We’ve been in Magento business since the beginnings of this industry in 2008 and watched both default Magento’s SEO functionality and Magento SEO extensions evolve and improve. We’ve never developed our own Magento SEO extensions which is why I believe I can give you an honest, unbiased opinion on this issue. There are a lot of different Magento extension providers out there and a lot of them have their own version (some of them multiple different versions) of extensions that focus on improving the SEO of a Magento store. It can be very hard for a store owner to figure out which one to choose since they often list a lot of similar features and it’s not clear which of these features do you really need.
In a lot of cases, you don’t need to install any extension
That’s right. Most of the things that you’ll need to work on to properly set-up your Magento store’s on-site SEO can be set from admin by default. Some things will need to be added manually by your developers into the theme. Before installing any Magento SEO extension, follow this guide:
1. Check that you haven’t made one of the 7 common Magento SEO mistakes.
2. Make a good robots.txt file.
3. Strategically think about your site’s main navigation.
4. Implement schema.org microdata markup into your theme to display breadcrumbs, price, reviews and more in SERP.
5. Implement rel prev and next on your pagination.
6. If you have multiple languages, implement rel alternate hreflang x.
As long as you checked all of the above and you don’t have layered navigation on your store, your on-site SEO will be just fine without any extension. If you have layered navigation however, this will complicate things a little bit.
Magento SEO extensions and layered navigation
Handling issues with layered navigation SEO will in most cases require an extension. In case you don’t want to use any combination of attributes in your layered navigation as long tail keyword landing pages, you don’t need an extension, you just need to add meta noindex, follow to the URLs in layered navigation and / or not allow search engines to get to those layered URLs at all. That being said, if you really need to rank for long tail combinations of some category name and some attribute names, you’ll need a Magento extension that handles layered navigation URL rewrites, enables you to set different titles, and in some cases enables you to chose meta noindex, follow for some combinations.
Here are some options for you:
SEO Layered Navigation Plus by manadev
This extension will work with both community and enterprise edition. It will give you impresive control over URL rewrites in layered navigation, page titles in layered navigation and meta noindex options for combinations you don’t want in index. It’s extremely powerful extension but with so many configuration options it’s easy to miss-configure it. If you go with this extension, it’s crucial to set aside a lot of time and really explore all of the options it gives you and think strategically about the best ways you can utilize it on your specific niche. Pro tip: Try not to put too many things in page titles, especially in prefixes.
This extension is part of larger set of Amasty’s Improved Layered Navigation extensions. By spliting it into separate extension, it reduces the amount of configuration options and allows easier set-up. It gives you unlimited powers for manually setting page titles, meta tags, and even headings and content (CMS blocks) for each combination of navigation’s attributes individually.
There are a few more options out there but I’m not comfortable with recommending them at this point because either
a) they don’t support all of the functionality that the two extensions above do
b) they don’t work with both Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition
c) I didn’t test them at all or didn’t have enough experience with them
If you have an extension that fulfills all of the requirements I listed above and I didn’t include your extension here, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll have a look at it.