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Paul Martin

Director of SEO (Australia)

More insight into the recent ThinkVis conference, following from Malcolm's coverage. An SEO's Guide to Magento Commerce - Paul Rogers Paul Rodgers, head of digital marketing at GPMD, spoke on the recently eBay-acquired ecommerce platform of Magento and the basics of making it SEO-friendly. The presentation discussed many of the out-the-box features of Magento and what basic SEO practices should be undertaken to make the most of what is, in the most part, a fairly robust and workable ecommerce platform. The most interesting points Paul touched on were the individual quirks and intricacies that Magento displays and how to overcome them for optimum SEO effect. By default, Paul explained how Magento utilises 302 redirects rather than 301s, diminishing the value of any old pages being pointed elsewhere. This is an easy fix via the admin panel and should be done as standard with all new Magento installs. Paul went on to describe a bug within the latest releases of the platform that can occasionally, and seemingly inexplicably, duplicate product pages on redundant URLs from previous Magento versions. This can be easily overcome with either manual 301 redirect rules or canonical tags being introduced. One point that I found unbelievable of a modern ecommerce system was that Magento is apparently unable to handle the duplication of URLs both with and without a trailing slash - the platform does not allow you to 301 redirect one into the other without breaking the backend. I'm sure this is something that will be solved in future versions, however for all current Magento installs, either manual 301 redirects or the canonical tag should be implemented. The last handy takeaway from Paul's talk was to block the /catalogsearch/ directory in robots.txt and request its removal via Google Webmaster Tools. Apparently this directory is generated as a result of all search query pages on Magento and so creates huge duplicate content issues if not handled correctly. @pg_martin