The launch of the new Magento website is always an exciting experience. After all the effort so many people had put into the website strategy planning, IA, website designs, development and digital online marketing, it’s finally time to show it to the world and open the floodgates for visitors. This is all great, but as everyone else is celebrating the launch, for Magento SEO specialists it’s just the beginning. There are number of checks and activities which need to be carried out straight after the launch. I list all known Magento SEO tips that are required for launch as well as some optional ones.
Magento SEO Tips 1: Make sure website is visible to search engines – Meta Robots Tag
This really is SEO textbook chapter 1.1. Make sure your website is actually accessible to search engine ‘spiders’. In Magento, you can easily do that by going to Configuration >> Design >> HTML Head and changing the value of Default Robots to ‘INDEX, FOLLOW’. You can test it by inspecting the source code and checking if the meta robots tag shows ‘INDEX, FOLLOW’.
Magento SEO Tips 2: Make sure website is visible to search engines – Robots.txt file
You can disallow indexing by adding the URL you want to exclude or the whole path/directory containing URLs you want to exclude to the robots.txt file, e.g. http://www.kabiri.co.uk/catalog/product/view/id/7828/category/568 is not indexed because Magento robots.txt file has the ‘Disallow: /catalog/’ command which excludes all URLs within the catalog/ path.
When you launch a new Magento website, good tip would be to make sure that the Disallow command DON’T block the access to the site. Note that the default value of robots is allowing all traffic, unless you block it with Disallow. Read more about it in Magento SEO Part 1 – URLs.
Magento SEO Tips 3: Magento page title optimisation
Another Magento SEO tip is to make sure your Magento category pages and content pages are optimised and include relevant search terms. Read more about Magento SEO Part 2 – Page Titles & Meta Descriptions.
Magento SEO Tips 4: Magento default meta tags optimisation
Go to Configuration >> Design >>HTML Head and fill in the Default Title and Default Description fields. This will ensure that new pages will have a generic but at least well optimised title and description in case you forget to enter the specific page title and description.
Magento SEO Tips 5: Create Google sitemap (sitemap.xml) in Magento
Magento has a great Google XML sitemap generation tool (System > Configuration > Google Sitemap) which allows you to customise pretty much anything there is to customise, including different frequency and priority value for different types of pages. For example, you may want to assign to category pages frequency ‘daily’ and priority of 0.8, but you may want to set those to ‘weekly’ and ‘0.5’ on all content pages.
The tool also lets you configure sitemap generation settings, including how often the sitemap.xml should be updated, at what time during the day and who’s the main point of contact if something goes wrong.
Once configured, all you need to do is go to Catalogue > Google Sitemap and generate a new sitemap.xml file.
Note: The path where you save the sitemap to must be writable – with appropriate server permissions
Read more about Magento SEO – Webmaster Tools & Features.
Magento SEO Tips 6: Install the Magento canonical link element extension
The extension (http://yoast.com/tools/magento/canonical/) is useful when removing duplicate content issues, e.g. issues relating to listings page pagination, when every page, e.g. ‘?p=1’, ‘?p=2’, etc., have the same title and meta description.
The full review of the canonical link element extension can be found here: Magento SEO URLs.
Magento SEO Tips 7: Add Google Webmaster Tools verification tag to Magento
Need to add Google Webmaster Tools verification meta tag to Magento website without having to involve developers in such small and easy task? No problem. Go to System > Configuration > Design > HTML Head and paste your Webmaster Tools verification code in Miscellaneous scripts section. Done!
Magento SEO Tips 8: Add Google Analytics tracking code directly to Magento
The default Google Analytics plugin in Magento provides the basic tracking code. All you need to do is go to System > Configuration > Google API > Google Analytics and enter UA number of you site (as shown in your Google Analytics account settings). This will automatically generate the standard tracking code and add your UA. If you want to start tracking ecommerce data you may need this extension Fooman_GoogleAnalyticsPlus.
Magento SEO Tips 9: Set up Magento Google Base feed
This is definitely one of the optional Magento SEO tips but you may as well set up the Magento Google Base feed straight away as the feed’s history seems to be one of the ranking factors for Google Shopping listings. I created a detailed step by step guide on How To Successfully Set Up Magento Google Base Feed.
Read other posts on Magento SEO Part 1 – URLs and Magento SEO Page Titles, How To Optimise Magento Page Titles or more about Magento Ecommerce Design, SEO Services London and Fashion Ecommerce Web Design.