Ecommerce and Retail, Organic Search, Search Marketing

How to Optimize Prestashop for Increased SEO and Conversions

Ecommerce

Conducting business through an online store is commonplace these days with innumerable online stores flooding the Internet. Prestashop is a common technology behind many such websites.

Prestashop is an open source e-commerce software. Almost 250,000 (almost 0.5%) websites across the world use Prestashop. Being a popular technology, Prestashop provides several ways in which a site built using Prestashop can be optimized for ranking higher in the organic search (SEO) and getting more conversions.

The aim of any e-commerce site is to attract traffic and getting more sales. This can be accomplished by optimizing the site for SEO.

Here are a few ways in which SEO can be done for a Prestashop site:

  • Optimize the Homepage – Your home page is like your storefront online. So, it not only has to impressive but also must rank higher in the search results. To do so, you should include content and your most important keyword along with the illustrations on your homepage. The content of the home page and your main product must not change too often because then the search engine is not able to determine what is important to you. Also, the home page must be fast to load, error-free, and provide a delightful browsing experience.
  • Determine your keywords – It is imperative that you determine your keywords and test their performance using the Google Ads tool which is now a part of the keyword planner. You can find the monthly global and local searches, relevance, and competition of the keywords. The words with average competition and searches are the best candidates for your keywords. Another tool worth considering is SEMrush although it is a payment tool.
  • External links – Having links from other sites to your site is also a common SEO tactic. You can contact bloggers and press release sites. Bloggers may agree to write about your product and provide a link to your site. This will not only help in building external links but also increase the possibility of your site attracting traffic from these links. You can also publish your press releases on various site which is also a good source of attracting traffic to your site. Another way to get external links is to write guest posts. You can get a referral to your site in these posts. One more way is to search for sites which have mentioned your site without providing a link. You can ask them to include a link to your site.
  • Fill all the required product information – Fill all the required fields like product description, categories, and manufacturers with original content. This is important from SEO point of view. Also, you should always provide information for the following – meta titles, meta description, and meta labels in the product info sheets. You must also provide an appropriate URL.
  • Including social sharing options – Having social sharing buttons on your websites is will help as well. When people share your content with their friends, it increases the chances of attracting them to your site. This way, you can get new customers to your website.
  • Generate a sitemap and robots.txt – The Google Sitemap module helps you build a sitemap for your site and keep it updated. It is an XML file that lists all the sites products and pages. The sitemap is used in indexing the pages and hence is important from SEO point of view. Robots.txt is an auto-generated file in Prestashop and informs the search engine crawlers and spiders which parts of the Prestashop site not to index. It is helpful in saving bandwidth and server resources.
  • Having a content calendar and articles with keywords – If your site has all the products for any specific occasion, then you can publish articles on those particular dates with other pages pointing to this page. You can write articles including the keywords that are most relevant to the occasion. However, one must not try to stuff too many keywords in a single article as this may confuse the search engine.
  • Faster website – A slow ecommerce site can lower conversion rate, sales and search engine rankings. So, it very important that the website loads faster. Some important suggestions to have a fast loading website are:
    • Compress, combine, and caching helps load the site faster. Compress feature minifies the CSS and JavaScript code which is then combined and cached.
    • Poor quality images can slow down the website so it is important that the images be optimized for faster website loading.
    • You should remove all the unwanted modules as they generally slow down the website. Idle modules can be recognized with the help of debugging profiling from Prestashop panel.
    • Use of CDN (Content Delivery Network) will help load the website faster even on locations that are at a large distance from the hosting server.
    • Caching system of Prestashop or ones provided third-party applications like XCache, APC, or Memcached may be used to speed up the website.
    • The recommended query cache value for MySQL is 512 MB. You should refine the value if it is underperforming.
    • Prestashop provides a built-in engine to optimize templates called Smarty. It can be customized for better performance.
  • Use Schema.org – Schema tagging helps to improve the websites by creating a structured data markup schema which is also called rich snippet. It is supported by all the major search engines. The “itemtype” tag helps to classify whether something is a website, an online store or some other. It helps provide context to otherwise ambiguous pages.
  • Using Google Analytics and Google Search Console – Using Google Analytics and Google Search Console can be included in the website by placing a code on the website which is not visible to your visitors. Google Analytics provides useful information about the website traffic while Google Search Console helps find how often the website is listed in the search result and click-through data
  • Do away with duplicate pages – It’s not uncommon for duplicate pages to result in Prestashop. They have the same URL with different parameters. This can be avoided by having a single page or working on Prestashop core for different title, meta description, and URL of each page.
  • Use redirections when migrating – If you migrate to Prestashop from another website you can use a permanent 301 redirect to inform Google about the new URL. You can also use a redirect generating tool.
  • Removing URL accent – Prestashop 1.5 can generate a URL with Spanish accent which is a bug and needs to be fixed.
  • Removing IDs – Prestashop emphasizes on associating an ID with products, categories, manufacturer, supplier, and page which is a hindrance to SEO. So, these IDs can be removed by changing the core or buying a module for removing the IDs.

Final Thoughts

In addition, Prestashop also provides an SEO module which can be very useful in handling all the major SEO functions. The aim of any business is earning revenue and that is possible only by earning a favorable position in search engine results. Prestashop provides easy ways in which SEO can be implemented making it an obvious choice for e-commerce.

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