Magento ECommerce: A Short SEO Review

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From last one week I was trying hard to learn Magento – an ecommerce platform for shopping cart websites. Not the development side but how flexible it with respect to SEO. They got a forum but at this stage there is not much under the search engine optimization section.

Lot of developers support Magento as it allows more flexibility and clean code compared to any other ecommerce platforms. No wonder we see hundreds of websites already been developed and gone live, within just 6 Months Magento get launched.

From the features page, these are the SEO advantages they offer:

  • 100% Search Engine Friendly
  • Google Site Map
  • URL Rewrites give full control of URL’s
  • Meta-information for products and categories
  • Auto-generated Site Map for display on site
  • Auto-Generated Popular Search Terms Page

I don’t think the system is 100% search engine friendly as I could see one major issue exists in the form of duplicate content threat.

This is common in shopping cart websites. When we have same products listed under multiple categories that will result in multiple pages with same product description. In the page Google addressing ‘duplicate content’ issue, they have mentioned such duplication as non-malicious. But that doesn’t mean that having them will not affect your search engines rankings.

In Magento this actually occurs when we have “Use categories path for product URLs” option as “On” under System>>Configuration>>Catalog>>Search Engine Optimizations. Suppose I have a product listed inside three different categories, the Magento system will generate four pages with the same Product details.

  • /product.html
  • /category1/product.html
  • /category2/product.html
  • /category3/product.html

Think about a situation where a website has more than hundred products and at least a 20% of them are assigned under more than one category.

What will happen if we turn off that category path URL option?
This will ensure all the product pages will be shown independently instead of showing under a category folder. But this can highly affect user experience, difficulty in recognizing which product under which category. It will mess up the breadcrumbs. Also we will be losing an opportunity to make use of category name keywords in URLs.

But I can see some websites already have tried that.

A Word from the Author:
Right now I am thinking about another solution. How to ensure unique content is these affected URLs. Including Different TITLE + Meta Description + Headings + Random related products + Dynamically include Category names in the product description + different left navigation for each category ect. Won’t it reduce the duplicaton threat. If yes, that will get me a golden opportunity of having a great number of pages and chances for targeting more relevant keywords. I will surely update you if I succeed in that.

7 thoughts on “Magento ECommerce: A Short SEO Review

  1. I give you 2 small tutorials in your magento website.
    1 : ADD the menu:

    admin>catalog>manage categories>

    name: example
    parent category: default category
    active : yes

    2: Change : default welcome Message (right header)

    admin> system> configuration> design> header

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  3. Great post. Blogs are a very natural way to attract links. I’d love to see a post on how to get your company to blog. Particularly if you are dealing with a large, conservative company.

  4. Great SEO resource.  Good Job, definitly a fan and will read more from your posts and from the other seo’s. Thanks for the great dicsussion

  5. I had a long existing webiste on a highly modified OSCommerse and use google analytics. After I switched to magento I saw a significant drop in organic traffic. Like in the neighborhood of 25% or more drop. Very bad. Only a few of our products though are in multiple categories- so I don’t think that’s the issue. I welcome any input/help.

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  7. Pingback: Use Categories in Product URLs for Magento SEO without Duplicate Content « Mike Smullin

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