Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an integral part of promoting and marketing a website online. The conventional businesses didn’t bother to know about it, but as soon as startups ecosystem emerged, everyone started to digitize a business. Hence, they had to explore more about SEO in order to keep the visitors coming through search engines. 33% people start their product search from Google and ignoring SEO is one of the top 10 reasons why ecommerce business fails.
SEO is somehow complex for the newbies, who have recently set up a web shop either on PrestaShop or any other eCommerce development platform. They are new to the terms like SEO, link building, or website copy-writing, etc.
SEO is a combination of simple and technical methodologies that are carried forward to achieve the end goal of elevating a website in top searches to have more traffic and customers. For the ease of beginners and online store veterans, an ultimate SEO checklist is drafted in this post. It is classified into different phases like the initial SEO, the keyword research, the on-page optimization, and the off-site outreach.
- Keyword Research Checklist
- Initial SEO Checklist
- ON-PAGE SEO Checklist
- OFF-PAGE SEO Checklist
Start with an in-depth Keyword Research
SEO checklist begins with keyword research. This seemingly easy task becomes tricky when you have to target a specific user community. It is not about selecting average keywords that are low in competition and high in search volume, but the ones that can bring you more target audiences.
Draft a Keyword Strategy
Start with a keyword strategy to include a mix of key phrases that bring you business and traffic at the same time. Selecting less competitive keywords may rank your website and bring traffic, but no conversions. In the same way, highly competitive keywords take much time in ranking a website. In between, evaluate the gap to choose a long tail or body keyword that your competitors have missed in their strategy.
Find relevant keywords
Log on to keyword suggestion tools like UberSuggest, Google Keyword Planner, or Google auto-complete, to find an unending list of key phrases around a seed keyword. Cut the list short while sticking to your business relevance.
Initial SEO Checklist
Attempt Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
According to a report published in Statistica, the mobile internet users amount to 49.7% of the global web page viewers. It means, almost half of your website visitors may be coming through a smartphone or mobile device. Be ready to cater them with a mobile-responsive website.
The increased number of mobile users is making it compulsory for online store owners to optimize their websites for a variety of mobile devices. Mobile friendliness is a prominent ranking factor that can help evaluate your website in the searches.
In fact, Google has rolled out its mobile first indexing approach that will consider indexing the mobile version of your PrestaShop website before the desktop version. This makes the mobile-friendliness of a website more significant for the SEO benefit.
Configure Google Analytics
Google analytics help you keep an eye on various SEO metrics. Have real-time statistics about your website traffic, sales, and conversions. You can get to know about the age, gender, and ethnicity of the users visiting your website or online store, and the way they respond to different options and calls to action.
Sign-up for Google Search Console
Get your website verified and indexed by signing up for a Google search console account. With the help of this tool, you can find the indexing status, penalties, search queries, and crawling errors on your website so that you can take preventive measures.
Optimize Speed and Performance
Resolve Duplicate Content Issues
Copying content from another website is considered plagiarism straightforward. Avoid it at any cost. But, the online stores do confront duplicate content issues when similar products are showcased on different store fronts or store views of the same website.
Within the multiple versions, the search engines are unable to decide which version to include or which one to exclude from its web directory. Utilize canonical tags to let the search robots know the primary version of a product or CMS page. You can add hreflang tags to further elaborate the search engines in ranking a specific page version in its relevant regional or language searches.
Utilize Structured Markup language
Structured markup language or Schema data is helpful for the search engine and end users in understanding the content of your PrestaShop website. The addition of valuable data to rich snippets may not directly improve the SEO rankings of your web pages, but it does improve the user experience by empowering users to know most of your product details right on search engine result pages.
Install Security Certificate
The addition of the SSL certificate to your website has a minor impact on SEO but is more concerned with the retention of users of your website. Users are more likely to leave a website that is not secured with SSL as sharing personal or financial details on such a website carries a higher risk to data threat or misuse. Install it before attracting potential buyers.
Before pursuing higher rankings in search engines, you need to make sure the crawlers understand the content structure of your PrestaShop website. An XML Sitemap is generated to let the search engine know the placement of products, categories, and CMS pages in your online store. It is a kind of ‘table of content’. You can either manually generate the XML sitemap or take help from plug-ins.
The robot.txt file contains instructions for the search engine robots as how to browse and index a website. These bots may usually visit and index all the content on your PrestaShop website, but if you want them to stop indexing certain parts or pages of the website, you can do so with the help of a robot.txt file.
If you do not intend to use this file for restricting crawlers from certain pages, you will still need to ensure the file is accurate, valid, and does not block valuable content from indexing.
ON-PAGE SEO Checklist
Now our checklist will go into the On-Page SEO optimization. The On-page SEO deals with the presentation of your website content. Whenever you have a product or service to sell, you will work on to improve its appearance before reaching out to potential customers. The on-site SEO works the same way. It helps the search engines and common users to better understand what’s inside the website or page.
Write Search Engine Friendly Title Tags
Be creative in making the most out of the 55 characters Meta title of your product page or blog post. Use primary keyword in the title and make it attractive with power words like best, exclusive, amazing, best-selling, highest, etc. You can try using numbers and statistics when writing the title of a brief article or case study for a higher click-through rate.
Make the URLs readable
Pursue descriptive URLs that are free from the system generated codes and special characters. You can seek assistance from various tools to clean out those unwanted numbers to make them readable. With a quick install of tools like PrestaShop Pretty URLs module, you can eliminate those codes and numbers without any hassle. These are alternative ways of doing so like getting a custom solution or asking a developer to modify the code of your eCommerce website.
Compose Appealing Meta Descriptions
Writing eye-catchy Meta descriptions can skyrocket the click-through rate of your eCommerce website. Step ahead of the conventional benchmark of adding focused keywords. Portray your product benefits with the help of power words like premium, secret, amazing, huge, powerful, etc. And, keep the character limit to 160.
Configure Image Alt tags
The Google image search goes in-line with the web searches. You can ensure the product images to appear in searches by adding focused keywords to product image names and alternative text. These assure readability and exposure of the visual content. If you have a big site, editing alt tag for each image can take a lot of your time instead you can use SEO Alt Image Tag module to automate this process.
Invest in on-page content
Useful and valuable content remains to be the king of SEO and digital marketing. It becomes the face of your product or service, and help the end consumer understand what you have to offer against a price commitment.
- Use the focused keywords in the starting line or first paragraph.
- Pursue writing comprehensive product descriptions not less than 300 words
- Discuss each product feature or facts in a well-researched article
- Include internal as well as external links in the content.
- Write simple, short, and crisp sentences which are easy to understand.
- Design high-quality images that exemplify product features
- Have the benefit of infographics
The on-page SEO checklist of an online store is followed by a collection of off-site marketing and outreach activities. These are known as link building. It is the process of outreach relevant websites and blogs to acquire a link back to your online store so that relevant users navigate through the anchor text and land on your webshop. Following are some of the methodologies that can help you establish quality backlinks for your PrestaShop web store.
Try to earn backlinks rather than creating them
Draft a powerful strategy for acquiring backlinks from high authority website that shares a similar industry or niche of your business. It is recommended to pursue earning quality backlinks by sharing top-notch content that attracts the attention of notable persons and agencies in your field. Creating compelling content is one of the key secrets is making the dignitaries mention your product, service, or post.
Keep an eye on the competitors’ backlinks
Keeping an eye on your competitors is not just about what they do. It has to be performed to move a step ahead and avoid the mistakes they have committed in the past. Start comparing your business rivals from the top 10 searches against your focused keywords. With the help of tools like Moz SEO, you can extract the internal and external links connected to those websites.
Reach out to high authority websites
It is also admissible to reach out to high authority websites and let them know about your latest product launch or post. Select news websites, magazines, blogs, or business-listing companies to have a mention of your PrestaShop store. To expedite the outreach process, you can drag out a list of blogs from tools like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO.
Bonus Tip: Start Publishing Appealing Content
Google loves creative, appealing, and informative content that can either be in the form of text, images, audio files, videos, and infographics. You will be missing a great amount of traffic and SEO score if your PrestaShop store does not host a blog section.
With the help of Resposive Professional Blog module, you can have a publishing corner of your own on PrestaShop store. It empowers you to engage customers and potential buyers in latest news, well-researched articles, most demanding and trending products, and document the common problems of your target audiences with viable solutions.
The people searching for a solution to their problems may find your helpful articles and land on your SEO-optimized blog. The SEO power brings you the traffic that can be converted into happy customers.
Don’ts of SEO
The trick part of SEO is that you are not sure as to what extent the optimization is beneficial. The pursuit of simplifying the accessibility and understandability of your website for SEO may lead you to over-optimization. To help you figure out what to avoid, here is a quick list of Don’ts of SEO.
- Avoid linking to irrelevant websites
- Don’t pursue gaining a higher number of backlinks
- Stop overusing keyword in the content
- Don’t publish copied or poor content on your website
- Refrain from connecting a website to blog networks
- Stay away from cloaking techniques
- Don’t focus all the backlinks to the homepage
We have also created a checklist that you can follow:
The SEO of a PrestaShop store is no different than any other website. One has to be careful from the start till the end. The basic SEO checklist starts with structuring your web shop according to the best practices and then optimizing the web pages for simplicity and a better understanding of the search engines as well as the end user.
Once you are done with the on-site SEO, the off-page outreach is a continuous and never-ending endeavor. The more quality backlinks you achieve, the better it ranks.