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Magento SEO – On-Page SEO Tips for your Magento Store

Magento is probably the best open source platform for an online store. Its complexity is quite impressive and many people swear by it and for good reason. The Magento platform has gathered an enormous amount of fans in a relatively short time due to its flexibility, however many won’t tell you about the SEO problem that lies underneath it all. One disadvantage of the Magento platform is that it will consume a lot of your server’s resources. If you have a store with 100 – 200 products and forget to turn on caching, your web host might get a heart attack. When you’ve added a reasonable amount of products, the script starts to perform a bit slower, and the page loading time is terrible in some cases. This is not a good thing for your store’s SEO nor for your costumers, who might turn around and look elsewhere.

1x1.trans Magento SEO   On Page SEO Tips for your Magento Store

The default settings of the Magento store will take you nowhere fast, so make sure you follow this checklist after a new install, for on-page SEO optimization of your Magento store.

Magento SEO Tip #1: Enable Search Engine Friendly URLs

This one is a no-brainer and you probably would do it with any other e-commerce platform as well. Still, it’s easy to forget all about it and your store could get indexed with those ugly default URLs.

Log into your admin panel and head over to System -> Web -> Search Engine Optimization, look for Use Server Rewrites, select Yes and don’t forget to save the settings.

Magento SEO Tip #2: Install the Canonical URL Extension

The canonical tag is a relatively new thing in SEO and you probably could do without it in many cases. For Magento it’s imperative to use it though, because the script sets up the URL’s without a trailing slash. The Canonical URL Extension from Yoast is free to use and will let search engines know that the URL contains a trailing slash.

Magento SEO Tip #3: Install the Meta Robots Extension

This Magento Extension will allow you to add a NOINDEX tag on pages like the Account, Advanced Search or Shopping Cart. People usually use it for PageRank sculpting on their site and to disallow search engines from indexing pages with no useful content. The Meta Robots Extension from Yoast is free to use and install.

Magento SEO Tip #4:Redirect Multiple Homepage URLs

By default, a Magento installation will give you three versions of your homepage. That’s not OK for your store’s SEO, as it can lead to duplicate content issues down the road. You can carefully add three new lines of code to your .htaccess file to deal with this problem.

RedirectMatch 301 ^/home$ http://yourdomain.com/
RedirectMatch 301 ^/home/$ http://yourdomain.com/
RedirectMatch 301 ^/index.php/$ http://yourdomain.com/

This will redirect three versions of your homepage to a single location and you won’t waste any link juice.

Magento SEO Tip #5: Force trailing slash in URLs

Yoast’s Canonical URL extension will add the rel=”canonical” tag to the header of every page. That’s great, but we now need to make so that the URL in the canonical tag corresponds to the URL people access on your site. By adding a few lines to the .htaccess file we can force a trailing slash and set the main URL:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !.html
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !.xml
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !.txt
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !(.*)/$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yourdomain.com/$1/ [L,R=301]

Magento SEO Tip #6:Add a Google Sitemap

A Google Sitemap lets Google know about the URLs of your site and its imperative for your Magento store’s SEO that you take care of this aspect. You can go to Catalog -> Google Sitemap -> Add Sitemap and generate one.
Secondly, you should register for a Google Webmasters account and add your sitemap there. Don’t forget to mention your sitemap.xml address in the robots.txt file.

Magento SEO Tip #7:Setup a robots.txt file

The robots.txt file is an important one for your Magento store’s on-page search engine optimization. With it, you can let search engines know what you want and what you don’t want them to index on your site. Due to the complexity of the script, there are a number of directories and URL’s you won’t want to get crawled. Here’s what a Magento store’s robots.txt file should contain:

# $Id: robots.txt,v magento-specific 2010/28/01 18:24:19 goba Exp $
#
# robots.txt
#
# This file is to prevent the crawling and indexing of certain parts
# of your site by web crawlers and spiders run by sites like Yahoo!
# and Google. By telling these "robots" where not to go on your site,
# you save bandwidth and server resources.
#
# This file will be ignored unless it is at the root of your host:
# Used: http://example.com/robots.txt
# Ignored: http://example.com/site/robots.txt
#
# For more information about the robots.txt standard, see:
# http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/robots.html
#
# For syntax checking, see:
# http://www.sxw.org.uk/computing/robots/check.html

# Website Sitemap
Sitemap: http://www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml

# Crawlers Setup
User-agent: *
Crawl-delay: 10

# Allowable Index
Allow: /*?p=
Allow: /index.php/blog/
Allow: /catalog/seo_sitemap/category/
Allow:/catalogsearch/result/

# Directories
Disallow: /404/
Disallow: /app/
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /downloader/
Disallow: /includes/
Disallow: /js/
Disallow: /lib/
Disallow: /magento/
Disallow: /media/
Disallow: /pkginfo/
Disallow: /report/
Disallow: /skin/
Disallow: /stats/
Disallow: /var/

# Paths (clean URLs)
Disallow: /index.php/
Disallow: /catalog/product_compare/
Disallow: /catalog/category/view/
Disallow: /catalog/product/view/
Disallow: /catalogsearch/
Disallow: /checkout/
Disallow: /control/
Disallow: /contacts/
Disallow: /customer/
Disallow: /customize/
Disallow: /newsletter/
Disallow: /poll/
Disallow: /review/
Disallow: /sendfriend/
Disallow: /tag/
Disallow: /wishlist/

# Files
Disallow: /cron.php
Disallow: /cron.sh
Disallow: /error_log
Disallow: /install.php
Disallow: /LICENSE.html
Disallow: /LICENSE.txt
Disallow: /LICENSE_AFL.txt
Disallow: /STATUS.txt

# Paths (no clean URLs)
Disallow: /*.js$
Disallow: /*.css$
Disallow: /*.php$
Disallow: /*?p=*&
Disallow: /*?SID=

Magento SEO Tip #8: Turn On Caching

This is the most important one, I think. After you’ve made all the changes to your site, added all the Magento extensions and installed your theme you should always turn on the Magento Cache Engine. Make sure you don’t forget this step because you’ll most likely need to turn it off in developer’s mode. It won’t make much difference at first, but when you have 100-200 products populating your store it will be a resource killer and will eventually serious problems for your server.
Head over to System -> Cache Management -> select Enable from the drop-down menu on the right and click Submit.

Warning: Check your Magento version

You should always check that the extension you’re trying to install is compatible with the Magento version you’re using. Before you install any of the extensions above, make sure they are compatible with your Magento version.

These are a few basic tips you can use after you first set up a Magento store. It will only take 5 minutes to take care of them all and improve your on-page SEO for Magento. It will take you a lot more to write descriptions and keywords for each page of your site but it’s an important aspect as well and you should take care of it also for a successful on-page optimization.

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