Magento Book – Magento Search Engine Optimization

The following is a write-up of the contents of my new Magento book “Magento Search Engine Optimization” published January 2014. I’ll highlight some of the key areas from various chapters and also give a shout-out to some of the companies and individuals who have been mentioned within the book.


Magento Search Engine Optimization – PacktAmazon UKAmazon USA

As per my previous post “Writing for Packt“, I was approached to write this specific title. Magento SEO is something that I have been passionate about for many years now and our company have always been actively researching and developing new ways to better optimise our eCommerce SEO packages.

As this book was limited to just under 100 pages I decided to focus the content on the “on-site” optimisation of a Magento store – rather than branching out into the wider areas of SEO such as link-building/keyword research etc. There are a few exceptions to that rule (such as the Google Analytics chapter) but essentially the book is focused around the CMS and code-base of Magento CE.

Magento SEO Breakdown

The following is a breakdown of the chapters within the book and what I wanted to get across for each section.

Chapter 1 – Preparing and configuring your Magento website

General concepts for optimising an e-commerce store are covered here as well as configuring the SEO-specific options that Magento provides within a default installation. This chapter is mainly aimed at people new to the Magento platform.

Chapter 2 – Product & Category Page Optimization

Looking closer at how best to optimise product and category pages. This chapter deals mainly with titles, descriptions, content and also product schema integration.

Chapter 3 – Managing Internationalization & Multiple Languages

This short-ish chapter looks at Magento websites featuring multiple website/store views. The pro’s and con’s of the different setups that can be achieved using Magento and a few tips and tricks on how to avoid duplicate-content across multiple URLs.

Chapter 4 – Template/Design Adjustments for SEO and CRO

Looking closer at the individual templates that make up a Magento page and how we can optimise our HTML structure to better present content to both search engines and customers. Specially this chapter deals with other types of schema (breadcrumb / organisation) and also heading structure across different page-types.

Chapter 5 – Speeding up your Magento website

Speed is most certainly a ranking factor for search engines. A faster website means a better user-experience and this chapter looks at ways in which we can use Magento’s in-built configuration to speed up the loading times of our pages. We also look at far more advanced methods of caching our pages such as Varnish Cache.

Chapter 6 – Analyzing and Tracking your visitors

Dipping into Google Analytics, this chapter provides a short tour of the new functionality that is available once e-commerce tracking has been enabled. It also covers a few tips and techniques for producing reports using filters and advanced segments.

Chapter 7 – Technical Rewrites for Search Engines

Probably one of the most useful chapters in the book from a developer perspective. This chapter looks at several .htaccess snippets that should help to maintain URL consistency across the entire Magento website. There’s also a tutorial on how to resolve layered-navigation duplicate content similar to my recent article.

Chapter 8 – Purpose built Magento Extensions for SEO/CRO

The final section is a quick run-down on some of the best extensions out there. A few key points from each, their prices and where to download them. There are also a few mentions for noteworthy extension developers.


Within this book I have linked to many resources and featured many extension developers all of whom have contributed massively to Magento’s growing community. I’d like to take a minute to thank a few select people who have really helped contribute to the book:

  • James Bavington, Sarah Edwards, Andrew Allen – all employees at Creare who have either sense-checked the content for me or continuously bombarded me with Magento-related SEO problems whilst writing it (you know who you are). A big thank you!
  • Adam MossCreareSEO would never have been launched without this guys help.
  • RocketWeb – Upon hearing about their Google Shopping Feed extension being featured in the book they are now very generously offering customers $50 off the price of their extension ($199) for those who have bought my book! Details of their offer can be found here.
  • Inchoo – Upon hearing about two of their tutorials being linked up in the book have very kindly supplied me with my very own Inchoo “Life is too short for buying offline” T-Shirt! (in the post)
  • Nexcess, MageStore, OneStepCheckout, FishPig, Daniel Waisberg and many others for checking out the book

Special Notes

As with all publications, once it’s done it’s done and there’s always going to be names and extensions that I have either forgotten to mention or that hadn’t been released at the time of publication.

I’d like to reserve this space for a few special notes on elements that should have made it into the book.

  • MageSEO – this extension was sadly released only a few days after the book went to the printers. I wanted to add this here as this extension, worked on by Paul Rogers and the guys at GPMD has many great features and would have featured heavily in Chapter 8 of the book.

Independent Reviews

Where to buy?

You can buy Magento SEO at either Packt (where you can find other retailers), Amazon UK or Amazon USA.

  • Javier

    Dear Robert:

    Sorry this comment is a bit long, but I believe it is a question which might even lead to a new chapter in your next book!

    Here we go:

    I have recently bought (and read) your book. It’s great. I have also installed your Magento module, which I plan to use soon.

    However, there is a topic I can’t find on your book or other SEO books and blogs I’ve seen.

    All of them focus mainly in optimizing each single page within the site. I have a doubt about optimizing the whole site and how every page works together with (or againsts) the other pages within the website.

    Imagine I sell promotional items, which range from promotional pens to promotional mugs or promotional mats. Each of those will have a category in my shop. Then, I have subcategories. Inside promotional pens, you can find promotional plastic pens, promotional metal pens, etc. Evidently, “promotional” will be one of my keywords… but I don’t mind whether people come to my shop to buy “promotional” pens or “promotional” mugs.

    Now. Is it right or wrong for SEO purposes I use the word promotional in every single URL, title, etc? I mean, I might have hundreds of different categories and subcategories, each of which would have an unique name, but all of them would have the word “promotional”.

    In other words, I might have 400 categories and subcategories, each of them called: promotional pens, promotional plastic pens, promotional metal pens, etc.

    That was the main question. Now, there is a version 2.0 of the same question: Of course, I have a number of keywords (not only one) which are the same for all the products. My products can be promotional pens, advertising pens, pens with logo, etc.

    What’s the best way to optimize several keywords, then? Do I call every single URL promotional-XXXX and every single title advertising-XXXX? Do I mix and match? Do I keep consistent within each category? (i.e.: promotional plastic pens for URL, title and description within this category and then advertising metal pens for URL, title and description of this second category?

    I hope you can provide an answer to this, and maybe it might make you think about a new chapter for next editions of your book!

    Otherwise, congratulations on both book and Magento module. I wish I could hire such a wise professional only for myself!

    • Hi Javier, Thanks for the kind words! It’s good to know Magento users are finding both my book and our Magento extension useful when optimising their stores.

      As for your questions, you raise a very good and interesting point and you’re not alone in the dilemma you’re facing. There are plenty of websites out there – especially ecommerce – where the product categories and titles are all very similar and contain the one main keyword – in your case “promotional”.

      In the case of your individual products – depending on whether you’re using the canonical product URL – I would recommend optimising each product page with your keywords as in the book e.g.

      Title: Tower of London Promotional Pen – Plastic
      Url: /tower-of-london-promotional-pen-plastic
      H1: Tower of London Promotional Pen in Plastic

      When it comes to optimising your categories however and you’re using a similar keyword within each nested category – I think the key is to keep it flowing as naturally as possible e.g.


      might be better read by humans and search engines as:


      This would produce a shorter, neater URL for your keywords but still retains it’s meaning. This would typically make sense for URLs but when optimising each page title and H1 I would suggest keeping your keywords intact – so for the /plastic.html page above your H1/Title may still look like:

      Title: Promotional Plastic Pens – My Company Name
      H1: Promotional Plastic Pens

      The main goal is to not appear too spammy for either the User or the Search Engine.

      However my main piece of advice would be to try it out with a specific set of categories and compare and contrast your rankings across your different pages. Perhaps trial a certain category tree with a human-friendly url structure and simplified optimisation across each page and the products therein against another technique such as ensuring your specific keywords sets remain unbroken throughout the url path (e.g. /promotional-pens/promotional-plastic-pens.html).

      I would hope to see the more human-friendly techniques shine through – though there’s nothing certain in this world except death, taxes and random SERPs.