When developing an effective eCommerce website, SEO should always be one of your top priorities. When it comes to Magento SEO in particular, you need to be aware of how you can customize the user experience in order to both rank higher and increase conversions. By implementing specific SEO best practices, you can ensure that your website performs well and that your business grows accordingly.
Magento as an eCommerce platform provides ample speed, customization options, and a variety of built-in features that go a long way toward improving the overall functionality of your online store. However, there is no quick fix or substitute for SEO, which is why it’s crucial that you perform a comprehensive audit on your website and take stock of what needs to be done in order to optimize it for the search engines. Magento SEO, when properly implemented, can give your business the edge it needs to succeed.
While there are many facets to SEO and it only gets more complicated with every passing year, there are a few core principles that remain the same and are a good foundation, to begin with, if you are curious as to what you need to tackle first. Remember, your site should be designed with the user in mind. This alone is one of the most important aspects of SEO that goes far beyond simple concepts such as title tags and meta descriptions.
The user should not have any problem finding what they need on your website and should feel safe and secure when making a purchase. Keeping the user’s needs in mind when crafting your eCommerce website is becoming more important as the requirements for ranking shift in this direction. Google is emphasizing that user experience and highly authoritative content is a massive ranking factor, so use that point as a guiding metric in your SEO endeavors.
Keyword Research is Critical
When beginning any SEO campaign, whether for eCommerce or otherwise, you need to perform extensive keyword research. Understanding what keywords you rank for, and which ones you would like to rank for, is the backbone of SEO.
You want to be thorough here. Your keyword research should cover general terms in your industry as well as precise long-tail keywords and product-based keywords that you want to go after. Certain keywords are harder to rank for than others based on a variety of conditions, such as the size of your niche, your direct competitors, and how well their SEO is optimized, and how much authority your website has.
Magento can act as powerful leverage in this area because of how fast and powerful a platform it is. This is only a part of what it takes to rank well, however. You need to know how to research the proper keywords and utilize them properly in a variety of engaging content, such as product page copy, FAQs, and attention-grabbing blogs.
Focus on Optimizing Your Navigation
Navigation used to be an afterthought for most websites, but these days it is used not only to make it effortless for users to find what they are looking for, but also as a ranking factor for Google to pick up on. Properly constructed navigation can be a useful way to tell the crawlers where everything important on your site is located.
When it comes to eCommerce, you should strive to have a powerful mega-menu that displays hot products as well as your most popular categories. Magento gives you this ability, which is another major benefit of choosing such a powerful eCommerce platform. By focusing on your navigation, it shows the user that you are a professional business that values high-quality website functionality.
Make Your Product Pages Informative and Engaging
Always strive to make sure your product pages look incredible. Each one should act as its own sales page for the product in question. It’s not recommended to rely on basic product page templates to get the job done here. Not only does this look cheap and unprofessional, these often lack certain features that make them better for users and therefore for SEO.
Regardless of the overall template or design you choose for your product pages, it’s also essential that they provide plenty of information and can be relied upon to accurately display the product and describe its specifications. Even if your store has hundreds of products, each one should have a highly detailed and optimized description, as well as supporting media.
Pay Attention to Your URLs
One last essential point to consider for your Magento SEO is the use of attractive URLs with proper keywords that describe the product. Take note of your URLs and try to trim the fat by cutting out random numbers and letters, words like “and,” as well as superfluous data that is better left for the product description.
It can certainly be an undertaking to take care of all of the different aspects of SEO alone, which is why you should trust in a knowledgeable agency that can do all the work for you, leaving you to focus on your business. We here at Genius eCommerce know the Magento platform inside and out and develop an SEO strategy for your online store that will generate powerful results.
Magento is a powerful, open-source platform that can be used to build very successful eCommerce websites. It offers a lot of options for customizability to its users, but to get the most success from the platform, it requires an in-depth knowledge of how it operates. When you’re running a business online, you have plenty on your plate as it is. If you need to ramp up your traffic and get your website in front of the eyes of more customers, you might want to consider a Magento SEO campaign, and here are some very important things to consider.
Focus On Keywords And Key Phrases
There are so many different factors at play during a professionally crafted Magento SEO campaign that it can be very difficult to focus on just one. However, perhaps nothing is as important to the success of a campaign at the keyword research that precedes it and the keyword strategy that defines it. Almost all of the following advice we offer would be impossible to use or ineffective without a keyword strategy to guide it.
A keyword strategy will help define all of the content you produce, both in the form of short and long-form consumables as part of your marketing efforts and as descriptions on your pages, page titles and more.
A Magento SEO campaign will need to begin with keyword research to understand what words consumers are using in their searches and why; what information and content they find valuable; what sites get traffic, and what keywords they are using for success.
When you have identified a list of keywords and key phrases that you will use as the foundation of much of your search engine optimization initiatives you can then progress into content product and optimizing much of the rest of your Magento website.
Create An Optimized URL Structure
One of the most basic improvements you can make to your Magento website to increase its search engine optimization is to clean up the URL structure of your site. Once you have developed a keyword strategy, developing a simple and effective URL structure can become much easier.
In practice, a team of skilled developers and designers can take a look at the overall structure of your site and help you identify areas for improvement. Generally, optimized URLs contain the right mix of keywords that are relevant to the page itself and are as short as practical. Long URLs with lots of nonsense letters and numbers tend to generate their own issues. Where they can be avoided, they should be. There’s no sense in letting something as simple as a URL hurt your Magento SEO.
Creating an effective URL structure won’t just make it easier for search engine algorithms to recognize and rank your site, but they’ll offer value to visitors as well. A URL structure that contains basic information on the contents of the page will help search engines put those pages in front of the people searching for those words in the first place. The effect is twofold.
Use The Right Default Titles: Optimize Titles And Meta Descriptions
This is another really simple way that a Magento website can miss out on a lot of potential. When something as simple as meta tags for categories or something like a title tag is hurting the optimization of your website, it’s time to fix it.
As with URL optimization, optimizing your meta titles and meta descriptions starts with the foundation of a solid keyword strategy. With respect to your titles, they should be specific, make sense, be easy to read and be relevant to the page. They should also be short – in fact, they should be as short as is practical. This will once again prove value to the search engine evaluating it and any customers that happen to read it.
Focusing on and optimizing the meta descriptions of your pages provides plenty of opportunities to offer value to your potential customers and improve your click-through rate. Provide relevant information in the meta description for what is contained on the page into which you want the viewer to click through. It should be short, but it should also be enriched with keywords, provide some insight into the page and where possible include some sort of call to action or incentive. Once again, this is valuable to search engines that view it as well as any human eyes that read it. Don’t miss a chance to optimize these portions of your web pages.
Add A Blog Page To Your eCommerce Platform
Adding a blog page is an excellent way to provide value to your customers and to increase your Magento SEO. Make no mistake about it, if you don’t have a blog page to organize your written content and you aren’t regularly publishing, you are not giving it your all to drive visitors to your site.
As with the opportunities we’ve explored so far, regularly publishing a variety of content to a blog page on your website will offer value to visitors to your site as well as provide additional positive metrics by which search engines will rank it.
It is essential to provide written content intended for your visitors to consume for a variety of reasons. First, it gives visitors something to read that will provide relevant value and insight into the products or services you sell. The higher the quality of the content, the more likely you will be to have repeat visitors. Sessions on your pages will be longer as visitors consume your written content, which is another thing that search engines look out for and use to evaluate your site. In addition, high-quality valuable content is likely to be shared by readers, which will build backlinks to your site – another critically important process that will improve your SEO and alert search engines to your website as an authoritative source that customers trust.
Search engines will evaluate your site based on how customers interact with it, and if they are spending plenty of time reading what you have to say and sharing your links, they will rank you more highly. There are a few components to this, but the two most important are the subjective quality of the content from the perspective of a reader, and the objective value of your content based on its keyword density. Again, this goes back to the keyword strategy, but it also requires skilled and informative content production. That is another component of what goes into making a Magento SEO campaign effective.
Eliminate Duplicate Content
Speaking of creating a blog and regularly publishing high-quality content brings up the importance of eliminating duplicate content on your website. Duplicate content can take many forms and isn’t limited to anything in your blog posts, so it’s worth exploring what this means and why it’s important to get rid of it.
Duplicate content is just what it sounds like. Any content, in basically any form, that appears on your website and appears somewhere else in the exact same for. That means on and off your website. Allow us to explain.
First, you’ll want to eliminate duplicate content that appears on your website. It will make your site more navigable and won’t confuse search engines, or readers for that matter. You don’t want blog articles that say exactly the same thing, but you also don’t want to use the same image file multiple times or the same page titles, for that matter. It’s damaging to your user experience and your optimization.
But there’s more. It’s an unfortunately common practice for site operators to find information on other sites and publish it to their own, either because they appreciated the content or couldn’t come up with their own. Don’t ever do this. Not only is it plagiarism, but search engines will recognize it as duplicate content and will penalize your rankings as a result.
Along with the other benefits that an experienced team of technical experts can provide, they can make it easier for you to eliminate any duplicate content that exists on your site as well as providing you with fresh, engaging content to post.
Optimize The Internal Linking Structure Of Your Site
An optimized internal linking structure is not only critical to the manner in which visitors interact with your website and navigate it. It will also affect the rankings that search engines give to your website. Just like everything else investigated so far, the value of a well designed internal linking structure is multifaceted.
A well developed internal linking structure makes it easy for visitors to your site to find what they came for. Generally, it should only take a couple of clicks for visitors to find the product pages they came looking for in the first place. This is valuable because it will minimize the risk of users becoming frustrated or “lost” on your website. As we’ve explained previously, a website that is difficult to navigate offers a poor user experience and damages your chances at repeat visits – and your conversion rate.
At the same time that a well developed internal linking structure provides value to visitors, it also enables search engines to crawl your site structure more readily. The more logically your site progresses, the more highly search engines will rank your site. Therefore, by creating an optimized structure, you can generate higher organic traffic to your site, which has its own benefits.
External Link Building Is Important
While you don’t necessarily directly build external links, they are an important part of a Magento SEO campaign. External link building will start to develop naturally if your website offers fresh, original, informative and engaging content. As users interact with your site and consume your content, they will share it on social media or elsewhere. Any links they post that direct traffic back to your site are called backlinks and they are an invaluable resource for convincing search engines that your site is an authoritative source and most importantly, a source trusted by visitors.
Backlinks to your website are an invaluable component of an SEO campaign and are another indispensable in driving traffic to your site. Nothing says that your site is trustworthy like a reader who asks other readers to take a look at what they found on your site. Understandably, the quality of your content and the success of your content marketing will have a great impact on the backlinks you are able to generate, so that is just another way that all of these components of a Magento SEO campaign are intertwined.
Optimize Your Site For Speed
Here’s another component of an SEO campaign that sometimes takes an unfortunate backseat. Your website should be optimized for speed. As with some of the other considerations to account for during an SEO campaign, a site optimized for speed will have a few effects on the success of the initiative.
The first is that the process of optimizing your site for speed will have a positive effect on the structure of your site and eliminate any fluff that might be present on your website. Streamlining your site design for speed will make it easier for search engines to crawl your pages and analyze the navigational flow and hierarchy of your web store. The first effect here is that it will make it much easier for search engines to recognize your site as a trustworthy source and afford it the rankings you want.
The second effect that will result from optimizing your website to make it faster is that you will improve your user experience significantly. All of the changes you may have made to make your website faster will probably make it much easier for users to navigate your site and find what they were looking for. Even if the changes you made were invisible from a user level, the fact that your pages will load faster cannot be underscored enough. Most users will bounce off of a page if the load time is over three seconds. In other words, online shoppers have no tolerance for web pages that load too slowly. Optimize your site for speed and you can prevent these unfortunate circumstances.
It’s time for you to optimize your eCommerce store, and here’s why. With a free SEO audit by Genius eCommerce, you can see where your web store stands. If it’s healthy, you have nothing to lose. If you could make any improvement, any changes you make today to improve the visibility of your website online and increase its rankings will pay you back in the long term.
And not only can you get a free SEO audit from Genius eCommerce, but we can handle your entire SEO campaign as well. We have years of experience streamlining clients’ websites to help them generate more traffic and boost sales. There’s no need to wait – give us a call today at 888-982-8269 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Designing a new website for eCommerce can be confusing. There’s so much to consider in the design and development, especially when it impacts the future of your eCommerce business. As a Magento user, you want to make sure you get the most out of the platform you are choosing.
At Genius eCommerce, we are here to help. We know the ins and outs of Magento and how to use the platform. We also know how important it is to get the most out of the platform you are using for eCommerce and can help you do that with your Magento store. This is who we are and what we do!
Today we will review some tips and aspects to a design that are important to improving your Magento website.
Put Consideration in the Theme – Before you even get started with putting together the store, you want to make sure you are choosing the right theme. You will want to choose a theme by considering how much work is needed to customize it and what the cost will be. Your theme should fit your needs, be functional, be customizable, current, and responsive.
Use Your Theme’s Features – Once you choose your theme, you should get more informed on your theme so you can appropriately take advantage of the features that come with it. Knowing what options you have when it comes to the design can give you more freedom and flexibility in getting the most out of your theme.
Navigation – When it comes to designing a website on Magento, having crisp and clean navigation is essential. Your customers will want to be able to quickly find what they are looking for and browse between pages. Not only should the navigation from one page to another be easy, but you should also consider how your products are placed throughout the site and presented. The easier you can make it for your customers, the better.
Images – One of the best ways to make a design better is to add high-quality images that can draw customers in and get their attention. Don’t be cheap here. Not only do you want the images to be high in quality, but make them original and use photos of the actual product, not just stock photos. It gives your website more credibility when customers are able to see the product that you will be selling and shipping to them as opposed to a generic image of the product. It’s a professional look and feel that can take your website and put it over the top.
Now that you know about maximizing your design in Magento, start to put these tips into action. Did you find these tips helpful? Check out the Genius eCommerce blog for more tips, updates, trends and more in eCommerce.
Platform Review: Does my Enterprise Business Need Magento 2?
Big, tough Magento. Its reputation precedes it as the powerful platform that rewards merchants with a ton of technical knowledge, and harshly punishes merchants without it. And, for now, Magento can seemingly afford to be selective about the kind of merchants they cater to. According to Builtwith, of the top 100,000 eCommerce sites on the web, 25% of them are run on Magento. Their next closest competitor comes in at around half of that. Magento’s largest merchants are said to do about 1 billion dollars in sales online in a year.
Magento has always been somewhat opaque to eCommerce business owners not trained in the coding arts. Now, with Magento 2 having hit the scene somewhat recently, even some experienced developers are narrowing their eyes. I usually recommend Magento sparingly, but when you need it, you really need it. If a potential client were to come to me asking if Magento 2 is the right move, I’d look out for the following aspects of businesses that need Magento.
Important Note: Magento comes in three editions. Magento Community Edition, which is free, Magento Enterprise Edition, and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition. I’ve written this review focusing on Magento 2 Enterprise Edition, because that’s the one I’m most familiar with. Everytime I say Magento, assume that’s what I’m referring to, unless otherwise stated.
You Need Very Specific Customization or Functionality
This is the biggest reason for recommending Magento. Some merchants just have a set of unique requirements that no hosted platform, like BigCommerce or Shopify Plus, will be able to meet. Magento is self hosted. You host it, you secure it. They just provide you the CMS. As a self hosted solution Magento gives you, and your team, direct access to its infrastructure. You can do things on open source that hosted platforms can’t, because hosted platforms just can’t give that level of access.
Often, the need for something like this comes up in relation to a very specific product, or method of ordering, which is outside the norm for most eCommerce stores, but it can apply to almost any client requirement. If you want to build the fastest site in your industry, you can build a site that scores 100 on every speed test. If you want a detailed product customizer, your customer can visualize their bespoke order down to the tiniest accessory. If you can dream it, you can do it on a self hosted platform. With the right development resources, of course.
There are other options for self hosted if your requirements aren’t compatible with a hosted solution. Opencart is one many people use, but if you’re already going to spring for champagne, you might as well get the good stuff. If you need open source, because of functionality requirements, you should be looking at Magento.
You Have Development Resources on Staff
The flip side of that endless customization, is the fact that Magento is not easy to make updates and changes too. While the hosted platforms sacrifice some level of customizability for greater accessibility, Magento does the opposite. That means you’ll be responsible for things like load testing your servers, making sure your security patches are up to date, and almost any changes you make to the site will need to be made through code. If you don’t have a developer on staff, and you’re not technical, Magento will be outside of your wheelhouse.
Of course, you can hire a digital agency to be your support and maintenance partners. They can take care of the pre-planned stuff, like scheduled updates and layout changes. But this is still only a stop-gap solution. What if something breaks over the weekend? In the end it’s better to have a Magento developer on staff if you’re going with Magento.
You Can Afford to Pay More for More Features
Magento has one of the most extensive lists of features of any eCommerce platform on the market. To try to go through them all would be too much. Magento shines in customer segmentation, attribute management and sales promotions, just to name a few. Suffice it to say that this features list is the reason Magento’s rates are high, and why most of their customers are large companies. Magento’s license, which ranges between 22K and 75K, is a one time fee each year. To find out where your company will fall in that range you’ll have to contact Magento. Broken down, the cheapest license is in line with the rates for Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise month to month, but anything beyond that certainly puts Magento in a more expensive category. Not only that, but there are hosting fees and the aforementioned developer’s salary to think about as well.
If the feature you need isn’t on that features list already, chances are good someone has built a plugin. Magento has an incredibly wide array of modules and plugins available from the Magento marketplace. Because Magento is an open source system, it’s much easier for developers to create even the most niche plugins. This open source ecosystem means it’s very likely the Magento Marketplace will have an integration available for the 3rd party system you happen to use. That saves you time and money on developing something custom.
You Have a Vision for Custom Design
Magento does not offer any templates for Magento 2, which isn’t as big a deal as it sounds. After all, if you’re going to shell out the money to build and maintain a Magento site, you probably have the budget to get something custom designed as well. The custom design tools on Magento are incredibly flexible, if you know how to use them. If you need Magento purely for the functionality, and don’t care how your site looks, just know that Magento itself isn’t going to offer you a cheap option when it comes to design. However, there are plenty of third party companies, like Theme Forest, which offer templates compatible with Magento 2.
Magento is not for the faint of heart (or the shoestring of budget). But if you’ve recognized your company in any of the above sections, it may be well-worth the investment. A move to Magento is a serious conversation that you should have with an eCommerce professional, however there are a few ways to dip your toe in the water. As I said in the beginning of this review, Magento Community is free to use. Why not start by building a small store there to see if the platform works well with your eCommerce team? You can always move onto Enterprise later. Much more info can be found on the Magento community forums. If you’re an established business, with unique requirements, and a good base of technical knowledge on your team, you should have Magento 2 on your short list.
Comparing the Customer Experience of the Top eCommerce Platforms: Magento vs BigCommerce vs Volusion vs Shopify vs Opencart
Which One is Right For Your Company: Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, OpenCart?
As the number of eCommerce businesses continues to multiply, so does the number of platforms offering sales solutions. Even for businesses that have utilized one eCommerce platform or another in the past, sorting through the latest options and technological improvements can be overwhelming.
One of the most important considerations is the end user experience. It is crucial for an eCommerce platform to be a successful software solution for your business. To assist with your evaluation of the top eCommerce platforms available today, we provide an in-depth guide on how Magento, BigCommerce, Volusion, Shopify, and Opencart provide the customer experience, and how this could impact your success.
What Matters to Your Customers
Turning browsing into sales is one of the backbones of any successful business, but compared to a brick and mortar store, the customer experienced with eCommerce is radically different. This changes customer expectations, needs, and wants in ways that must be carefully considered and addressed by a good eCommerce business.
When shopping online customers say they want organization, a design that reflects the products, and an intuitive purchasing process. A platform that allows your business to interact with customers in a manner that fits these needs is essential. So, how do the top platforms stack up?
Diversity of Design Options
For any eCommerce business, the best marketing material is a great website. In many ways your website will formulate the cornerstone of branding and identity for the entire business. Your website is your store, and it should be given the same attention and thought as any physical space.
The content management systems of some top eCommerce platforms are thankfully straightforward. Opencart is focused on simplifying the design process. There is a small library of themes to choose from and certain customizations for branding and creating feel. When you look at Opencart vs Magento or BigCommerce, it is apparent that there is a big gap between capabilities for designing your unique site.
Shopify and BigCommerce are the two major players in terms of customization. Both platforms allow users to develop a unique design through built-in software. There are options to customize the layout, heading, color scheme, text, and typography. Shopify’s approach is similar to website development softwares, such as WordPress. There are a large range of themes, which means a new business could develop a layout and look that is different from competitors. However, Shopify focused on making the front-end development simple for users, which places some limits on customization.
In contrast, BigCommerce can be more cumbersome to learn and manage, but the range of options is greater. This eCommerce platform gives businesses a lot of control over the ultimate website. Volusion, on the other hand, relies heavily on its library of themes, rather than individual changes to coding, to please users and end users. The goal of this extensive library is to provide a theme for any type of online vendor.
Payment and Checkout Process
There is nothing worse for a seller than when a customer decides to make a purchase, but is overwhelmed or frustrated by the checkout process. Therefore, ensuring the eCommerce platform you choose has the right payment gateways is essential to converting sales. Perhaps the most important aspect is offering credit card capability and PayPal, which all of the top eCommerce platforms are now able to do.
BigCommerce is integrated with a number of the largest payment gateways. Through this platform you can offer your customers the option of Paypal, Orbital Payment Gateway by Chase Paymentech, Worldpay, Braintree, Stripe, Authorize.Net. This is one of the more extensive integration possibilities. Shopify vs Magento reveals that these platforms offer a similar number of payment gateways, which translates to a similar number of payment option.
Volusion and Opencart are not without options. Volusion provides the option of Authorize.Net, Paypal, and Amazon Payments, among others. The ability to integrate with Amazon Payments can be particularly valuable, because other big players, Shopify and BigCommerce, do not have this capability. Lastly, spent a lot of time evaluating hosted and non-hosted payment gateways, fee structures, and security of payment gateways in order to provide a robust offering to users (and ultimately end users).
Shopping from Anywhere
One of the biggest changes in eCommerce in recent years is the number of end users who are initiating and finalizing purchases through their smartphones or tablets. An eCommerce platform needs to provide a fully responsive, such that customers are just as enticed by the layout, design, and branding on a phone, as on a laptop.
Shopify is among the most well known eCommerce platforms, but Magento has become the most widely used. This is due in part to its ability to translate your website from computer screen to phone screen. The company spent significant time on mobile-friendly SEO and creating designs that will translate on any device. When it comes to Magento vs Shopify, in terms of responsive design, Magento with its attention to detail is the clear winner.
However, another important comparison is between Magento, BigCommerce, and Volusion. Both Magento and BigCommerce are clearly designed for more complex vendors, as noted by the additional options and number of responsive designs. Volusion offers far fewer fully responsive themes, which can be a detriment for certain vendors, but for new businesses or those appealing to an older customer base it might not matter.
The Best Platform for End Users?
Ultimately, the best platform for end users is a business specific decision. There is not a single platform that does everything perfectly, and what works for one fashion boutique may be a hinderance for another. For instance, one business may be heavily invested in the customization of their website and branding, while another business finds that a more simplistic layout and design adequately reflects the vendor and leads to more sales. Yet, when you keep your target end user in mind, you are likely to land on an eCommerce platform that will help you meet new sales goals.
What eCommerce platform do you think best provides the best options for keeping your customers engaged and turning sales? Let us know in the comments!