Magento SEO

I’ve been working with Joachim Houtman on creating a guide to Magento SEO, much like my definitive guide to WordPress SEO. In the process we’ve created two modules for Magento, and an optimized blank theme!

Expect more from us on the Magento SEO front, as we develop more experience in the area together!

For now: enjoy our guide to Magento SEO!

Thanks go out to John Andrews for pre reading this article and providing us with very useful feedback! runs on the Genesis Framework

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65 Responses

  1. Jahnelle PittmanBy Jahnelle Pittman on 18 March, 2009

    Great guide! Well thought out, written in plain speak for the non-tech to understand, and a must read for any Magento user!

  2. MartijnBy Martijn on 18 March, 2009

    Excellent guide. Thanks!

  3. EkrisBy Ekris on 18 March, 2009

    Very nice written guide. I’m still looking for the best SEO optimized blog module. The one i’m using now @ AGM Accu Shop doesnt really work well with the Canonical URL’s for Magento module.

    Does anybody have any suggestions?

  4. AndrejBy Andrej on 18 March, 2009

    Thank you, Joost, for this very valuable guide. Will save me a lot of work on my upcoming Magento projects, I am sure.

  5. ChrisBy Chris on 18 March, 2009

    It’s about time! Thanks!!!

  6. Shine MarketingBy Shine Marketing on 18 March, 2009

    Looks like a good piece of work, we’re already using the canonical URL’s to improve the SEO benefit of an independent affiliate programme on one client site.

  7. BradBy Brad on 18 March, 2009

    This is all great stuff. Where is this optimized blank theme you speak of? That peaked my interest

  8. PhilBy Phil on 18 March, 2009

    Joost, fantastic News to see you supporting Magento’s SEO development. I’ve followed your WordPress work for quite some time and now look forward to your input to improve Magento.
    Maybe you could help them out with their sitemaps? At the moment they include disabled products in the sitemap, which leads Google etc to 404 pages. An automated sitemap update & ping after product or CMS page changes would be really helpful too.

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 18 March, 2009

      Hey Phil, you’re right, we’re adding an XML sitemap section now!

  9. molotovblissBy molotovbliss on 18 March, 2009

    Great write up! My only addition:

    Don’t forget to create and/or rebuild your Google Site Map’s often. Especially with any significant change to your inventory, new products or categories especially.

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 18 March, 2009

      Very true! We’re adding that section while I’m typing this comment :)

      • ParfumeBy Parfume on 22 September, 2009

        Thanks – I great guide you have made for Magento.

  10. Jason MunBy Jason Mun on 18 March, 2009

    Thank you very much! Just what I was looking for to build my site. I want more more more! =)

  11. DanielBy Daniel on 19 March, 2009

    Thank goodness for this blog!!! I have been waiting for this.
    There is an addon for firebug that gives performance and stats that is great to see whats going on…
    I would really like to know what js are doing what and which we can keep from loading.
    - Keep up the great work!

  12. AshishBy Ashish on 19 March, 2009

    Very nice tips to Magento SEO. I like you google connect plugin too. Is there a way to use this plugin if i am using Disqus comments or Intense debate plugin on my site?

  13. Thijs van SchadewijkBy Thijs van Schadewijk on 19 March, 2009

    Great article – excellent overview. For my client we have found already great improvements in organic search traffic by moving to Magento as posted here (sorry Dutch only)

    However there is still much work to do and we are slowly but surely ticking off the list. This article provides a nice checklist. Many thanks!

  14. just GuidoBy just Guido on 19 March, 2009

    Found the blank theme (and the Magento SEO guide) two weeks ago on the Magento website and installed it. Nice silent launch. =)

    Does the search box at the top of the blank theme look a bit off on other people’s stores as well? It’s like the search box overlaps the search field.

    Thanks for creating another great resource. Looking forward to reading more about customizing the look and feel, so the blank theme can be a little bit less blank. ;-)

  15. Doug SmithBy Doug Smith on 20 March, 2009

    Glad to see you covering some Magento topics. Ever thought about doing a WordPress and Magento integration guide?

  16. HamishBy Hamish on 20 March, 2009


    You are an SEO legend!!

    I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation last year at the A4U and have used your hints and tips regularly when putting WordPress sites together.

    I have recently started some work with an Interspire cart and although all seems to be working well, the cost of the License together with the additional charges to update versions, it is almost prohibitively expensive.

    I did try Magento first but had problems with their older version. I have just installed the recent release and all looks good so far so, with your advice, jobs a good one!!

    Thanks again Joost.

    Kind regards,


  17. NeilBy Neil on 21 March, 2009

    Thanks. I’m gonna start methodically working through this.

  18. OssyBy Ossy on 21 March, 2009

    Very well done!
    Regarding the Sitemap, it would be very useful to be able to exclude individual pages/products/categories from the sitemap.

  19. jwillBy jwill on 21 March, 2009

    hi there, thanks for your great work?i was wondering when is your next update? as in from beta to stable.

  20. InternetHowBy InternetHow on 21 March, 2009

    Definitly will download it. Thanks

  21. NeilBy Neil on 21 March, 2009

    Question on www versus non-www …

    Should I always add the 301 redirect, specifying

    RewriteRule ^index.php$ [R=301,L] ## (no www.)

    if I’ve chosen to use www under secure and unsecure?


  22. Vanessa, Phantom CTOBy Vanessa, Phantom CTO on 23 March, 2009

    Thanks for the great guide on Magento SEO, you’re the best person to cover the topic in depth. love it! It was just what I was looking for.

  23. VincentBy Vincent on 24 March, 2009

    So do you think all the RSS article importer plugins should now be updated to include the Canonical URL links of the originator?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 24 March, 2009

      Canonical link tags only work within the domain, so there’s no use for doing it to other domains :)

  24. CalistaBy Calista on 24 March, 2009

    Dear Joost,

    very good article. I’m strongly interested in translating this article to german and put it on our blog with reference to this original. I am allowed to?

    thanx, calista web solutions

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 24 March, 2009

      Yes, you are, if you place a clear reference to the original article above and below the translation :) Good luck!

  25. Jerry OkorieBy Jerry Okorie on 24 March, 2009

    Great post Joost, Definitely will download it. I’ve enjoyed reading and listening to your seminars on SEO. Thanks

  26. Dave CarruthersBy Dave Carruthers on 25 March, 2009

    Joost what a great post, one question I have is the ironically dubbed SEO Product Sitemap that is created by default and linked to from the footer contains a list of all products.

    If you use configurable products for example clothing Magento will list all the individual single products thus creating even greater Dup. Content. You can see an example here

    Would appreciate your thoughts…

    • JoachimBy Joachim on 25 March, 2009

      Dave, I had a look at your website. I guess the problem is the type of products you use. To avoid this issue you should use a Configurable Product or Simple Product with Custom Options and not a Bundle Product. You can see examples at the Magento Demo Store or have a look at the Magento wiki

  27. Jake MarshallBy Jake Marshall on 25 March, 2009

    Does this mean Magento is the best ecommerce script out there?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 25 March, 2009

      Of the ones I’ve seen, yes.

  28. IlyaBy Ilya on 28 March, 2009

    Because of your post I decided to start out with Magento. I was hoping for a more reliable solution (didn’t know what to expect from it). I managed to get it up and running, but not without some difficulties. I didn’t have mcrypt and also couldn’t get the modern theme to work proper (still not working, resorted to the default theme and editted it…). Progress can be followed at the given url. I like the seo tips. Nice to see this much activity around this beautiful piece of websoftware.


  29. MarkusBy Markus on 9 April, 2009

    thank’s for this great guide.
    I’m currently working on a multi-language magento project. It’s not a problem to do seo for one language but I think it’s getting quite complicated for more languages. Default language seems to get indexed but all outher languages are invisible to google. Language switch via cookie (i think), same urls for all languages, and so on …

  30. JasonBy Jason on 15 April, 2009

    I have actually had a hard time with the 301 redirects you specified in the previous article. I have a similar rule in the root directory that works fine, but I cannot get it to work with Magento (Magento) is in a sub folder. Do you have any more information you can pass my way, maybe a copy of your .htaccess file?

  31. HenryBy Henry on 2 May, 2009

    Hello, thanks for this plugin

    when i update the Anchor text for the Homepage in Chinese, there’s character problem. i think your plugin only works with English

    can you provide me a fix for it?


  32. said026By said026 on 19 May, 2009

    Thanks too ^^ merci

  33. YannickBy Yannick on 21 July, 2009

    It`s a good introduction to SEO.
    Thanks a Lot, it was useful.

    And now I`am reading “Search Engine Optimization” by Kristopher B. Jones.

    @Markus You can read here about Multi-Language solution here

  34. seo companyBy seo company on 26 July, 2009

    Joachim thanks for this.

  35. Jack001By Jack001 on 27 July, 2009

    Thank you for all your work, this is a powerfull help.
    I just can’t do one thing the redirect from to the non /index.php with:
    RewriteBase / RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.php\ HTTP/
    RewriteRule ^index\.php$ [R=301,L]
    on htaccess
    this gives me a Internal Server Error…
    can you help me?


    • JoachimBy Joachim on 27 July, 2009

      This should work fine. Where do you have this rewriterule at your .htaccess? Just below ?

      • Jack001By Jack001 on 27 July, 2009

        line 114:

        ## enable rewrites

        Options +FollowSymLinks
        RewriteEngine on

        RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
        RewriteRule ^(.*)$1 [R=301,L]

        RewriteBase / RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.php\ HTTP/
        RewriteRule ^index\.php$ [R=301,L]

  36. tiagoBy tiago on 30 July, 2009

    I was wondering what should be done in case of multiple stores/Languages. I’m building a English/portuguese/spanish store. When I turn on the “Add store Code to Urls” I get a nice, but what should I do in the case my english store is my default?

    When the “Add store Code to Urls” is set to YES, i get the following:

    Is there a way to make the english and default be the same? Does that affect my SEO?

    Thank you for providing such a non-tech friendly Magento SEO tutorial.

  37. AndreBy Andre on 22 September, 2009

    Just take a look at this. Magento Extended Sitemap
    This solves most of sitemap issues.

    • Joachim HoutmanBy Joachim Houtman on 22 September, 2009

      I don´t think the Magento Extended Sitemap module solves a lot of issues related to SEO. Yes, their sitemaps look better than the default Magento sitemap but one of the biggest problems is the lack of categories in the product sitemap URLs.

      • AndreBy Andre on 22 September, 2009

        Yes, but do you know that Magento allows you to include categories in your product URL. It’s just needs to be configured in Admin panel.

  38. Lisa WaddingtonBy Lisa Waddington on 25 September, 2009

    Thanks so much for posting your knowledge. I creating my first Magento site and will employ your suggestions!!

  39. AhamedBy Ahamed on 6 October, 2009

    definitely, a great guide.
    helped my business alot.
    i am not the type to comment but really this post deserves some good comments.

  40. Cincinnati Web DesignBy Cincinnati Web Design on 8 October, 2009

    Being that we are now offering Magento to our clients this will definitely help our SEO team! Right now we are experimenting with configurable products. The options Magento has are great! Thanx for the info and we will be checking back often for updates!

  41. Johan StrandBy Johan Strand on 15 October, 2009

    Thanks for the guide!

    I have a friend who says i should change the product titles in my Magento shop from plain H1
    to href links, to get better SEO.

    Whats you opinion on this, is it a good idea, or is it just not neccesary in magento?


  42. Waleed MohammedBy Waleed Mohammed on 18 October, 2009

    Great Job!! Help alot thank you for the post!!

  43. FernandoBy Fernando on 5 November, 2009

    Its a great Post there!

    I have an question: In my store, when customers goes to secure pages and come back to unsecure, magento puts an SID on URL. I’d try an URL Rewrite but the “problem” persists.
    ps. my base domain is different from secure domain because my site is in an share server, is this responsable for this problem? Another problem i have analytics reports all goals with my own referrer, may is this because different domains?

    Maybe better if i buy an SSL certificate exclusive for my domain for SEO purposes?

    Thanks at all

    • FernandoBy Fernando on 5 November, 2009


      Just an Feedback on my previous post, i have been look this google help and added the following in your Ga.php of module Speedster GoogleAnalyticsPlus after the line:

      var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“‘ . $this->getAccount() . ‘”);



      as described in this help >

      So now is in test, i will report later!


  44. RyanBy Ryan on 14 November, 2009

    I don’t know why but only few pages of my site is indexed by google. Google only indexed 410 pages when I have over 1500 products alone and all the while Yahoo indexed over 6000 pages. Can you please help diagnose the problem? I notice this is pretty common among magento users.

  45. Bart Gibby, Utah SEO ConsultantBy Bart Gibby, Utah SEO Consultant on 19 November, 2009

    Just started to learn the ins and outs of this carts since my employer has client’s with Magento Carts. So far Magento seems to have a few less search engine indexing issues than other carts.

    As I am new to Megento in general, I was wondering if there is a way to kill session IDs completely? I see them occasionally.

    • Joachim HoutmanBy Joachim Houtman on 20 November, 2009

      Yes you can. You get session IDs when you link from Magento content outside the main Magento domain to another Magento page. E.g. www vs non-www and from sub-domains. Inchoo had written a post about it.

  46. SteveBy Steve on 21 November, 2009

    Thanks for the excellent article.

    I am relatively new to Magento and SEO staff. I was a bit confused by section “1.1.1. WWW vs non-WWW”. The code sample there seems to me cut and not fully visible. Could you please fix

    Could you recommend good manual for editing .htaccess files? It is not clear to me whether
    directives RewriteBase and RewriteCond should be in one line or not?

    Could you provide real working code sample for the section “1.1.1. WWW vs non-WWW”?


  47. AlanBy Alan on 24 November, 2009

    Great help thanks.

  48. Osvaldo SpadanoBy Osvaldo Spadano on 24 November, 2009

    If a product, for instance, is set to NOINDEX then it would make no sense for it to be in the Google XML sitemap.

    It would be great to be able to exclude from the sitemap all the CMS Pages and products set to NOINDEX.