Magento SEO: What's Important for Google in 2021

You may not be an SEO expert. But as a store owner, you should know what it takes to appear in top search results. Let's get straight to the point!

Google algorithms are no rocket science, and you can understand them without diving into technical details. Optimizing for them, on the other hand, requires a certain level of skill and experience. While you can find a long list of guides and "how-to" articles on the internet, the odds are that you won't be able to fix your Magento SEO yourself.

Why? Partially because much of it comes down to complex coding, and you won't have enough time for it. Another reason is that your eCommerce store is unique, which calls for an SEO strategy tailored specifically to your business goals.

This article is not going to provide a panacea from all of your SEO problems. This blog post aims to highlight, expand, and refresh your knowledge of what matters to Google machine in 2021.

If you're short on time, feel free to request a Magento SEO Audit right away or continue reading below.

Scuba diver exploring the underwater world of PWA

Magento SEO Checklist: UX Goes First!

One factor that deserves the first place on the Magento SEO checklist is User Experience. The latest changes in search algorithms show that besides feeding relevant content – Google wants it to be fast, safe, and user-friendly. The search engine company's goal is to foster a good online experience for all users across the web. So now your SEO on Magento should not limit to Googlebot crawlers but take into account real users, as well.

Here are main UX factors that will count towards your SEO:

  • Mobile-First Indexing

    Forget desktops! Starting March 2021, Google will index only the mobile versions of sites. To address the rapidly growing mobile traffic, Google will give more ranking juice to phones over desktops. So you should make some quick adjustments if your mobile website has few keywords or pressing optimization issues.

  • Web Performance

    Slow load times will negatively impact your SERP positions. Starting May 2021, page speed is becoming a new ranking factor measured on a set of metrics known as Core Web Vitals. If you and your competitor have similar and relevant content, Google will favor a site that loads quicker. So other than improving the shopping experience, speed can also give you an edge over your SEO competitors.

92 Pagespeed Insights score for a Magento store

  • Safety & HTTPS

    Indicating the security of your website is a must-have for any online store. Customers are hesitant to leave their card information on sites without the SSL protocol. Google will penalize sites that don't offer secure connections and risk users' data. Be sure to migrate to Magento 2, as the new version offers enough features to satisfy all SEO requirements on safety.

Technical SEO for Magento 2

After you SEO optimize your store for humans, it's critical to make your site accessible for Google crawlers. This section summarizes and explains the technical side of SEO on Magento 2. The new Magento edition's default features provide a solid foundation to ensure that Google understands your website.

So let's see how Magento 2 SEO features can help you optimize your store for Google bots:

  1. Magento Sitemap

    The essential part of SEO on Magento is to generate XML and HTML sitemaps. You can take crawlers by the hand and walk them through your site content, making it easy to scan your store. If you control Google crawlers' path, they will see pages – only that you want to show them. For instance, you can highlight only popular product pages, missing the ones that customers aren't keen on buying.

    Magento 2 edition allows you to generate an XML sitemap automatically through a series of configuration steps. When it comes to HTML sitemap, the Magento 2 settings are missing functionality. You can customize an HTML setting with a developer's help or contact our team to do it for you.

  2. Robot Files

    When your XML sitemap is ready, it's placed in robot.txt files. These files are specifically responsible for telling Google which pages of your site to crawl or not. Therefore, if you have low-performing products on your eCommerce store, you can use Magento 2 settings to place the noindex, nofollow tag on product pages you don't want to be ranked for.

  3. Magento SEO URL

    Short, consistent, and readable URLs help search engines better understand the page content. Many experts see "URLs" as a good place to insert keys such as category or subcategory names. However, that makes URLs longer and less friendly for both customers and Google bots.

    Nobody wants to see a URL with a whole chain of letters. Luckily, the Magento 2 SEO functionality can help you shorten your URLs if you configure Add Store Code URL to "No".

    How to configure Magento SEO URL in admin panel

  4. Duplicate Content

    The huge pain point for many online merchants is when multiple URLs point to the same content. For instance, you may place a white T-Shirt in both "sports" and "casual" categories, which makes two separate links point to the same product (content). It's also common for online retailers to copy the product description from the manufacturer's site and paste the same text on their own website. If Google sees the same content published on multiple sites, they will exclude them from SERP.

    You can tackle this problem with the Canonical Tags feature available in Magento 2 Admin panel. By setting the URL to use the canonical meta tag on a particular page, Google will disregard all other identical content on your site.

    How to avoid duplicate content on Magento

  5. Internal Links

    Google bots try to find a relationship between pages when they crawl through your site. They use internal links to move through your online store and identify what type of products you're selling. For example, you're selling sports items, and a crawler lands on soccer shoes. If the soccer shoe product page contains a link to basketball shoes, the Google bot will move to that page and conclude that you're selling sports items.

    You can build internal links on Magento 2 with the Related Products feature. Add related items to each of your product pages, and Google will get an idea of what type of products your store offers.

    How to add related products on Magento admin panel

  6. Magento Meta Keywords

    Now, let's say you've done SEO optimization right, Google lifts you in search results, but nobody clicks on your link. Unfortunately, sites with low CTR won't stay long in SERP. That's why writing a good meta title and description is crucial for your SEO success. In the Magento 2 admin panel, you can define all meta information for your homepage.

    The bad news is that you won't be able to do the same for the category and product pages. Neither Magento 2 nor Magento 1 support this functionality. So you have two options available: use one of Magento SEO extensions or write a custom code, setting meta information for each webpage. We recommend the latter since third-party extensions take more weight and can significantly slow down your store performance.

Final SEO Optimization Steps

You have done the technical part. Your Magento store is optimized for serving Google bots and real users.

So what goes next?

Now, you can take advantage of your technical groundwork and focus on the two SEO cornerstones: keywords and link building.

In a nutshell, these two factors indicate to Google that your content is relevant and trustworthy. However, unlike previous SEO components, these require continuous work, re-evaluation, and improvements.

SEO is a dynamic process that involves constant adjustments. Nevertheless, the benefits of Magento SEO optimization are worth all the time invested and money spent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Magento good for SEO?

➡️ Magento is known for the benefits it can provide in terms of SEO. In the Magento admin panel, you have access to many SEO features that you can implement without sacrificing your site design, user experience and content.

Why is SEO necessary?

➡️ SEO is the key to gaining more traffic to your web pages. In a nutshell, it’s a bridge between your products and potential customers. Searching for products online has become a common consumer behaviour and search engine optimization helps you address this habit as well as get an edge over your competitors.

What is SEO and why do you need it?

➡️ Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to fit the requirements of search engines like Google or Bing. You should worry about SEO because searching for products online has become a common consumer habit. If you don’t SEO optimize your website, potential customers will reach websites of your competitors instead of seeing your products.

What is Magento SEO?

➡️ Magento SEO (or Magento Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing a website running on Magento. You can break down all SEO on Magento into technical SEO, backlinks and keywords optimization. Magento SEO extensions can be installed in the Magento admin panel and help reach better ranking positions.

How much does it cost to do SEO?

➡️ It depends on your website, how it’s currently coded as well as your business needs. On average an SEO expert costs $500+ per month. However, the cost is subject to rapid increase should you want to run a fully-fledged SEO campaign.

Is SEO important in 2021?

➡️ Yes, SEO is still a critical part of any eCommerce business. As search engines algorithms evolve and become more complex, the importance and demand for SEO only keeps growing.

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