You just decided to use PrestaShop as your ecommerce website’s platform. Because you’ve heard of it from someone or you’ve read about it and know it’s a fast and reliable platform, and there’s a plugin for anything you want or need.

But nobody tells you the real costs behind using the PrestaShop platform.

If you’re a beginner in ecommerce, you may think “this platform is suited for my business”. But you should look further than this appearance. If you are looking for a platform that’s good from the box, this is not it. Actually, there is no open source ecommerce platform that’s perfect right from the start.

There are, however, some issues that make PrestaShop stand out (and not in a good way):

By using PrestaShop, you will have no risk of duplicate content (unless you copy your content from other sites). Not necessarily a good thing, because, by not indexing the pages generated by filters or pagination, you also cut the juice () from pages that could very well target long tail keywords, composed by the name of the category and the value of a filter.

For example: if you’re trying to rank for the page “long dresses”, and you have a category named “dresses” and a filter for length, and you checked the ”long” value; you’re out of luck, as that specific page is not visible to search engines.

There’s also the possibility to gain organic traffic from people searching for a product name. You have the right product in your PrestaShop store, but it’s on the 5th subpage of some category. For Google to reach that product, it needs to enter your homepage, find the category and get to the 5th page, where the product is listed. Again, you’re out of luck, since no category subpages are indexable. And because the subpages of the categories are not indexable, even if Google finds your product via a sitemap, or otherwise (a link in the “recommended products” or “related products” in other product pages), the product page itself will not have the necessary “juice” from the internal linking structure (if a page of the website has little or no links towards it, from the structure, search engines give it a lower importance, or none), to compete with another website having the same product, but listed in page 1, or one that has the subpages indexable.

If you think of it, the more products you have, the more pages that are not indexable you will have. The percentage of non-indexable pages will increase as you add products. It’s impossible to have a subcategory instead of every filter in the site, it will be a too complicated and long flow for a decent user experience. And a nightmare to manage from the PrestaShop backoffice.

There are seo plugins for PrestaShop out there, but they cost a lot or fix a single issue or add just one functionality. And the minimum price on Prestashop.com, for addons, is EUR59.99.

Have you ever used WordPress? How easy is it to format the page titles, using %%category_name%%, %%product_name%% or other global variables? If you’re thinking you can do that in PrestaShop, well, you can. But you have to have some php skills in order to do that, as you would need to modify the category template.

 

You’ll need to add the following code in header.php before the $smarty->display :

if ($page_name == ‘category’ AND isset($_GET[‘id_category’]))
{
 $category = new Category($_GET[‘id_category’], intval($cookie->id_lang));

 if (Validate::isLoadedObject($category))
    $smarty->assign(‘category_name’, $category->name);
}
elseif ($page_name == ‘product’ AND isset($_GET[‘id_product’]))
{
 $product = new Product($_GET[‘id_product’], false, intval($cookie->id_lang));

 if (Validate::isLoadedObject($product))
    $smarty->assign(‘product_name’, $product->name);
}

then you can add the following to header.tpl:

{if isset($category_name)}{$category_name}{elseif isset($product_name)}{$product_name}{else}{l s=’Hi something’}{/if}

Only after this, you will have the use of product_name and category_name, to use later. Are you going to do this by yourself? And how are you going to change the code above, to fit your needs? Keep in mind that that is not an official solution, just something some nice people on the forum thought of.

 

After reading the above issues, you are a little closer to understanding how good (or bad) is PrestaShop for SEO. There are, however, lots of plugins (more than 3000!) that correct bugs and add functionality to the platform, some for free, others from $30 and up to $400. There’s a PrestaShop plugin for almost anything you can think of. If you decide you need a plugin for a certain job, just make sure you read carefully the description and the user reviews, to avoid buying the wrong one. With the right addons, you can create a strong website that works and sells excellent.