The Complete Guide On PrestaShop SEO – Includes Free SEO Report

The Complete Guide On PrestaShop SEO – Includes Free SEO Report

All You Need To Know About PrestaShop Store SEO

Prestashop is in these times, the most used e-Commerce CMS by merchants. Like any platform, it is important to make the right configurations, because even if basic SEO classics are present, you still have to make the right choices. Note that some developments will have to be specific in order to get the best war machine for your SEO.

We will first address the famous SEO classics by describing how to configure your CMS to make it SEO Friendly. The second part will cover the most advanced optimizations.

This Open Source Solution created in 2005 represents 6% of the market share in the world. On the French territory, 40% of e-Commerce sites use this CMS which makes it the leader of the solution in France.

This Solution has several advantages for merchants that facilitate both the daily management of a seller’s needs, including SEO.

In 2019, the solution released version 1.7 which brought major changes, including development under the Synfony framework (transition Smarty to Twig). A second article will be dedicated to the SEO impacts of this Solution.

Under the hood of Prestashop

In its version 1.6.1.6, Prestashop runs on a web server on which PHP 5.2 or higher and MYSQL 5.0 or higher are installed. The template generator is Smarty. The recommendation is to install the CMS on a Unix server with Apache 1.3 or higher and to have at least 64 MB of RAM. Avoid shared hosts that are too limited in resources at the risk of having slowdowns that would impact the user experience and crawl of search engines, impacting your SEO. You can use modules to improve performance such as MemCached on the server side. Other paid or free modules allow you to customize your solution.

Prestashop SEO Infographic

PrestaShop SEO Tips

  • Select strategic keywords for referencing
  • Create appropriate SEO meta tags
  • Write unique product and category descriptions PrestaShop SEO
  • Define SEO-friendly URLs
  • Configuring Alt tags for images
  • Optimise PrestaShop Store Speed
  • Create a PrestaShop sitemap
  • Define markup for structured data
  • Make your site mobile
  • Configuring Google Analytics and the Google Search Console
  • Solve content duplication problems
  • Configure robot.txt
  • Internal Linking
  • Backlink Building
  • Using Schemas like Product, Review , Article, FAQs etc.
  • Start publishing attractive content
  • Installing a security certificate
  • Have Social Presence

SEO features in Prestashop

Prestashop natively integrates SEO features. Here are some of them.

  1. The first part is dedicated to the list of default template pages: home page, promotions page, brand page. Each line is administrate to configure a URL.
  2. One can notice the columns “Title” and “Simplified URL”, major elements for the SEO, which it is possible, even recommended, to modify in order to avoid indexing information from fields filled in by default. This avoids the kind of results in SERPs
  3. It is important to modify and optimize the meta and URL tags of these pages because of their SEO weight. Indeed, these pages are often linked from the footer or the header and are therefore very explored by robots.
  4. On an e-Commerce site, it is of course difficult to ignore this type of page. The SEO recommendation is to optimize the meta and URLs in order to differentiate from the countless online shops under Prestashop, which all have the same default structure.
  5. The meta keywords are not or no longer taken into account by Google, Bing and Yahoo but can (still!) serve SEO on Yandex (Russia).

Configuration of the URLs

Here, 2 options are important to configure. The first one concerns the activation of URL rewriting. By default, Prestashop generates URLs in the format: www.cmsmarketer.com/index.php?id_product=3&controller=product.

This corresponds in this example to a product URL. In order to make the URLs for crawlers more “SEO friendly”, it is strongly recommended to activate the option before the shop goes live. The simplified URL function will only work if rewrite_module under Apache is activated.

The second option concerns redirection to canonical URLs. This option is essential in SEO to manage multi-categorization of products and faceted navigation which generates many duplicate content URLs.

URL Format

Each field corresponds to a template URL format (category, product…). You can modify the variables here. We can see that Prestashop uses a unique key per URL, represented by {id}. The ID is mandatory in Prestashop URLs so there’s no point in trying to remove it as it will make your site crash.

The issue of IDs in URLs has often been debated on the Prestashop community forum. If you don’t remove it to get the perfect URL, it is quite possible to switch the ID at the end. This allows you to prioritize a URL path to a keyword and not to a number.

Generating the robots.txt

The last option available is to be able to generate the robots.txt file.

The robots.txt file is pretty well configured by default. However, once a Prestashop store is customized (development of new page templates for example), it is important to monitor the exploration of your file via Google Search Console and use the robots.txt test tool to make any necessary corrections. If you manually modify the robots.txt, remember that if you regenerate it from the back office, it will be overwritten by the new one.

SEO optimization – catalog

In the same way as the template pages of the shop, Prestashop offers an editing mode for each product record, category … which allows you to fill in SEO information.

Prestashop at performance

Beyond pure SEO functionality, there are other elements that you can control from the back office, including site performance. To do this, simply go to “Advanced Settings > Performance > Smarty” and “Advanced Settings > Performance > CCC (CONCATENATION, COMPRESSION AND PACKAGING)”.

The default settings are suitable for a shop in production. If you make major changes to the template and you want to serve the latest version of your site to the Internet users, it is recommended to force the compilation and maintain it for a few hours.

Also maintain the option “empty the cache every time there is a modification”, so that your pages will be refreshed as soon as a new modification is detected.

Prestashop offers default options, which if they are not used to manage your catalog or customers can be disabled.

Blinds -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Search Engine Optimization (1). Concerning the canonical tags specifying to Google the source URL of a content (the canonical content).

Settings that allow you to further optimize the performance of your shop: caching system for CSS, javascripts, script compression … Be careful to check that the shop works well and that the display of the template is compliant. It is recommended to do it step by step.

At the bottom of the settings page, a “Cache” option is disabled by default. It is recommended to activate it.

Prestashop: SEO modules and themes

Natively, and as you can see above, the Prestashop solution integrates basic SEO functionalities. They remain quite basic.

To go further in SEO Prestashop, it is necessary to look at other aspects than the simple functionalities of the CMS, including the SEO modules and the theme.

As with many e-commerce CMS, a marketplace offers a multitude of additional modules including a section oriented SEO optimization. More than 200 modules dedicated to SEO are available and allow, among other things, to work on the internal network of its shop, to facilitate the integration of Rich Snippets, content management, or even the auto edition of meta tags …

The modules are developed either by the publisher or by certified independent developers or partner agencies. The Prestashop forum is the best place to source information on a specific module. Please note that some modules, some of which are free, are offered outside the platform, but without the guarantee of compliance that the publisher imposes in its marketplace.

Before installing one of these modules headfirst, it is recommended that you understand how it works and compare it to your SEO objectives. All too often, modules promise automation of SEO tasks associated with quick results! Don’t be fooled. Don’t forget that the modules are first and foremost an additional business model for Prestashop.

Popular SEO modules :
  • Easy SEO allows mass editing of meta tags and Alt attributes of images.
  • SEO internal linking which, as its name suggests, is oriented around the optimization of your internal mesh.
  • SEO module 404/301 to manage at best the obsolescence of your catalog (products not available).
  • Advanced Search 4 to efficiently manage faceted navigation.

This list is of course only an overview of the countless modules available.

The Prestashop theme that you will choose (a ready-made theme or a custom theme) should of course not be neglected. Loading time, Mobile- Friendly character, it will also have a direct impact on your SEO performance.

Summarizing Prestashop SEO

Overall, Prestashop provides the fundamentals of SEO. By respecting
rigorously the default installation and configuration procedure, a shop under Prestashop has all the capacity to index itself well.

Depending on your objectives, the complexity of your site, the richness and depth of your product catalog, you will have choices to make that will necessarily impact the SEO. The implementation of a faceted navigation, the integration of schema.org, the management of images are all subjects that will raise questions: specific development, purchase of a ready-to-use module… There is no miracle solution.

In the end, you should know that the customization of a CMS (integration, specific development, non-native customized pages…) impacts the basic functioning and can be the cause of SEO dysfunctions. In order to best secure the performance of your site, it is recommended to carefully evaluate the changes to be made, especially for an existing shop that already has a positioning in search engines.

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