More than 90% of online activities start with the simple process of search. This fact alone highlights the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for any typical website, more so for an e-commerce one. If you want people to organically come to your website when they are searching for certain products, it’s important to ensure that the product pages of your e-commerce website are SEO optimized. SEO helps in bringing traffic to the website, and it’s a no-brainer, when your website gets good traffic, it’s going to make money.
While it’s possible to make your e-commerce website optimized for SEO by many means, what’s great about Magento 2, is that the platform offers several SEO friendly features right out of the box. You’ll still have to work upon offsite SEO on your own, like creating backlinks, but Magento 2 takes more than enough care to ensure that at least your onsite SEO is up to par. The default SEO capabilities of Magento 2 are quite significant and helpful in creating a website that’s inherently ready to pull in organic traffic, keep the traffic interested, and drive them to make a purchase.
Here is an overview of SEO enhancements in Magento 2:
Page Loading Time is Much Faster
It’s not just the users who love a fast website, search engines love it too! The website loading speed is a critical ranking factor for most of the search engines. Magento 2 has done a great job in improving the website performance, a big improvement over its predecessor. It is estimated that Magento 2 can offer up to 50% faster web page loading as compared to Magento 1, for both checkout and catalog pages.
Built-in, full page caching and native support for Varnish cache are just some of the additional features of the platform that can help take the website speed up a notch. From SEO perspective, this improvement in website performance is more than welcome.
Product Pages are Furthermore Optimized
Yes, it’s true that Magento 1.x product pages are already optimized, but Magento 2 goes further with optimization. Meta tag settings for elements like Title, Keywords, and Description haven’t changed in Magento 2. Even the URL key settings for canonical tags for products, store views, and categories paths remain the same. You can still create canonical product metadata and set up SEO optimized product URLs by using category paths.
However, there is an addition of a new functionality called “Product Fields Auto-Generation Template”. Accessible to admins from Stores > Configuration > Catalog, this feature allows defining and keeping track of product meta tags together with predefined product attributes and templates. For any product page, metatext and H1 tag are vital SEO elements. With the help of the newly added feature, it’s possible to set up templates for products metadata.
If you have a large number of products on your website, you’ll appreciate how much time this feature saves you in setting up the metadata. An important thing to note here is that the templates are applied on a global level. So if you wanted to customize the metadata for any product, you’d have to go to the respective product page settings to overwrite the metatext that was automatically applied via Product Fields Auto-Generation Template. Even though this feature does come with certain limitations, it’s nevertheless still a useful SEO tool.
Rich Snippets Have Been Introduced
This is touted as one of the best SEO improvements in Magento 2. This feature allows the merchants to easily showcase the structured markup data for their product pages within search engine results. The system enables this feature by default, meaning rich snippets are added to all the product pages by default. You won’t find any settings available for this in the system since nearly all important tags have already been included. Magento 2 does all the work for merchants when it comes to rich snippets.
Offering more useful information than the regular snippet, rich snippets help the person searching to better understand and assess the value of the web page. Websites with rich snippets stand out clearly from the ones which don’t have them. Impressive information can encourage the searcher to go ahead and click on the link to check the page out. Therefore, rich snippets play a crucial role in improving the click-through rate of the web page, which in turn improves the ranking of the page in search engine results. It’s plain to see how rich snippets can boost SEO for a website.
Schema.org Has Been Integrated
Schema markup is another important factor in the SEO optimization of a website. Recognized by prominent search engines like Google, Yandex, Yahoo, and Bing, schema markup is information, that when added to the website, allows the search engines to parse and comprehend what the website is about more efficiently. Having schema integrated with the website enables the search engine to return better search results for the user’s query.
Schema.org comes integrated with the default template of Magento 2, with the purpose of setting up an extensive vocabulary for completing metadata and product page content. This integration can assist significantly in improving the website ranking in search engine results.
Robots.txt File Is Now Customizable
Robots.txt file is crucial for search engines, it contains instructions for the crawler bots telling them how to index a website. The fact that this important file is editable and customizable in Magento 2 is a big plus for the platform. Available in admin panel as follows, Store > Configuration > General > Design > Search Engine Robots, the robots.txt file can be edited by the user to add any custom instructions to the file.
Admin users have 4 options to select from in Default Robots:
The default setting is INDEX, FOLLOW which asks web crawlers to index the website in search engine database and to also check back later for any modifications. This setting is correct if your e-commerce website is all ready and available for the general public. But in case there’s still some work being done on your website, either development and testing related work or setting up of products, you can prevent the search engine from indexing your website by changing the setting to NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW. You can later change back this setting to INDEX, FOLLOW when your store is ready to sell.
XML Sitemap is Highly Enhanced
XML Sitemap has gone under great, positive changes in Magento 2. It’s possible to add XML Sitemap automatically to robots.txt file. The frequency and priority for page types like categories, products, CMS, etc. can be defined individually. XML files are easier to split; simply by adding images, using the sitemap index, and specifying the parameters.
Magento 2 definitely offers some interesting features to make a website more SEO-friendly by taking subtle to more explicit SEO factors into account.