Why is SEO so important for ecommerce? Well, if you’re hoping to generate sales through your own online store, SEO is one of the best ways to drive relevant traffic to your website. What’s more, if you can generate a good amount of organic traffic, you’ll be much less dependent on paid advertising. It’s the best way to futureproof your ecommerce business.
Ultimately, ensuring that your ecommerce website ranks well in search will play a huge part in your eventual success. But of course, there are many different ecommerce platforms to choose from. If your decision comes down to which offers the best SEO capabilities, there are many variables to consider. Below we’ve listed the SEO pros and cons of five of the most popular ecommerce builders.
Shopify is undoubtedly one of the best options for setting up shop online. What’s more, its SEO is tailored specifically towards ecommerce.
Shopify SEO advantages:
- Comes with all the main SEO options that most store owners need
- Boasts an extensive app store with many free SEO apps
- On-page SEO updates are easy to carry out
- Agile system with good uptime – so your store will load fast
Shopify SEO disadvantages:
- Relies on apps to meet advanced SEO needs, like structured data
- Requires some coding knowledge to use Google Search Console
- Reliant on Shopify support staff to help you out with more advanced questions
Verdict: Shopify is a breeze when it comes to implementing on-page basics and is the perfect option for any starter store. However, it may not always be the best option if you’re looking for something more advanced and custom. (They do have an enterprise plan, Shopify Plus, that may help here).
WordPress (WooCommerce) SEO
Widely thought to be the ultimate blogging platform, WordPress has a solid reputation when it comes to SEO. WordPress sites generally tend to rank well on Google, and ecommerce functionality can be implemented easily using WooCommerce.
WordPress SEO advantages:
- Easy to create unique title tags, meta descriptions and URLs
- Alerts Google each time you update your site, so new content ranks faster
- Fast load times that can be sped up further with plugins like WP Super Cache
- Yoast SEO, the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, scores your content and shows where you can make improvements
WordPress SEO disadvantages:
- No XML sitemap option – you’ll need to use a plugin
- Doesn’t automatically define canonical URLs. Users are reliant on Yoast to ensure that they’re defined on each page
- In the wrong hands, WordPress sites can be slow and cumbersome (and some themes are better than others for SEO)
Verdict: Using WordPress puts you ahead of the game when it comes to SEO, but you will need to make use of plugins as not everything is built-in.
BigCommerce certainly offers some strong SEO features, from short URLs to automatic image optimization. Here are the pros and cons.
BigCommerce SEO advantages:
- Covers the basics – easy to add appropriate keywords
- Allows you to create product-specific URLs without difficulty, including short URLs
- Its responsive design templates also work as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which has some SEO benefits
- You have complete control over SEO data for every product
BigCommerce SEO disadvantages:
- While BigCommerce offers some small advantages, they don’t necessarily justify the extra cost of this more expensive ecommerce platform
Verdict: SEO is one of BigCommerce’s strongest features and there’s a lot of scope for customization – but the platform is more expensive than its competitors.
Magento has tons of powerful SEO features built-in. However, unless you’re familiar with the platform, it can be pretty challenging from an SEO perspective.
Magento SEO advantages:
- Powerful inbuilt SEO features – if you know how to use them
- Open source – so you can make use of various third party SEO solutions
- Gives you complete control over navigation links
- Offers a range of options and configuration adjustments
- Plenty of scope for customization
Magento SEO disadvantages:
- Has a tendency to assign headings incorrectly
- Navigation has a tendency to cause duplicate content issues
- Google may try to index thousands of catalogue pages
- Not great when it comes to creating XML sitemaps
Verdict: Magento has the potential to be a very powerful SEO platform. It does have some issues, but most of them can be solved if you know how. Not for the beginner.
Finally we have Wix, often hailed as the simplest website builder on the market due to its drag-and-drop functionality. But what is it like for SEO?
Wix SEO advantages:
- You don’t need any coding skills to use Wix SEO – it’s simple and intuitive
- The SEO features are is built-in, so there’s no need for apps or plugins
- Connecting your Wix website to Google Analytics and Search Console is super easy
- Provides a free tool called Wix SEO Wiz, designed to help inexperienced users
Wix SEO disadvantages:
- Wix is fine for very basic SEO – and that’s about it
- Has a habit of creating too many URLs – with no way to deindex them once created
- They’ve given some pretty questionable SEO advice in the past
Verdict: While Wix is an easy choice for beginners, it’s not the most powerful when it comes to SEO and limits you to the very basics.
TDLR: It’s hard to identify a ‘best’ overall ecommerce platform for SEO, as it depends on your personal needs. However, generally speaking you’re unlikely to go too far wrong with Shopify and WordPress, which also offer great value and usability.