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How can you maximize SEO on your PrestaShop website, not just in PrestaShop, but a website developed for any platform? There are plenty of guidelines to improve SEO such as responsive website design, HTML, site load time, user experience, shopping cart behavior and on and on.  Changes to website design, code and all the points mentioned above can be made at any time, but what you can’t afford to do at any time is to change your website’s URL structure.  Dealing with one webpage, multiple links issue i-e changing Ugly URLs to Pretty URLs, is necessary for most of the website owners; let us throw some more light.

What does Google say about One Page and Multiple Links issue?

According to the Google’s URL guidelines, a site URL should have the following characteristics, which should make it a Pretty URL:

·         Simple

·         Logical

·         Intelligible to humans, means readable words rather than long ID numbers e.g. abc.com/34x59_22

·         Use punctuation in URLs if it is lengthy such as http://www.example.com/green-dress.html instead of http://www.example.com/greendress.html

·         Use hyphens instead of underscores

What is Ugly or Pretty URL – Does it Matter to You?

Say that you love to watch the videos of your favorite music brand on YouTube, we know Michael Jackson is the favorite of all, which of the following URLs will be easy for you to remember and visit the site directly,

a)      Youtube.com/michaeljackson

b)      Youtube.com/MJ=461+4294967240+4294967270

If your answer is ‘a’, then the reason is that it is a Pretty URL. The difference between option a and b is clear, Google calls option b as Ugly URL, which means that it is not readable, not user-friendly.  

Therefore, if you are using Ugly URLs on your website, you may not be following the quality guidelines and may not increase your ranks in search engine result pages.  

Causes of One Page – Multiple Links – Duplicate Content issues

If you have a webpage that is accessible through multiple links then it is one of the greatest concerns to be addressed ASAP.  Search engines mark it as duplicate content because they can access same content through multiple URLs, and they may not be able to clearly distinguish which version of the page is correct. Before we discuss easy solution to prevent this situation, note that search engines automatically pick up the version of a webpage that they consider as appropriate for users.

On the other hand, if there is a large amount of duplicate content, your webpage may never appear in search results due to penalization by Google or other search engines.  Now that you are aware of where you might end up if caught in this situation, let us discuss some of the most common causes of this problem.

Additive Search Filters

Some websites allow users to search an item by using different search criteria (search filters). For example, if someone searches for the following two queries:

a)      Hotels on beach

b)      Hotels on beach with fitness centre

In case there is a hotel on the beach with fitness centre then it may appear in search results multiple times with multiple URLs such as:

Hotel on beach

·         http://www.example.com/hotel-abc.jsp (Pretty URL)

Hotel on the beach with a fitness center:

·         http://www.example.com/hotel-abc.jsp?fitness_centre=y&Ne=292&N=461+4294967240+4294967270

The result is duplicate content and as discussed above is harmful for your site.

Dynamic generation of Documents:

Multiple URLs may occur due to dynamic generation of content such as advertisement, counters and timestamps.

URL Parameters:

To track the session of users, a session ID tag is inserted in the URL. This tag can create greater number of URLs and massive amount of duplicate content.  Similarly, you may have noticed sorting parameters, which help users arrange the data according to their requirements. These parameters cause the same problem.  Parameters always create duplicate content.

Calendar Issues:

If you have a calendar on your site, which is generated dynamically, then it may produce links to future and past dates such as:

http://www.example.com/calendar.php?d=13&m=8&y=2011
http://www.example.com/calendar/cgi?2008&month=jan

 Broken links:

Broken links can cause infinite spaces because of repeated path elements such as:

http://www.example.com/index.shtml/discuss/category/school/061121/html/interview/
  category/health/070223/html/category/business/070302/html/category/community/070413/html/FAQ.htm

 Steps to solve this problem

a)      Use regular expressions in your Robots.txt file to block access to dynamically generated URLS, and problematic URLs such as sorting, referral parameters etc.

b)      Use canonical tag to tell search engines which version is preferred one

c)       Never use session IDS in URLs, use cookies instead

d)      Always use Pretty URLs (Friendly URLs) , means user readable and short

e)      Add no-follow attributes to future links created by calendar

f)       Check your site for broken links

g)      Submit a Sitemap

What’s wrong with URLs in PrestaShop

PrestaShop by default inserts numeric ID in URLS e.g. abc.com/product-1.html. Most of the other CMS and Shopping carts do not do this. Below is the solution to prevent this problem in PrestaShop.

How to Implement Pretty URLs in PrestaShop

We have discussed the problems above associated with Ugly URLs and One-Page, Multiple-Links issue. If you have non user-friendly URLs as well as multiple links of a same page then it is the worst thing ever that can happen.

To ensure that you keep your URLs clean in PrestaShop, use the Pretty URLs PrestaShop extension which has the following benefits?

a)      Firstly, its does not require your input, just install it and your links will be cleaned automatically

b)      It removes IDs, numbers, tags etc. from the URL of your website pages

c)       Its implements redirects from old to new URLs automatically, so do not fear about your previous link structure, you will lose nothing.

 

This module costs 29 Euros and prevents your website form the issues discussed above. The product page offers free DEMO and snapshots so that you can test before you buy. 

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