PrestaShop Canonical Tags and Redirects

PrestaShop Canonical Tags and Redirects

You may read a lot of SEO advices on the internet. Some of them are easy to understand, some - are more technical, and without good IT background, it won’t make much sense. One of those public information bits is encouraging “canonical tags” to be placed in your store.

Should your PrestaShop store have canonical tags set? ** You may want canonical tags set up on your store if you have thousand or more products; if you are using any PrestaShop clean URLs addon or Google Search Console reports about duplicated content**.

How to setup canonical tags and use some free PrestaShop features related to that is explained below.

What are canonical tags

The canonical tag is a line on your site HTML document informing search engines that this page content belongs to a particular page (only). Think about it as there could be only one “main” page for that content, but subpages can display copies of this page’s texts.

For example, you might have the URL /men/jeans-xyz, but the same jeans could also be displayed on /popular/jeans-xyz. And if in both URLs you will have the same content, your store would be penalized, and both URLs might not rank as expected.

For this reason, it is common to inform search engines that both URLs share the same content. Still, the original URL for the content (that’s where the canonical tag will be pointing at) should go to /men/jeans-xyz.

This “main” page (where the canonical tag is pointing in our example - /men/jeans-xyz) will be the one receiving the best ranking.

Other than that, the canonical tag does not do anything else - only informs search engines. It does not redirect automatically to a “correct” URL or anything.

But there is a nice feature when talking about such redirects. Read the following section to learn more.

Enable Canonical Tag on PrestaShop

You don’t need to enable anything to get canonical tags in PrestaShop work. They are automatically inserted into HTML code starting from PrestaShop v1.7. You can double-check this by opening any PrestaShop product, clicking the right mouse button, and select the “View Source” button:

PrestaShop View Source To Check Canonical URL
PrestaShop View Source To Check Canonical URL

In the HTML preview window, a line looking like this will point search engines to a correct canonical page of the URL:

<link rel="canonical" href="">

If you have this line, it means your work is done here, no need to configure anything.

What if you don’t see this line in your store? There are two possible causes with two solutions to each:

Cause to not see canonical tag Solution
You are using PrestaShop older than v1.6 You might want to reach to some PrestaShop developer to add a canonical tag to your theme
You are using custom theme Contact theme author to add canonical tags support to the theme

Canonical URL Redirect in PrestaShop

PrestaShop has an interesting setting in the back office under Shop Parameters → Traffic & SEO → Set up URLs block. It is called “Redirect to the canonical URL” with three options available:

  • No redirection (you may have duplicate content issues)
  • 302 Moved Temporarily (recommended while setting up your store)
  • 301 Moved Permanently (recommended once you have gone live)

Never set the first option above, but any other option is good enough to select. It does not matter which one as it won’t boost your search engine rankings, it is just semantically correct to choose one or another.

Suppose you chose “No redirection (you may have duplicate content issues)”. In that case, you might see duplicated content reports on your Google Search Console. The reason is that the PrestaShop page (does not matter if it is a product page or not) can have multiple URLs for the same page but different options.

How Duplicated URLs Can Appear in PrestaShop Store

If you install PrestaShop clean URLs addon, you might notice that both new beautiful URL (like /men/jeans-xyz) and ugly one (like /product.php?id=123&category_id=456 works. But for search engines, that would mean two separate pages have the same (duplicated) content. And here is how you get an SEO score penalty.

For this reason PrestaShop created an option that if user or search engine lands on /product.php?id=123&category_id=456 - automatic redirect initited to /men/jeans-xyz.

But this option is not a canonical tag itself. Instead, it is just an additional feature PrestaShop delivers. As a reminder, this option lives in the back office, under Shop Parameters → Traffic & SEO → Set up URLs block (301 or 302 redirects).

Do I Need Addon for PrestaShop Canonical Tags

You might see few addons listed in any PrestaShop addons marketplace containing “canonical tags fix” or similar.

You don’t need an additional addon if you run the latest PrestaShop version (at least v1.7) or have a premium theme installed. But with v1.6 and below - you might want to purchase one. But only if you see duplicated content errors in Google Search Console.

If your store is running for a long time (3-6 months at least) and you do not see any duplicated content reports in the Search Console - it means your store is appropriately configured. You don’t need to add anything extra to it.

Remember that you don’t want any fancy SEO addon installed on your site: good content boost search engine rankings and increases conversions. Plugins usually are just vitamins for SEO.