December | 2012 | Transform Agency

Effective eCommerce and Design

Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Continued Evolution of Magento SEO

Magento has seen some vital improvements when it comes to being an SEO-friendly e-commerce platform. Yoast has published an extensive guide that provides the most important tips, strategies and most effective practices for Magento SEO.

In this post, we’ll comment on Yoast’s points, plus present some additional ideas. Since Magento is still improving rapidly with each version update, be aware that these tips could change quite rapidly, but most of these tips have been part of the SEO best practices for many years.

Improved SEO Theme

MagentoCommerce.com offers a Blank Theme, which is easy for designers to modify. However, Yoast went ahead and developed their own Blank SEO Theme, which is SEO-optimized.

The main changes are as follows:

  1. A cleaned HTML head. The default Magento themes do not use heading text well from an SEO standpoint. The newly optimized theme cleans up the over-usage of headings. You can hurt the SEO of your site if every page’s logo has a H1 header. The headers should be unique and only be H1 if it provides value to the user. The title of any content should get an H1 tag, which includes a Category Name on a category page and a Product Name on a product page.
  2. More semantic HTML coding. Move all JavaScript and CSS in your template files to external java scripts and CSS files. This will cache those files on the first page load, preventing search engines from downloading them.
  3. Usage of nofollow attribute for several non-content hyperlinks. Install Yoast MetaRobots, which prevents indexing of your search results and tags pages, while still permitting the search engines to follow links on them by adding “noindex,follow” robots met tags. This prevents indexing of non-content pages by adding a “no index,follow” as well.

Using 301 Redirect for Disabled Products

When a product becomes disabled, especially if was a popular product at one time, that link would usually redirect users to a 404 error page. With 301 re-directs, you can redirect a disabled product link to a related product or even to the parent category. This process preserves the link value and provides the user an improved experience.

Multi-Store Setup Requires Caution

Magento is an excellent platform for running multiple storefronts from the same back-end. However, if you set up your product data to be identical between different stores, you could be SEO penalized for duplicate content. Instead, alter the titles, descriptions, headers, and even different prices on each site. You can really hurt each of your sites’ reputations if you overlook this guideline.

Magento Offers More Flexibility for On-Site Optimization

Magento still requires human attention to SEO. But, compared to other platforms, it now offers arguably the most flexibility for in-depth SEO optimization.

Posted in Ecommerce marketing, Magento, Magento Ecommerce

PCI Compliance Demystified

PCI compliance is a topic that some Web developers and ecommerce companies use to hard-sell potential clients. PCI compliance is often portrayed as a kind of complex, labyrinthal process that needs close Web-developer supervision. Well, that’s not usually true. In this post, we’ll try to simplify the process and its steps. First point: As long as your online business is doing less than one million transactions a year (not dollars, but actual transactions), you can easily achieve PCI compliance.

Please see this link, for a quick overview:


A company that does less than one million transactions but more than 20,000 is considered a “Level 3” merchant. For such companies, PCI compliance involves self monitoring and doing a scan. The “PCI Council” allows Level 3 companies to complete a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ). Quartly PCI scans are also required, but are automated (you sign up to a scanning service and can usually forget about it).

Trust Guard is one company that provides PCI scans. There are many others. Here’s a list of approved scanners:


PCI compliance relates to storing credit cards. Most ecommerce websites don’t need to store credit cards and can relegate credit-card security issues to their gateway (such as Authorize.net or Paypal). These gateway companies have invested millions of dollars into a secure PCI-compliant infrastructure so that merchants don’t need to worry about it.

If your online business does less than 20k transactions a year (sales, not dollars), then you don’t even need the PCI scan. Just fill out the self-audit questionnaire. Here’s a link to the questionnaire. It’s like an open-book test:


Now, at the point your company is doing over a million individual transactions a year (not dollars), the credit card companies require a higher level of scrutiny. For many companies, this 1M transactions benchmark is not an immediate concern. When that day comes, a deeper security audit will be needed, but presumably, there will be plenty of revenue to cover it!

One last important point: your hosting companies needs to be up-to-speed on PCI issues, because they play an important role in storing and transporting credit card information. We usually recommend Nexcess.net because they offer PCI compliant hosting specifically optimized for Magento:


Click on Magento hosting in the link above. This will bring you their Magento-overview page, which contains a link to the steps they take to ensure your PCI compliance. We hope this information was helpful.

Posted in Ecommerce, Magento, Magento 1.7, Magento Ecommerce

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