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Archives for : Magento

9 tips to help with Magento SEO

Magento eCommerce platform was built with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices in mind. If configured properly it needs no third-party extensions to be search engine friendly.

Make sure you address the 9 Magento SEO points listed below and your store will be ready to climb up to the top of Google search results page.

1. Enable Server URL rewrites

First thing you need to do is to remove index.php from site URLs. Go to site backend top menu System > Configuration > Web > Search Engines Optimization and set Use Web Server Rewrites to Yes.

2. Set default title, description, prefix, suffix

Now set Default title text. By default it is ‘Magento Commerce’ and that is not what google would expect if you sell shoes. Go to System > Configuration > Design > HTML Head and enter default title, title prefix, title suffix, default description and default keywords.

3. Auto-redirect to Base URL

If more than one domain is pointing to your site you might want to avoid duplicate content and set 301 redirect to your main domain. First enter your main domain at System > Configuration > Web > Unsecure > Base URL. Then set System > Configuration > Web > Url Options > Auto-redirect to Base URL to Yes (301 Moved permanently). 301 is a preferred way to handle redirects.

4. Site Speed

Faster sites tend to rank higher. They could be crawled faster as well. They also tend to convert more so it pays to speed up Magento.

Here are a few configuration settings that help increase magento site speed:

  • Enable cache at System > Configuration > Cache Management
  • Enable CSS/JS merging at System > Configuration > Developer > Javascript / CSS settings
  • Enable flat catalogs at System > Configuration > Catalog > Frontend > Use Flat catalog Category (Yes) and Use Flat Catalog Product (Yes)
  • Install Full Page Cache extension of your choice. If you run Magento Enterprise you already have one.

Here is 20 proven steps to increase magento speed and performance.

5. Sitemap autogeneration

First create your sitemap file at Catalog > Google Sitemap and submit it to Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Then make sure you start cron process on your server. Finally make magento auto update sitemap file at System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimizations > Autogenerated Site Map (Enable) and System > Configuration > Google Sitemap > Generation Settings > Enabled (Yes).

6. Use Canonical URLs

To avoid duplicate content you might want to add canonical link meta tag to your pages.  Go to System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimizations > Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories (Yes) and Use Canonical Link Meta Tag for Products (Yes).

7. Have a responsive Theme

I strongly recommend that you have a mobile friendly version of your Magento store. Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern. Make sure your site is responsive – install a theme that adjusts to browser width.

One of the most popular responsive themes for magento is Porto theme – check it out.

8. go SSL

HTTPS is a ranking factor. Buy a ssl certificate and set your magento unsecure and secure Base URLs to https://. Enable SSL for frontend and backend at System > Configuration > Web  > Use secure URLs in Frontend (Yes) and Use secure URLs in Admin (Yes). Also redirect all http traffic to https.

9. redirect non-www to www

Set www version of your domain as Base URL at System > Configuration > Web > Unsecure (Secure) Base URL. Then make sure you set auto-redirect to base URL to yes. Now all non-www page requests should be redirected to www ones.

Konstantin Gerasimov is a site performance specialist and a magento developer. He runs a company www.goivvy.com that specializes in magento performance optimizaiton. You can contact him on twitter @goivvy

The Main Issues With Magento And How To Solve Them

The Main Issues with Magento and How to Solve Them

Magento is not a perfect shopping cart, but none of the other platforms is. Magento suffers from the fact that it is an open source platform, so if you need any customer support you are left only with the Magento community, so finding a good solution to your problems can be difficult and time consuming. On the other hand, the fact that Magento is an open source shopping cart and is available for free is one of the main reasons, why the website is so popular – it currently holds the first place in the shopping cart popularity ranking with one third of all online stores using Magento as their platform of choice. If you plan to use Magento, you should be prepared that you might experience the following problems along the way:

Expensive extensions

You will quickly discover that although Magento is a free platform, it requires multiple extensions, which you need in order to add basic functionalities to your online store or to improve its performance. Some of these extensions are offered for free, but the most advanced and useful ones sell for a few hundred dollars. If you have decided to try out Magento, because the platform is offered for free, and it turns out that you have to pay a few hundred dollars just to keep it up and running, it is far from what you expected the platform to be like.

  • Magento 1.9. Troubleshooter. Missing Products Issue
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    Magento 1.9. Troubleshooter. Missing Products Issue

Difficulties with developing Magento store

XML theme layout is not intuitive, especially for beginners, and difficult to recognize problems. On top of that, there are multiple problems with rewriting classes and templates, which often do not have the kind of theme you want. Magento can be difficult to use for developers and it is even more difficult to learn for people, who have no background in programming. Developing an admin panel is complicated and it takes a lot of time, but without it many clients will not be able to make any changes to the online store. Again, it turns out that developing a free, open source shopping cart costs more than using hosted platforms.

Possible solutions

Magento is not a platform for newcomers or inexperienced developers, who do not know much about XML. If you plan to use Magento, the best option is to look for a Magento developer for hire. It again sounds like a paradox, but hiring a company specializing in Magento development can cost less than buying every required extension and spending hours trying to figure out how Magento works, often with little success. Hiring a professional Magento development company not also helps reduce the price of Magento website development, but it also guarantees better performance of your online store. If you can’t afford Magento custom development and have no programming skills, we recommend one of the hosted shopping carts, such as Volusion, BigCommerce or Shopify. These platforms have its limitations, but are perfect for small online retailers with limited resources and everyone, who wants to learn how to develop and run an online store from scratch.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: www.wikipedia.org

Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.