Ecommerce Search Marketing on the Magento Platform
Magento is a powerful software solution that provides unprecedented look feel and functionality at a very low cost. This platform can be extended to aid Search Engine Optimization. Much of the functionality is built in, some functions need to be augmented by plugins. To fully utilize your Magento store, you need search rankings that match your new beautiful website.
Ecommerce websites in general and Magento specifically fall into several SEO traps that can be overcome with a professional SEO company. Some problems to look out for are issues relating to duplicate content.
You have probably heard about google’s panda update. This update was also called the farmer update because it was directed towards content farms, or websites that practiced scraping of content from other websites and republishing the content on their own website for purposes of gaining search rank. The panda algorithm works by looking for duplicate content and penalizing sites with “lite” or “duplicate content”. For ecommerce websites that depend on template product display pages and often very light or manufacturers descriptions, this meant the panda update also affected their ability to rank.
The solution for ecommerce websites is eliminating duplicate content and adding more unique content into their website. For magento websites this has several implications.
Removing Duplicate Content
By default Magento makes several mistakes that allow Google to think that it has duplicate content within its own website. For example, if you track the number of pages google has indexed in your site, you may see 10,000 products indexed when you in fact only have 2000 or so products. What is happening is google is indexing your products more than once. This makes google think you have duplicate content and you are assessed a penalty. The solution is a relatively straightforward implementation of Magento best practices that eliminate the ability of search engines to index your pages more than once.
Ad more Content
The next step is adding more rich content. Sometimes this can be done by adding a blog to the website and writing lots of content for google to index. This good content balances out the thin content on product pages giving your site more credibility in the search engines eyes.
Build out your category pages
The default option for category pages limits the content to a few hundred words at the top of the page. To provide more content, it is recommended to modify your category template to accommodate more additional content.
Add unique descriptions to your products
Products pages are often light on content. It is important to write unique descriptions that are as long as possible. This unique content will pay off as google will choose your products over other products when returning search results.
Push your product reviews
Customer generated content is the best way to improve the content on your site. Consumers value the opinions of other consumers more than advertising and trust these opinions when making a purchasing decision. Consider modifying your product reviews code to allow for more extensive reviews or star type review system. Most importantly, promote your product reviews. Having the review option on the website is not enough. Email your customers after they have received the product and ask for their review. This improves your customer service and your search results by having your customers write your content for you.
The google shopping service is becoming more and more important to ecommerce search marketing. Getting your products onto google shopping and in the top results is becoming more and more difficult. The first step is uploading your products to the service and keeping them fresh. Magento users may have noticed the changes to the google api included in magento’s software has changed and may not be working properly. Currently as this article was written, the base functionality of Magento’s google shopping api is not suitable to properly provide your data to the service.
Consider alternatives to Magento API. Services such as godatafeeds integrate with Magento’s backend and provide a good interface to update your products once the data is standardized. That brings us to the next point data standardization is the most important factor to your ratings. Google is stringently enforcing their policy of data integrity. Many fields pertaining to SKU, Brand, Color, category and more need to be properly cleaned before submition. The last point is reviews. Stores with the most reviews are rank before stores with less reviews. So an important SEO strategy for improving shopping results is to push these independent store reviews.