Among the numerous open source platforms to develop ecommerce sites, Prestashop is one of the best and most widespread tools in the world, with good SEO capabilities (search engine optimization.
Here are some suggestions to improve the SEO of your site and positioning in search engine results.
1. Choose a single reference domain
Even if you already use a single domain for your Prestashop ecommerce, you have to choose which version you prefer: the one with www or the one without.
The search engines consider the 2 versions as 2 independent sites. Finding the same contents, however, they will report the pages as duplicate content and this will lead to a penalization of your ecommerce.
2. Use the right hosting service for your project
It is often the most neglected element but, on the contrary, using a Good Hosting is one of the most important aspects. A slow web site, not only alienate users – potential buyers – but also damages the location of the site within the search engine results.
3. Use niche and profitable keywords
On the web there are numerous competitors who like you, are committed to emerging in the crowd of products and offers.
One way to differentiate yourself from other competitors might be to specialize in a niche of a certain market segment so that users who are intersted with those products can find you more easily and quickly during their research.
There are several online tools to facilitate this process including the Keyword Planner of the Google AdWords service.
4. Write fantastic contents
Provide a description of your products: useful, complete, not boring.
Optimize your product pages so that they are considered interesting by your users and search engines: write honestly and accurately and focus on 1-2 keywords for each article.
5. Avoid duplication of content
Your Prestashop ecommerce site can have duplicate content, similar versions of the same content accessible from different web addresses (URLs).
There is a simple and quick solution to avoid duplicate content and penalties. Using canonical URLs, pages that were previously considered “duplicate content” (different URLs with the same content) are considered by search engines as one page.
6. Optimize your metadata for each page
Titles and Meta Description are the most important tags of your ecommerce: titles must accurately describe the product; the Meta Description must be the description of the extended content of the page.
Titles and Meta Descriptions will appear in the search engine results.
For the Title there is not a precise number of characters to use: we suggest not to exceed 50-60 characters and to include a primary and a secondary keyword referring to the textual content of the page.
For the Meta Description a length of no more than 300 characters is recommended; it must be a real summary of what users will find on the page and should include keywords in a natural and not forced way.
7. Use friendly URLs
URLs are the web addresses of your pages and should be understandable for both users (use of URL rewriting) and search engines.
URL rewriting is a native function in PrestaShop that can be found in your admin panel in Configure > Store Parameters > Traffic & SEO (Prestashop 1.7) and Preferences > SEO and URL (Prestashop 1.6).
We recommend using optimized URLs for your e-commerce site to facilitate their users and improve their position in search engines.
8. Use keywords inside your URLs
URLs must be simple but accurate and must refer to the content of the page.
The structure of each URL should make users and search engines understand where the page is actually in the navigation tree of the ecommerce site, also effectively using the keywords as in the following example:
9. Speed up your e-commerce
The faster a page loads, the better the score you get from search engines. And your users will not have to wait too long.
Optimize the images of your products finding the right compromise between quality and weight of the files.
You can also use some of the online tools like Tiny that compress images to make them lighter.
10. Use a theme optimized for mobile devices
Recently, Google has chosen mobile optimization as one of the main factors that influence the position of your site within search results.
Consider that users mostly use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
For these reasons, check that your ecommerce is displayed correctly on all devices and that users can browse the pages, view the products and add them to the cart, complete an order without problems.
11. Use structured data
Structured data are entered in the code of each page so that search engines can retrieve more information about your products (price, discount, reviews, etc.) and provide them to users in their research on the web.
Verify that the Prestashop theme you are using for your ecommerce site, uses structured data.
12. Publish new content frequently
In addition to publishing and promoting new products, open a blog and make it optimized for search engines.
Write original articles about your products: include a title that users can search in search engines and focus on 1-2 keywords for each article of your blog.
13. Increase the number of hyperlinks on your pages
An internal hyper-hyperlink (link) links a page of a website to another page of the same site.
Internal links, if well built, help search engine robots find the most relevant pages of a site quickly and easily and help users find what they are looking for.
We recommend using keywords to create the internal link text: visitors and search engines will easily recognize the content of that link.
14. Use social networks
Sharing on Social Media is a must.
Share your articles and products on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; do not forget Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and all the others.
Encourage your customers to share their (positive) experiences after buying on your site.
15. Use a Site Map
The Site Map is also a great tool for users who can search for more easily the contents, for search engines that can speed up the indexing of the pages of your ecommerce site.
Updating your sitemap often with new products and sending it to Google and other search engines is a great way to improve your position in search engine results.
At the time of writing this article, you can use a free module for Prestashop 1.7 downloadable from the official GitHub channel of Prestashop: once saved the .zip file on your computer, you will need to rename both the zip file and the first folder from “gsitemap-master” to “gsitemap” and proceed with the normal installation of a Prestashop module.
This version of Prestashop is provided with the module “Google sitemap” to generate the sitemap in xml format according to your needs, which can be sent to Google to speed up the process of indexing the contents of your e-commerce site.