Magento SEO Guide – Setup

Magento is an open source eCommerce platform that has had a meteoric rise in popularity since 2007. It is now one of the most popular and one of the best open source platforms available.

Magento Google InsightsGoogle Insights for the term “Magento”

Magento has been built as an SEO Friendly platform but still requires certain setup and configuration.

As a team of UK Magento Developers we have built and migrated dozens of clients eCommerce sites to Magento. Although as a platform it is SEO friendly there are still a few core setup issues that need changes in order to optimise your site for SEO:

This is our definitive guide to Magento SEO setup:

First despite Magento’s standard setup there are a few config issues that need to be set up correctly.

1. Change the Basic Magento HTML Header Settings.

Go to System > Configuration > Design > HTML Head

Here you need to change the Default Title field, whilst clearing the default description and default keywords fields. This default title will be used on all pages where there is no title, such as Contact forms.

2. Change URL Options

Go to System > Configuration > Web > URL Options

Change Auto Redirect to Base URL to Yes (301 Moved Permanently).

Magento installations are set up to use 302 redirect. 302 redirects are temporary redirects and do not pass link value. Therefore you need to change this to 301.

3. Ensure that the Search Engine Optimizisation settings are set up correctly.

Go to System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimizations:

For some reason Magento comes configured with:
Use Categories Path for Product URLs as Yes
THIS IS INCORRECT! always set this as
Use Categories Path for Product URLs as NO

(This would cause a ridiculous amount of duplicate content pages)

Other settings that it is advisable to amend are:
Category URL Suffix to /
Use Canonical Link Meta Tags For Categories to Yes

4. Set up RSS Feeds
RSS feeds for top level categories have a positive effect for SEO. For this reason it is worthwhile turning this simple setting on.

Go to System > Configuration > Catalog > RSS Feeds and Enable RSS and Enable for Top Level Category.

magento rss feed seo

5. Create a Sitemap:
Creating a sitemap in Magento is easy. Simply go to Catalog > Google Sitemap


Enter the above information and select Save & Generate. This should take you to another screen where you can simply press Generate.

Then you can test that your sitemap has been created by going to http://www.yoursite.co.uk/sitemap.xml. If you then see a sitemap there then you have succeeded.

6. Create Your Robots.txt file

Like most eCommerce platforms there can be issues with duplicate page content. Using your Robots.txt file to reduce duplicate content issues and block Search Engines from crawling these pages.

Depending on the size of your site it may be advisable to block crawlers from indexing sub category pages that are sorted or filtered.

Fortunately Magento uses a ? delimiter on all sorting options. So an easy way to reduce the duplicate pages causes by the Googlebot crawlingthis is to block /subcat/?*

(Warning: Be extremely careful when using robots.txt to block crawling, as mistakes to this section could potential remove you from Googles indexes.)

I have put together a default Robots.txt file below which you can amend as per you requirements.

magento seo default robots file

Once you have created this, simply upload it onto your site or via Google Webmaster Tools. Be sure to check that it doesn’t block key pages first using Goole Webmaster Tools : Under Health > Blocked URLS

Follow the above and your Magento site should be configured to current best practice!

For more information on using Magento and Magento SEO, please refer to our Magento Guides.

About BeetleJeremy

Spend most of my time working and researching SEO and have an interest in everything Digital. Particularly SEO, PPC and Digital Marketing. But have a particular penchant for doing Magento SEO within our Magento Development Company. Check out my Google + profile:
This entry was posted in Magento, Search Engine Optimisation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Magento SEO Guide – Setup

  1. Alice says:

    Nice blog Jeremy. This stuff was totally baffling to me when I built my first Magento site! It’s actually really helpful when people explain Magento things in plain English rather than confusing developer-speak.

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  3. dezinstand says:

    very nice magento seo guide….

  4. Jonas says:

    Nice!
    Every Magento owner should take a look at this.

  5. Yuvin Ghotra says:

    Thanks for all these seo tips. I have just implemented these tips on my magento store.

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