SEO enables marketers to control the way Google, Bing or any other search engine display results from their web stores and to determine the behaviour of each of their website's’ ‘Search’ function. Here are the ingredients for the fruitful SEO recipe:
- URL rewrites
- canonical URLs
- site map customization.
URL rewriters are used to extract the main idea of the web page content in its URL in order to clarify it for search engines and common people browsing your site. It’s easy to understand how it works just from the first view on the example:
Converting SEO-unfriendly URLs into SEO-friendly URLs leads to higher rankings in search engines. Also such rewriting conveys clear and user friendly message for your customer.
But let’s analyse the case when you figured out the URL related search engine preferences and immediately changed all your unclear URLs into obvious and descriptive ones. First, this quick fix seems to be a great idea, but there is one catch: your customers might have saved your old links and now if they try to use them, they will stumble upon the 404 error, since engines won’t be able to find those pages. To avoid this mess and to save your customer’s nerves, you need to implement the URL rewriting strategy before launching of your store that will include creating redirects from your old meaningless URLs to new SEO friendly rewritten URLs and we are glad to say that Magento allows you doing it without any fuss.
But please note that if you move your store from another platform to Magento, it is very likely that your store will have several existing URLs, so you will need to ask your system integrator or Magento developers team to create a script to rewrite all of these URLs automatically.
After this has been fixed, when a user follows an old link, Magento redirects a search engine to the page with the content relevant for this request.
There are two most common redirect types:
- 301 redirect (permanent redirect) - it informs search engines that the URL was permanently removed and they should stop indexing old content.
- 302 redirect (temporary redirect) - it indicates temporary movements and it can be switched to the old content.
Also, Magento 2 provides a “No Redirect” option. When a customer clicks the old URL, the browser shows him the expected content and doesn’t redirect him to the new URL. This way a customer will see the new correct Magento content without changing URL address in his browser bar.
There are 4 types of URL rewrites:
- Product rewrites
- Category rewrites
- CMS pages rewrites
- Custom rewrites
How to set-up URL rewrites?
Step 1: Go to Stores > Settings > Configuration > General > Web > Search Engine Optimization Step 2: Access Marketing > SEO & Search to create URL rewrites Step 3: Click “Add URL Rewrite” bottom Step 4: Choose URL rewrite type and specify the Request (old SEO unfriendly URL) and Target (new SEO friendly URL) Paths By default, Magento offers Custom rewrite type but if you choose product rewrite type you’ll see product grid the Admin panel where you can select the products you need to use. Step 5: Choose Redirect type: ‘No’, ‘Temporary 302’ or ‘Permanent 301’
Note! Don’t specify full URLs with domain name, just the part that relates to the page you want to rewrite.
Metadata and other SEO tools
Metadata is the data from your webpage that is evaluated by search engine as relevant for user search request. These are titles, descriptions and keywords that are relevant for full site or for the specific pages. Magento 2 allows managing metadata content for your whole site or separate piece of content (for example, product, categories, content pages).
For general specification of titles, descriptions and keywords follow Content > Design > Configuration. The titles and keywords that you’ll specify in this section will appear at the top of every page from the selected scope. Also, here you can input scripts that need to work on the top of all pages, just add code to the Scripts and Style Sheets field or to the Miscellaneous HTML field in the Footer section if you need to input code to the end of each page.
For editing Robots.txt follow Stores > Configuration > General > Design > Robots.txt
Canonical URLs help avoiding duplicate content issues, multiple uses for a single piece of content that appears in multiple locations on the website. Canonical URLs show preferable pages that have to be shown in search results. You can manage Canonical URLs at: Store > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization
Also, in Magento 2 you can edit Managing Search Terms (Marketing > SEO & Search). This tool allows merchants to identify what terms your customers are searching for and to make adjustments for search queries. In Magento 2 all searching queries are saved in the database by default where you can check if they direct customers to correct products and you’re able to edit them if you’ll find any misunderstandings. In such easy way you can add new search terms, just click “Add New Search Term” bottom. Here you can specify the redirect URL for each Search Query, to allow visitors to see definite product that you want them to see. Also, you can create groups of Search Synonyms. Terms from synonyms groups tell search engines to conduct all search for product or category items that include any word from the list. Go to Marketing > SEO & Search > Search Terms > Synonyms, set the scope, add comma delimited synonyms and click Save Synonyms Group.
Also, you can add redirect URL for the Search synonym. For example, you set “yoga pants” and “leggings” as synonyms, and add URL to the “Pants and tights” product category. So now, a user who enters “yoga pants” or “leggings” in search, will be redirected to the “Pants and tights” product category page.
Actually, Magento 2 XML sitemap file automatically inputs all information about the product, categories and content pages. But also Magento 2 allows providing site map customization under Store > Settings > Configuration > CATALOG > XML Sitemap. In General Settings you can enable or disable sitemap functionality, set frequency of sitemap refresh to ensure that its content is updated once a day, a week or a month. Once you’ve customized settings of your sitemap, you need to ask Magento to generate initial sitemap XML file (Marketing > SEO & Search > Add Sitemap). To animate this new XML Sitemap you need to give it the filename and set the path that should be accessible for Google webcrawler. In case if you want to use your webroot, use “/” (slash sign) before the path name and Magento will generate the new file in location you’ve specified.
Magento supports both Google Analytics and Google Adwords, so you easily can configure Google API in Store > Settings > Configuration > SALES > Google API, launch advertising campaigns, analyze effectiveness and conversion rates
Find more about SEO tools in our post about Magento 2 SEO features exploration.
2. Customer Engagement
How Magento 2 tools can increase customer engagement:
Magento 2 out of the box allows registered customers to leave reviews and ratings for products. Guests also can leave feedback about your goods if you allow them to write reviews at Store > Settings > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog > Product Reviews. Don’t be afraid of spam in reviews, all feedback messages submitted by customers or guests should be approved or rejected by manager at Marketing > User Content > Reviews.
Persistent shopping means that some customer information like product comparison, viewed products and shopping cart is accessible for him or her without logging to the site again, even after they close their browser. This function is enabled once the customer checks the “Remember Me” box during the first login. You can also manage what information should be saved and what shouldn’t. To configure Persistent Shopping functionality follow Store > Settings > Configuration > Customers > Persistent Shopping Cart.
If you don’t want to give access to any customer information without logging in, you can disable this feature by unchecking the Enable Persistence field.
If you don’t want to waste your resources on unuseful data, set the time while persistent should be saved. There is no need to save information about viewed products for years, it’s very likely that that customer has already bought desirable product or satisfied his need with another output. You have the freedom to enable or disable “Remember Me” box, set “Remember Me” box as a default value, that automatically saves persistent data, configure what kind of shopping data should be saved (Shopping Cart, Wish List, Recently Ordered Items, Currently Compared Products, Recently Viewed Products, Customer Membership and Segmentation Group) .
3. Reward Points (Magento EE)
As a merchant you can cheer your customers up by rewarding actions like registering on your site, making purchases, subscribing for your newsletter, submitting feedback or inviting people who then sign in or place orders. Rewarding works good for increasing customer loyalty. Customers may use your rewards as discounts on your goods. You may define what kind of actions should be rewarded and the number of points per user, you can also specify whether the customer to be rewarded only if he makes the necessary action only at the first time or each time he performs this action; also, you can set exchange rate for these points. You can allow customers to use this rewards as equivalent of money during the checkout.
Go to Store > Settings > Configuration > Customers > Reward Points
If this option is enabled, a customer will see the amount of earned points during the checkout and will be able to “Use reward points” to apply the bonuses. Also, you can set up email notification to encourage your customers to use your service more often.
4. Reports for Marketing Users
There are several marketing-related reports in Magento 2, but how can marketers use information from these Reports? How these reports can help you to determine successful promotion strategies?
Search term report
It shows the search terms used by customers and how many hits each of them received. Analysis of data in the Product Views report and the Products in Carts report will show effectiveness of the defined search terms.
Best seller report
Following Report > Products you may create the table of the most popular products for specified period. You can analyze what items have been sold more during the specific time intervals. Certain events may communicate insights as to what might have caused the sales to be particularly high or low, for example, if you have launched any promo campaign during this time you may estimate its effectiveness. This report can also help you to analyze price ranges of the most popular items.
Report > Sales Coupons report shows which coupon codes where used during the specific periods. Also you can analyze how this coupon discount increased customer purchases per order and whether it increased Average Order Value (AOV). You may use this report for estimating the effectiveness of coupon-driven promotions.
Products in carts report
Report > Marketing The Product in Cart report can be used to see what product items are already in shopping carts to determine product conversion.
Abandoned carts report
Report > Marketing This report shows you the number of customers who have applied cupones to the chosen items but haven’t finished their purchases. It’s a good chance to react immediately and turn back to them with special direct discounts.
As you may have notice, Magento empowered the latest version of its platform with stack of really useful marketing tools that are easy to handle even for non-tech users. Marketing capabilities of Magento 2 allows marketers to analyze stores data and due to easy configuration Magento 2 helps adapting marketing strategies in short terms that become vital in quick-changing eCommerce environment.