You don’t have to be an SEO Einstein to know that search engines eat and breathe webpage meta tags when it comes to displaying search results. In fact, they make up more than 50% of the text displayed in an average search result.
There is a lot you can do for your Magneto site product listings to make a better impression in the results display and at the same time increase your result rankings.
Here is a search result for a hair product called Moroccan Curl Cream:
Note: This listing shows that someone who is presenting this product knows her stuff. It has another important trimming called a Rich Snippet – notice the Star Rating, Price and In Stock! This structured data text is produced using Structured Data, which is the subject of another post.
There are many meta tags but we are going to look at just 3 of them in this post:
These can be found and adjusted in Magento’s Admin Panel backend in the section:
Catalog – Manage Products – Meta Information.
Magento provides a whole screen for the entry of data related to these three meta tags.
Often (or almost always), when I look, I find that these fields are left empty. In the case of Meta Keywords, this is fine because no search engines have been looking at them for images (See here: Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking)
What Magento Does if Meta Information is Left Blank
It fills in the blanks!
Here’s what happens, and it’s not all bad. You get the important stuff, which is:
When left empty Meta Title is constructed as:
[Product Name] - [Sub category] - [Main Category]
<title>Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream - Cream - Hair</title>
When left empty Meta Description is constructed as the first 255 characters of the product’s Description text (that comes from Product Information – General).
When doing manual meta titles it is important to make sure that keywords should be as close to the beginning of the title as possible. This is because the earlier they appear in a title; the more important they are deemed to be to the search engine algorithm and the better the ranking result.
The main reason that meta tags are left blank in most Magento installs is because of time and effort requirements needed to produce well worded, keyword rich descriptions. My suggestion is that putting in the time required for this work is well worth the effort.
One way to fix this using a simplified spreadsheet made up of three columns: SKU, Product Name and Long Description. You can also add sizing, colour or other attributes if these will help to make a description more meaningful to a potential customer searching for a product in Google.
Either ask your customer to work through these descriptions or pay an editor to work through the sheet.
Meta Title: Use the format - Product Name | Category name | Site Name
Meta Description: Keep this a short as possible but keep it meaningful; you are limited to 155 chars in any case. Remember the context these descriptions will
Once the spreadsheet is ready, you can quickly import it using the Magmi import utility.
Please be sure to set your canonical links to Yes for Categories and Products in System – Catalog – Search Engine Optimizations. You can read more about that here: Magento SEO Basics for Your New Online Store
Star Rankings are important for product reviews read this to find out: How to Enable Star Rankings for your Magento Products