Improve your webshop’s SEO in 10 steps

Published by Stijn de Ridder 2019-05-27

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With a webshop you can reach many customers at the same time. You don’t need staff to run from one corner of your store to the other to give information about your products. You can easily explain products with structured product pages. Customers can perfectly reach you with an integrated chat functionality or by mail. This way you can provide an excellent customer service with little to no effort.

But customers have to find their way to your webshop first.

To achieve this there are many options: advertisements, social media, blogs, the list goes on.

Many webshops are struggling to be found by search engines.  Let’s take a closer look at how we can increase your webshop’s SEO score with these 10 simple steps.

1. Keyword research and relevant content

Before we improve the content of your webshop, it’s time for a keyword analysis. Use tools like “Google Keyword Planner” to find the most relevant search terms with the highest possible average monthly searches. Now search for the terms with the highest bid and the lowest competition score, those are the ideal keywords!

Try to focus on one search term per page. Process this in your “h1 tag” and ensure that your page content is in line with this search term.

 Find the right keywords

2. Optimize your meta title, description and url

The first thing any search engine looks at is your meta title and description. These tell users what your page is about and what they can expect if they click through to your site.

Now that you have determined your search term, it’s time to implement it in your meta title, description and url.

Try to keep your meta title to 50-60 characters and keep your description between 50-160 characters so users can read your full description before clicking through.

3. Disable default meta title and meta description

Magento 2 has a standard setting for meta descriptions and titles. If you don’t provide a title or description, they will be passed on to your page.

This means that when “crawlers” search your webshop, they will find the same title and description over and over again. This makes it more difficult to score well on search engines.

That’s why it’s important to turn the default settings off to prevent being punished for duplicate titles and descriptions. You can turn off your default meta title and description in the Magento 2 admin panel under: Content → Design → Configuration.

4. Optimizing your images and using lazy load

Now it’s time to deal with your loading times. One of the biggest culprits for your page loading time are images. There are two ways to improve your images: by converting then to the correct dimensions and by using a lazy load. For an optimal result, we suggest applying both.

The right dimension for the right image

It’s important that images are uploaded in the correct format and dimensions. For example images suitable for 4K (4096 x 2160) for which a width of 1920 is already sufficient.

Therefore, think carefully about how important your pictures are. Product images can convince your customers and must therefore look incredible.

An image on a privacy policy page, on the other hand? Well, who is going to look at a privacy policy page nowadays?

Your image format can also help you to store your images as optimally as possible. Try to save as many images as JPG / JPEG.

Add a lazy load to your pages

You can further improve loading times by using a lazy load. A lazy load ensures that your images are only loaded when they have to appear on the users screen.

Now, you don’t have to write a complicated lazy load script from scratch. There are plenty of free extensions on the Magento marketplace. Note that not every extension works equally well.

 Implement lazy load

5. Perfect your design for mobile users

50% of webshop traffic now comes from mobile users. That is why search engines penalize sites that offer poor viewing on mobile devices. Make sure that your webshop does not only look amazing on desktop, but also on mobile phones and tablets.

6. Focus on user experience

Clear, user-friendly sites are rewarded by search engines. In previous steps we optimized the content, ensuring good readability. Now make sure that this content is clarified by images (and is also clear on mobile devices). It’s also important that your CTA’s (call to actions) catch the eye. This isn’t that important for SEO, but it is for your conversions!

To check whether you offer an optimal user experience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my page or product useful for the user?
  • Is my page or product reliable? (for example, can they or post see reviews?)
  • Does my passion and enthusiasm for my products reach the user?
  • Do I state the values of my products? What benefits does the user get from buying my products?
  • Are my products easy to purchase?

 Focus on user experience

7. Generating and editing sitemaps

At this point you have thoroughly improved the SEO of your webshop. The next step is to let search engines know about these improved pages. This can be done by creating a sitemap of all the pages that you want indexed.

You can create and adjust your sitemap in your Magento 2 admin panel under: Marketing → SEO & Search → Sitemap.

8. Exclude unwanted pages in your robot.txt file

In your robot.txt file you list the pages that you don’t want to show to search engines because these aren’t relevant for users to click to. For example because you have no permissions on them. We recommend you put all your checkout and user pages in your robot.txt file.

You can configure your robot.txt file in the Magento 2 admin panel under: Content → Configuration → Global → edit → Search Engine Robots.

 

9. Canonicals to avoid duplicate content

Something you can get severly punished for is duplicate content. For example, in Magento 2 you can have products that fit into different categories. This creates multiple pages for the same product (with a different link). To avoid search engines seeing both pages, you can use a canonical link.

With a canonical link, you tell search engines the link of the original page. You link to the most comprehensive, most relevant page.

Are your pages exactly the same and you don’t know which one to choose? Then it doesn’t matter which page you refer to, as long as you pick one!

You place a canonical link in your html head. It should look like this: "<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/page.php" />".

10. Page loading times

We have optimized the content, told search engines what pages should be found and which should not. The final step is to improve your page’s loading time.

We already did image optimizing in step 4, but there are many other things to take in account.

Before you handle loading times, it’s best to take a look at “Google PageSpeeds Insights”. This tool tells you how you can further improve your loading times on mobile and desktop.

Pay special attention to code optimization, your Magento store configuration, your fonts, your hosting provider and server configuration. Want to learn more about optimizing loading times? Read: Magento 2 speed optimization: how and why!

 

 

 

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Stijn de Ridder Backend Developer

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