Every business desire to attract as many customers as possible. This explains why SEO is a primary concern for online sellers, as it determines how high their stores rank on search engines and how much traffic they attract.
When establishing a successful online store, you may want to find out which eCommerce platform has the best SEO features to avoid detrimental delays and issues related to poor SEO features.
This article compares Bigcommerce and Shopify SEO features and specifications and offers recommendations for the best e-commerce platform for specific outcomes.
Bigcommerce SEO Features
Bigcommerce is a renowned e-commerce platform that offers a space for online sellers to set up their stores and sell their products. This platform offers SEO optimisation, hosting, marketing, online store creation, and security for different types of enterprises.
This company targets businesspeople who may desire to sell their products through its stores regardless of their level of knowledge in designing websites. Some of the Bigcommerce SEO features are discussed below.
1. Optimised URLs
Bigcommerce automatically populates SEO-friendly URLs for its seller pages, products, and categories. It achieves this by ensuring that the URLs used are kept as simple as possible, have less fluff, and are reader-friendly. Shorter URLs are easy to access and share with others.
Bigcommerce also ensures that store owners have the freedom to change their URLs and can easily personalise them. Optimised URLs improve click-through rates when store owners share their links with prospective customers. They also make it easy for search engines the index one’s site for ranking.
2. Unique URLs
Bigcommerce ensures that every page has only one URL to avoid the consequences of duplicate content. Unique URLs are also easy to remember, making it more likely for previous customers to recognise the site from their search histories.
A memorable URL may also increase the potential customers’ urge to click on your store’s link, increasing your chances of making a sale. Bigcommerce also encourages its custom URLs. These custom URLs reduce the likelihood that someone may get the link wrong and increase the likelihood that customers will recall and refer other potential customers.
Custom URLs also make the links easy to use, look more professional, and may incorporate a store’s name, which builds trust for potential customers.
Blogs are valuable tools for driving organic traffic to one’s site. Blogs offer you the chance to use various keywords, some of which may appear as long tail keywords, increasing the site’s ability to rank for these keywords.
Bigcommerce ensures that its users have a chance to offer knowledge to their audience through blogs. To fully enjoy the benefits of blogging as an SEO tool in Bigcommerce, you should ensure that the keywords you are targeting to apply in blogs appear in each post’s URL, meta descriptions, title, and H1 header.
It is crucial to note that some Bigcommerce themes make the header an H2, not an H1, as one would expect. To avoid confusion while using such a theme, avoid adding H2 or H1 headers on your page and consider starting from H3 so that when you post your blog, the theme picks the title and places it in the header without misinterpreting it.
Bigcommerce also allows users to change their blog post URLs, an option that appears as an SEO panel at the bottom of the New Blog Post Page. Since this URL displays the hyphenated version of the title added above, Bigcommerce allows users to personalise and change this URL to their preference.
4. Site speed
The speed at which your store loads determines whether customers keep visiting and staying on your site or not. Stores with higher load speed are more likely to attract and retain more customers as people are more interested in sites that take less than 2 seconds to load.
Bigcommerce understands the impact of site speed on SEO performance, customer satisfaction, and store sales. While the Bigcommerce SEO ensures the site is fast, store owners still have a role to play to ensure their respective stores also have a high load speed. For this, Bigcommerce recommends the following steps in improving its stores’ speed.
a) Using fitting images
One major cause of low page speed is uploading large images to one’s store. To reduce these images to the right shape and size, Bigcommerce recommends responsiveness, which is the use of a Bigcommerce theme or custom website design that is responsive.
Responsive designs help shrink images as the users shrink their screen sizes. Bigcommerce also recommends users avoid using PNG images and settle for JPG files as these keep a site clean and prevent loading delays.
Another advantage of JPG files is that they compress the PNG images without losing the image’s quality. Fitting images help improve site speed and make it easier for search engines to rank the contents in those images.
b) Leveraging automatic redirects
Sometimes, a user may need to overhaul their sites to create slick new categories or receive inventory boosts, which may alter some of the category pages. Without fixing this, these stores will likely have delayed load times due to these changes. Lucky for Bigcommerce users, this site has got this covered.
Bigcommerce ensures that it provides automatic redirects. This site offers an easily accessible redirect page where users can fix their URLs.
The company also has a Dynamic Link Redirect Type, a feature that ties the old URLs to a product category within the admin, making redirects possible. Bigcommerce understands the need for a fast site and therefore struggles to ensure all its stores are fast.
c) Avoiding numerous third-party apps
Numerous third-party apps on one’s site are also significant culprits of dragging down the site. For this, Bigcommerce recommends its users avoid downloading and running multiple third-party apps at once, even though these apps lead to an increase in the conversion rate.
According to Bigcommerce, these apps slow down the site speed since they require more code to load every time a customer clicks around. If a site suffers from slow load time, one may use online speed test tools to identify whether the delay results from using numerous third-party apps. These tools also help determine which apps have the highest effect on your site.
d) Using a content delivery network
Content delivery networks are servers that collaborate to deliver internet content. Bigcommerce has a special content delivery network that works in the background to ensure its sites load faster for customers and search engines.
Bigcommerce CDN allows users to customise their stores’ designs to fit their requirements. A store owner may also use a CDN to copy their static assets and images from their Bigcommerce stores to various global data centres.
This allows them to load their files from the data centres closest to their shoppers, increasing the site’s load speed. High site speed is a good signal for search engines to crawl a site.
The Robot.txt is a powerful SEO feature since it works as a website guide on what search engine crawl robots should or should not crawl. This feature lets you direct search engines and other online crawlers on how and where to index and crawl your site.
You may use this feature to block crawlers from crawling certain pages on your site, direct them to where your sitemaps are, or command them to follow or not follow certain links. With such an important feature, most users prefer platforms that allow them to edit the robot.txt feature for flexibility.
Like URLs, Bigcommerce will enable you to edit robot.txt, allowing users to enjoy more flexibility when deciding what search engines should and should not crawl.
6. Pages have proper HTML elements.
Bigcommerce ensures that its sellers’ pages have proper HTML elements. HTML is considered one of the three essential tools in web page creation as it sets out how pictures or texts appear on the website.
With proper HTML elements, Bigcommerce ensures its stores are easily visible to search engines. This company also provides that its sellers’ pages are well organised, mainly using a hierarchical system where pages follow each other under a particular sequence.
This makes search engines crawl and index these sites better and within a short time. Well-arranged pages also improve the user experience since users take less time to locate the carriers they intend to visit. With the ease of use, shoppers are most likely to return, increasing the store owners’ sales.
7. Optimising the site for mobile
Optimising for mobile entails adjusting your website content to ensure shoppers visiting the site from mobile have a friendly user experience. A site optimised for mobile reformats its content display, shows larger navigation buttons, and optimises images depending on the size of the user’s screen.
At Bigcommerce, store owners enjoy a powerful mobile commerce solution, which enables them to offer close to instant load times for mobile users. Due to a high number of visitors using mobiles across the internet market, optimising a site for mobile increases its chances of ranking higher on search engines. Bigcommerce uses the following strategies to ensure it has optimised its site for mobile.
a) Using responsive themes
The Stencil Theme Marketplace in Bigcommerce ensures that all storefront themes are optimised for mobile use and introduce a mobile-optimised checkout process to reduce shoppers’ cart abandonment.
b) Ensuring the users upload images that are sized and served for mobile
Bigcommerce lets its users optimise their images to serve the mobile browsing experience. The company achieves this by using the Akamai Image Manager to deliver pictures that have mobile-optimised images without developing specific mobile image variants.
c) Builds mobile pages for higher performance and engagement
Bigcommerce is known for using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) natively. This company’s users enjoy AMP’s increased load speed and improved visibility on search engines.
Shopify SEO Features
Shopify is a Canadian international online e-commerce platform with its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario. This company assists online retailers by offering them space to host their online stores by selling their products to different online shoppers.
Shopify, like Bigcommerce, targets online retailers that are creating their websites. This company’s other subscription plans serve people from various revenue classes. To make the process smooth for its users, Shopify, like Bigcommerce, invests heavily in SEO features to boost the stores’ ability to rank on search engines.
This part identifies Shopify SEO features and compares them to Bigcommerce features.
1. Optimised URLs
Shopify automatically generates URLs for its products and collection pages. Unlike Bigcommerce, Shopify does not give users the chance to make a complete makeover to their URL settings.
This is because Shopify URLs contain Shopify directories such as ‘collections’ or ‘products’ which are impossible to remove. Store owners may only change the last part of the URLs representing the product name, not the entire URL, as with Bigcommerce.
One drawback of grouping products into categories is that products belonging to collection pages create a duplicate URL problem.
Shopify also insists on the importance of file names and URLs matching the page’s content. This makes it easy for search engines to crawl and rank this content. It is crucial to note that the difference in length of Shopify and Bigcommerce URLs may have less or no SEO effect on either platform you use to host your store.
2. Use of Keywords
Different keywords help one’s content rank high on search engines. Since using keywords is more personalised, Shopify encourages its store owners to find keywords that specifically target their products and whose customers are more likely to use them when locating their stores.
With proper keyword research, site owners increase their chances of ranking higher on search engines. Some areas where an individual may add keywords on their Shopify store are their content, page titles, meta descriptions, and images alt texts.
Keywords also perform well when placed in blog posts that store owners may upload. Shopify encourages its store owners to create content relevant to their products and insists on the need for these owners to promote other websites to link back to their stores.
Search engines continuously crawl websites in search of data for their search results, but not all information needs crawling, and this raises a need for robots.txts. Websites use robots.txts to direct search engine bots on which pages to crawl and which to leave alone.
To make it easy for its users, Shopify has a default robot.txt file that it has made optional and at the disposal of all its store owners.
Shopify also understands that the default robots.txt file may fail to work for all stores and has introduced the Robots.txt Liquid Theme that helps users edit their files per their requirements.
This Shopify feature allows store owners to make changes such as blocking some crawlers, adding additional sitemap URLs, adding rules that make some crawlers delay crawling content, and allowing or disallowing crawlers from crawling some sites.
With robots.txts, search engines understand precisely the parts they should crawl, which helps manage the site’s traffic. Shopify warns against improper robots.txt file editing as this may result in loss of all traffic.
4. Site Structure
Shopify understands the need for a robust and optimised site structure to attract traffic. For this, Shopify handles the site structure optimisation to make it easier for search engines to find all its store owners’ content. It has set in place the following best practices.
a) Content flows in a logical hierarchy of categories
Content hierarchy is a marketing strategy that arranges information from the most crucial to the less important. This strategy allows readers to engage with one’s content in less time and with a better approach.
Well-arranged content also helps improve bounce rates and increases the time spent on the page. Fewer bounce rates and more hours spent on the site are good signals that the site has valuable information, and this helps search engines invest more in crawling such sites, leading to higher ranking and more traffic.
b) Pages do not use iframes
Iframes are HTML elements that load another page within the same document. They are commonly used in advertisements and may lead to security risks, usability problems, and SEO problems.
The primary SEO problem with iframes is that they may block content from indexing and rob the site’s ability to appear in search engine results. Shopify SEO ensures that it avoids using iframes for its pages, creating a smooth experience for store owners.
c) URLs use standard characters, and the structure is simple and readable
As we discussed earlier, URLs with standard characters and simple structures have a better chance of ranking than the opposite. Customers are also likely to remember the sites with simple-structured URLs, which means constant and referenced traffic since such URLs are easy to share.
Search engines also find it easy to index pages with readable and simple URLs, increasing the page’s ability to rank.
5. Optimising the site for mobile
Shopify is excellent when it comes to offering a smooth user experience, including even those visitors that use mobile phones. Like Bigcommerce, Shopify understands the need for mobile optimisation for a website.
It uses responsive themes to ensure that the site’s content adapts to the size of the screen of the user. Shopify understands that a poorly optimised site for mobile leads to poor sales and low SEO ranking and damages the brand image.
To avoid this, this company developed the first mobile-first indexing program in 2019, ensuring that mobile-optimised content ranks higher if accessed using a mobile phone.
Shopify insists on the need for its store owners to optimise their sites for mobile as one way of increasing site speed and retaining a high percentage of customers since most people visit the internet regularly through smartphones.
How Shopify and Bigcommerce SEO Compare
1. Unique URLs
Both Shopify and Bigcommerce have unique URLs that help store owners easily identify with their stores and have a link to their store profiles that they can share to market their products. Unique URLs also reduce the chances of duplicate URLs occurring.
Unlike Bigcommerce, Shopify implements collections to group products into categories making it easy for customers to find them. One major drawback of this strategy is that it encourages duplicate URLs, which makes it more difficult for search engines to index and rank one’s content.
Multiple URLs for the same page may also split one’s link-building power, mainly when referees use either of the links rather than using only one link when sharing. To solve duplicate URLs, Shopify directs canonical tags to the product page, which works perfectly, but this does not solve the problem of the split link.
2. Mobile Optimisation
With the increase in the use of smartphones to access the internet, e-commerce platforms have decided to optimise their sites for mobile. Bigcommerce and Shopify have also taken initiatives to ensure their sites are optimised for mobile use to accommodate visitors that use smartphones to access the internet.
Both platforms use responsive themes to ensure that the sites’ content remains the same across all the devices used. Mobile-optimised sites are more likely to have higher speed, creating a smooth user experience for their visitors.
3. Keywords Usage
Both Bigcommerce and Shopify understand the need for proper keyword usage. The two agree that the best places to place well-researched keywords are in the page contents, descriptions, page titles, and image txts.
Additionally, these two platforms have inbuilt keywords that allow all their stores to rank. The store owners should also find more areas for adding relevant keywords to increase the chances that search engines will pick up these keywords and display the site’s content in search results. One such place is through offering informative and engaging content through blogging. Shopify and Bigcommerce insist on using blogging to engage one’s audience and as a rich way of adding relevant keywords to the page’s content for better ranking.
Having discussed both the Bigcommerce and Shopify SEO features, it is clear that the two share more similarities than differences. This comparison allows you to decide which platform is best depending on your needs.
For instance, Shopify creates an easier experience for its users and is convenient for people from all levels. At the same time, Bigcommerce has some features that may appear difficult for some people, especially beginners.
On the other hand, Bigcommerce offers more flexibility and freedom when forming your URLs than Shopify, meaning people who desire wholly customised URLs may feel comfortable working with Bigcommerce.