Recently, online merchants who are running their businesses in open-source platforms like PrestaShop have a tendency to move to hosted carts like Shopify. However, a huge obstacle to this website migration decision is the possible hurt to the PageRank that merchants spend years building for their stores.
PageRank (PR) is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. To be more specific, it is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results. Web pages with higher PR will have a higher position in Google search results and potentially have a bigger volume of organic traffic.
A website migration will almost always result in temporary loss of traffic because Google needs time to process the changes and update its index accordingly. However, a carefully executed website migration can preserve PageRank and minimize traffic fluctuations, and in the best scenario, Google will ultimately treat the new site as if it were the original.
If you are moving from PrestaShop to Shopify, this article will be helpful as we will be discussing SEO related advice so that you can keep your ranking safe after the migration.
Let’s get started!
In This Article
- SEO benefits you can earn from the PrestaShop to Shopify migration
- A chance to review URLs and site structures of your PrestaShop store
- Mobile responsiveness of Shopify templates
- Fast page loading speed of Shopify
- Common SEO risks during website migration process and solutions
- Post-migration actions to maintain SEO ranking
I. SEO benefits you can earn from the PrestaShop to Shopify migration
01. A chance to review URLs and site structures of your PrestaShop store
Website migration is a good chance for you to conduct an entire examination of your old store. During the whole process of using and running your store, having some broken or redirected links is unavoidable. If you migrate them to the new store, it will result in 404 links on the target site or a chain of redirected links. Therefore, you should review, then delete broken links and update any links that are pointing to redirected pages before performing bulk migration.
Moreover, your SEO ranking will suffer if there are any orphan links.
Orphan links are basically links that aren’t linked to from any other pages on the same site. This means that when the Googlebot crawls your website, it cannot detect those orphan links. The solution to this is to review your site structures and make some modifications if needed. Make sure that your PrestaShop homepage is linking to the most important subpages and the individual subpages are linked to one another.
02. Mobile responsiveness of Shopify templates
At the end of March 2018, Google announced that they have officially prioritized the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages. This approach is called mobile-first indexing, which means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of the content of a page to evaluate the relevance of a page to a user's query. Since most users now have access to Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot mainly crawls and indexes the smartphone versions of the pages to better help its (primarily mobile) users find what they need.
Therefore, if your PrestaShop store is not fully responsive, this is a good chance for you to take advantage of Shopify mobile compatibility. It is advisable to choose a mobile-friendly theme from Shopify’s theme collection. Whether your customers view your site from a tablet, smartphone desktop or laptop, your website still displays exactly as it should.
03. Shopify's fast page loading speed
At Google, user experience comes first. The world’s most popular search engine highly appreciates the factors that contribute to boosting its user experience including fast page loading speed. In 2010, Google officially indicated that page speed is one of the signals its algorithm uses to rank pages.
When users experience a slow-loading website, they are more likely to click back to the search results page and look for another option. According to a study of Think With Google, 53% of people will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds for the page to load. As a result, the slower your landing pages load, the higher your bounce rate. This will eventually lead to the decline in your PageRank.
In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines will crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.
As a hosted eCommerce platform, Shopify equips you with more favorable conditions for your site to load faster than on PrestaShop, including:
- Shopify's technical teams will make improvements on the server level to improve the performance of websites.
- Shopify controls how its themes are created so it can reduce the risk of bad coding practices.
- Shopify provides a content delivery network (CDN) to help your images load faster.
If you are looking for some real statistics, according to Aheadworks, Shopify has the fastest page loading speed when compared to Magento, PrestaShop, and WooCommerce as shown in the picture below.
Average loading time of Magento, Shopify, PrestaShop and WooCommerce
In conclusion, with all the above-mentioned reasons, if moving from PrestaShop to Shopify, your new store will stand a good chance of having a better Google ranking.
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II. Common SEO risks during website migration process and solutions
During the process of transferring data from PrestaShop to Shopify, there are a lot of SEO risks that you might want to pay attention to in order to minimize the chances of losing PageRank after moving into your new home. We have listed below two of the most common risks along with our recommended solutions.
01. Different URLs structures
Every platform has its own URL structure and PrestaShop and Shopify is no exception. When migrating data from one eCommerce platform to another, the URLs will be changed according to the target store default URL structure. Consequently, you will lose all the optimized URLs that you have been building trust for years and have to start over with the new ones.
To solve this problem, automated shopping cart migration service providers like LitExtension allow you to migrate your SEO URLs to the target site during the process. However, in the case of Shopify, due to its hosted nature, it does not allow us to edit URLs. Therefore, it’s impossible to migrate SEO URLs from PrestaShop to Shopify.
Hence, the only option left is to create 301 redirects. LitExtension also offers an additional option to automatically create 301 redirects during the migration process.
Now, let me show you how to migrate your data from PrestaShop to Shopify and at the same time create 301 redirects with LitExtension. They are currently taking the lead among all the companies that provide the automated migration service in the market.
Before going into the details, you need to sign up for an account on LitExtension site first. I highly recommend using your Facebook or Google account to speed up this process and proceed to the next step.
Log in to LitExtension site
Step 1: Source and Target Cart setup
Once you have logged in, click “Create new migration”. Then, you will see a page where you can enter the information of your PrestaShop and Shopify store.
Set up Source and Target cart
Just follow the instructions shown on the screen to install the connector to your PrestaShop store root folder and get a Shopify API password to complete setting up your store.
Step 2: Configure the migration
At this point, you need to choose the entities that you wish to migrate from PrestaShop to Shopify. LitExtension supports migrating products, customers, pages, and coupons in this case. Normally people will Select all entities but you can choose to migrate only a few by clicking on those individually.
Don’t forget to choose “Create the 301 redirects on your target store after migration” option in the additional options section.
Select entities and additional options
You can also map languages and order status at this stage to help them be displayed correspondingly in the Shopify site.
Step 3: Perform migration
Now you are ready to run the migration. We highly recommend you to run the FREE DEMO migration first to see how the migration process will be carried out by LitExtension. After that, you will receive $5 and later you can use it as a discount when running Full Migration.
Once the migration starts, it will run seamlessly on the server. Therefore, there’s no need to keep your PC on while the data is being transferred. It is completely safe to turn it off! Take a break, have a cup of coffee and your email will receive notification when the process is completed.
And now you’re done! All of your data are transferred and 301 redirects are created successfully.
You can refer to this tutorial video to better visualize how the 301 redirects and data migration process goes with the help of Litextension migration tool.
02. Lose rich snippets
Rich Snippets are normal Google search results with additional data displayed. Rich snippets feature clues about the content of a page or post for example star ratings, author, prices, and so on. Below is an example of rich snippets in Google search results page.
Rich snippets have long been recognized as an SEO necessity. It allows your result to show more information than other competitors in SERP. Accordingly, the Click-through-rate (CTR) can potentially increase and therefore boost your google ranking.
When migrating to Shopify, you cannot bring your rich snippets along because this hosted cart doesn’t allow accessing its source code and adding rich snippets. The easiest approach is to use a third-party app specifically made for this function. There are tons of these available from the Shopify app store. One of the top rated ones is JSON‑LD for SEO app, you should definitely check it out!
III. Post-migration actions to maintain SEO ranking
01. Switch domain
Once you have completed migrating all your data from PrestaShop to Shopify, you first need to transfer your old domain to the new Shopify store by following these steps:
- Unlock your domain and get a transfer authorization code. All you need to do is log in to your third-party domain provider account and find the settings for the domain that you want to transfer, then click Unlock.
- From your Shopify admin panel, click “Online Store” -> “Domains" -> “Transfer domains”.
- Enter the domain that you want to transfer to Shopify. Do not include www. at the beginning of the domain. Click “Next”
- Click “Verify domain”. You will see a “Domain unlocked” message.
- In the Verification code box, enter the authorization code that your domain provider gave you. Click “Next” -> “Buy and transfer”.
Depending on your domain provider, you might have to confirm these changes by email. If so, it takes up to 20 days for the domain transfer process to complete. Shopify will send you a message confirming that your domain is successfully transferred.
02. Test URLs
In addition, you should check if all of your URLs safely landed in your new store. Firstly, verify that all of the old URLs are redirected to the new site. Secondly, there should not be any 404 pages or any chain of redirected links as I mentioned in the first part. If there is any, make sure to fix it as soon as possible because those links can do harm to your SEO.
03. Add rich snippets
I have already mentioned above about the importance of rich snippets to your Google ranking and recommended some Shopify apps that support editing snippets. Now, it’s high time you inserted that additional information to every page in your new site.
In short, PageRank still plays a vital role in Google’s ranking algorithm. It is of utmost importance to pay close attention to every factor that can affect your PageRank before, during, and after your migration process from PrestaShop to Shopify as we have discussed above.
After that, it’s your turn to execute and further maximize your SEO both on-page and off-page. It is truly worthwhile as the higher your PageRank, the faster you run ahead of your competitors.
Irene Lee - Digital Marketing Executive