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Magento SEO Checklist

People have bid adieu to the traditional SEO and have decided to move on with a hybrid approach. This article gives you a sneak peek into the Magento SEO Checklist that will help you come up with a website that is not only a fully functional one but also an extravagant masterpiece you have designed.

There are chances that you may be overwhelmed by the simple fact that you are releasing your baby, your website, for the public at large.  But, in the process, you are overlooking a few steps that could be extremely crucial for the performance of your website.

Here is a checklist which will help you concentrate on all those parameters that you need to consider after the Magento site launch.  These steps will definitely guide you through all the various search engine optimization activities that you need to look into once the Magento website is launched.

  • Heading Tags:  Each and every page in the website should come in with an h1 tag that contains the main page heading.  It should also allow room to make any kinds of an edit at a later point in time.  The headings also should adhere to a specific hierarchical structure.  For instance, the main heading should have a single h1 tag, sub headings should have h2 tag wherever applicable and second level headings should have h3 tags.  The headings need to be applied for styling or navigation.
  • URLs:  It is better that the URLs are kept short and crisp and comprise of the most relevant keywords that are separated by hyphens.  The URLs need to be SEO friendly for each and every ecommerce store.  It has to be enabled as well as tested too.System –> Configuration –> Web –> Search Engine Optimization –> Use Web Server Rewrites –> “Yes”Secure base and unsecure base URLs:  You have to enter the appropriate HTTP as well as HTTPS path to one’s store.  There has to be an auto redirect to the base URL.  There should be no category paths in the product URLs.  The URLs should be in lowercase and also be stripped off from any kind of special characters.  There should be no extra query strings and paths in the URLs in case there is no change in the content.  Regardless of the navigation in the website, the URL should always remain consistent.  The query strings have to be consistently ordered while handling the faceted navigation parameters.
  • Title Tags:  The various page title tags have to be indexable, crawlable and editable pages.  Each page type should come in with a default page title template that is editable.  They should also provide room for overriding manually at the product/page level.
  • Canonical:  All the efforts should be around having a canonical home page.  There has to be a provision to override the canonical tag which comes as default on all the pages.  It is by default that the category pages and product pages should canonical to http://www.domain.com/category-name and http://www.domain.com/product-name respectively.
  • Crawling and Indexation:  One should be careful of the kind of Meta robots that come in with the filter pages, sort order pages, faceted navigation and pagination.  Appropriate Meta robots need to be used.
  • Caching and Performance:  One should ensure that configuration, layouts, blocks HTML, translations, EAV types, collection data and attributes are enabled.
  • Sitemaps:  All the pages in the category should be linked through a HTML sitemap that is keyword-orientated and also hierarchical too.  One should ensure that the HTML sitemap is linked to the entire site from within each and every webpage’s footer.  There also has to be a live XML sitemap at http://domain.com/sitemap.xml.
  • ALT Attributes:  One should ensure that the ALT attributes are editable on all the content images.  Page h1 tag has to be the default ALT attribute by default.  There also need to be the thumbnail images with the page h1 tag right at the ALT attribute.
  • Links:  All the links must make use of “a” tags as well as href attributes rather than Flash, JavaScript or form based navigation. The URLs need to be absolute rather than being relative.  There also needs to be Breadcrumb navigation in order to re-enforce the hierarchy further to the structure of the website.  There needs to be consistent formatting conventions of the navigation elements in order to avoid any kind of confusion.One needs to maximize the opportunities to link the contextually relevant pages with one another within the template on the page content.  Styling also needs to be used in order to clearly differentiate various links from the standard content.  This styling has to be consistent.
  • Robots.txt:  There may be a few pages which should not be crawled or indexed by the search engines.  These pages need to be blocked in robots.txt template files or the customer login pages.  At the end of each robots.txt file there has to be a line of code appropriately formatted.
  • Body Text:  All the main content throughout the website has to be rendered with the help of semantic HTML.  In addition, every category page should have edit functionality with full HTML.  One should be able to easily embed videos and images into the body text.
  • Google Shopping:  This feature should be incorporated as a standard on all the websites that are Magento programmed.  It has to be ensured that this feed works effectively and in an accurate manner.
  • Google Analytics:  This is an essential component which will help in tracking ecommerce transactions in the Magento platform.  Events like contact form submissions, external link clicks and mail to link clicks should all be set up in the Magento website.
  • Verification of the website:  The domain has to be verified in the Google Webmaster tools with the help of a Meta tag that is placed in the home page header.

Ensure that all these are in appropriate order, and your website will only be raring to go!!

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