When it comes to SEO we all know that it’s an important factor that influence customers’s point of view to our store ,by having a better ranking score not only drive more traffic (potential customers) to our online stores but also help to earn a better customer trust.
Assume that you have an online store based on magento and you are wonderring if it have been optimized for SEO, as a merchant you are neither a SEO expert nor a developer you might think it’s impossible to optimize it yourself,but don’t worry magento SEO items are not so hard, some of them are very easy and just require proper settings in back-end, in nearly 3 years working with magento I encouter 10 most common magento mistakes and I list them out below hopefully they will be useful for someone.
1) Leaving homepage title as “home”
This is the most common mistake I have seen across many magento sites, do you agree that this default title does not make any sense ? the homepage title should be something which directly represents your products, services, usually it’s a cms page, go to edit the page and change it’s title to something more reasonable such as Mobile repair online service – Dummy.com.
2) Do not change the “default description”,”default keyword” fields
In your back-end navigate to System => Configuration => Design => HTML Head where you will see the two above fields, you may think of entering something related to your business here but wait, please consider that these fields are default for whole store and they will be given to all those cms, product, category..pages in which you have not entered custom meta description and keyword and this is where the duplication problem occurring, you might end up having many pages with the same descriptions and keywords and this as Google’s Matt Cutts, the head of search spam in a video has pointed out that “do not have duplicate meta descriptions on your site, you should have unique descriptions, keywords and even no descriptions at all than having duplicate meta descriptions across pages” so it’s better to leave the meta description and meta keyword blank.
3) Leaving logo title and/or it’s alt as “magento ecommerce”
This is one of mistake i have seen across magento stores,just go to System => Configuration => Design => Header => Logo Image Alt and make sure that it’s not “magento ecommerce”.
4) Forgetting to turn on canonicals and Index, Follow issue
Go to System => Configuration => Design => HTML Head => Default robots if you see the field’s value is noindex, nofollow that meant you are telling search engine not to index and/or follow your store, it’s just a setting but could be a bug seo mistake, just change it to index,follow
The same for canonicals, to save yourself from duplicate content issues go to System => Configuration => Catalog => Search Engine Optimizations to turn on “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories” and “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products”.
5) Forget Permanent Redirect (Redirect 301) for old Urls if Url key changed
Go to System => Configuration => Catalog => Create Permanent Redirect for old URLs if Url key changed Mark this setting as YES to let search engine know that the page is permanently moved to new URL,by the way you should know What is a 301 Redirect and Why Should You Care?.
6) Forgetting to create a google sitemap
Remember to create a sitemap.xml containing your latest categories, products links and do not include sample products,categories.. and then submit it to search engine like google, bing…etc, it is easy, just login to your back-end and navigate to Catalog => Google Sitemap.
7) Duplicate issue on Multi-stores
Make sure that your meta descriptions and keywords, pages, content are different per store or you will see a negative impact on your store’s SEO because search engine will see an IP with a lot of duplicate contents.
8) Letting search engine index default Magento Layered Navigation
Layered Navigation is a Magento’s great feature that let visitors search products by attributes but it’s also one of most painful Magento features for the SEOs, it creates a lot of URLs with duplicate, near-duplicate content as well as page titles and descriptions that ends up killing your SEO efforts.
The solution is do not allow search engines to index your layered navigation pages, this can be achieved via cookie or calling to Layered navigation use fast ajax request, you can hire an experienced magento developer to do this task for you or even purchase a premium ajax Layered Navigation extension and integrate it into your site.
Here are the most common magento SEO mistakes I saw in my past three years with magento, if you think I am still missing any mistake I will be grateful to hear from you in a comment below.