze an entirely different metric alongside your primary dimension.
For instance, this might be useful if you wanted to find out whether your customers were purchasing your products after landing on your home page or whether they were actually landing on your specific product page.
To do this, you would perform the following steps:
- Navigate to Conversions | E-commerce | Product Performance and select Landing Page from your Secondary dimension drop-down list.
- You can then see your new column appear next to your product name.
You could then narrow down these results further by using advanced filters, for instance, if you wished to narrow your product performance dataset down to a particular brand (where the brand is shown within the product name). To do this, you would perform the following steps:
- Click on advanced, which is located near the search bar to the right-hand side of your Secondary dimension setting.
- Select Include from the first drop-down list, Product from the second, and Containing from the third. You would then enter our brand name into the text box provided.
- Once you click on Apply, your results will be filtered to include only those results where the product name contains your brand.
As well as secondary dimensions and advanced filters, you should also look at utilizing advanced segments. Google Analytics comes with built-in options for isolating subsets of your traffic.
For example, if you wish to always show data from mobile traffic, you would add Mobile Traffic to your advanced segments and then click on Apply. This will provide you with another row of results specific to Mobile Traffic underneath All Visits within your dataset.
Custom segments stay active no matter where you navigate through GA, so make sure to return to all traffic in order to view our standard datasets.
For more information about Google Analytics, please visit Tutorial and Course for Google Analytics by SEO University.