How to improve the SEO of my Prestashop store?

On 19 May 2021

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a traffic acquisition lever that is still too often neglected, either due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of confidence due to the “abstract” nature of some of its positioning factors. However, it has a very good return on investment.

Indeed, a first in-depth optimization work, « on-site », can allow you to obtain a very solid base, sometimes already sufficient to obtain strategic positions generating traffic without having to provide more resources later on.

On an e-commerce site, and more particularly on PrestaShop, many elements are at your disposal to set up an optimization routine as your site evolves, which will allow you to obtain an “SEO-Friendly” site.

In this article, we will list all the key points of PrestaShop that will have an impact on your SEO and we will explain how to make the most of them. As PrestaShop offers a very rich library of modules, we will also mention a selection of them that can be particularly useful for SEO.

1. Choosing a high-performance PrestaShop theme

The first thing to do when you create a PrestaShop website is to select a theme. It is very easy to get lost in the abundance of different themes available. The mistake not to make is to focus only on the visual aspect of the theme. You should know that many technical elements are directly linked to the selected theme. 

Making the wrong choice can lead to performance problems, if the theme is not optimized and has heavy features to load, which will not necessarily be used afterwards. These problems will be difficult to correct, even with a developer at your side.

Also, the chosen PrestaShop theme will determine the structure of your pages, and in particular, their HTML markup (hn) which has a significant importance in SEO.

Making the right choice from the start will save you time and resources, and ensure that you have a solid foundation for your future work.

Here are the elements to take into account when choosing your PrestaShop theme:

  • Theme loading time: to analyze the theme performance, you can use the Pagespeed Insights tool provided by Google, which will allow you to have an idea of the optimization of the theme for the search engine algorithm, and in particular to know the “Core Web Vitals” (criteria that will come into force very soon). For more information, do not hesitate to consult the following article.
  • The HTML structure of each type of page: here, you can use browser extensions such as “Web Developer” which will allow you to obtain a map of the HTML structure of each page. The objective here is to check that each type of page has an h1 tag, followed by a coherent h2 / h3 structure, avoiding as much as possible the useless hn tags that would break the structure of the page.
  • The responsive design: we know that today the mobile is the dominant platform on almost all sectors of activity. This is why the design of the mobile version of your site is crucial in your choice. It is essential that the theme is responsive and adapts perfectly to this platform. Note that beyond the user experience, the Google index is now based on mobile and the exploration of your site by search engine robots will be mostly on this version.

If you want to save time and be sure to choose a SEO-optimized PrestaShop theme, we have selected for you the Fashion SEO theme from SEO Presta. Created by SEO and UX experts, it has all the criteria mentioned above, and will allow you to start with a solid foundation for your PrestaShop.

2. Limit the loading time of the site 

The performance of your site, and the loading time are sometimes difficult to manage because of the e-commerce typology. Indeed, we often find heavy pages because they are full of products and information. This factor being very important today for your SEO and being brought to become even more so, here are some tips that will allow you to ensure the correct performance of your site:

  • Use the cache optimizations at your disposal: a good cache management allows a significant performance gain for your site. PrestaShop offers “Smarty” caching options that already allow you to obtain correct results. By going to Advanced Parameters > Performance, you can check “Yes” in the use of Smarty Cache, as well as in all items related to Concatenation, Compression and Caching (CCC). To go further, we have also selected a module that will allow you to manage the use of the cache in great detail and in a very efficient way.
  • Optimize the weight of your images: images are generally responsible for most of the weight of your website pages. This is why it is essential to compress and optimize them (without loss of quality) before integrating them and releasing them. To do this, it is first necessary to resize them and then compress them using tools such as TinyPNG for example. The use of CDN (Content Delivery Network) can also be an interesting solution to lighten your pages, as well as the implementation of a lazy loading to avoid loading images unnecessarily.
  • Test your performance after each new module installation: each new module will make the page heavier depending on the number of features it provides. This is why we advise you, after each installation, to re-test the performance of your site via the tools mentioned above to ensure that it is working properly. To avoid any problems, the ideal solution is to work first on a pre-production environment. In this case, we can redirect you to the Parachute solution.

3. Optimizing page content

Once you have managed the technical part, you will have to define your content optimization strategy which will be the main lever of SEO optimization for your shop. It is then essential to first identify the personas and strategic keywords that will be sources of visibility and traffic. You can start from your product catalog, and test different keywords via the Google Planner tool.

Then consider that your category pages will be the main gateway to your site on search engines. They are the ones that will be positioned on “mid-tail” type queries with a relatively high search volume.

For each of these pages, PrestaShop provides a certain degree of customization of the major elements. By going to each page, category or product, you can modify and optimize the following fields:

  • Name: the name of the page on PrestaShop usually corresponds to the h1 tag. That’s why it is very important that it contains the keyword targeted by the page itself.
  • Meta title: the meta title is surely the field with the most impact in SEO. It is limited to 70 characters. It is here that you will have to indicate the targeted keyword (generally the same as the H1), as well as secondary keywords that will reinforce the main keyword.
  • Meta description: The meta description has no impact on SEO. But, it is what is displayed in Google’s search results just below the meta title. It has a real interest to boost your click rate and engage the user. Limited to 155 characters, we advise you to include the main keyword, in order to make it unique, and commercial arguments such as “fast delivery”, “secure payment”, etc.
  • Summary (only on product pages): the summary is the short description placed just below the product name on your page. Limited in number of words, it will allow you to work on the secondary keywords of the page in order to reinforce its authority on the main keyword.
  • Description : The description is available on the category pages as well as on the product pages. It is here that you will have to develop your content to the maximum. The content remains a decisive element in the positioning factors on Google. A rich and quality content will greatly help your site to stand out on its strategic keywords. We recommend a minimum of 350 words for each page of your site. This is a minimum, the richer the content, the more impact it will have.

4. Managing catalog movements

The movement of catalog is a problem specific to e-commerce sites. Indeed, your shop is regularly updated with new products but also with deletions of existing products, even categories. This deletion is the enemy of SEO. A web page has a history, it is indexed, it generates traffic, it acquires links. When it is deleted, if nothing is done to preserve this history, all that has been acquired is lost. This generates pages that cannot be found (404), and dead links within the site.

Here are two tips to help you properly manage this type of change in your offering:

  • Permanently redirect your deactivated products: When you want to remove a product from your catalog, we do not recommend deleting it directly. The best thing to do is to deactivate the product. To do this, enter your product page, go to the “SEO” tab, and the “Redirection page” section. Select « Permanent redirection to a product (301) »  and choose the product to which you want to redirect the page. Once this is done, you can take your product offline.
  • Correct the links that point to the disabled page: if links are placed in textual contents of the site to the deleted page, they will not be automatically updated. It is therefore essential to correct them manually in the descriptions. The objective is that search engines only explore accessible pages. 

You now have all the cards in hand to work on your SEO and improve the ranking of your site’s pages on Google. With an SEO-friendly and responsive theme, optimizations in terms of site performance and content, and by working properly on your catalog management, your site will get very good results!