So you want to know more about Magento 2 SEO? Well, straight out of the box, Magento 2 is one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms you can work with. A lot of improvements have been made since M1 and with a little know-how, you can optimize your store with very little effort.
We’ve compiled a list of fundamental SEO strategies you should be implementing in your M2 store. These features are the very least you need to utilize if search engine rankings are important to you – which they should be!
Magento 2 SEO Step #1: Header settings
One of the first things you should do is set all Title tags up to include your company name or a target keyword by default and eliminate the platform’s automatic ‘Magento Commerce’. You can do this in System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head and put your store name in the Title Suffix box.
You also have the option of adding a prefix, but it’s recommended you leave the prefix blank as relevant keywords for each page should be closer to the start the page title for SEO purposes.
Magento 2 SEO Step #2: Product page optimization
Meta tags are essential if you plan on attracting search engine crawlers and ranking high on search pages. You can edit titles and descriptions manually in the product pages settings, but Magento 2 offers a new Product Fields Auto-Generation function that allows you to automatically populate the Meta Title, Description and Keywords based on the product name you enter.
While this is definitely a timesaver, it does have some drawbacks as its function is quite limited at the moment. For example, templates are applied on a global level and can’t be adjusted for particular categories. However, a combination of Product Fields Auto-Generation and manual editing will save developers significant time compared with their Magento 1 experiences.
As with Magento 1, product URLs are generated based on the specified Stock Keeping Unit (SKU); however, you’ll find this setting in a new place when using the Magento 2 platform: Product > Basic Settings > Search Engine Optimization.
Including category paths in each product URL makes for good indexing and site navigation – something that SERPs look favorably on. You can enable this setting in Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization, but it’s recommended to also enable canonicals to avoid creating duplicate content.
eCommerce stores are high risk for duplicate content, which can be detrimental to any SEO plan. Canonical tagging allows you to define the page you want Google to index and can be enabled here: Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization
Relevant Alt text should be added for all product images as part of a basic SEO plan. In Magento 2, you can do this by navigating the Images and Videos tab, selecting the image and adding your copy to the Alt Text field.
It’s also important to realize that site speed plays a part in higher rankings, with sites that load quicker scoring higher than those that don’t. Large images are notorious for slowing your product page load time, so ensure that each image has been compressed.
Magento 2 SEO Step #3: Categories optimization
As with product pages, meta tags are also an important part of optimizing categories on an eCommerce site, so be sure to set these.
Keep URLs simple but keyword-rich, eliminating filler words like ‘and’ and ‘the’.
Again, as with product pages, there are benefits to utilizing this feature when it comes to Category pages. To set a canonical URL, you’ll need to go to Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization.
Magento 2 SEO Step #4: Homepage
You can change the meta description and keywords to something more conducive to SEO on the Meta Data tab.
If you’re familiar with Magento 1, you probably know that Home Page is the default title applied to this page. You should customize this and make it keyword-relevant to your brand or products in Content > Pages > Home Page > Page Information
Remember to remove the default Alt text set for your eCommerce site by Magento 2 and replace it with copy that’s relevant to your store. This can be done in: Stores > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head -> Header
Magento 2 SEO Step #5: Suffix for URLs
One of Magento 2’s new features is the ability to set a suffix for your site pages. Experts are out as to how much suffixes affect SEO, but if you have a preference, you can make alterations here: Stores -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Catalog -> Search Engine Optimization
Magento 2 SEO Step #6: Rich snippets
This is one of Magento 2’s best SEO features and a smart upgrade from Magento 1. Rich Snippets allow you to further specify how your eStore is presented on a search engine results page and also allows crawlers to get a much more specific idea of the content on each page.
This means you can display star review ratings and prices for product pages appearing in a search result. Not only does this improve SEO but it’s also found to improve click-through rates by 30%.
Magento 2 SEO Step #7: XML sitemap
An eStore’s sitemap is probably its most valuable asset when it comes to SEO. This is what directs search engine crawlers through your site and to the most important pages. The cleaner and more logical your sitemap, the more SERPs will reward you.
Magento 2 comes with a number of XML sitemap configuration features, building considerably on what was offered by Magento 1. With M2, images can be automatically added to your sitemap, you can set specific file URL limits and there’s also an option to submit your eStore’s XML sitemap URL to robots.txt.
File limits are a welcome addition to the platform as it makes it easier to ensure high priority pages are being indexed and also prevents large sitemap files from slowing load speed.
Magento 2 SEO Step #8: Robots.txt
This is one for developers with SEO expertise as the smallest typo could seriously affect an eCommerce’s site’s ability to reach its ranking potential. The file contains rules for search engine crawlers to follow and Magento 2 has made this much easier to manage and update than with its predecessor. You can access it through: Stores -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Design -> Search Engine Robots:
Magento 2 SEO Step #9: Google Analytics
Anyone running an SEO campaign knows that testing and tracking is a big part of streamlining your SEO systems and Google Analytics is a great tool for this. Magento 2 now has a feature that allows you to add GA tracking codes easily. You’ll find this in: Stores > Configuration > Sales > Google API > Google Analytics.
There’s also an option to enable Google Content Experiments, allowing you to add GA Experiment code to individual product pages.
Magento 2 SEO Step #10: Speed
As we mentioned above, speed is a big factor when it comes to SEO and is one that is often overlooked. As well as compressing images, you should also ensure that Magento’s caching systems have been optimized. We also recommend monitoring your site’s performance regularly to identify any drops in load times and facilitate quick fixes of any problems.
By using our guide as a strong foundation for your Magento store’s SEO, you’re sure to notice improvements in ranking and traffic.
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