Why did you start a Magento store? I’m assuming to sell your awesome products online! However, in order to sell your products, you need people to find your products (and your store) first. This can be a daunting task as bringing awareness to your products and your store can be done in a myriad of ways. From email marketing to social, retargeting and much much MUCH more, the ways in which to market your store and the products you sell are endless. For the purposes of this post, we are focusing strictly on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is why we reached out to a Magento SEO expert for some tips, tactics and advice.
Here are Rand Marketing’s top 10 SEO tips for your Magento store that are sure to enhance your site visibility, and in turn, help you increase sales in 2015:
1. Do your Homework
Research keywords, competitors and other key data to help set goals that you want to achieve. Until you know what keywords you want to optimize for, trying to conduct an SEO campaign is near impossible. It’s good to pick a mix of “low hanging fruit” – keywords that you should be able to get ranked for more quickly and easily, as well as some heavier hitters that you still have a good chance of optimizing for with the resources you’ll be expending
2. Content is Key
Search engines are hungry for unique, high quality content to bring shoppers to. If you want your product page or category to come up higher in search engine rankings than pages belonging to your competitors, add some compelling content, which must include the keywords you want to rank for.
Much like a newspaper, wherein no two articles should have the same name, or be about the exact same thing, no two products should have identical product data. If a color, size, or other attribute is different, don’t be afraid to tag this product properly.
4. Use the Fields, Luke!
Magento has fields for CMS, Category and Product pages for basic Meta Information. This includes fields like Meta Keywords and Meta Descriptions. While you don’t want to overfill these fields, a little can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to consult experts if you need help getting into a groove with these.
5. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Give your photos proper names, such as your SKU number. Also give them Alternative (Alt) tags, which can help shoppers with visual impairments, as well as search engines who can’t otherwise interpret your images.
Sometimes you can’t tell the whole story with just your product pages and other basic information. To get in more keywords, and more chances for better rankings, expand your website by creating an on-site blog. With Magento, there are free plugins to install a blog right into your website. We like to use the Blog from Aheadworks, or use WordPress and connect it with the free extension from FishPig.
7. Give Them What They Want
There are technical things that search engines want you to provide, and want you to do. Make sure that you’re auto-generating new Sitemaps via Magento, and that they’re being submitted to the search engines. Fix any 404 errors with Re-directs. Clean up W3C errors. Speed up loading times for your site (customers will greatly appreciate this too!). Make sure that your domain isn’t about to expire, signaling that your site may not be around for much longer.
8. Backlinking Strategy
Ever meet someone with a great resume, but still want to check their references? Well, that’s exactly what search engines do. They may love your content, and your site, but they still want to know what kind of buzz there is for it. It’s important to build quality, relevant backlinks to your site at a healthy and natural pace. This can include getting links by publishing Press Releases, Articles, Off-site Blog Posts, Social Media Posts, as well as links from industry related sites willing to help you out. Keep in mind that reciprocal linking (you link to me, and I link back to you), is not nearly as valuable, unless the other party has a much more valuable website than yours.
9. Social Media
Don’t underestimate the power of Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and other social sites. It doesn’t matter if you use them in your personal life, or if you think that they’re great ideas. Much like backlinking, search engines take notice of buzz about you in the social sphere, and act accordingly. That doesn’t mean that you need to tweet what your staff had for lunch… but you may want to think about posting when you have new products, sales, and important happenings in the community (like a day of volunteering that your team got involved in). For those who really want to see ROI from social media, consider a more comprehensive strategy including contests, and spending a few bucks on ads to spread awareness to friends of your existing fans. And, by all means, give shoppers a way to Like, Tweet, and other post about each of your products. There are great extensions like AddShoppers and AddThis that can help.
10. Clean Up Your Mess
Done SEO in the past? Built un-natural / unhealthy backlinks? Made other mistakes? Don’t assume that by taking positive steps now that your past indiscretions will simply vanish. This is Google after all… they don’t forget much. On the other hand, they do provide a process for rehabilitation. IF you follow it to the “T”, you should be able to get rid of most of that dead-weight that you’ve been dragging along.