When dealing with Magento store’s SEO, these are the 8 most common basic mistakes I usually encounter when working with my customers. Some of these are inherited from the development stage of your projects. I hope this checklist will be useful for anyone launching a new store or checking their live site:
1. Homepage title “home”
If I had a dollar for every Magento store out there I’ve seen with a homepage title “home” I’d be a rich man. The homepage is usually a CMS page. Go in there and change the title of the page into something more suitable such as “Blue Widgets Online Store – Example.com”.
2. Hosting/server location not in the country of your targeted market
Many Magento store owners do not notice this, if you want to rank well for the keyword you want, make sure to host your Magento site in the country of targeted market. For example, you want to rank well for the keyword: “Soccer cleats” and your targeted market is USA, then remember to host your Magento site on a hosting in USA. Users’ experience and keyword ranking will be improved by this little trick.
For the list of good Magento hosting, you may refer this article: Top 5 Affordable Magento web hosting
2. Using “default description” field
System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default description – Leave this blank or you’ll have such a mess of duplicate descriptions on your store that don’t really describe the given URL that it will be unbelievable. Also, please make sure your meta keywords are not “magento, magento commerce” etc.
3. Not turning on rel=canonical
Save yourself from lots of duplicate content issues. Turn canonicals on for both products and categories.
4. Logo title and/or alt “Magento Commerce”
Logo, usually in the top left of your website. Don’t have it say “Magento Commerce”. I’ve seen that a lot of times.
5. Forgetting to turn meta robots to “index, follow” and remove robots.txt disallow after a move from staging/dev site to the live site
System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default robots “INDEX, FOLLOW”.
Sometimes people leave this as noindex, nofollow on dev server and forget to change it when they migrate to the live server.
6. Having a default layered navigation
Layered navigation is a hell for the SEO. For more detailed explanation on this issue, read my guide on how to handle Magento layered navigation SEO issues.
7. Building a sitemap with sample products and sample categories
I’ve seen this one as well. Check what’s in your sitemap.xml before you submit it to Google. No sample products please!
8. Blocking Indexation of Website while going live
This is the biggest mistake due to which your website looses all worth as it instructs search engines to go away and not pay any attention to your online shop. This mistake is often not committed deliberately and many ecommerce development companies just forget to turn it on while switching from development stage to live stage.