Magento SEO Tip Enable Canonical

Do you have a Magento web site that was ranking high on the search engines?  Has that traffic dropped in the past few months?  Well, that might be due to duplicate content.  Google is on a vendetta against weak content.  Google views duplicate content as weak content. This could be a major issue on your Magento site, without you even knowing.

Magento is a powerful platform and great tool for selling products online. Most developers would agree that Magento is very time intensive.  However, it is very easy to set-up Magento incorrectly for Search Engine Optimization. Unfortunately, sometimes development firms tend to overlook a few simple tweaks that can be made to provide better search engine optimization for your Magento site.  If set-up incorrectly, your site will produce tons of duplicate content which is a big no-no when it comes to SEO.

There are many great how-to guides, when it comes to setting up your Magento store for search engine optimization.  If you are setting up a Magento store for the first time, I would suggest reading this article entitled “12 Tips for Optimizing SEO on Your Magento E-Commerce Site”. But what happens if you already have a Magento web site and it is set-up incorrectly?  How do you fix your duplicate content issue?  Well I will tell you….

Step 1 for reducing the duplicate content on your Magento store, discover your content.

The first step is to verify that their is an issue.  It is important that we don’t change any settings on your site, if their isn’t an issue. So I will show you some techniques to determine if you have duplicate content.  The quickest way to determine if you have duplicate content is to navigate through your site.  While navigating around pay attention to your urls.

You might start noticing that your site has multiple pages with the same content.  This structure generally looks something like this:

www.domain.com/category/subcategory/product-name.html
www.domain.com/category-2/subcategory/product-name.html
www.domain.com/category/product-name.htmlwww.domain.com/category-2/product-name.html
www.domain.com/product-name.html

You will see similar structures, like the one presented above if you have products that are found in multiple categories.  If your settings are not correct then you run the risk of having THOUSANDS of duplicate content Magento pages.  Luckily for us, Magento makes this easy to fix!

Step 2 for reducing duplicate content, enable “Canonical Link Meta Tag”.

The Magento developers had this issue in mind when they created the system. They make it easy for us to fix 90% of this issue.  All you have to do is login to your Magento backend and go to System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimizations.

On this panel you will see “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories” and “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products”, they are probably set to “No”.  Switch them to “Yes” and save.  Congratulations, you just fixed 90% of the issues!

What did you just do?  Well, you added a tag to your pages called rel=”canonical”.  The system update tells Magento to add the canonical tag to your products.  The rel=”canonical” will tell Google that you have one original page and multiple duplicate pages.  It does this by adding the canonical tag wb