Magento SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

As an open-source eCommerce platform, Magento is one of the most out-of-the-box SEO-friendly hosting options available. Administrators can take advantage of a slew of features with intrinsic SEO benefits such as;

– SEO-friendly URLs
– Customizable meta keywords, descriptions and titles for each product and category
– A dynamic Google sitemap
– And customer segmentation just to name a few.

While Magento has the capacity to allow eCommerce storeowners more time focused on their products and customers than on optimization and getting their products found, it is important to know how to take advantage of these SEO friendly features to get the most benefit from them.

We have already mentioned SEO-friendly URLs, customized Meta keywords, descriptions and titles for each product and category. But what use are these customizable features if you don’t know what to type into them? Conducting keyword research to understand your target audience will help you craft titles and descriptions that are focused on the people most likely to convert when they visit your site. For the most targeted Meta keywords, research which terms people actually use when they search for the product rather than the standard industry verbiage.

Customer Segmentation allows administrators to leverage insights about their customers based on age, gender and location or shopper behavior, previously browsed products, items placed in a shopping cart and purchased products. These different groups can be categorized and targeted with different promotions, coupons and offers. But how do you find out which promotions or coupons are most effective for encouraging the target audience to convert? SEO requires analytics tools like Google Analytics and Omniture for tracking as well as research tools like SpyFu, SEOMOZ and Compete to get a feel for what competitors are doing and what topics are trending. Offering better, more inclusive or more targeted offers is a great way to drive traffic and conversions.

Upselling, retargeting and cross selling are important to increasing overall conversion rates. How do you know which products work best? How do you create offers and promotions that will actually work?

Magento’s ratings and reviews functionality helps to create a buzz surrounding a company and its products while cutting marketing costs. It can be used to offer rewards to brand enthusiasts who post a review or use social media to encourage others to browse your site or purchase a product. An important part of SEO is promotion. Gaining links and mentions on social media and review sites increases the authority and popularity of your site, improving your overall visibility on search engine result pages. The more authoritative you are, the more visitors will come to your site. If your marketing and SEO strategies are executed properly, this means more conversions and higher profits.

Magento offers good design and branding functionality. Site owners can use it to customize the look, feel and functionality of their website to reflect the personality of their brand. There are various features to increase customer loyalty and brand affinity such as customer reward points, automated email reminders, wish lists, gift registry, virtual or physical gift cards and the ability to offer store credit. Taking action to make your business trustworthy, simple to interact with and customer friendly will increase your number of return customers and will eventually transform return customers into brand enthusiasts who will tout your business’s exceptional customer service and products.

Building custom landing and offer pages are important to both SEO and Sponsored Search for driving traffic and conversions. While Magento addresses this issue with static pages, the ability to customize those pages using javascript or advanced code is tricky.

Magento offers many third party applications and extensions to further customize and enhance an eCommerce store’s functionality and branding. There are many add-ons offering added SEO, order processing, order handling & shipment and database management functionality.

While Magento is the most SEO-friendly open source ecommerce platform available without add-ons, downloads or extensions, it does have several drawbacks;

Instability

Magento is an open source ecommerce solution. Therefore you can edit the code to add and remove functionality and customize it to your needs. However, the more you customize an open source solution, the more unstable it gets. Keep in mind that these systems are tested and checked by developers in their “out of the box” formats. Anytime you install an add-on or multiple add-ons, you run the risk of these add-ons conflicting with each other causing errors.

Magento does not have a community like WordPress where each plug-in or add-on is checked and verified for compatibility. Therefore, it’s much more likely to experience instability issues from the installation of add-ons.

Database Updates & Handling

Magento is not great at handling database queries, imports and exports. This makes it especially cumbersome for stores with over 1000 SKUs to make changes in bulk. For example, to change only 1 field in the products database, you would have to export and import the whole database. This makes the database vulnerable to errors during this import/export process.

301 Redirects and Canonicals

Magento handles its own redirects out of the box. If you basically change categories or URL structure, the system creates internal 301 redirects to make sure that the page before the changes forwards to the page after changes. (As the URLs change with product name or category name change) This overloads the database, slowing down the website and queries.

Magento is great because it’s an open source solution that can be scalable and good for SEO. It’s not so great when larger businesses using Magento rely on custom coding and altering the main frame of the solution, which will likely cause future issues. We would recommend Magento to any business doing up to 1million in sales revenue annually. There are much more functional and stable solutions available if your business does more than a million in annual revenue. Contact us today and let us help you with Magento SEO as well as picking the most compatible eCommerce system to fit your needs.