Magento is often thought of as one of the most complex e-Commerce platforms for online retailers, with many problems stemming from being able to properly optimize your site both for on-page best practices but also technical best practices. Most of these common Magento SEO problems are an easy fix, but many will require the handy-work of a developer.
Magento Page Speed Problems
Having a slow website can negatively impact both crawlability and use experience, both of which can have an impact on your organic performance. Magento is a slow platform, and because of that, there are proactive steps you should take to ensure your organic performance is not hindered by a slow website. Specifically, in Magento, you should disable Magento logs (default) and enable log cleaning in the back end to speed things up. Other general fixes include using a correctly configured server with sufficient RAM, opting for a content delivery network (CDN), and compressing front-end assets and images. Apply these fixes before or after setup to improve the overall speed of your site. Use Pingdom to test the speed of your website.
Boosting your Magento site speed will help increase your rankings.
Parameter URLS from the Faceted Navigation
Although faceted navigations are an extremely helpful way for customers to navigate a large site, especially e-Commerce sites, as they help users filter down to find what they need. Unfortunately, faceted navigations can also create a headache for optimization. Faceted navigation in Magento create parameter URLs that are often indexed posing four SEO problems:
- Dilutes link equity
- Passes link equity to pages that shouldn't even be indexed
- Eats up the crawl budget and impacts crawlability
- Creates a lot of duplicate content
There are a variety of ways you can handle this common Magento SEO problem.
Robots.txt: Using the robots.txt to block the parameters may seem like a great solution because of its ease. However, this could interfere with programmatic campaigns, so it's important to ensure the robots.txt won't impact any other campaigns.
Google Search Console: Managing URL parameters in Google Search Console is a more precise way to handle parameters. You simply add the parameter, describe how it changes the content seen by the user, and what should Googlebot do with the URLs.
Nofollow: You can add nofollow attributes to the links behind the faceted navigation to prevent Google from crawling them, however, if they are linked to from other areas of the website, such as the sitemap, they can still be crawled by Google.
AJAX Navigation: This is a solution reserved for experienced developers, however, using AJAX can allow users to alter the content on the pages without changing the URL.
Canonical Tags: Using canonicals can be a great way to tell Google that multiple versions of the same page, or same content, should be treated as one page. Read a MOZ article about the importance of canonical tags.
Product Page Issues
While Magento allows for robust product information, it does not always set up product pages and URLs per SEO best practices. Duplication of meta information and content for product pages is a common issue faced by Magento websites. If you are setting up simple product pages for variations of a product like color options or size options, this will create duplicate meta information as well as content. One way to fix this is to use canonical tags to tell Google which page is the core and which are duplicates of the core.
Magento typically creates under-optimized page titles because it pulls from the product title. However, if you have multiple variations of a product, this could be ambiguous and helpful. The best practice is to manually differentiate and optimize every page title, but if you have hundreds or thousands of products, it might not be an effective use of time, so implementing dynamic tags that pull in product variables can be an efficient way to differentiate the page titles.
Another common Magento SEO problem is the structure of product URLs. By default, Magento will create a page URL that includes the categories and subcategories, and while this can improve the optimization of the individual URL, if you have products with multiple category associations, you could face a duplication issue as well as indexation bloat.
To fix this:
If you are just setting up your store, start out the right way and turn on the setting that tells Magento to only use top-level product URLs.
If your store is already set up using hierarchical URLs, be sure to implement canonical tags to point to the core product page. If you wish to move away from hierarchical URLs, be sure you update all internal links and implement the proper redirects to prevent 404 errors. However, Magento does have a few URL rewrite problems.
URL rewrites account for the most common SEO issues faced by Magento retailers. One of the most common issues is Magento occasionally produces category and product URLs that change back to the original /catalog path as well as duplicate URLS based on page titles. It's important to monitor for these and block them with the robots.txt file. If your Magento website designer is experienced in the Magento platform, hopefully these issues will be addressed during development.
Another common URL rewrite problem, that is not exclusive to Magento, but frequently happens, is numeral appendages to URLs. Magento will add a number to the end of a URL if the URL is already being used, and rewrites are replacing the URL without actually changing it. This also happens when using a CSV to update products. This can be fixed by removing the rewrites from the rewrite table.
Indexing of Search Page
For some reason, Magento catalog search pages are often indexed by Google, which can create an indexation bloat and impact crawlability. The best way to remedy this is by added noindex, follow meta robots tags to the search page and queries in the directs. If the crawl is an issue, you can add the section in its entirety to the robots.txt file.
It's important to fix these common Magento SEO issues so they don't negatively impact your site. If you are considering building a new website in Magento, ensure you work with a Magento website development company that can address these common problems in their scope so you don't have to worry about these after your site is launched.
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