If you are going to start an e-commerce project, OpenCart will be a powerful and reliable tool to do it. OpenCart is a specialized e-commerce platform, with lots of customization options and features, that will make your online store prosper.
However, besides using the right solution, another essential component of the success of your business is promoting your e-commerce store by making it ranked higher by search engines. This can be achieved by following a set of practices for making your website pages better adapted to the standards put forward by search engines, which are referred to as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
Today we want to explore some of these strategies to help you build a prospering e-commerce based on OpenCart.
Choosing the right hosting solution is the first step in creating a successful website of any kind. Your server is the hardware for your website, so any malfunctioning of the server will negatively affect your website's performance. The latter, in turn, is also widely considered by the search engines. So, a website with frequent downtimes, slow loading speed, or bugs will not only be uncomfortable for users and make them consciously look for other websites but also it will be ranked down in search results, resulting in significantly decreased visibility and findability. For this reason, you should always opt for a suitable hosting solution from a reliable provider. Something like OpenCart VPS hosting, a powerful VPS server with OpenCart already installed and configured, so you can start building your e-commerce store right away.
To make each page of your OpenCart website SEO optimized, the first step is to configure their meta elements, which include meta title, meta description, and meta keywords. With their help search engines will be able to index your pages better, so when visitors type certain keywords, they will have more chances to see your page on the output.
To find the right words for each meta element, you should conduct special research, to figure out what words pop up whenever someone wants to find something. Add corresponding keywords to each meta element of each page and this way you can significantly increase its visibility on the web.
You can edit meta elements by going to_ System > Settings > Edit > Store_ for the homepage, _Catalog > Categories for the categories, and Catalog > Products _for each individual product.
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Also, to make your meta elements more “digestible”, try not to exceed 70 characters for title tags and 150–160 characters for meta descriptions.
Besides the meta elements, the way the URL, and the website’s address that is seen in the address bar, play, too, a significant role in your website getting indexed well. The default form of an URL in OpenCart contains only the ID of the page in your CMS, and to make it more meaningful, you need to specially edit it.
First, change the .htaccess.txt files to .htaccess, in the root folder of your server through the control panel.
Second, go to the system settings (System > Settings > Edit > Server) and set Use SEO URLs as yes.
Now you can make each URL consist of the page’s SEO keywords.
Google penalizes pages that share identical pieces of content, so you have to make sure that each page of your website offers unique content, creating it carefully and making sure it's not too similar to something found elsewhere.
Also, be careful with redirects, when you have different URLs that go to one place. To explain to search engines that nothing is duplicated here, you can use canonical URLs that notify the engines that it’s the case of redirection and provide the search engine with the original page.
Robots.txt is the file that is intended for the search bots. It contains the necessary information on how the pages are to be indexed, which pages are to be indexed, and so on. It is the first thing a search bot checks when entering your website, so make sure to create this file so the bot knows, what to do with your website.
OpenCart automatically creates an HTML map for your website. However, to facilitate the indexation process for search engines, it can be helpful to additionally create an XML sitemap. With it, the crawlers will be able to see exactly what your website consists of and retrieve faster what’s required for the search.
OpenCart is a great choice for building your e-commerce website. But to make it possible for internet users to find your website with ease, you have to take care of how well your website is optimized for search engines. In this article we’ve given you a set of strategies, applying which can greatly contribute to your website’s SEO and bring your e-commerce website closer to success and prosperity. Thank you for your attention!