Magento is a popular & complex e-commerce platform, SEO audit on a Magento website should be carefully done, we’ve picked up a random site which is built on Magento & WordPress and our audit found the following issues which are affecting it’s search engine page results
1. HTTP/HTTPS and WWW/NON-WWW Confusion
They ignore google’s recommendation to prefer a domain and protocol
See this image to get a clear understanding, google indexed both http and https protocol, www and non-www version of the domain
There are issues on the protocol of the WordPress section, HTTPS is extremely important for an e-commerce site, see what Google Chrome browser is saying about safe site visit.
It’s also important to check out this Google article Secure your site with HTTPS. On August 17th, 2017 skilled digital marketing consultant Glenn Gabe tweeted about a google search console warning about forms on non-secured websites.
2. Structured Data & Rich Snippets
Google suggests websites mark up their contents to better understand their context for display in search against relevant queries, sites can use different structured data types like breadcrumbs, sitelinks searchbox, e-commerce products, reviews, logo, corporate contacts, social media profile etc but our site used none, see screenshot of the structured data testing tool result.
Google has a search gallery which shows how structured data can produce rich results in Google Search which worth checking out.
3. Canonical Link Meta Tag for Categories & Products
Duplicate content is a massive problem for e-commerce site, Magento admin panel has useful features to tackle this, check out the search engine optimization section in this user documentation to read details.
Our site didn’t configure this feature that’s why both category and product URLs got indexed by google which are displaying the same contents
If possible consider not using category path in the product URL.
4. Magento Sitemap
Our site has multiple issues in its sitemap
i. The sitemap uses HTTP protocol, we know how aggressively google is moving towards HTTPS, our site is paying for HTTPS but not using it for search engine advantage which is sad and not acceptable
ii. It includes web pages with same contents which are diluting their search engine page results
iii. It has paginated content like this
They have a youtube channel with around 30 videos so video sitemap should be separately submitted. Video description should be more optimized for better ranking and google suggestions should be followed
It also important to check if the sitemap is already submitted to google search console and bing webmaster tools, and if they are already submitted is there any kind of warning displaying there? scroll down to the sitemap errors and fixes section to see details
This site has a section built in WordPress and the sitemap must be optimized there as well, it appears they are using Yoast sitemap but without any tweak and all URLs are HTTP there
We were not able to access their robots.txt file so there is no clue whether the sitemap.xml file is referenced from there or not.
There were instances where 301 redirected URLs were added to XML sitemap instead of the main URLs so that should be checked as well.
5. Page title and Meta Description
Existing meta title and meta description needs to be optimized, duplicate meta contents must be removed, screamingfrog SEO spider tool helped us get that information
Google is continuously changing their algorithm so we should always keep an eye on the ideal characters for page title and meta description, here is a useful post from Moz about page title.
6. Faceted URLs/Layered Navigation
It’s important for e-commerce websites to add different filters so that users can comfortably search products but it needs to be properly configured to avoid many combinations of URLs with duplicative content, it can be real messy for the search engine page results, see what google says about faceted navigation
Our site is poorly configured, both google and bing are indexing those faceted URLs creating duplicate contents, dividing impressions and clicks among duplicate instances of the same page which is upsetting
It also means there are issues with setting up rel=canonical element, they also didn’t use rel=”next” and rel=”prev”, here is an excellent blog post to set up those elements properly.
SEO spider tool screamingfrog allows users to easily crawl next/prev.
It’s also important to check out this google search console blog post where they said faceted navigation can negatively affect crawling and indexing.
7. Web page Speed
Maintaining excellent web page speed is vital to rank well, it’s a continuous process and the server & website needs to be well serviced to make sure that.
Our website’s speed needs to be improved
Part of our selected site is in WordPress and speed needs to be improved there as well, it’s a bit tricky when you have both Magento and WordPress, the server and both CMS platforms need to be tweaked & constantly maintained to improve page speed.
8. Google Analytics and Internal Site Search
Internal site search is a gold mine, it can help you understand user’s intent, what they are looking for, what kind of search terms they are using, Magento offers powerful features to capture search terms and manipulate the result, you can see details here
It’s usually easy to set up site search in google analytics, the metrics and dimensions google analytics use to provide internal site search data is excellent for deep analysis and drive conversions, popular SEO tool company Moz has a recent post on this topic which is excellent
We are not sure about the site which we picked for the audit but they should take advantage of this feature, the WordPress section should have a search bar as well to capture search terms.
9. Trailing Slash & Duplicate Magento Pages
If this issue is not properly taken care of it will pollute your search engine page results.
Our website is not configured to tackle this issue and their search result is suffering the duplicate content problem.
If this page is ranking for important keywords then the loss is significant as all clicks and impressions are being divided between 2 instances of the same page, here is a screenshot from google search console.
10. Magento URLs with SID and Duplicate Contents
SID is session id, it creates multiple instances of the same page and pollute search engine page results with duplicate contents, the reason must be found out and properly taken care of to cure and prevent SID from creating duplicate pages
Our site has this issue and immediate steps should be taken to stop it
There is an option in the admin panel but it doesn’t help always
Admin -> System -> Configuration -> Web -> Session Validation Settings -> Use SID on Frontend -> Choose No.
A log file analyzer is pretty handy to find out issues like that.
11. Google Analytics and AdWords Remarketing
Magento section is using old google analytics tracking code but WordPress section is using the universal analytics tracking code, it means our site is losing data in its Google analytics report, both sections should be using the latest universal google analytics code.
Magento section is now using Google AdWords remarketing but WordPress doesn’t, also both section should take advantage of the remarketing lists for search ads
To collect and analyze purchase and transaction data about products google analytics e-commerce settings should be enabled.
12. Citation & Testimonials
According to Moz there are citation issues with our site and the testimonial page needs to be well organized to easily collect reviews from Google my business, Facebook, Yelp etc popular companies
Rating & reviews schema tag should be used on popular products to make search engine page result attention-grabbing.
13. Social Media Profiles
Now social media accounts are opening in the same browser tab letting users exit the site unknowingly, social media profiles must open in a new browser tab. They must be marked up as well to appear on Google knowledge panel.
Both Magento & WordPress section should have the same number of social media profiles but now they don’t, it is also important to set up the profiles with proper description and image to rank well, regular social media presence is important as well for online marketing.
14. HTML Improvement, Image ALT & H1 Tags
There are issues with HTML coding, lots of images are not using ALT tag, H1 tag must be optimized to improve the search engine ranking and presence.
15. UX & Responsive Web Design
UX must be improved specifically the shopping cart and check out section to make the purchase process user-friendly and clear to the buyers.
Now that Google is going to start testing mobile first index it’s important to make sure the site is fully responsive, our site is responsive but many different pages still need to be improved.
to test responsive design and mobile web crawling
16. Duplicate Content
Siteliner tool was used to get a sense on duplicate content and it found a large number of duplicate contents.
17. Backlink Analysis
Here are a number of Magento SEO articles worth checking out as well
Magento (version 1 & 2 ) SEO documentation, resources & course ( skip google ads section )
Auditing e-commerce website is a time-consuming task, we are going to add more points to share with readers, if you have tips to share, questions to ask, please feel free and leave your comment down below.