Magento SEO: 25 of the Worst Techniques

by | Nov 16, 2015 | Blog, Ecommerce, SEO | 0 comments

Think you’ve mastered Magento SEO best practices for business? You may be surprised to learn that search engine optimization is a fluid concept, and what put you at the top of search rankings just a year ago may now be considered among the worst SEO techniques employed.

Creating content and code specifically for Google can come back on you like a boomerang. After all, Google wants to deliver content that is valuable to people, not to search engines. We’ve been browsing the results of Moz’s latest survey of search engine marketers, and some of the data was quite surprising. The survey includes feedback from 150 marketing professionals on over 90 factors to provide vast amounts of information on what’s hot and what’s not in the world of Magento SEO.

Below, we’ve listed and summarized some of the worst Magento SEO techniques – factors that correlated negatively with a higher ranking. It’s important to note that correlation does not equal causation; these factors have a negative correlation with higher ranks, but that does not automatically mean they are the cause. For example, the negative correlation of having a large number of <a href> tags may not be because of the tags themselves, but because the page is simply too long.

We’ll follow up soon with a post on best practices for search engine optimization.  But, for now, here’s a summary of the year’s worst SEO techniques – are you guilty? The factors are ranked by negative correlation, from most damaging, to least.

Magento SEO

1. Ranking on (-.24)

This seems to indicate that Google actually penalizes larger sites that have more traffic, rather than burying small sites.

2. URL Length in Characters (-.11)

Long URLS are often auto-generated with unimportant content and stuffed with keywords.

3. Server Response Time (-.10)

Cheap hosting and poor programming can be a fatal problem if your site takes too long for users to access.

4. An Unusually Small Number of Pages Linking to the Domain (-.09)

Sites that are not often linked to, by other pages, tells Google that spammers may be trying to promote the domain.

5. Hyphens in URL (-.09)

Speculating, I would suggest that Google thinks this URL is stuffed with keywords designed to appeal to search engines, not people.

6. Bounce Rate (-.08)

A normal bounce rate for a site is around 50%, higher is a red flag. If the majority of viewers leave after viewing only one page, how good can the site be?

7. Untrustworthy Site Link Profile (-.07)

A lack of outbound links to authoritative sites, high bounce rates, lack of privacy and policy pages or active social network accounts makes Google deem a site untrustworthy.

8. Lack of Inbound Links (-.07)

A large site with no inbound links indicates your site has a lot of content that users don’t think has value.

9. Number of HTML Pages in Target Link (-.07)

Long pages with lots of keywords embedded in links makes the site look suspicious.

10. Long Domain Name (Including Subdomains) (-.07)

As in number 2 above, long domains are often filled with keywords for search engines to index, rather than content that people are looking for.


11. Minimal Branded Anchor Text (-.06)

Google loves short links with brand names in them.

12. Use of Privacy Service (-.06)

If the domain owner is using a privacy service, it raises a red flag and suggests that the owner is hiding behind the registrar for nefarious purposes.

13. LDA Similarity Between Body Text and Query (-.05)

Don’t bother attempting to stuff loads of exact key phrases into your text – it will only backfire. Focus on employing keywords in a human-readable format.

14. Top-level Domain is .edu, .biz, .net, .info, .com (-.04 to -.01)

.org has a positive correlation of .06, meaning all other top-level domains suffer by comparison.

15. Subdomain is on a TLD with Spam Links (-.04)

If your parent site is known to be the source of spam content, your subdomain will suffer as well.

16. Too Many Pages With Invalid Responses (-.03)

If crawlers only receive valid responses from a small number of pages, it can hurt your ranking. Clean up all bad links on your site.

17. Google AdSense Slots (-.03)

It would seem that selling advertising space on your site can hurt your ranking in search results.

18. Numbers in the Domain Name (-.03)

Ouch! I wish someone had told me this 19 years ago when I registered!

19. Number of Characters in Title (-.03)

Overly long title tags can hurt your rankings – keep titles short and succinct.

20. Markup (-.02)

This indicates the page is used to search your site, and Google doesn’t want to index the results of a search embedded in your site.

21. Low Internal Links (-.02)

Linking between the pages on your site can help you perform better in search result rankings.

22. High External Links (-.02)

Excessive external linking makes your site look like a directory or link factory.

23. Links to Facebook and Twitter or Open Graph Markups (-.01)

We’re down to the really small stuff at this point, but gratuitous linking to social networks doesn’t help you.

24. Ratio of Followed to No-Followed Links Outside of Normal Range (-.01)

If the number of followed versus no-followed links from domains to a subdomain is outside the average, it indicates the subdomain’s content holds little value.

25. Keyword Matches in H1 Tag (-.01)

Don’t fill your H1 tags with keywords – once common practice, Google apparently doesn’t appreciate this any longer.


Are You Guilty of Using the Worst Magento SEO Techniques?

There you have it. 25 of the worst Magento SEO techniques – how many are affecting the ranking of your site? An annual review of your search engine optimization techniques can help you keep current with the ever-shifting factors Google uses when it prioritizes your site.

Web2Market is a leader in the eCommerce world, and if you need assistance in improving the rank of your site or online business, our experts are here to help. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can assist you.


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