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Simplified Guide to Simple, Configurable and Grouped Products for Magento SEO

Sam Hurley from NovosSam Hurley in Magento, SEO

12th October, 2020

Understanding Simple, Configurable and Grouped Products in Magento for SEO

When you are first exposed to the world of Magento terminology like configurable, simple and grouped products, it can be very confusing. Even those that have used Magento for a few years still get confused.

In this simplified guide, we’ll show you examples of each so you can visualise them for future reference.

We will also provide our opinion on how to approach these from an SEO perspective.

Grouped product SKUs

Probably the easiest one to explain and get out of the way. A grouped product is when multiple SKUs are grouped together on a single URL

Example:  https://savilerowco.com/grey-windowpane-check-tailored-suit-msuit356gry

The url above has 2 different SKUs on the same URL connected e.g. jacket and trousers

These 2 SKUs then live independently of each other on unique urls e.g. https://savilerowco.com/grey-windowpane-check-tailored-suit-jacket-mfj356gry

From an SEO perspective the main challenge you will have is to vary to copy between the pages enough e.g. on the group page you’d want to be referencing both products together rather than copying the same copy identically from each individual url.

Also, ensure your targeting is differentiated so the grouped pages do not compete with the simple urls using the example above you’d be targeting ‘suit’ terms rather than jacket and trousers individually.

This example also has the benefit of targeting ‘suits’ which would not be possible with the individual jackets and trousers living on different urls. Therefore you’ll have a more relevant page to target additional keywords.

Configurable products

Using the same website as a reference, this is an example of configurable products in use:

https://savilerowco.com/light-brown-suede-semi-brogues-msh754lbr

Notice how the SKU is NOT changing as you change the size of the shoe

The URL is also the same for each SKU too.

In this example, we do not have a URL for the brogue shoes in size 9 and another url for the same shoe in size 10 etc.

Each variant is neatly managed under the drop down, this doesn’t cause a mess for your seo and is cleaner for users.

Also, notice that you can’t actually checkout unless you have selected a configurable option.

In terms of your SEO, we’d recommend using this for all attributes that have little search demand. For example, if a user is shopping for a Pair of Jeans they usually Google terms around colour, style or brand. Once they have found the jeans they want they will select their size. As a result you wouldn’t want a URL for every Jean size + style + brand + colour – that would get very messy, confusing and cause lots of duplicate content across multiple urls.

A general rule of thumb is if you do not want an seo landing page to target a group of keywords from your PDPs then opt for configurables.

Simple Products

Again if we use the same website as an example:

We can see from the URLs above that these are both for the same product (the polka dot silk tie). However, both colours are across 2 different URLs with 2 different SKUs

From an SEO perspective, this is a good approach to rank for additional colour related search terms. One of the main attributes users search for around fashion products is colour therefore it makes sense to have landing pages to target these longer tail search terms.

A potential negative impact of the above approach is duplicate or semi-duplicate content across all of these pages so you will need to invest some time and effort into updating the copy of each of these pages.

To conclude, from an SEO perspective, the decision on how to set up your products in Magento very much does depend on the product catalogue and the industry you operate in. To take a data driven approach to this decision you can do the following:

  • Keyword research: It will, of course, help you making this decision, including seeing what your competitor PDPs are ranking for
  • Search Term Reports: You can check your search term report in adwords to see the attributes existing customers are using to find your products
  • Internal Search: You can also check your internal search engine terms to see if there’s any attributes being used continuously by existing customers

As a smaller startup, we’d usually recommend having simple products for terms like colour and material (furniture).  However, if you are a much larger brand with large authority you can reduce the reliance on PDPs and focus your SEO authority to higher search volume terms by creating attribute landing pages around your PLPs e.g. using the example of Saville Row above, rather than trying to rank for ‘red polka silk tie’ you can focus efforts to rank for broader terms like ‘red ties’.

If you already have simple implemented and are looking to move to configurables you should 100% check with an SEO consultant as you may see significant traffic drops if you’ve been relying on these pages for a long period of time.

Looking for a detailed guide to Magento SEO? Get it here and optimise your eCommerce site to get the right search traffic.

Sam Hurley from Novos
Article by Sam Hurley
Sam is the co-founder of NOVOS. With nearly a decade-long experience in organic search, Sam has helped many eCom brands grow. His area of expertise includes SEO strategy, Magento, international SEO, and headless CMS with Javascript.

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