16 DIY Magento SEO Tweaks

Over the past year, I’ve been learning more and more about optimizing a Magento store. Unfortunately, Magento is not search engine friendly, at least up to Community Edition 1.8 and Enterprise Edition 1.12.

Magento Tricks by Traffic MotionLater releases of the platform may have already solved some of these problems, but a lot of Magento sites out there are on these older versions. Even worse, the cost of upgrading from one version to the next can cost several tens of thousands of dollars, and there is little incentive to do that if the only benefit to doing to is some minor SEO improvements.

I’ve divided up this post into three sections. The first is attempting to speed up Magento, the second is on-site improvements including a subsection on structured data, and the final section is on collecting more data from third party tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster accounts from Google, Bing, and Yandex.

Speeding Up Magento

Server Speed – Hardware & Software

The first thing you should do is either read Magento Site Performance Optimization, or give a copy of the book to your IT team or Magento developers. While not every host will want you running HHVM or have a different type of PHP caching solution, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with how hardware and software on the server can improve your store’s speed.

Improve Speed from the Backend


There are a lot of little tricks and button to press in the Magento System Configuration panels, and some of them may be very useful for incremental gains in speed.

Disable These Four Caches

Oddly enough, disabling a handful of Magento’s caches may actually speed up your site. The reasoning is counterintuitive, but makes perfect sense once you realize the database is the bottleneck at which Magento can get stuck. Allowing Magento to generate these resources on the fly, rather than querying the database to find cached versions that may not exist, can make your server response time increase (or at least stabilize).

.htaccess Tweaks

Whether you’re on NGinx or Apache, there are a number of tweaks you can make to your store’s .htaccess file that can boost your speed. These mostly involve compression and setting expiry headers, but they can make your load faster for new and returning visitors.

On-Site Improvements for Better Crawling

Setting a Unique Home Page Title

While “best practice” for product pages is “Brand Product | Description | Site Brand,” the home page should have the site’s name first. But with how Magento handles title suffixes, you might have a home page title of “Site Brand | Site Brand” if you don’t use this very simple trick to set the home page’s title tag.

Turn Off Category Paths in URLs

This trick was confirmed from Everett Sizemore, but it’s something I’ve recommended. Instead of letting Magento build product URLs with all sorts of different category structures depending on how many categories a product is in, just turn them off. It’s an easy fix in the System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization tab. While you’re there, turn on the Canonical tags.

Cache Breadcrumbs

Magento has a problem in that breadcrumbs are generated the first time a user visits a page (although the breadcrumbs will be different depending on the path they took to get there). Unfortunately, the breadcrumbs are not added to the page cache, so subsequent users and search engines will not have the benefit of seeing the breadcrumb navigation links. This seems like a strange bug, but it’s an easy fix.

NoIndex Filtered Navigation Pages

In order to keep your site from having tons of duplicate content indexed by Google due to all of the different filtered navigation, use this simple extension to set the robots meta tag to NOINDEX,FOLLOW. That way, you can focus the search robots on crawling and indexing the more important pages – categories and product pages.

NoIndex Internal Search Results

While we’re using the scalpel on our pages to keep them out of the search index, let’s get internal searches out of the index. This easy layout update will set the robots meta tag to NOINDEX,FOLLOW on any search results pages that Google or Bing may crawl.

Structured Data Implementation

Basic Schema.org Markup

I can’t do any better than the job Robert Kent did in his book Magento Search Engine Optimization, so just buy that book, follow the instructions for modifying some of your template files, and enjoy easy, valid structured data for your product pages, logo, and any contact info you have on the site.

Extened Schema.org with ProductOntology

One thing I can help you add to your basic Schema.org markup is ProductOntology.org data, which provides external reference classes for each of your products. What’s the benefit? I don’t know. What’s the potential downside? None that I can think of.

Facebook/Pinterest Open Graph Cards

Facebook and Pinterest both use Open Graph markup to provide metadata that they can read and use in enhanced links and pins of your site’s content. Implementing this type of markup is actually very simple.

Twitter Cards

Similarly, Twitter has its own set of meta tags that you can add to your site. The result is more information contained in tweets of your products, including images, prices, and references to your site’s official Twitter page. Again, the implementation is easy.

Collect More Visitor and Search Engine Data

Increase Google Analytics Site Speed Sample Rate

By default, Google Analytics samples 1% of your site’s visitors for server response, page load, and other site speed data. For websites with 50,000 monthly page views, this is only 500 samples per month, which is definitely not enough data to determine if your store is fast or slow. This simple tutorial develops a custom extension to up that sample rate to 10%, which gives you a much better gauge of the performance of your website.

Add Webmaster Verification Meta Tags

Magento has a section in the backend to add miscellaneous tags and scripts to every page of the site. But what if you just want to add tags to your homepage and maintain them in a separate block? Google, Bing, and Yandex require a verification meta tag on the homepage, so why include it on all 10,000 other pages of your site? Let’s keep the HTML cleaner and implement the tags on just one page.

Disable Caches to Make Magento Site Faster? Yes!

Here’s a really cool, useful trick I learned from Mathieu Nayrolles’ new book Magento Site Performance Optimization, published just a couple months ago by PacktPub. While I don’t love every book from Packt, this one is a clear winner, and well worth the cost as either an ebook or paperback.

Magento Tricks by Traffic Motion

Surprisingly, by disabling some of the caches in the Magento store backend, you can actually increase the performance on the frontend. This is primarily reflected in the server response time, and I’ve seen noticeable improvements in server response time from a variety of analytics tools.

Months before reading this book, I wrote a very basic site optimization article on increasing Magento speed from the backend of the site. Consider this strategy an extension of what I wrote there, as most of that advice still holds valid. And remember not to disable the Full Page Cache, or you will have a noticeably slower Magento store.

How To Do It

Navigate to System > Cache Management in your Magento store, and simply disable the following caches:

  • Collections Data (Collection data files.)
  • EAV types and attributes (Entity types declaration cache.)
  • Web Services Configuration (Web Services definition files (api.xml).)
  • Web Services Configuration (Web Services definition files (api2.xml).)

At the end of it, you should have a screen that looks like this:

magento-cache

And that’s it. You’re done. Enjoy a noticeably faster Magento site.

Does This Really Work?

Sure, take a look. This first screenshot is from a Redis integration into a Magento Enterprise store.

Redis analytics

You can clearly see a drop in the response time that Redis is tracking once those caches are disabled.

And here is it from Google Analytics. A little harder to tell, but there is a clear drop-off in the server response time after the caches are disabled.

Google Analytics server response data

“What about the bots?” you ask. Google Webmaster Tools crawl stats shows an even greater differences in how quickly Google itself crawls a website before and after disabling these four caches.

Webmaster Tools crawl stats data

Look at how jagged the lines are before and after the caches are disabled. Googlebot was having a much harder, more inconsistent time crawling the website. It’s still not ideal (faster is always better), but the site is now responding faster for Google as it crawls the webnsite, and there aren’t huge spikes in the data.

All in all, disabling those four caches in Magento can provide a better experience for users and bots, which is what ecommerce and SEO are all about.

Why It Works

According to Nayrolles, this works because it takes Magento longer to check the database to see if these items are cached and then generate them if need be. By simply disabling the caches, Magento does not need to check the cache (a resource-intensive, slow process), and can just generate what it needs on the fly.

I’m not an IT guy, and I can’t say I understand in great depth why this works, but the three independent graphs really speak for themselves. Magento says it’s gotten faster, Google Analytics data gathered from users agrees, and Googlebot itself chimes in to confirm it.

So disable those caches, even for a few days or over the weekend, and see if you get the same results.

How to Add ProductOntology.org Markup to Magento Product Pages

I’ve been thinking of doing a Schema.org for Magento tutorial for some time now, but two things in particular has been stopping me.

For one, there’s little I can do to add to the wonderful job GotGroove.com did on their Evolving Ecommerce blog. They cover it all, from adding the Product Schema, the name, SKU, image, description, and all of the Offer data for every item in Magento.

Magento Tricks by Traffic Motion

Second, Robert Kent, in his book Magento Search Engine Optimization, does just as great of a job — although slightly differently — in implementing Schema.org structured data for Magento stores. He also covers all of the basics to get an ecommerce website using valid markup.

With that in mind, I won’t reinvent the wheel. There’s no point. Just go check out GrooveCommerce and buy Kent’s book from Amazon and do the basic implementation yourself.

What Is Product Types Ontology?

But what I can offer is one further integration for Magento stores. That is, the Product Types Ontology from ProductOntology.org. Product Types Ontology, according to the website, “provides ca. 300,000 precise definitions for types of product or services that extend the schema.org and GoodRelations standards for e-commerce markup.”

What’s the benefit of doing this? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. Google and Bing aren’t using ProductOntology.org class identifiers in their search results pages. However, Google and Bing, by implementing the “additionalType” property on Schema.org, obviously have services of this type in mind.

What ProductOntology.org markup helps us do is add an external link reference to each of our product pages, telling search engine robots, browsers, and other applications more about our products, without including a lot of extraneous, redundant information on the product page itself. Let the product page do what it does best — briefly and accurately describe the item and provide users the opportunity to purchase it. To do this, we’ll be utilizing Schema.org’s “additionalType” property, with a link reference to a class identifier on the ProductOntology.org website.

Implementation Guide for Magento

While I’m sure there would be a more elegant way to do this, for many small and medium sized stores, this should be more than sufficient, and is easy to do without spending precious resources on Magento development. In the future, this type of markup may be worth doing through a custom module or extension, but this guide will at least get us to be able to use ProductOntology.org markup on product pages in any Magento store.

Let’s start with the end. This is what we want the code to look like for each product page:

<link itemprop="additionalType" href="http://www.productontology.org/id/Product_Type">

With “Product_Type” being replace with the actual product type. And where do we get this product type? The Product_Type comes from Wikipedia. Using the Magento demo store’s Canon PowerShot A630 8MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom as an example, we would search for the most relevant page on en.wikipedia.org, in this case http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point-and-shoot_camera and use the part after “wiki/” as the ID for the ProductOntology.

Creating the Product Ontology Attribute

The first step in Magento is creating a Custom Attribute. In the admin section of your store, navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes > Add New Attribute. We’ll use product_ontology as the Attribute Code, set the scope to Global, set it to a Text Field, and leave everything else as the default values. Use “Product Ontology” as the admin label.

Now, we have to associate the new attribute with a set. Navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute Sets, and click on Cameras. On the right side of the screen, drag product_ontology over to the General section under Groups.

While we’re in the admin area, let’s give a product an ontology! Search for the Canon PowerShot A630 item under Catalog > Manage Products, and navigate to the General tab on the left of the product edit screen. Under Product Ontology, put “Point-and-shoot_camera” in the text field and save the product.

Editing the Product View Template File

Great, so it’s there and associated with a product. But it’s not displaying anywhere on the frontend since we set it not to display on the frontend. We don’t want it in the specifications table since it doesn’t really belong there.

In your Magento installation folder, navigate to magentoroot/app/design/frontend/base/default/template/catalog/product/ and open the view.phtml file.

If you followed the GrooveCommerce Schema.org implementation guide, you should have the Product itemtype already in this file (or the corresponding view.phtml file in your theme). If not, go use their guide now to get up to speed.

Under the <h1> tag for the product name (on or around line 51 of the default store), we’re going to add this single snippet of code to make this whole thing work:

<?php if ($_product->getProductOntology()): ?>
<link itemprop="additionalType" href="http://www.productontology.org/id/<?php echo $_product->getProductOntology() ?>">
<?php endif; ?>

That’s it! We’re done. Check on the frontend that it’s displaying on your site for the Canon A630. The code should look exactly like this:

<div class="product-name">
	<h1 itemprop="name">Canon PowerShot A630 8MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom</h1>
	<link itemprop="additionalType" href="http://www.productontology.org/id/Point-and-shoot_camera">
</div>

Now, whatever type of product you have, you can go to Wikipedia, find the most specific Wiki, grab the last part of the URI, and paste it into the Product Ontology field for any product you offer.

We also used a php if statement that will only display the ProductOntology link reference if the attribute is populated for the product. That way, you won’t have empty href attributes if you add a product and fail to add the Wikipedia class right away.

Updating Product Ontology Data in Bulk

Whether you have a handful or thousands of products, you can easily update the Product Ontology data by doing an export of your product info from Magento, then simply uploading the updates back into Magento. All you need to do is match up the SKU field with the Product Ontology ID that you’ve chosen for each product.

Wrapping Up ProductOntology.org Markup

This solution is quick, clean, and easy enough for even Magento novices to use. It’s also a no-risk way to add more structured data to your website and give search engines and browsers more information about your products.

While this solution works for all products, it could probably be done in a more elegant manner if someone wants to take this idea and run with it and develop a full extension for Magento. If you add new products to your site on a daily basis, filling in the Product Ontology field may become quite a hassle, and leaving the field empty is fairly useless.

However, for smaller ecommerce sites that just want more structured data, and who don’t update their products daily or hourly, this is a great way to add the ProductOntology class identifiers to your site.

Again, is there any tangible benefit to it? I don’t know. That’s why I haven’t dug deeper into this. Unless I see Google rewarding this type of structured data, I can’t recommend going beyond this very simple implementation guide and spending a lot of resources having expensive Magento developers create a custom module for it.

Google Removes Author Photos from Search Results

The big news in SEO this week was Google’s announcement that author photos will no longer appear in most search results. This is a curious move by Google, and signals the end of one of the big reasons bloggers and writers of all types flocked to Google Plus.

Links

Going forward, instead of an author photo showing up in the search results for logged out users, along with Circles data from Google Plus, all that will appear in the SERPs is a by-line. Author photos can still show up for users logged in to their Google Plus account, depending on if they have an individual author in their circles. In Google News, a smaller author photo may appear.

So why were author photos dropped by Google? According to John Mueller, “we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)”

Interestingly, Mueller doesn’t indicate whether click-through behavior is similar on the actual search results that showed authorship photos compared to results without a photo. Just that “click-through behavior” is similar from one to the other.

His explanation also flies in the face of research done by Google and others on eye tracking. Remember this eye tracking study from 2006? With 10 blue links, search behavior is F-shaped, while “chunking” is exhibited around images where rich search results are displayed. Google is now indicating that click behavior is the same on results with images as with only 10 blue links. But eye-tracking behavior has been proven to be different depending on the presence or absence of rich media in search results.

The elimination of widespread author photos in the search results is also curious, as it raises questions about Google’s intentions with its Google Plus social network. One of the big draws of Google Plus was the ability to have one’s photo show up in the search results. This was Google’s enticement for anonymous authors to come out from the cold, join their network, start building relationships, and dive deep into Google Plus.

With Google’s focus on authority, authenticity, and veracity in its semantic search strategy, verifying an account as a real person through Google Plus was a huge piece of the puzzle. According to David Amerland’s book Google Semantic Search, Google specifically gave people an incentive to join Google Plus, establish authorship markup on their articles, and link all of their other social networks together. The main ego-bait was the author photo showing up in SERPs.

Will a simple by-line, rather than the ego-bait of an actual photo, be enough to draw new users to Google Plus? I can’t speak for anyone else, but my reaction has been a resounding “Meh.” When I do research on Google (something I do increasingly less as I’ve taken a liking to DuckDuckGo‘s results), I’ve always been drawn to authorship photos. It’s a lot easier to remember a face than a name, especially since I’m far more likely to skim over by-lines than photos.

Without the increased click-through rates I was seeing on properly verified articles due to the author photo showing on Google, I can’t think of much reason to spend a lot more time developing a presence on the social network. I barely use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, because there’s almost NO incentive to use them and I have more important things to do than establish a presence on those other networks.

It was Google Plus that I used the most, and the selfish incentive of building my “author rank” over time and having my image appear in more searches was a strong incentive to add people and companies to my circles and engage in discussions with them (even though I was often the sole person commenting on Google Plus posts for many companies).

For now, I’m sure I’ll keep my Google Plus and see where Google takes its authorship markup, but I’ll be far less likely to continue developing my own “contributor to/authorship” profiles around the web at the same pace and with the same enthusiasm at which I once did.

AdWords Fundamentals Revision Guide Phone/Tablet App Review

I guess it’s that time again. Time to renew my Google AdWords certifications. Although I’ve put together a couple of popular study guides for the exams, one problem with them is that I need to navigate to the webpage in order to read the guide.

pay per click blog icon

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could review AdWords prep material on my phone? Maybe even take some practice exams while sitting in the car waiting for a train or waiting for an oil change?

Well, Singing Horse Studio has recently developed and released a smartphone/tablet app for just that purpose. Named the AdWords Fundamentals Revision Guide, it comes in very handy for on-the-go studying. It comes with 10 questions for free, with additional packs of 50 questions available for purchase.

The questions in the guide are all multiple choice, as in the real AdWords exam, and each question has references to the section of the official Google study documents that the question came from. Whether you got a question right or wrong, you can easily find the context of the answer.

Downloading the additional question packs are essential, though. Ten questions for the free “lite” version just aren’t enough to use as a study guide. Thankfully, the cost for each pack of questions is very little.

By randomizing 10-20 questions, studying for the exam becomes a lot easier and can be done almost anywhere in small portions. Think you’re ready for the entire exam? Then go through all 110 questions (or 60 if you’ve downloaded just one pack of questions).

Even better, the app will track your progress over time on the questions, showing you in clear terms whether you are getting better or not. On one screen, you can view your progress over your last 10 attempts to see how close you are getting to that magical 85% passing score.

Some of these questions are tough, too, more difficult than I remember the actual exam being. This is really the hallmark of a well-designed study guide. The practice exam should always be more difficult than the real one so you have the best chance to pass it. Real exams are more stressful than practice ones, so the study guide quizzes need to make up for that with more difficult questions.

No question, you should download this app if you’re studying for the Google AdWords Fundamentals Exam. Try out the first 10 questions on it for free, and if you’ve learned anything from them, then get at least one of the additional packs of 50 questions.

Should this be your only study material for the exam? Probably not. Read the official study guide from Google, read a few books and study guides, and download this app for review once you’re closer to the exam. Then go through questions in small chunks until your AdWords knowledge feels rock solid, and take the full 60-110 question exam on your phone/tablet as a “final review” of sorts.

Singing Horse Studio’s AdWords Fundamentals Revision Guide should be part of your AdWords study toolkit going forward. Hopefully, they will come out with apps for the Advanced Search and Advanced Display exams in the future, but the current app should help far more people pass their AdWords exam.

By providing a portable Q&A app focusing on the exam, they’ve filled one of the huge gaps in the current knowledge base of AdWords. After using it periodically for several weeks now, my knowledge of AdWords has markedly increased.

You can visit the Singing Horse Studio website directly, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook.

88 Questions You Need to Know for the Google AdWords Advanced Display Exam

After a long-awaited absence, the Traffic Motion guides to the Google exams are back. This time, we’ll be focusing on the Google AdWords Advanced Display certification exam. This test is quite a bit more difficult than the Fundamentals exam, so prepare yourself by reading the Display Network documentation that Google themselves have published on it.

pay per click blog icon

Much of the material on the Display Network is about YouTube ads, as Google is obviously attempting to make YouTube a profitable venture for investors and advertisers. Familiarize yourself with the YouTube advertising options in AdWords, as well as some of the ads available on YouTube itself. There are differences, as each platform has its own interface and advertising options.

Also, there are a lot of easy questions that I didn’t bother covering here. If you know anything at all about Google, AdWords, the Display Network, or YouTube, you should be able to get a fair number of questions correct. In addition, there are a decent number of repeat questions, just rephrased differently. For instance, make sure you know what Frequency Capping is and how it works, as well as the Display Ad Builder. Those topics will come up in quite a few questions, so if you get one right, you’ll probably get at least two or three more questions correct, too.

One final tip for preparing for this exam is to print out and read all of the documentation from Google, so that you can refer to it during the test. Thankfully, the material is less than 200 pages in length, so it’s not as big of a project to print out as either the Fundamentals or Search Advanced material. These questions and answers are provided only as suggestions and a guide, they won’t allow you to pass the test without extra studying.

Finally, good luck on the Advanced Display exam if you decide to take it! Please leave us a comment or share this study guide if it helped you at all.

Q: Using Google’s AdWords for Video, what type of video advertisement can you implement?
A: TrueVideo Video Ads can be implemented with AdWords for Video.

Q: What type of video still is best for an advertisement?
A: Something showing the action. If it’s a surfing video, for instance, show the part where the surfer is attempting to catch the wave, rather than paddling out to the wave or falling off of the surfboard.

Q: How is Quality Score affected when using cost-per-thousand-impressions bidding on Display ads?
A: QS is not affected because click-through rates are not a factor when using CPM bidding.

Q: True or False: You should consider minimum speed requirements in a reservation based campaign.
A: True

Q: True of False: You should consider the global availability of ad units and ad placements when planning a reservation based campaign.
A: True

Q: True or False: Think about submission and turnaround time for your creative and video assets when planning a reservation based campaign.
A: True

Q: True or False: Consider the bidding strategies of other advertisers when planning a reservation based campaign.
A: False

Q: If you want the best return on investment from a display campaign, what type of bidding option should you use in AdWords?
A: Conversion Optimization

Q: True or False: Adding a visible display URL is a good practice when using the Display Ad Builder?
A: True

Q: True or False: for YouTube, the majority of AdWords ads appear on Event pages.
A: False

Q: True or False: for YouTube, the majority of AdWords ads appear on Contest pages.
A: False

Q: True or False: for YouTube, the majority of AdWords ads appear on the YouTube homepage.
A: False

Q: True or False: for YouTube, the majority of AdWords ads appear on Watch pages.
A: True

Q: Which types of targeting can you use on YouTube?
A: Remarketing, topics, and interest categories

Q: How does an ad’s Quality Score work on the Display Network?
A: QS will affect whether your ads are eligible to enter the ad auction.

Q: True or False: Filling in gaps of niche and mass-marketed sites is one benefit of using AdWords targeting options, even if you use display advertising through other ad networks besides Google’s.
A: True

Q: Besides AdSense, where else can display inventory come from on the Google Display Network?
A: DoubleClick Ad Exchange

Q: When do TrueView in-state ads show on YouTube?
A: Only before YouTube partner videos that are at least 10 minutes in length.

Q: When can Ad Scheduling help your display campaign?
A: When you notice spikes in traffic to your website at certain times of the day.

Q: What can a Reach and Frequency report tell you about video ad play rates on a placement-targeted campaign?
A: Whether decreased play rates are an effect of viewers seeing an ad repeatedly and not watching it again.

Q: When using AdWords Conversion Tracking, which bidding strategy is best for driving traffic to a website along with ROI goals?
A: CPC bidding model

Q: How can you view your reservation-based reports for ads?
A: You’ll need to request it from your Google representative.

Q: When there are both CPM and CPC ads in an auction, what will the AdWords system do?
A: Calculate the effective CPM for ads.

Q: True or False: Allocating budget and controlling spending levels across campaigns is a benefit of having separate campaigns for Search and Display Network advertising.
A: True

Q: What would the Placement Report tell you?
A: Which Display Network properties displayed your ads, as well as related metrics.

Q: True or False: You can use the Placement Performance Report to see on which URLs users have seen your ads.
A: True

Q: True or False: different campaign settings may be better for different networks, so you should separate your Display and Search campaigns.
A: True

Q: True or False: If you want to do Remarketing and Product Listing Ads, you should set up separate campaigns for each.
A: True

Q: You are setting up a Display Campaign for a client. What is the first thing you should take into account?
A: The advertiser’s goals for the campaign.

Q: What will the On Schedule Indicator tell you?
A: It will show you the percent chance that the campaign will deliver all of the booked impressions for your ads.

Q: How can you get access to View-through conversion data?
A: You must be using the Conversion Tracking code on your website.

Q: True or False: A faster landing page load time could increase the Quality Score of your ad.
A: True

Q: What would a Remarketing campaign allow you to do?
A: Reach people who have previously visited your website and show them ads as they visit sites on the Google Display Network.

Q: What is a best practice for optimizing ad groups in a placement-targeted campaign?
A: Use Ad Groups to categorize placement-targeted sites with similar themes.

Q: True or False: YouTube ads can show up on the YouTube homepage.
A: True

Q: True or False: YouTube ads can run on videos that are part of the Partnership Program.
A: True

Q: How long must people watch TrueView in-stream ads on YouTube?
A: They play for at least 5 seconds, then users can keep watching or skip the ad.

Q: If you do not want to find and bid on individual placements, what is the best way to advertise on the Display Network?
A: Use the Conversion Optimizer.

Q: True or False: You can set language targeting options for campaigns that use ads on YouTube.
A: True

Q: For a campaign focused on branding, what is the best bidding option?
A: Cost-per-thousand-impressions

Q: True or False: clicks and impressions are key metrics for a branding campaign.
A: True

Q: What is the recommended minimum amount of time to let a display campaign run before analyzing performance metrics?
A: 2-3 weeks

Q: True or False: Text ads are the easiest to create on the Display Network.
A: True

Q: True or False: Video ads are the easiest to create on the Display Network.
A: False

Q: Where does YouTube rank in terms of search queries?
A: It has the second highest number of search queries in the world.

Q: What would you use to limit the impressions of an ad for a single unique user?
A: Frequency capping

Q: True or false: Conversions is the most important measurement in a direct response advertiser’s campaign on the Display Network.
A: True

Q: Your display ad has been disapproved. How can you submit a request for another review?
A: Save an edited version of the disapproved ad, or create a new ad.

Q: True or False: CPM bidding is available for the Search Network.
A: False

Q: True or False: CPM bidding is available for the Display Network.
A: True

Q: Can you track phone calls as conversions with Enhanced Campaigns?
A: Yes

Q: Can you track sales transactions as conversions with Enhanced Campaigns?
A: Yes

Q: Can you track text messages as conversions with Enhanced Campaigns?
A: No

Q: What are some features of a YouTube Brand channel?
A: Custom gadgets, house and curate video content, and develop social friendships with YouTube users.

Q: True or False: Use the Placement Report is a good idea when using Site and Category exlusions.
A: True

Q: True or False: You can limit exposure to your ads through site/category exclusions.
A: True

Q: True or False: You can limit exposure to your ads by including negative keywords.
A: True

Q: What tool can you use to target different categories of video content on the Display Network?
A: AdWords for Video

Q: Can your video mimic functions that an ad can not perform?
A: No. Your ad is likely to be disapproved.

Q: Using AdWords, can you target mobile apps?
A: Yes.

Q: What would you use to target relevant sites on the Display Network based on a list of keywords?
A: Managed Placements

Q: What is the payment model for a YouTube homepage masthead advertisement?
A: These are sold on a fixed cost per day model.

Q: How can you optimize your CPC-based campaign?
A: Focus on a high CTR, ad rank, and Quality Score.

Q: What will Frequency Capping do?
A: It will limit the number of times an ad appears to the same unique user on the Display Network.

Q: True or False: You can set individual bids for sites you select for Managed Placements advertisements.
A: True

Q: Can you use Frequency Capping on the Search Network?
A: No, this feature is available only for ads on the Display Network.

Q: Can you track the Mouseover Rate on ads built with the Display Ad Builder?
A: Yes

Q: True or False: Topic Targeting is likely to ensure ads are contextually relevant to the sites they appear on.
A: True

Q: Will all of your performance metrics be lost if you edit an ad with an ad extension, if you are using Enhanced Campaigns?
A: No.

Q: True or False: Using a color scheme that complements the image and branding on your site is recommended when using the Display Ad Builder.
A: True.

Q: Where are ads using images and videos shown?
A: They would only be shown on the Google Display Network.

Q: For direct response marketing, which is the ideal bidding model?
A: Cost per click

Q: True or False: YouTube homepage ads are available through AdWords.
A: False

Q: True or False: YouTube watch page ads are available through AdWords.
A: True

Q: True or False: YouTube search page ads are available through AdWords.
A: True

Q: Why should you include a text ad in your Display Network campaign, even if you want to focus on image/video?
A: Not all publishers accept image/video ads, so having a text ad will ensure maximum coverage.

Q: True or False: You can use Pop-Up ads on the Google Display Network.
A: False

Q: True or False: You can use Print Ads through a Display Network campaign.
A: False

Q: What is one reason to consider different messages in your video ads than in your text/search ads?
A: Video search behavior is different than search behavior on a traditional search engine like Google.

Q: True or False: You can utilize pre-existing design templates with the Google Display Ad Builder tool.
A: True

Q: Should you use a Call to Action in the opening image of a click-to-play video?
A: Yes, this is considered a best practice for this type of advertisement.

Q: When would you pay for a TrueView in-search advertisement?
A: Only if a viewer chooses to watch the video.

Q: What aspect of an ad would help set expectations for users in different stages of the buying cycle?
A: A clear Call to Action in the text portion of a text, video, or image advertisement.

Q: True or False: You can incorporate an error message or warning box in your image ad.
A: False, this will get your ad disapproved.

Q: True or False, you can use a strobe background in your Display Network ads.
A: False, this will get your ad disapproved.

Q: Which bidding model allows advertisers to pay by the conversion?
A: Cost per acquisition (CPA)

Q: What is the best bidding model to increase reach and visibility?
A: Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

Q: What type of bidding model do reservation ads use?
A: They are a fixed price, so no bidding is used.

Add Google AdWords Dynamic Remarketing Code to Magento CMS & Home Pages

In a previous tutorial, we looked at how to add Google AdWords Dynamic Remarketing code to Magento’s product pages. That gets us some of the way there, and you can start remarketing with just that bit of code on your site (verified working on a live Magento Enterprise website).

Integrate Google Dynamic Remarketing in Magento

However, there are a lot more pages we can tag with the remarketing code, including the home pages, category and subcategory pages and listings, and CMS pages. We’ll take a look at the home page and static CMS pages in this tutorial, and tackle category pages in future one.

The reason we do the home page and CMS pages at the same time is that Google has a separate pagetype for each of these pages. If you add the CMS code to your Magento home page, though, you won’t have the correct pagetype. And if you add the home page code just on that page, you’ll need to remove the CMS page code to prevent having both tags on the home page.

Let’s tackle the CMS pages first, since they are remarkably similar to the product pages.

Creating or Adding to the local.xml File

First, navigate to your magentoroot/app/design/frontend/base/default/layout/ directory, and open the local.xml file located there. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one, and if you’re using a different package/theme, navigate to the correct folder rather than base/default as I did here.

In that local.xml file, we’re going to add the following code to it:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- other code -->
<layout>
<!-- other layout code -->
	<cms_page>
		<reference name="before_body_end">
			<block type="core/template" name="trafficmotion.remarketingCms">
				<action method="setTemplate">
					<template>trafficmotion/remarketing/cms.phtml</template>
				</action>
			</block>
		</reference>
	</cms_page>
</layout>

Easy enough, right? Now, we have to get the proper directory so that Magento knows what file to pull from where, and put the right code in that file.

Directory Structure for AdWords Dynamic Remarketing Code Layout

Here are the folders that we need to navigate to if you’ve read my previous AdWords Remarketing on Magento tutorial, or create them if they don’t yet exist.

  • magentoroot/app/design/frontend/base/default/template/trafficmotion/
  • magentoroot/app/design/frontend/base/default/template/trafficmotion/remarketing/

Next, we’ll get the actual code for the CMS pages. Magento is looking for the block to insert before the closing <body> tag, so let’s give it what it wants.

Creating the cms.phtml File

Since we don’t need to call any paramaters like the SKU or total value on the CMS pages, we don’t need any fancy PHP code. Plain old HTML will do just fine, though we still need to name our file with the PHTML extension. Create cms.phtml and add the following code to it:

<!-- Begin Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var google_tag_params = {
ecomm_prodid: '',
ecomm_pagetype: 'siteview',
ecomm_totalvalue: '',
};
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
/* <![CDATA[ */
var google_conversion_id = XXXXXXXXXX;
var google_custom_params = window.google_tag_params;
var google_remarketing_only = true;
/* ]]> */
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<div style="display:inline;">
<img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/XXXXXXXXXX/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0"/>
</div>
</noscript>
<!-- End Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->

Remember to use the actual code that Google gives you for your site. Your conversion ID probably isn’t XXXXX. Also remember to set the ecomm_pagetype to ‘siteview’ so AdWords knows what pagetype these are.

Wrapping Up Dynamic Remarketing Integration for CMS Pages

That’s all there is to adding the remarketing tag to your CMS pages. The only problem is, the code now appears on the homepage, as well as all other CMS pages. We’ll look at getting rid of it on the homepage next, as well as inserting the correct code. But here’s how the code will look on the actual pages of your Magento store:

<p class="bugs">Help Us to Keep Magento Healthy - <a href="http://www.magentocommerce.com/bug-tracking" onclick="this.target='_blank'"><strong>Report All Bugs</strong></a> (ver. 1.8.1.0)</p>
        <address>&copy; 2013 Magento Demo Store. All Rights Reserved.</address>
    </div>
</div>
                
<!-- Begin Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var google_tag_params = {
ecomm_prodid: '',
ecomm_pagetype: 'siteview',
ecomm_totalvalue: '',
};
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
/* <![CDATA[ */
var google_conversion_id = XXXXXXXXXX;
var google_custom_params = window.google_tag_params;
var google_remarketing_only = true;
/* ]]> */
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<div style="display:inline;">
<img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/XXXXXXXXXX/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0"/>
</div>
</noscript>
<!-- End Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->
    </div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

Removing the CMS Remarketing Code from the Homepage

We’re going to go back to the local.xml file we used up above, located at magentoroot/app/design/frontend/base/default/layout/local.xml and add the following code to that file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- other code  -->
<layout>
<!-- other layout code -->
	<cms_index_index>
		<reference name="before_body_end">
			<remove name="trafficmotion.remarketingCms" />
		</reference>
	</cms_index_index>

That gets rid of the remarketingCms block on the homepage, so now we’re free to add the correct code. We could do another local.xml layout update, but since we’re adding a block just to one page, we can more easily do this in the backend of Magento with a static block and a layout XML update to the homepage.

Creating the Static Block

Login to the admin area of your store, and navigate to CMS > Static Blocks and click +Add New Block in the upper right corner of the page. Let’s give it a Block Title of Google Remarketing Code – Homepage, an Identifier of google-remarketing-home, and choose your appropriate Store View. Enable the block and put the following code in the Content section:

<!-- Begin Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var google_tag_params = {
ecomm_prodid: '',
ecomm_pagetype: 'home',
ecomm_totalvalue: '',
};
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
/* <![CDATA[ */
var google_conversion_id = XXXXXXXXXX;
var google_custom_params = window.google_tag_params;
var google_remarketing_only = true;
/* ]]> */
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<div style="display:inline;">
<img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/XXXXXXXXXX/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0"/>
</div>
</noscript>
<!-- End Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->

Now, all we have to do is add that block to the before_body_end section of our homepage. Navigate to CMS > Pages > Manage Content and look for the page with the URL key of “home” and open that page.

In the Design tab, we’re going to add some XML code, and then we’ll be all done. Here’s what we need to add to that page.

<reference name="before_body_end">
<block type="cms/block" name="google_remarketing">
    <action method="setBlockId"><block_id>google-remarketing-home</block_id></action> 
</block>
</reference>

Wrapping Up Dynamic Remarketing Integration for the Homepage

Whew! We’re all done here. Take a look at the Page Source on the homepage, and you’ll see the correct dynamic remarketing code, without the extra reference to the CMS page remarketing code. Here’s what it looks like after we’re finished:

<p class="bugs">Help Us to Keep Magento Healthy - <a href="http://www.magentocommerce.com/bug-tracking" onclick="this.target='_blank'"><strong>Report All Bugs</strong></a> (ver. 1.8.1.0)</p>
        <address>&copy; 2013 Magento Demo Store. All Rights Reserved.</address>
    </div>
</div>
                
<!-- Begin Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var google_tag_params = {
ecomm_prodid: '',
ecomm_pagetype: 'home',
ecomm_totalvalue: '',
};
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
/* <![CDATA[ */
var google_conversion_id = XXXXXXXXXX;
var google_custom_params = window.google_tag_params;
var google_remarketing_only = true;
/* ]]> */
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<div style="display:inline;">
<img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/XXXXXXXXXX/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0"/>
</div>
</noscript>
<!-- End Google Code for Remarketing Tag -->
    </div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

That was one of our longest Magento tutorials yet, but was an important one for getting the AdWords Dynamic Remarketing code to display correctly on our static pages and our homepage. In our next tutorial, we’ll look at adding the code to the category view pages.

Magento Google AdWords Dynamic Remarketing Tutorials

Internet Marketing Tools Collection by TrafficMotion

This list is an ongoing work in progress. The goal is to provide a useful and broad list of internet marketing links. It will range from web analytics, to search engine optimization, social media, paid online advertising, conversion optimization, affiliate and email marketing, and more.

Online Marketing Tools from TrafficMotion

Stay tuned for weekly, if not daily, updates to this list of internet marketing tools.

Web Analytics

Competitive Intellligence

Call Tracking

Search Engine Optimization

Local SEO

Social Media

Paid Online Advertising

Keyword Research

Email Marketing

Conversion Optimization

Miscellaneous Tools

How to Noindex Internal Search Results in Magento

If you’re like me, you’re tired of seeing twice as many pages indexed by Google as you have actual pages and products on your ecommerce website. One way to combat this is to use the Robots.txt file to Disallow Google, Bing, and other web bots from crawling the content of your pages.

Magento Tricks by Traffic MotionBut that doesn’t actually keep the pages out of the index! It only keeps them from being crawled and having their content indexed and searchable. The page URLs themselves can (and most likely will) still appear in search results, with a message on Google saying that the page’s content is blocked by the site’s Robots.txt file.

So using the Disallow command in Robots.txt won’t reduce the number of pages indexed by the search engines. The only way to do that (besides tedious manual removal requests) is to include a NOINDEX meta tag on pages that you do not want indexed. We already took a look at Noindexing filtered navigation pages of product listings.

In this article, we’ll take a quick look at Noindexing the search results. Why is this important? Well, read it from the man himself, Matt Cutts, who wrote a “Search Results in Search Results” post on his blog all the way back in 2007. So yes, keeping Magento search results pages out of the Google index is important. Let’s look at how to do it!

Updating the local.xml Layout File

Navigate to the magentoroot/app/design/frontend/base/default/layout/local.xml file and open it. If it doesn’t exist, create it.

The code that we have to add to the file is this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- other code -->
<layout>
<!-- other layout code -->
	<catalogsearch_result_index translate="label">
		<reference name="head">
			<action method="setRobots"><value>NOINDEX,FOLLOW</value></action>
		</reference>
	</catalogsearch_result_index>
</layout>

Wrapping Up Noindexing Internal Search Results

That’s it? We’re done? Well, yea, that’s basically all there is to it. In some cases, you may also want to Noindex the catalog_advanced_index and catalog_advanced_result but you can use the exact same code snippet as above, just replacing catalog_result_index with the other two variations.

This is a pretty simple fix, and can help Google keep a lot of your internal search pages out of their index, especially if you occasionally link to a search result as the most relevant and user-friendly method to find a product or list of related products.

If you followed along with the tutorial in the base default theme, you can do a search for anything, get the results, and check out the Page Source. You’ll see something like the following code, indicating that this simple fix has worked.

<title>Search results for: 'nokia'</title>
<meta name="description" content="Default Description" />
<meta name="keywords" content="Magento, Varien, E-commerce" />
<meta name="robots" content="NOINDEX,FOLLOW" />

Adding Google, Bing, Yandex, and Pinterest Verification Meta Tags to Magento

Meta tags are an easy way to add verification to your Magento store for Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, Yandex.Webmaster, and Pinterest for Business accounts. In this article, we’ll go over two easy ways to add these tags to your Magento store.

Magento Tricks by Traffic Motion

One alternative to adding meta tags is to upload a file from each of these sites to your site’s root directory. Unfortunately, when developers, IT, and version control systems are involved, this can be a much longer process than it should be. Instead of taking a few seconds, it may take days or even weeks just to get a new file (let alone four) uploaded to the root directory of your store.

Thankfully, Magento provides a couple of workaround for this, one that is extremely simple, and one that is a little more sophisticaned but cleaner and easier to read and maintain. We’ll start with the simpler method.

Miscellaneous Head Scripts

Log in to the admin section of your store, and navigate to System > Configuration > Design > HTML Head > Miscellaneous Scripts, and simply copy-paste the verification code there.

The code for our TrafficMotion website would look like this:

<meta name="msvalidate.01" content="14B60B177AD73A9CB88E52E10DE81E9F" />
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="Y0KjL1s3sCz5_RnzmBPdNIiMKE7n-iPy3OzjlRlPvdI" />
<meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8c5c5b782d04896448cc802df0e4e97b" />
<meta name='yandex-verification' content='7754504dbf4109f0' />

Easy, right? So what’s the problem with this method?

There really isn’t one, but the scripts are added to the <head> of every page of your site, where Google, Bing, Yandex, and Pinterest only require it on the home page.

To put it simply, why clutter up every page of your site, when you don’t need to? Google or Bing aren’t going to bother verifying the tag on every single page of your store, so why bother including it? It’s just extraneous code for the vast, vast majority of your pages.

So let’s add these pieces of code a different way, and just get them on the home page.

Block & Layout Update

First, navigate to System > Configuration > General > Content Management > WYSIWYG Options. We’re going to change the setting for “Enable WYSIWYG Editor” to “Disabled by Default.” If we don’t do that, Magento’s WYSIWYG editor will strip out the meta tags we’ll be adding to a new static block.

Adding a New CMS Static Block

Once you’ve done that, go to CMS > Static Blocks > Add New Block. You can name it anything you want, but we’ll give it the Block Title of “Validation Codes” and the Identifier of “html_validation_codes” for the purposes of this tutorial.

Then, in the Content, copy-paste in your meta tag verification codes. Now, we just have to get that block into our home page.

Adding the Validation Codes Block to the Home Page

Now, go to CMS > Pages > Home page, and hit the Design Tab under Page Information. This is the part where it can get tricky for new store owners, but it’s really not too difficult.

There may already be some code in the Layout Update XML field if you’re using the base default theme, or it may be empty. In either event, we’re going to add a little snippet of code to reference our Validation Codes static block. Here’s what you would include if you’ve followed along so far:

<reference name="head">
<block type="cms/block" name="validation_code">
    <action method="setBlockId"><block_id>html_validation_codes</block_id></action> 
</block>
</reference>

Wrapping Up Validation Codes

Now, check the Page Source of your Magento store home page, and you should see the block of code just under our customized Google Analytics code. It looks just like this:

<!-- END GOOGLE ANALYTICS CODE -->
<meta name="msvalidate.01" content="14B60B177AD73A9CB88E52E10DE81E9F" />
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="Y0KjL1s3sCz5_RnzmBPdNIiMKE7n-iPy3OzjlRlPvdI" />
<meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8c5c5b782d04896448cc802df0e4e97b" />
<meta name='yandex-verification' content='7754504dbf4109f0' />
<script type="text/javascript">//<![CDATA[
        var Translator = new Translate([]);
        //]]></script></head>

Then, you can check for the code on any other page of your website, and it won’t be there! It’s not a huge savings in terms of the amount of HTML on the page, but it does keep a few lines of extraneous code off of them. No website would pay much attention to those meta tags if they were on every page anyway, so let’s keep the category, CMS, and product pages a little cleaner.