With the recent PrestaShop update, we’re receiving more and more questions from eShop owners regarding how recent changes might affect their website search rankings. Most can agree that updating your PrestaShop store can do a lot of positive things and improve user experience. Yet if you aren’t careful, it can come at the cost of lowered website authority for search engines.
Having spent more than 11 years in PrestaShop development, we are sharing four steps you should go over to safeguard your SEO efforts after the updating process. It is also worth it to revisit the following steps once in a while, even if you’re not updating your eShop. But before that…
The recent SEO improvements in 1.7.6 version are as follows:
- The SEO section shows a preview so you can quickly see how your page would be shown in Google results.
- Improved default URLs for brands & suppliers.
- HTML tags have been improved on the homepage: the product and the category pages of the “Classic” theme. Better use of titles will help to optimize SEO. If you are developing themes based on “Classic”, please consider to update them. You can find more information about the current version changes here.
Now that we know about recent SEO changes in 1.7.6. version, let’s go through 4 essential steps to maintain your SEO rankings after your eShop’s update is done:
Step 1. Do a Spring-cleaning for your eShop
Updating to the newest PrestaShop version comes with its own perks: new features, developments, advanced functionalities and much more. Upgrading to the newest version might give you a great opportunity to double-check your website and do some cleaning if necessary. Here are the main things to do before updating to the new version:
- Measure rankings before upgrading. We suggest using a tool like SEMrush to gather as much ranking data as possible on your eShop before the change happens. You should track not only your top keywords but also keyword data for as many pages as possible.
Moreover, check if you will be able to track changes in these keywords both before and after the updates. In case you lose or gain any search engine traffic after the updates, you could quickly identify why these changes occurred.
- Check for any pages that might go missing. An eShop version update should never result in any unintended missing pages. It’s essential to spot these issues before upgrading to the newest version. Here are the most common causes of missing pages:
The new version handles dynamically generated URLs but might not consider all static pages or pages produced using other platforms. If you have created any pages as static HTML, make sure that you address them.
Incompatible URL naming codes. There may be sections of the site that use different URL naming conventions. If not addressed before, it might lead to a part of your website going “missing” with 404 redirects.To ensure that none of these problems takes place, run a crawling robot to verify that the number of URLs is identical. Removal of duplicates might result in a different number, which is good. Missing pages or an inflated URL number caused by duplicates may also be the reason why your ranking on search engines might below.
- Define what possible changes might occur. Updating to the new PrestaShop version might cause some modifications to your information architecture among other things. It’s important to take a look into possible changes before you complete your updating process. It’s vital to set up a sandbox and test your database on the new version before implementing any change in your current website. Things to look for include:
- Changes to menu navigation.
- Changes to breadcrumb navigation.
- Overall site hierarchy.
- URL naming conventions.
Step 2. Create a complete list of your eShop’s URLs
It’s important to have a record of each URL on the old website version that you can reference and redirect. The last thing you want is to waste any existing authority you have built with the search engines because of the updating process. Create a list of any broken links on the site, as well as all existing redirects already on the site. We advise using a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and create this list automatically. However, any tool that allows you to crawl all your site’s links, identify broken links and redirects, will also do a great job.
If you plan to change your URL structure as a result of the new version, do not include redirect chains. This will slow down your eShop customers’ performance and leak PageRank causing your site to lose visibility in search results. To proactively prevent any possible issues create a list of the URLs that you will implement on the new website. Last note to keep in mind, it would be better to have a thorough understanding of construct page URLs and naming conventions so that there are no exceptions when you update the site.
Step 3. Check manually created links
It’s important to identify which links on your site are automatically and manually generated. There are two types: dynamically and manually created links. Dynamically created links will be updated automatically while links created by yourself should be renewed manually and redirect to the relevant pages. If you did well with your redirect map, there is no need to worry about it.
PrestaShop SEO checklist
One of PrestaShop community contributors also created an SEO checklist that you might find useful and easy to follow. Read more on PrestaShop blog on how you could improve your page SEO.
Step 4. Do post-launch monitoring
After updating your site, check your eShop for errors. Remember all the previous steps you did before? Double-check if the URLs are working properly as well as monitoring your traffic and rankings to identify if any changes may have occurred. For backlinks that won’t be updated, 301 redirects are vital. For the first few weeks after the updating process, it is important that your web team regularly check that 301 redirects are set up and working properly.
Test for any issues that may have occurred during the updating process. Tools that automatically track key metrics, like SEMrush.com and Moz.com, are especially helpful when you need to extract insights to correspond with major updates, campaigns, or initiatives.
By monitoring your metrics and staying proactive, potential problems can be addressed quickly and with minimal damage to your website authority for search engines. We believe that keeping these 4 steps in mind as you update your e-commerce platform to PrestaShop version 1.7.6 will help you not only avoid possible SEO mistakes but also to see how you could improve your eShop rankings in general