First and foremost, remember that the most important element for SEO on an online store is its product catalog. Without a good quality catalog, it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to make your shop a success on search engines, and Google in particular.
The advantage of PrestaShop is that it gives you a whole range of tools to improve your catalog’s natural SEO, and this largely involves using these tools in your back office (the administration area of your PrestaShop). To introduce you to these tools, we are going to use a shop’s product catalog as an example to enable you to get to grips with these concepts.
Local SEO on an online store
This aspect should not be overlooked as some people use your online shop as a catalog before then coming into a physical store to make a purchase. This ‘e-local’ view of natural SEO is very important for many merchants who also have a physical presence. This is known as a “clicks-and-mortar” strategy for companies who have the following two sales channels: web and one or more physical stores.
Nonetheless, this view of natural SEO must be independent of the catalog, as you do not need to add local information several times to all of your product files:
“Crème De Nuit Sublime Jeunesse 77”, “Crème De Nuit Sublime Jeunesse Achères la Forêt”, “Crème De Nuit Sublime Jeunesse Seine-et-Marne”, “Pur Cacao Maigre 77”, “Pur Cacao Maigre Achères la Forêt”, “Pur Cacao Maigre Seine-et-Marne”, etc.
Instead, choose to present your shops and your brand on PrestaShop’s CMS pages (Design menu > Pages) or in your blog.
These tools will enable you to establish your local presence by promoting your points of sale, while maintaining a national presence for online sales!
N.B.: if you have retail outlets, think about using marketing tools such as click-and-collect.
Be careful though, this is not an absolute truth. If you are using your PrestaShop to sell products/services in a well-defined geographical area only, it may be worth noting these areas in your catalog.
Natural SEO for your PrestaShop catalog
Your catalog is made up of two separate elements: categories and product pages! Be aware that these two elements are both important in the SEO strategy and they have similar tools in PrestaShop to optimize your visibility.
Let’s look at a sample product page.
When it comes to deciding which keywords to use, we will adopt a funnel strategy: categories will be based on more general keywords that represent the displayed products (e.g. “Men’s Santa Clause costume”) and product pages on “long-tail” expressions (more precise expressions that generate less traffic than general expressions, but more qualified traffic). In our example: “Discount Santa Clause Costume”.
SEO for your catalog
Let’s take a look at the tools PrestaShop offers to help your catalog succeed:
Only present the name of the product and, if possible, include a keyword that presents the intrinsic qualities of the product (take care with the presentation, the product name must be clear and easy for users to understand). This product name is one of the essential elements of your natural SEO, as, in most PrestaShop themes, it corresponds to the H1 tag (as an example, it corresponds to the main title of a newspaper article).
Non-optimized product name:
Optimized product name:
Discount Santa Claus costume
The meta title (or Title)
This is another key tool for natural SEO. It is a clickable link presented by the search engine when users search for the page in question. Present the product in a few words, including the main features that may be searched for by the user (between 55 & 60 characters on average). Insofar as is possible, avoid linking words and illogical keyword strings.
Non-optimized product title:
Santa Claus – Ref: KJ74859
Optimized product title:
Men’s discount Santa Claus costume
The description tag
This has no impact in terms of natural SEO, but it influences the click rate in search engines significantly. Indeed, it contains two lines of presentation under your link in search engines. We recommend using a marketing tagline to encourage users to visit your page. If this is not filled in, the search engine will choose the phrases in your content that it thinks are most relevant (often a bit of a gamble).
Irrelevant meta description:
Santa Claus – KJ74859
Relevant meta description:
Santa Claus costume for a fun Christmas Eve, the discount Santa Claus costume from LLD! Order now for delivery tomorrow!
Much easier to read than an encrypted URL, the advantage of PrestaShop’s Friendly URL is that you can place keywords in it that represent the product and increase your relevance in terms of SEO.
Friendly product URL:
In the Associations tab of your PrestaShop product page, you have the option of adding accessories. This is the PrestaShop cross sales module that enables you to see additional products to the one you are offering the customer. As well as increasing the average spend, this tool also helps to improve your internal linkages (connection within your website), which is a key factor of natural SEO.
Suggested accessories for the product:
Santa’s sack, Santa Claus beard, Santa Claus boots, etc.
Images are important from a marketing point of view. They enable users to view the product they are about to buy. This is not the only advantage of images. They also allow you to appear in image engines such as Google Images. Be aware that many people (non-negligible depending on the area of activity) perform their searches using this tool. It is therefore vital that you offer as many product images as possible and that you enter the caption in your back office. It will be used to rewrite the image URL, and also in the alternative text, an element that is currently taken into account by search engines for image positioning. In the same way as for title tags, be clear and precise about the content of the proposed image.
Having a lot of product pages is an advantage for natural SEO if, and only if, you have content that is unique, rich and interesting for search engines and, as a result, for internet users. You really need to offer added value that will set you apart from the competition on all of the product pages (we will come back to this in the next point), and therefore, insofar as is possible, you need to avoid duplicate content that is prohibited by search engines. Product combinations will enable you to create selectors for products that have the same intrinsic qualities, but with a different feature.
For instance, instead of creating a page for a Santa Claus costume in size L, and a second page for a Santa Claus costume in size XL, it is a better idea to create two product combinations, L and XL, which will affect the price. This will avoid having two pages with the same content, thus reducing your online shop’s duplicate content.
N.B.: duplicate content is a problem not only when it involves a copy-and-paste from another site, but also within your site. If two of your pages have the same content, they will also be considered as duplicate content and will devalue your e-commerce site.
Without doubt one of the most important aspects of your product page. Text content is to search engines what water is to man: an absolute necessity! It will be impossible for search engines to rank your site correctly if the text content is not in keeping with user expectations and the product you are selling. Online, the presentation of your product plays the role of packaging, from the sales pitch to the promotion of the strengths of your product! Therefore, you can understand why it needs to be innovative, interesting and unique, and as a result avoid at all costs doing exactly the same as the competition (e.g. duplicate content)!
To sell online successfully, you need to start from the principle that users have made an effort to come to your shop rather than one of the hundred other online shops available, and that you need to do everything you can to reassure them about the quality of the product and service you are offering them.
To do this, do what you do best, namely give a unique presentation of the product you are selling, add to that your expertise, pitch your sales arguments, dare to answer your customers’ questions, make your visitors wonder and, above all, expel any doubts customers may have regarding your product!
Management of unavailable or out-of-stock products
PrestaShop lets you manage unavailable products. When a product is no longer available, you don’t need to leave it online. With natural SEO, it’s not just a case of removing the product. On your product page, when you disable a product, there are three options in the “Redirect when inactive” box:
No redirect (404): to be avoided
Permanent redirect (301): redirects a product when it is no longer going to be available
Temporary redirect (302): redirects a product when it will not be available for a period of time (stock problem, for example)
We recommend, when the product is permanently no longer available, that you use a 301 redirect to a similar product. This will enable users and search engines to show an available product, and therefore not to lose the careful referencing acquired on the unavailable page.
If your product is temporarily unavailable, we recommend a 302 redirect to a similar product. This will take users to an available product and tell search engines that the product is temporarily unavailable, so as not to lose the referencing on the temporarily unavailable product.
Brands and suppliers
When editing your product page, you can attach a brand and suppliers. As well as making your products accessible on the pages dedicated to the brands and suppliers, this means that you can increase your internal linkages and your presence in searches linked to these brands and suppliers.