SEO is important to any eCommerce store, there’s no bones about it.
Any Magento agency worth their salt should understand how to positively influence organic performance and optimise an online store. Customers that find your business via search engines are generally much more likely to explore your site more extensively, look around for longer and most importantly spend more money.
With search engines still the most popular web application by some distance, having a presence and some authority in your industry can be the difference between success and failure from a business perspective. You need to go where the people are.
Of all the search engines, Google holds over two-thirds of the market share as of 2019 and has done for some time. Performing well within Google’s search results can revolutionise the way an online business generates its revenue, so optimising your site for search engines is definitely something we would recommend you consider.
As one of the leading Magento agencies in the South of England, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients to optimise their stores for search engines and users. Our in-house team generally try to stick to three principles that can help your store perform better in Google rankings, and we’re going to take a look at each of those in more detail for this blog post.
This is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy and should be prioritised ahead of everything else. If your site can be crawled, indexed and presented to your audience in an efficient and appropriate way, you’ll enjoy all the benefits that come with it – increased traffic, more sales and ultimately a bigger customer base.
The way Google understands the internet is different from how you or I would view it.
As a search engine, Google has to read and reread billions of URLs to ensure its results pages remain as up-to-date and accurate as possible. It does this by sending out robot ‘spiders’ that explore the web and evaluate every page’s title, header tags, links, content, alt tags and more. Every piece of information that these spiders can access and retrieve can be added to Google’s index of the web.
Thankfully when it comes to Magento, any site built using this platform is already set up to win from an SEO perspective. Many other eCommerce sites that utilise other platforms cannot be crawled and indexed as efficiently, partly because all their product information are hidden in databases rather than being presented on the page.
Any eCommerce site built using the Magento platform is already set up to win from an SEO perspective.Tweet this now
Any information that is placed inside images, Flash or Iframes cannot be accessed by search engine spiders and therefore won’t make it onto the index.
Magento as standard creates an SEO-friendly store that includes:
- URLs that are easy to read and don’t contain special characters (something that Google specifies as important)
- Pages that utilise well-constructed HTML
- XML sitemaps that are automatically generated (once set up correctly)
- Full control over individual page titles and meta data
In order to give your site the best possible chance of ranking highly on Google and other search engines, we believe that the most important feature of any page is quality content that answers the searcher’s query. After that, you can then look at optimising your page meta data to best attract clicks through to your site and increase your rankings across a full product catalogue.
Take a look at the example above, and you can see some of this meta data at work.
The first sentence is formed from the data you can enter into the ‘meta title’ section of your page within the admin of Magento – this is the page’s title tag and will be presented as the main line of text in any Google search result.
Below that is the URL of the site in question – in this case, the Media Lounge website – and this is then followed by another snippet of text which is taken from the ‘meta description’ section of the page. Again, this can be edited in the admin of Magento and should be used as a way to explain the content of the target page and ‘attract’ a click through to your store.
Remember that when a potential customer is searching through a results page on Google, your listing will be presented alongside your competitors so it needs to stand out from the crowd.
While visibility is very important and perhaps indicative of how your site works, the relevance of your store to the customer’s search is why it works.
To get your site focused towards the customers that are searching for your products on a regular basis, you’ll need to get everything pulling in the same direction – the key areas here are your keywords and content. For example, if all your pages are talking about ‘Magento’, Google will regard your site as relevant to Magento. That said, you don’t want to stuff keywords across your store as this will be viewed as spammy and cynical – content needs to be relevant and helpful to the searcher.
Choosing the right keywords to target is where the expertise and knowledge of a Magento agency like ourselves come in. The search terms you’ll want to go after will likely be a blend of your overall brand strategy combined with what customers are commonly entering in search engines. Your keyword strategy is what will drive your business forward into the areas you want to enter, it is both creative and analytical – there aren’t really any wrong answers.
The search terms you’ll want to target will likely be a blend of your overall brand strategy combined with what customers are commonly entering in search engines.Tweet this now
One of the best tools to find new keywords is the Google Ads Keyword Planner – this tool uses data taken straight from Google and allows you to see monthly search volume as well as market saturation.
You can use this tool to create a keyword strategy that not only reflects your goals as a business but also encourages growth and puts your store in front of the right customers for your niche.
Another important feature of your eCommerce store is the URLs. By default, Magento uses product and category names to generate suitable URLs which is great news as this works from a keyword perspective – you may, however, want to edit those that are too long and/or contain irrelevant search terms, which you can do in the admin of your store.
When it comes to the content side of things, one of the most commonly used tactics when it comes to SEO is to create ‘cornerstone’ content that has the longevity to remain topical for years to come. Detailed articles, lifestyle content, ‘how to’ guides etc are all fantastic examples of this.
Last but by no means least, you can assist Google further by submitting a sitemap. This is almost as simple as it sounds – an XML sitemap is a list of all your page URLs which Google spiders can read and index in the most efficient way possible. Google will still be able to index your store without a sitemap, but adding one will make the indexing process easier for crawlers and we strongly advise you to do so.
Once you’re satisfied and your store has got a suitable blend of visibility and relevance, you should be in a fantastic position to climb the Google rankings thanks to an indexable, crawlable and relevant site.
While SEO is the long-haul strategy compared to ‘quick win’ Google and social ads, there’s a reason why people persist with it. Once your site reaches a standard where it drives high-quality organic traffic on its own at no extra cost, you can take your foot off the throttle with costly Google and social ads, and save yourself a lot of money in the long run.
And now we move onto the final – and possibly the hardest – principle for success when it comes to optimising your site for search engines; becoming popular.
It’s fair to say this is the toughest hurdle in our opinion, perhaps accounting for as much as 80% of the battle.
With your optimised site set up and ready to go, Google will then begin to crawl and index every page, assigning each accessible URL a ‘page rank’ based on how it meets the criteria listed within their algorithm. Only Google knows what makes certain sites rank higher than others, so you just have to try and ensure your store is optimised following the recommended criteria.
One of the most popular ways to move your eCommerce store up the Google rankings is to get other websites to link to you. Google uses backlinks almost like a review system for websites – if another site links back to yours, this is viewed as a ‘vote of confidence’ in your store and will likely boost your position within search results. Beware though, gaining good quality backlinks is tough and can be a slow process.
Unfortunately, nowadays, the link-building landscape is very overcrowded in part due to the rise in popularity of social media. The game now has become about link quality rather than quantity, so having a high-quality website with great content will give you the best possible chance to generate the best links from other authoritative sites.
As a Magento agency that offers SEO services in-house, our team would suggest you create a link-building plan and track your performance over a set period of time. Once you’ve put your plan into action and tracked the growth of your backlink profile, you can then review the successes and refresh the plan for the next stage.
One tip here is to avoid any link-building services that look too good to be true – the last thing you want is to be penalised by Google for using a blackhat SEO technique as this will see your rankings plummet and make attracting organic traffic that much harder.
If you manage to gain links in a natural way over time, users will find more ways into your site and ultimately your rankings on search engines should improve. Just make sure your content is always relevant to the searcher’s intent and you should be fine.
Measuring Your Results
One of the biggest benefits when it comes to working in SEO is the accountability – there is such a wealth of data available via tools like Google Analytics, you can really analyse and monitor the progress your store is making every single day.
Not only does this provide you with a great way to track the return on your investment, but you can also watch your site grow in terms of visitor numbers, rankings and revenue.
You can of course just type one of your products or target keywords into Google and see where your site ranks. Remember though that your individual search results are customised based on your browser history and location, so what you see in position one may be different to what someone else can see.
One of the best things we can recommend to you as an experienced Magento agency is taking the time to learn the basics of Google Analytics. Understanding the data that comes out of your site is crucial in making smart business decisions and continuing the long-term growth of your eCommerce store.
If you are able to work on the visibility, relevance and popularity of your store, you should see a sizeable increase in both site visitors and the revenue you can generate.Tweet this now
Key Areas To Review
Having broken down our three main principles when it comes to success in SEO, we wanted to also provide some important on-page features with all sites should optimise.
At a glance, we would suggest these are the main areas you should be working on as part of any ongoing SEO strategy:
- Page title (title tags)
- Meta data (both the meta title and meta description)
- URL construction
- Image alt tags
- On-page content
- Site navigation
If you are able to work on the visibility, relevance and popularity of your store, you should see a sizeable increase in both site visitors and the revenue you can generate.
Over time, your brand will grow its own dedicated customer base that you can then look to market to via other channels such as social media or email marketing. Always remember to try and offer the best possible experience to your users as this is key to maintaining top spot ahead of your competitors.
If you need any guidance when it comes to SEO for eCommerce, drop us a message and we’ll happily point you in the right direction!