How to Set Up Magento to be Optimized for Search Engines
One of the most powerful aspects of using the Magento platform is that it’s extremely SEO-friendly. In fact it’s one of the most search-engine-friendly e-commerce platforms out of the box. However, there is some tinkering and adjustments you have to make in order to get the most out of its SEO features. Once you do understand what’s required, you’ll discover that optimizing Magento for search engines isn’t that difficult at all, and only requires an extremely basic understanding of SEO.
Below is an outline of how to correctly configure the core of Magento in order to make sure it’s ready to help you rank higher on search engines such as Google.
Configuring your Magento store properly
Get the newest release
You need to have the most recent version of Magento in order to ensure that your version is up to par with the latest search engine requirements. When downloading the platform, be sure to get the newest release.
One of the first things you can do is set up your Favicon. You’ll find that option by going to
Note, however, that altering your Favicon actually has no effect on your SEO. Yet it does provide you an opportunity to personalize and brand your store. Furthermore, web surfers will generally consider your store to be more professional if you have your own Favicon, rather than the generic Magento image. This could help encourage conversions and, of course, brand loyalty.
Be default, your Magento install has the title “Magento eCommerce”. You’ll want to change that by going to
Configuration>Design>HTML Head. Be sure to use a title that features keywords early on.
Make sure Google recognizes just one version of your site
This is a particularly important change you should make. You want to make sure that search engines like Google are only recognizing one version of your site, which is why it’s important to
In addition to enabling canonical URLs, it’s important to make a few adjustments to the following options, all of which you can find by going to
System>Configuration>Catalog. From there, choose the Search Engine Optimization dropdown option.
Autogenerated Site Map – If you choose to enable this, then Magento will create two pages on your site that display links to your products and categories. We recommend you set this to YES.
Popular Search Terms – This will allow pages to show your most popular search phrases. It’s not so much an SEO advantage, but it can help target your users, so we recommend you set it to YES.
Product URL Suffix – The default is .html, meaning that that .html will be added to the end of your category URLs. Leave this as is.
Category URL Suffix – Same as above, the default is .html, and means that ending will be tacked on to your category URLs. Leave this as is.
Use Categories Path for Product URLs – If you decide to enable this, then Magento will include the category URL right inside your URL string. Thus, you’d have “yourdomain.com/category-name/product-page.html.” We don’t think you should have this enabled, as this may negatively impact the use of canonical URLs.
Create Permanent Redirect for URLs if URL Key Changed – If you enable this (and we think you should) then a redirect will automatically be created. This redirect will use the URL Rewrites’ module in Magento if the URL key is changed within any page of your site.
I’d like to reiterate that this is designed to be a basic introduction into how best to set up Magento for search engines like Google. There’s more that can be done; however, it’s important that you follow these basic steps to give your online store the boost it needs to compete in the online marketplace.