[How to] Magento SEO tips and tricks 2014 part 2

SEO optimization.. The most important part for the success of an web store – Recently we post an article titled Magento SEO tips and tricks 2014  and here we are back again with a new episode of Magento Seo tips and tricks. On the first post we focus on Magento content seo , so now we will take a closer look at themes. Now you may asking why and how  Magento themes can for sure influence any search engine optimization ? The answer is Yes, certainly. Because… having an good optimized theme is just as important as some of the other stuff we wrote about. So let’s go..
#1 The Blank theme

Actually, will have to be honest All the credits for the work already done have to go to Joost de Valk for instance, our Dutch collegue and WordPress and Seo guru. So Joost developed a blank theme, that incorporates already a lot of the tips mentioned below. If you’re starting your theme from scratch, try his blank theme to have a kick start for your search engine optimization.

But what happens If you already have a theme. Please give more attention at the topics below and check how your theme is performing. You can use a free tool like the Developer toolbar for firefox or the well known extension Firebug If you don’t have the knowledge to judge your theme on these points. It will easily give you more information on the structure your theme is using.

Some of the highlights of the blank theme, that all themes should respect:

  •     On a category page, the category name should be a <h1>, where the product names should be in a <h3>.
  •     On a product detail page, the name of the product should be a <h1>
  •     Use clean code. No CSS and javascript in your template files, these should al be stored in external files.
  •     Do not use <h4> or even higher heading tags in your sidebar. It isn’t necessary, or only in case it is using relevant keywords.

Please note that nowadays also speed is getting more and more important and it’s wise to keep this in mind when developing a new theme. We’ll talk about Magento performance imoprovement in a future post by the way.

#2 Duplicate content

For sure the next thing you have to fix is the well-known duplicate content issue.  What is duplicate content? Well short answer is : Duplicate content  means that you have two ore more urls pointing to exactly same page or you have two pages with same or 90% similar content. The sorting options and layered navigation of Magento even make this worse. But basically we’re talking for example about domainname.com/product1.html and domainname.com/categoryname/product1.html

Yoast – again – created a Magento extension that makes sure that your Magento store will support the so-called canonical url’s. Using this method you can make sure that the correct unique url is known in the search engines. Other – duplicate urls will no longer be a problem. However, it seems that the extension might give problems in some of the Mage 1.4.x versions. Be warned not to immediately install this in a live environment (but actually I expect you to never install an extension directly in a live environment). I’m not sure if this extension still gives you benefits in the new 1.5 version. Magento has some built in support for the canonical url’s since version 1.4. You can find it in your Magento backend: System=>Configuration=>Catalog=>Catalog=>Search Engine Optimization. Enable: Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories and Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products.

#3 Mangento seo canonical url settings

Recently Google wrote an interesting article to explain the concept themeselves. So if you want to read more about it would be good idea to search for it.

Conlclusion: we’re dealing with a blank theme and extension that don’t seem to support the latest Magento release anymore. Hopefully Yoast will spend some time on it or somebody else will pickup the project an renew it. If you’re using the latest Magento version it seems better to just stick to the standard and verify your theme based on the tips mentioned above. Of course the developers can still have a look at the structure of the blank theme and take advantage of it.

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