7 SEO Mistakes Magento 2 Site Owners Make and How to Fix Them

From time to time we have guest posts on the blog. Today’s post is from Konstantin Gerasimov at goivvy.com.

Magento 2 eCommerce platform is highly optimized for on-page SEO (search engine optimization). It has quite a few built-in features that could help you rank high in Google.

That being said, you as a site owner can still make simple mistakes that would keep your store from that first online search page you so desperately want to be on.

In today’s article I’ll talk about 7 of those mistakes. My knowledge comes strictly from my experience working as a Magento certified developer  for over 7 years.

7 SEO things most M2 owners do wrong:

  1. Not using a basic Full Page Cache warmer
  2. Canonical tags are off by default
  3. Slow pages
  4. Duplicate content (titles, h1) for category pages
  5. rel=nofollow for left side filter links (to make sure google crawls only important pages)
  6. Missing alt text
  7. 3XX redirects in a sitemap XML file

1. Not using a basic Full Page Cache warmer

Magento 2 comes with a Full Page Cache functionality to keep TTFB (time to first byte) relatively low (around 500ms).

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Full page cache system works in such a way that the first request for a page is slow, all the subsequent requests are fast.

That being said, a client could be that first person to request a page and to him/her your site would be really slow.

 

Full page cache warmer solves the first request problem – it warms all important pages automatically so that a customer always gets a fast  response.

The only problem – most M2 store owners don’t use any warmer at all.

Magento 2 doesn’t have a warmer built-in but you can get one from vendors for around $100.

Test run a warmer on a staging site first before putting it live as some of them might have performance issues.

2. Canonical Tags are Off

Canonical link meta tag helps prevent a ‘duplicate-content’ problem.

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Magento 2 comes with it turned off for both category and product pages – have a look at vendor/magento/module-catalog/etc/config.xml:

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If you don’t turn it on at Stores > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization you might get your site penalized by Google.

3. Slow Pages

Page load speed is an important ranking factor.

One of around 200 but still.

Site speed also has an effect on a conversion rate – no one likes slow stores.

Nevertheless, most Magento 2 sites I worked on had performance problems, some were just plain unresponsive.

In 80% of cases it came down to a poorly coded 3rd-party extension or full page cache functionality not working properly.

If you feel your site isn’t as fast as it could be – do a custom module audit and check full page cache settings to make sure it functions well.

4. Duplicate Content on Category Pages

When a category takes several pages it’s very important to make sure no content gets duplicated.

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I often see meta titles, h1 tags get duplicated across p1, p2, p3 etc pages.

If you want to display category description you might want to modify theme files for it to appear on the first page only.

The default Luma theme shows category description for all pages:

The first page:

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The second page:

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5. Absence of Rel=nofollow for Left Side Filter Links

Magento 2 layered navigation links (category page, on the left) come without rel=nofollow which means they will be crawled by Google.

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It is bad for SEO as it takes precious crawl attention away from important pages.

Google crawl time is limited and the bot might not have enough of it to visit all pages if it gets distracted by those filter pages.

Adding rel=nofollow to left hand links would be enough to fix that problem.

6. Missing Alt Text

Magento 2 doesn’t automatically add img alt text to all images you put up on the website.

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Alt text is important for google bot to understand what the image is about and rank it well.

It’s your job as an owner to make sure all images have that important tag filled.

Various online SEO audit services could help you spot empty tags and fix them.

7. 3XX Redirects in a Sitemap XML File

Redirects in a sitemap XML file can cause indexability issues.

It’s important to have only direct links in your Magento 2 sitemap.xml file.

How do you know it’s a direct one?

It will show HTTP code 200 in any site crawl software you might want to use (for example Screaming Frog).

Make sure all site links in your sitemap.xml return 200.

Takeaway

There are 7 things you can do to boost Magento 2 store SEO.

  1. Get a cache warmer
  2. Set canonical tags
  3. Speed up pages
  4. Fight duplicate content
  5. Add rel=nofollow to layered navigation links
  6. Fix image alt tags
  7. Clean sitemap.xml

Most site owners got them wrong that’s why you need to fix them to get ahead.

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About the author: Konstantin Gerasimov is a Magento certified developer with Goivvy.com. He specializes in speed optimization, migration and general Magento support.

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