Common SEO Problems in Magento

Common SEO Problems in Magento

Good SEO for your e-commerce store is vital. Here at Elementary Digital, I often get approached and asked how companies can go about improving their visibility online to try and boost sales and my answer is always ‘improve your site’s SEO’.

One of the biggest culprits when it comes to Magento SEO issues is duplicate content. Internal duplicate content can happen completely by accident, but if Google spots that you’ve got duplicated copy, not being aware isn’t a good enough excuse. I’m only going to look at four offenders today, but watch out; it could be a big problem on your site.

  1. Layered Navigation

By default, Magento creates dynamic pages on the category and sub-category pages if you use a certain attribute to filter a page of products, let’s say if you filter by price.

This reorders the products into the way that a customer wishes to view the page. There’s no new content created. However, Magento will create a new URL with a query string parameter at the end.

Google shouldn’t be indexing these filter pages as they are, in essence, duplicating content. To prevent this, I suggest that you set up canonical URLs. Creare do a great SEO extension which can do this.

  1. Product Page URL Configuration

Magento configures its product pages thusly:

www.example.com/category/product

but also like this:

www.example.com/product

This is the top level product URL. It’s also annoying because it means that there is content duplicated on both pages. To fix this, you can launch your site with only top level product URLs. Fix this by going to System > Configuration > Catalogue > Search Engine Optimisations > and clicking No in Use Categories Path for Product URLs.

The Creare SEO extension can also handle this adeptly by creating a 301 redirect.

  1. Duplicated Product Page Content

Anyone who works in e-commerce will tell you about the sheer tedium that is ensuring that product descriptions are original. While it is exceptionally time consuming to write original descriptions, you must not succumb to the urge to copy and paste as it will have a severely negative impact on your SEO score. Your product pages will be 90% of your website’s indexed pages. You cannot have duplicate content on them.

  1. Unique Product URL Rewrites

Magento has its flaws as well as its benefits. One flaw is the habit that it has of adding numbers to the end of a URL if you don’t designate a unique URL key. So instead of:

www.example.com/product

you end up with:

www.example.com/product-1234

when you create a similar product to differentiate it from the original. However, this is just a duplicate page of content.

Using the Duplicate function will do this if you don’t amend the URL key when you do it. Another way it can happen is when a CSV product upload is done and original content isn’t included. You may have to work through them manually to fix them as well.

These are just some of the duplicate content issues you may face with your e-commerce store. Have a look over your Magento site and see if you can erase any duplicate content as soon as possible.

Author Gyles Seward

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