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Discussions about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are typically centered around the ability to produce good, share-worthy website content in order to develop a full backlink profile. Creating excellent content should definitely be a focus when improving your site’s SEO. There are however, some technical items that can help you lay down a strong foundation for SEO on your Miva website.
1) Optimize PageSpeed
Google PageSpeed Insights is a helpful, free tool to measure the load time needed to fully display website content. The recently revamped PageSpeed insights also provides actionable steps online businesses can take to further optimize content and decrease load times.
Google has long been “obsessed” with page speed and has indicated that speed is an important factor in their search ranking algorithms. It’s obvious why: a slow loading page offers a poor user experience and many visitors will get impatient and exit the page. Additionally, pages with long load times are typically accompanied by a high bounce rate.
Enter your website’s URL into the tool to view a detailed performance report. Google PageSpeed Insights will quantify the results in two scores:
Speed: This score ranks a page as Fast, Average or Slow.
Optimization: This score categorizes how well optimized that page is for speed as Good, Medium or Low.
If your speed score needs improvement, Google will display a list of Optimization Suggestions that are best practices for improving your page speed. Recommendations include:
- Avoid landing page redirects
- Enable compression
- Improve server response time
- Leverage browser caching
- Minify resources
- Optimize images
- Optimize CSS Delivery
- Prioritize visible content
Merchants can implement the suggested optimizations by following the instructions in the respective “how to fix” links accompanied with each recommendation. Read the full description of PageSpeed Insights Rules.
2) HTTPS Everywhere
The HTTPS protocol ensures users are protected when exchanging confidential information online. HTTPS accomplishes this by adding an extra layer of security called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to pass data along. In ecommerce, HTTPS would typically be in place on Account and Checkout Pages, ensuring customers are able to transmit personal information to a trusted, secure environment. But is it worth implementing HTTPS on the rest of your website? Google says yes.
Back in 2014, Google announced that sites that switched to HTTPS everywhere would experience positive SEO benefits. According to Google, sites that enabled “HTTPS everywhere” would see a rankings boost. Since this announcement, security continues to remain a top priority for Google. A cursory Google search will show a significant percentage of HTTPS results returned on the first page of search results.
Read our blog for a detailed guide on implementing HTTPS on your entire Miva store.
3) URL Structure
Utilizing Miva’s URI Management feature can help you convert your existing URLs into more SEO-friendly URLs. So what defines an “SEO-friendly” URL?
- Short URLs – Some research suggests that shorter URLs tend to rank higher than long URLs
- Keywords – It is generally best practice to include 1-2 keywords in your URL
- Readability – URLs that are easy-to-read can contribute to a better user experience, which can lead to a higher click-through rate and better rankings
For example, let’s say your Miva store sells blue cat toys. Without URI Management, your Miva URL may look like this:
At a glance, it’s not readily apparent to the end user what they can expect to find if they follow this link. On the other hand, Miva’s URI Management helps shorten your URL, highlight the keyword and in general make it more readable to website users:
4) Canonical Tags
Canonical Tags are another important aspect of technical SEO that is covered in Miva’s URI Management. URI Management allows you to set the canonical link tag for a given page. This tag is used to tell search engines the correct and definitive URL if there are multiple URLs for the same product, category or webpage. Here are some examples of how that will look:
Canonical Tags are especially important because Google and other search engines may view multiple URLs with the same content as duplicates — Google penalizes websites that have duplicate content.
Read our documentation for more information about URI Management.
5) Schema.org Markup
Schema.org is a vocabulary of tags that can be added to HTML to improve how a page is shown in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Schema.org helps search engines comprehend page content and then displays the information more robustly — in the form of an enhanced description (also known as rich snippets).
There are all kinds of data you can mark up with Schema but the most relevant example for Miva stores would be products. There are a wide variety of properties you can use to mark up your content for product information, including title, image, description, brand, review, AggregateRating, etc. Thankfully, Schema markup is a native feature for websites built with a Miva ReadyTheme.
Google provides a couple of helpful tools for Schema markup. The first is the Structured Data Markup Helper – a tool used to generate your own markup code. After you add the markup code to your webpage, Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool can be utilized for testing.
Schema.org markup can have a significant impact on where your website ranks in organic search results. With proper implementation, online businesses can leverage the benefits of schema markup to bypass their competition and improve their click-through rate.
About The Author
Miva Account Manager, Brian Carver, boasts almost a decade of experience in Search Engine Optimization, web development, online marketing and advertising. In addition to the Miva blog, Brian has leveraged his digital marketing expertise as a contributor the San Diego Reader and San Diego CityBeat.