SEO Tips for Prestashop Stores

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I would like to talk about SEO for eCommerce stores based on the Prestashop platform: both basic points and some more advanced stuff which requires changing the Presta code and installing modules.

Let’s start by the beginning.

1- Define well the keywords you will be working with

It’s very important to think from which side you will attack before entering battle. Otherwise, you may end up dead in a very short time. You must sit down with plenty of time, pick up paper and pen, and write down the words you want to work with. For example, suppose you want to sell office furniture in the Spanish market. You would write down keywords such as office furniture, online sale of office furniture, office chair, office desk, etc.

But which are the relevant words to position your business? The best thing to do is ask the company that dominates the search market: Google. There’s a tool in Google Adwords which, until a few weeks ago, was great, and which has now been integrated in the keyword planner – a monstrosity which unfortunately continues to be the best beacon in the dark. By using the tool “Enter or upload keywords to see their performance” you can find the number of global and local searches for those words which take place every month, whether those keywords are relevant, and what the competition is.

Adwords Planner

It is recommended to always use words with the relevant average competition and number of searches, taking the usual variables into account: time and money. Do you have the time and money to create a contents and social network relevance strategy that gives you visibility when competing for those words? If the answer is yes, go ahead. If the answer is no or you don’t know, let it go: you will lose your time and money.

Another tool that can help you in this sense, even though it’s a payment tool, is Semrush, with competition results honed by SEO and SEM. A great application that is well worth your money.

Semrush

2- Fill all the fields in the product info sheet

Leaving the obvious aside – don’t copy descriptions from other websites, enter descriptions by hand – you should ALWAYS enter the meta titles, meta descriptions, and meta labels in the product info sheets, and include a coherent URL that aids SEO. The same goes for your categories and manufacturers. This information is crucial for Google, and makes it possible to provide Google with much more SEO-friendly data when it crawls through your product info sheets.

3- Sitemap and robots.txt

These two extremely important files are sometimes not generated, due to an oversight or to ignorance. The sitemap (which you should later send to Google via the Google Webmaster Tools) is generated by means of the Google Sitemap by PrestaShop module, in the module SEO tab. The robots file is generated in Tools > Prestashop 1.4 generators and in Preferences > SEO & URLs in Prestashop 1.5.

Always check that your robots.txt file is “hindering” the indexing of the pages in your sitemap.

4- Site speed

Very important. Never overlook your website speed. Most likely, you will have a dedicated server sharing an IP with 300 “neighbors” (you can find this by means of the Majestic SEO Neighbourhood Checker). At the very least, have your website load as fast as possible. You can achieve this by using the cache and by deactivating the recompilation. Recompiling is used in development environments to reload Prestashop templates, CSS, and Javascripts from scratch in order to see the changes that are applied to the front-office code (what users see). Once you are done developing and are in the production environment, deactivate it to enable the website to work properly.

In Prestashop 1.4, go to preferences > performance and check:

  • Force compilation > No
  • Cache > Yes
  • Use CCC for stylesheets
  • Use CCC for the JavaScript code
  • Reduce the HTML code after executing the Smarty compilation
  • In tools > generators activate Apache Optimization when you generate the htaccess

In Prestashop 1.5, go to advanced parameters > performance and check:

  • “Never recompile the template files”
  • Activate cache
  • Use CCC for stylesheets
  • Use CCC for the JavaScript code
  • Reduce the HTML code after executing the Smarty compilation
  • JavaScript compression in the HTML code after executing the Smarty compilation
  • Apache optimization

Another option which you might consider is hosting CSS, Javascripts, and images in external servers so that the page skeleton loads more quickly. This option is included in the sections I have just mentioned as “Media servers (use only when CCC is activated)”. Prestashop offers integration directly from its official modules using Amazon Cloudfront (paid service).

5- URLs and duplicate titles

One of the problems which Prestashop hasn’t troubleshot yet is duplicate pages. This happens in any website which has pagination for category, brand, and supplier pages. Product page 1, 2, 3… generates repeated titles, meta descriptions, and duplicate URLs (the URL is the same one, only parameters change). You can find them straight away via Google Webmaster Tools (in Search look > HTML improvements).

Unfortunately, the two only ways to get rid of this is including all products in a single page, with no pagination (impossible for large catalogs) or else working on the Prestashop core to change the title, page meta description, and URL.

Google Webmaster Tools

6- Redirecting from old to new pages

A very common mistake in migrations. Suppose that I come from osCommerce and migrate to Prestashop. I had 700 products indexed in Google, 20 CMS pages, and 30 categories. Those pages will be left orphaned, as the osCommerce URL structure has nothing to do with Prestashop.

The best option is to create a permanent 301 redirect to tell Google that where your former URL used to be (http://www.domain.com/category/cat003-product-name-p-8576.html) now it will find http://www.domain.com/category/product-name.html

It’s best to use a redirect-generating tool like this one and be patient, because you’ve got to do it by hand.

7- URL *^Ǩ+`!!! Ids

Prestashop insists on associating an ID with category, manufacturer, supplier, CMS page, and product URLs. This, in addition to being ugly, is not useful for SEO. You can fix it by changing the core or buy a module to remove those IDs. We will all be grateful. Including Google.

8- URL accents

One of the bugs in Prestashop 1.5 in Spanish is the fact that it can generate this URL for the product “Radio eléctrica portátil de baño”: http://www.domain.com/radios-de-baño/Radio-eléctrica-portátil-de-baño. Yes, really.

There are free patches and payment modules that can fix it. Please fix it.

9- Structured data

Google Rich Snippets help to send structured data to the search engine (manufacturer, price, delivery period, delivery cost, etc.) and can serve to include rating stars in the product reviews in page searches and even include ratings from services like eKomi. Here is an example of how good the final result looks.

rich-snipets

10- Integrate Schema.org

Schema.org is a directive that tells search engines how to classify the contents of a website. It works for Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex (Russia). The key is the “itemtype” tag which tells the search engine whether something is a website, a store, or another service. The full list of data that can be included in Schema for “store” is here: http://schema.org/Store. In the case presented at the beginning (office furniture) you would want to be classified as Furniture Store http://schema.org/FurnitureStore

I hope that these tips work for you. Implement them carefully and never cease to work on and optimize your in-page SEO. There is nothing worse than working on the off-page SEO to achieve relevance and then having Google find that your website is a mess.

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  1. Thank you for putting together these tips, I believe they can also be applied to other eCommerce platforms. I especially like the part on product reviews, as there will be alot of user generated content, by a proactive and transaction based review collection. The reviews also will bring other effects, like increased conversions.

    • For sure Christian, thanks for your opinion

  2. Hey. How do you prefer sitemap configuration? Should i include all of them or just index, the main site.

  3. Hi – Great tips and thanks!

    One thing about Minify HTML under Performance – if you’re using the default mobile template, then you will need to select the radio button option that says “Keep HTML as original” otherwise you may find that your mobile shopping cart won’t work – it’s happened to a few of us since the recent updates in 2014.

  4. What module do you recommend to buy to remove the category, manufacturer, supplier, CMS page, and product URL IDs. Also a recommendation on SEO software.

  5. Gracias Jordi por la información.

    Muy interesante.

  6. Great tips, they are very useful! To optimize your content you also could use http://www.webtexttool.com. This tool can help you create search engine friendly content in an easy way!

  7. The importance and contribution of the SEO in the online business environment has been proved time and again. It plays a key role in improving the online presence and visibility of your e- commerce organization among your business rivals. Keyword researching and targeting play an important role in improving the search engine rankings and online visbility of your site. You need to analyze and track the activity of your site visitors so as to understand the keywords that are most searched on your e- commerce site. There are various web analytics tools like Crazy Egg, Mocking Fish, Mouse Flow and such others that can help you in effective tracking of your online site visitors.

  8. This is very nice one and gives depth information. Thanks and keep posting! Thanks again for the blog article . Much thanks again. Great. hotmail sign in

  9. Thank you,
    SEO is about link building but for different projects, you need different strategy. I is the strateggy plan for prestashop stores.
    regard:
    http://terrariumtv.org/

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