Magento URL ReWrites – Why Magento is Super Search Engine Friendly

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The popular, open-source eCommerce platform Magento is superior in the area of search engine optimization for many reasons, including its URL re-write feature that creates static URLs. Every eCommerce platform claims to be SEO-friendly, but if the URL that appears in the browser’s address bar is poor, the store owner is losing out. Let’s find out why, and how Magento can improve search engine rankings with its built-in URL re-write feature.

The URL is what appears in the address bar when you go to a page on a website. Most people don’t care too much what is says, so long as they can easily bookmark it or link to it. But the search engines really care:

  • Search engines give extra weight to a page that has keywords related to the page in the URL
  • They much prefer a URL that is static (stays the same) versus one that is dynamic (changes)

For example, say you are selling yellow coffee mugs on your website. You will use the keywords “yellow coffee mug” in the product title, description, alt text for your image, etc. But let’s say your URL for that page looks like this (this is just an example – don’t actually click this link):

The above URL is dynamic, which can change, and this is difficult for the search engines to index. You really need a static URL that doesn’t change.

The search engines will give you a few points for having “mug” in your domain name, and some points for having “yellow coffee mug” visible on the page. You might even get a little credit for having the keywords in your image alt text. But search engines will probably give you even a little more credit if your URL is:

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When it comes to SEO, you need to take every opportunity you can get. A keyword-rich URL is a great idea and easy to do in Magento.

Having a static URL like that, which doesn’t change, helps the search engines index your site correctly, too. Search engines will actually penalize your site for having broken links. Since dynamic URLs will change if, for example, an item is moved to a different category, then these “broken links” will count against you, plus that dynamic URLs generally confuse the search engines.

A competent Magento developer will set up the URL rewrites correctly so the store is easily indexed, contains more keywords in the URLs, is easy for a customer to bookmark and link to, and maximizes search engine rankings. Some other systems need a lot of tweaking to make static URLs work. For example, WordPress can create “pretty permalinks” (static URLs) but this feature can be flaky and difficult to get working. Some ecommerce platforms can’t easily make static URLs, or won’t let you customize them (which can backfire on you when seriously doing SEO). Some platforms require an add-on module (often at a price).

Don’t be fooled by claims that an ecommerce platform is “search-engine friendly.” One Magento competitor completely glosses over the topic of SEO on its own website and then tries to sell you a pricy add-on. Magento’s ability to create search engine-friendly, static, keyword-rich URLs is just one solid SEO feature. More on Magento SEO next week.



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