10 SEO Steps for CMS and Magento Sites

Here are Landmann InterActive’s top 10 SEO best practice tips for 2012 for itPage CMS and Magento sites. We add every itPage CMS and Magento ecommerce site that we develop to our Google Webmaster account and submit them to Google to kick-start your rankings. Site owners should follow these best practice steps to get your content in the best possible order for good search engine placement.

1. URL and Keywords

Our CMS uses the title of the page as the URL, so to take advantage of Google’s ranking of pagenames in URLs, make sure to create your page with the relevant keywords or keyphrases in the title.

For example, if your keywords are “blue plastic widgets”, create title with some variation of the phrase, such as “Creative Blue Plastic Widgets for your Kid”. This would yield a URL something like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/creative-blue-plastic-widgets-for-your-kid”

Magento users should consider the keywords desired and enter an appropriate page name in the product “URL Key” field, instead of accepting the default. Make sure that this is a unique value. This will be used as the URL.

Don’t use ampersands, question marks, dashes or underlines in your page title as they will adversely affect the rankings, and some of these characters have special meanings in the URL.

2. Page Content

Unique, creative page content always ranks high in Google, and this year has shown that it is more important than ever. Make sure you write copy in the manner that a person would read it. Use the keywords or keyphrases somewhere within the first two sentences of the first paragraph on the page. Make sure that you do not duplicate pages, as that is a negative mark and will reduce your rankings.

3. Title Tags

When your HTML title tag exactly matches the search the user enters in Google, then it is 100% relevant and you will get a higher ranking. Use this format:: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand or Company Name. Notice the vertical bar before the Brand or Company Name. Research has shown that this order is important.

Most SEO tools that check pages allow about 140 characters in the Title, but Google shows only about 70 characters on its search results page (also known as the “organic” listings).

In the itPage CMS, every page can have its own unique HTML title (look at the “SEO Tailoring” pane).

In the Magento admin, this information can be changed for products by clicking on the “Meta Information” link on the product page.

If you need to use them, hyphens and underscores are better to use as phrase separators. Remember to never use a question mark or an ampersand, as these have special significance in a URL.

4. Meta Keywords Tag

According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, the “keywords” meta tag doesn’t count in their rankings, but there is some evidence that other search utilities do use it. Our recommendation is that you should enter keywords relevant for each page.

In the itPage CMS, every page can have its own unique HTML keywords (look at the “SEO Tailoring” pane).

In the Magento admin, this information can be changed for products by clicking on the “Meta Information” link on the product page.

5. Subdirectory vs. Subdomain

As far as Google is concerned, a subdirectory gets a better preference in rankings. Will will help you determine your site structure when we develop the site. It can be a consideration if you have a blog or informational content. It is not usually a concern on Magento sites, as all pages are typically under the same subdomain (www, for example).

6. Crosslinking and Internal Linking

Internal Linking is defined as linking from one part of your site to another, and crosslinking is defined as linking to another site that also links back to yours. This is an important contributing factor to rankings. There is evidence that good linking, especially with higher-traffic sites, will boost your search engine rankings.

You can do your own internal linking with the itPage CMS or Magento. Crosslinking, on the other hand, requires the cooperation of the other site admin. This takes time and effort, but pays off in better rankings.

7. Site Speed

In their Webmaster blog, Google says that site speed is now important for ranking. Our itPage CMS has been speed-optimized and delivers good results. Magento sites can be slow – ask us about how to optimize your Magento site for best performance as there are definitely a range of options that we use to tweak the site to make it faster.

8. Server Location

For domains that have a top-level name (domain ending with .com, .net, .org, etc.), Google will do a lookup on the location of your website to see where the server is physically located. This means that if the majority of your traffic will be from the United States, the server should be located in the United States.

9. Rich Content

Rich content (videos, testimonials, Facebook and Twitter feeds) will help your rankings because the content will appear next to search results. Roll over the double-chevron to the right of any Google search results page to see a page snippet.

10. Social Indicators

Both Bing and Google use social indicators as a ranking factor. See the searchdengineland.com article by Jordan Kasteler. In addition, Google places special emphasis on entries that have been flagged with the Google +1 button. See the Google Webmaster Central YuTube channel.

Conclusion

We hope this article helps you find success in higher rankings.

REFERENCES

Google’s Webmaster Central – <http://www.google.com/webmasters/>
Search Engine Land’s article on Social Content – <http://searchengineland.com/21-types-of-social-content-to-boost-your-seo-103625>
Google Webmster Central YouTube Channel – <http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp>

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