With Magento being widely known as the most challenging platform in terms of SEO, it's safe to say that one has their hands full when tackling a project with their service. However, many of the common technical issues that arise when working with the platform can be solved with a few execution tricks and techniques. So in order to prevent you from banging your head against the wall in frustration, we're going to give you a few tips with our ultimate guide to Magento SEO to help you avoid headaches in the future.
Simple & Configurable Product Configuration
If you happen to use simple products with configurable products in Magento, it's important to understand that the duplicate variants shouldn't be indexed. Many individuals utilize simple products as a means to develop different versions or different colors of a product so that it can be set up for display on list pages. So if one isn't intentionally adding unique content to pages or developing simple products, the best option would be utilizing the canonical tag in order to illustrate that the variants are part of a main configurable product.
A Brief Look: Canonical URLs
Lying in the back end of Magento, there are a few options available to set your canonical tags so they can appear on your category and product pages. These options ensure that the canonical tag points one to the desired version of each page. So when it comes to dynamic variants being indexed, canonical help prevent issues with categorization.
Product Title Tag Conventions
Product title tag conventions allow one to either manually assign variables or apply variables that are based on color, gender, etc....
Magento is known to utilize headings incorrectly. So in order to avoid this issue, many have simply utilized no headings or multiple H1s on separate pages.
Instead of adding category paths in your URLs, set your Magento implementation to utilize top-level URLs for products.
Resting in Magento's back-end, there's an option that allows one to set redirects if the URL ends up getting changed. However, one might run into rewrite issues the CSV files are being uploaded incorrectly or if the URL keys are being changed regularly.
Common Issues with Faceted / Layered Navigation
When it comes to duplicate content issues, faceted and layered navigation is oftentimes the root of the problem. One of the biggest mistakes that retailers will make is that they will change the dynamic convention to target the title tag title accurately and make the URL look cleaner. However, such simple ways to correct these issues would be:
Preventing search engines from crawling your pages.
Utilizing a no-index, then using a follow tag.
Utilizing a canonical tag.
Utilizing AJAX navigation for filtering.
Parameter handling with Google Webmaster
Sometimes it seems as if Magento and Google are not meant to work with each other when it comes to search pages (especially if Google is indexing thousands of pages.) To prevent such issues, one can start by disallowing the assigning no-index, then follow the meta robot tags to your search page.
Magento certainly isn't the best when it comes to developing XML sitemaps since it makes parts of your site public (that you would rather have private.) The best way to work around this problem would be creating two different sitemaps. Have one map for your content pages; Have one map for your products. This makes it not only easier for Google to index, but it allows a better visibility of your pages.
URL Rewriting Issues
Magento having issues with URL rewriting is surprisingly common, but these issues are nothing that would completely halt production. One way to tackle this problem would be blocking the URLs that you're rewriting and making sure that they don't go live.
Google indexing secure pages for non-secure websites is incredibly common. One way to stop this problem would be rewriting the pages or canonicalizing the pages to HTTP versions. However, this fix should be excluded for account pages, checkout pages, or pages that should be HTTP.
When it comes to product list pages, Magento will utilize pagination in order to break up large lists. However, these pages should be utilizing the prev and rel next tag (created by Google) to assist webmasters to show that they are utilizing paginated pages. To work around this issue, use a no-index and follow the meta robots tag with the prev and rel next.
Session SIDS / IDs
When it comes to recording user session, session IDs are used. However, these pages are known for causing duplicate content issues. So if you're having issues with you're IDs, try utilizing meta robot tags or robots.txt files so these pages do not become indexed.
Magento can be slow, which can impact search ranks in severe cases. In order to optimize the speed of your site through Magento, once can:
Enable log cleaning and disable Magento logs.
Use a well configured and optimized server.
Optimizing your front-end assets.
Compress your images or utilize a CDN.
Leverage your browser's cache.
Proper 301 Redirect Usage
The older versions of Magento will default to 302 redirects. So if you're looking to use a 301 redirect, you'll need to mark them in your settings.
International Targeting Through Magento
Merchants have a difficult time with their implementations in terms of SEO marketing. However, there are two different ways to tackle such a problem: