You decided to build an eCommerce store for your company; you conducted some research on Google to try and find the best platform to host your eCommerce website. But as soon as you press “enter,” you realize there are more options than you expected. You also find out that search engine optimization (SEO) plays a pivotal role in the success of your eCommerce site. Now, you also have to find the best eCommerce platform for SEO. I understand you may feel overwhelmed.
It’s not a secret that businesses need SEO to attract traffic to their website, generate leads, and increase conversion. That same concept applies to eCommerce stores. Did you know that around 37% of eCommerce site traffic starts at search engines? Optimizing your online store is rather important.
But do eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BogCommerce, and WooCommerce have an impact on SEO? They absolutely do. That’s why you should take your time when choosing one to build your online store. My SEO company in Chicago has faced this dilemma before, so today, I want to help your business by giving you detailed insight into the top eCommerce platforms for SEO. After analyzing the eight most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms, you’ll be able to choose one that best suits your daily needs and start ranking higher in search engines long-term.
Table of Contents:
- Why does SEO matter for eCommerce?
- 8 best eCommerce platforms for SEO
- Choosing the best eCommerce platform for SEO for your online business
Why does SEO matter for eCommerce?
Where do users go when they want to purchase something online? Search engines, like Google or Yelp. Therefore, improving your search engine visibility as much as possible becomes an indispensable task. And that’s when SEO comes into the picture.
What is SEO? A series of strategies that helps your site to get to the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). When it comes to attracting new customers to your eCommerce sites, SEO becomes essential.
Through a solid SEO marketing strategy, you can escalate search engine results and place your site at the top, ranking higher than your competitors. That will lead to more traffic, which translates into increased conversions and more sales. SEO should be at the top of things to consider when building an eCommerce website.
Ecommerce SEO considers different aspects such as user experience, page titles, meta descriptions, keywords, and more. But including basic SEO features won’t make your online store rank high; you will need to step up your game. And while most platforms know the importance of eCommerce SEO, not all excel at delivering the best SEO tools and best practices. When choosing an eCommerce platform, you must look for certain SEO features that will let you know you are picking the right one.
Key SEO factors for eCommerce platforms
What features should you be on the lookout for when searching for the best eCommerce platform for SEO? I compiled a list of essential SEO elements that can’t be missing from a good SEO strategy for online shops.
The faster your eCommerce store loads, the better user experience you’ll provide to your customers. Data shows that sites that take more than three seconds to load experience a 32% higher bounce rate compared to the ones that load in one second.
How are site speed and SEO related? According to Google, page loading time is among the factors that search engines consider when scoring your website domain. Google is constantly trying to offer its users the best possible experience, and in this fast-paced world, everyone is looking for speed. A fast-loading online store will keep your customers satisfied, increase conversions, and help you with your SEO strategy.
To have total control over your eCommerce site speed, you will need access to different details on the platform to modify them to your advantage. If you decide to go with a hosted platform, like BigCommerce or Volusion, you won’t have the necessary level of control. Hosted platforms understand the importance of speed, and they do their best to guarantee fast loading. Still, some are better than others in ensuring their stores load quickly, and most times, fall short in comparison with platforms that allow you full control over speed.
On the other hand, self-hosted eCommerce platforms give you greater control over the factors that influence site speed, such as:
- Image and file size
- Browser caching
- Mobile device optimization
The page title, also referred to as “title tag” or “SEO title,” is the text that appears as the name of a browser bar. This HTML element should describe your page’s purpose so users and search engines can easily understand it.
Think about page titles as the title of a book – it provides a quick preview of what to expect to read or, in this case, find on your webpage. Regarding SEO, they serve three crucial functions:
- First impressions: Your page title will appear on SERPs, so it’s the first thing users will see. A well-crafted title will encourage readers to click on your link instead of the ones from your competitors.
- Search engine ranking: As mentioned, search engines use page titles to understand your webpage content. By including the right keywords on the title tag, you have better chances to position your webpage higher on search engines for specific queries.
- Improved user experience: Concise but clear and descriptive titles help your visitor navigate your eCommerce business website more efficiently.
The problem with some eCommerce platforms is that they automatically generate the page title based on the product name. That is less than ideal. Suppose you are selling a dress under the name “Last Summer;” that page title doesn’t provide any relevant information to search engines or users regarding the content of your product page. It would be best if you include a product page title that describes the time, such as “Slivless short summer dress – Last Summer.” Therefore, I strongly recommend you choose an eCommerce platform that allows full functionality for independent page titles.
Independent page URLs
Ecommerce URLs are another element that directly impacts search engine optimization, primarily on your website ranking. Just like page titles, your URL structure gives search engines information about what your page is about. Search engines use that information to index the right eCommerce webpages on result pages.
Here is how your eCommerce URLs affect your search engine ranking:
- Crawlability: It helps search engines crawl and index your pages quickly to show them on search results.
- Semantic relevance: Search engines will better understand your page content and its relevance to a user query.
- Enhanced shopper experience: You can improve user experience by providing easy-to-read and relevant URLs that describe the content found on your pages.
Some platforms generate the page URL, taking the name of your products or product category. To maintain optimal SEO, I encourage you to pick a platform in which you have custom control of all your URLs. You can optimize your eCommerce URLs for search engines by keeping them short, including a keyword, and using hyphens.
Custom image ALT tags
An alt text, also called “alt attribute,” is an HTML attribute added to a product image to provide search engines with a text alternative. Since search engines are unable to comprehend media, including the right alt tags to your items’ images can have a significant impact on your eCommerce SEO. Besides that, if a customer reaches your online store and the product image doesn’t load right away, they can read what the image is about in the meantime. That way, you have better chances of customers waiting while your site finishes loading.
For your eCommerce product images, make sure to clearly describe the object without overexplaining it. Again, some e-commerce platforms will automatically add the product name image alt tag. If the item name is not descriptive enough, you will have to change it manually.
If you run an online business, you might wonder if a blog will add value to your eCommerce website. While most of your efforts are oriented to drive more traffic to your products, including a blog can bring many benefits to your online store. Blogging can help you position your brand as an industry leader, educate and engage customers, build loyalty, create a community, and boost conversion rates. But one of the main advantages of starting a blog for your eCommerce is its impact on search engine optimization.
I always tell my digital marketing agency clients about the importance of investing both effort and time in blogging, as it is one of the most effective ways to attract organic traffic. Starting a blog for your eCommerce will significantly increase the amount of content your site has. And the more content you include on your website, as long as it’s valuable and relevant to your site, the more your online store will index.
The best eCommerce platforms for SEO come with a built-in blogging feature so you can manage everything from one platform. However, if you choose an eCommerce platform without this feature, you will have to set up a blog separately.
What is a sitemap? A map of all the pages on your eCommerce website that search engines use to find, crawl, and index your content. There are two types of sitemaps: HTML and XML, one for visitors and the other for search engines, respectively.
Your website should always count on an accurate XML to present search engines. And you want to avoid automatically generated sitemaps that include every single page on your domain. That can lead to including wrong pages, such as 404 errors and non-canonical pages.
Depending on the platform you select, you may have a default XML sitemap, or you will have to install a plugin. For example, when discussing WooCommerce vs Shopify, you should keep into account that the first one needs a plugin, but the latter one includes stiemaps as default.
8 best eCommerce platforms for SEO
Now you know that SEO is essential for your online store’s success, and we covered the basis of what you should look for. So you might be wondering, What is the best eCommerce platform for SEO? Let’s discuss the leading eCommerce platforms, diving into their pros, cons, and SEO tools.
WooCommerce is my first pick because if you were looking for a cost-effective and SEO-friendly eCommerce platform, this is the one. Are you familiar with WordPress? Around 43% of the websites around the globe are built on this content management system. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to turn your website into an online store. You can use this platform to create a fully functional eCommerce to sell physical or digital products as well as services.
WooCommerce key features:
- Build-in blogging
- Independent edit title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, product pages, and more
- Countless free themes
- User-friendly interface
These are some of the advantages you’ll get from this platform:
It integrates with WordPress
If you already use WordPress for your business website, adding an eCommerce through the WooCommerce plugin will be fast and easy. All it will take to build your online store is to install the plugin and follow the step-by-step guidance to set up your shop. If you have developer experience, you can do this process manually and have greater control over every feature of your eCommerce.
Free to install
Installing WooCommerce and setting up your store won’t cost you a dollar. This platform gives you complete control over your online shop appearance and functionality. However, while there are multiple free themes, you always have the option to purchase premium themes and features to gain a higher level of customization.
It’s extremely SEO-friendly
You can edit body content, meta descriptions, alt tags, URLs, and other page elements through the WordPress editor. When it comes to SEO, WooCommerce makes this process far simpler than any other platform. As a huge plus, WooCommerce comes with a built-in blogging feature, so you can continue improving your SEO strategy.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, which has gained recognition for how easy it is to use and how fast you can build a website. This platform is the primary pick for beginners looking for a straightforward platform to set up their first eCommerce. Shopify can be the right choice if you don’t have many technical skills and want to create a professional-looking online store in a matter of hours. However, you must take into account that Shopify only offers a reduced number of themes and SEO plugins for free.
Shopify plans range from $29 to $299 per month. While hosting and other benefits are included in the subscription price, if you want other features, such as abandoned cart recovery or SEO tools, you will have to pay extra for them.
This eCommerce platform’s primary features include:
- Top-notch themes
- Integrations for dropshipping
- Unlimited bandwidth hosting
- Support for SEO best practices
Shopify also offers a wide range of advantages:
- Easy to use: This platform is as user-friendly as it gets. You will have little trouble picking the themes, adding needed elements, and launching your online shop. It’s perfect for business owners who don’t know how to code and want to build a store fast, but that still looks polished.
- Built-in blogging: Shopify counts with a built-in blogging feature that allows you to create and publish content for your eCommerce.
- Supports a wide range of businesses: This platform supports many different online businesses; you can create an eCommerce to sell physical goods, digital products, services, and more.
You might still wonder, is WordPress or Shopify better for SEO? While both platforms have their own set of benefits and can help you set up a professional store, WordPress (WooCommerce) wins the SEO battle. WordPress offers a wide range of SEO features that can add to your business’s online visibility. On the other hand, Shopify lacks WordPress’ level of SEO best practices, and you must pay for a premium subscription to access them.
BigCommerce is another option you will likely find in the best eCommerce platform for SEO lists. Why? Because this platform allows small and large businesses to build professional online stores that are SEO-friendly. BigCommerce is a paid eCommerce platform; prices range from $39 to $399 per month, and all the plans include practical SEO tools.
Another feature that makes BigCommerce so popular is how easy it is to use; this platform is highly beneficial if you don’t have advanced technical and coding skills. Its user-friendly interface will make it easy for you to set up and launch a highly professional-looking online store.
Among BigCommerce key features for SEO, we find:
- You are able to edit your robots.txt file and URLs
- Responsive templates that adapt to multiple devices
- Image optimization, which helps improve loading speed
Pros of this eCommerce platform include:
- High levels of flexibility: When you lack technical experience to build a site, you need a platform that makes it easy for you to create an online store. BigCommerce is that platform; it’s exceptionally flexible and doesn’t require any development skills from your side.
- Customer-friendly: BigCommerce comes with hundreds of features you can use to enhance your customers’ experience on your online store. For example, this eCommerce platform allows you to accept over 40 payment methods, a crucial factor in customer satisfaction that can help you improve conversion rates.
Regardless of this platform’s popularity and value, it still has some cons. The biggest one is that pages can load slowly: slow-loading pages can significantly affect SEO because users are not fans of waiting around until your site loads. Another downfall is that BigCommerce can get expensive depending on your yearly sales.
Wix is another popular website builder for beginners with zero coding experience. While it didn’t offer an eCommerce feature in its early years, recently, this platform implemented this option and made improvements to enhance its SEO performance. Other eCommerce platforms have more advanced features, but Wix remains relevant for small businesses.
Plans start at $27, perfect for businesses on a budget. You have fewer template options to choose from but enough to make your shop look professional. If this is your first time setting up an online store, you will be happy to learn that you can easily and immediately add product pages, checkout, carts, and other essential elements.
Regarding SEO, Wix offers the following features:
- Robots.txt editor
- Image optimization
- Canonical tags
- Built-in SEO wizard to help you improve your strategy
Despite the many benefits Wix offers and the best efforts from its developers to make it SEO-friendly, eCommerce websites created on Wix don’t position as well on Google as the ones built on other platforms. For example, optimizing loading times is difficult, which negatively impacts SEO. And although most Wix templates are responsive, they still present some incompatibilities with mobile devices.
Webflow has emerged as a popular eCommerce platform for those looking to build an online shop with zero coding knowledge. In my experience, this platform is the best one available if you don’t have any developing skills. That’s why I have already crafted a full Webflow review where you can learn more in-depth about the many benefits of this platform. This powerful CSM offers several valuable features, such as a drag-and-drop solution seamlessly integrated into the platform to create product and checkout pages for your shop.
Regarding SEO, Webflow offers these useful features:
- It allows you to create user-friendly, attractive pages
- Editable URLs, meta descriptions, and other relevant elements
- Mobile friendly
- Fast loading times
On the downside, this eCommerce platform doesn’t offer the best blogging features compared to other CMSs like WordPress. You can only add a limited number of products to your shop, you have limited payment getaways, and while code quality remains better than most of its competitors, it still lacks the refinement of custom code. All those cons can compromise SEO, leading you to consider Webflow alternatives.
Squarespace is one of the most successful platforms; in recent years, it has added eCommerce functionality and SEO features for businesses to launch their online shops. Building an attractive eCommerce with Squarespace is easy, thanks to its pre-set designs and intuitive process. However, creating your shop on Squarespace can be more pricy since that feature is only included on advanced plans. The plan is $33 a month, and the platform also charges a 3% fee for every transaction. You can void that fee by acquiring a more advanced subscription.
Squarespace includes a wide range of SEO benefits:
- Built-in blogging
- Canonical tags
- Editable URLs, meta tags, and meta descriptions
Other pros of this eCommerce platform are:
- Attractive design: Squarespace doesn’t have many eCommerce templates to choose from, but all of them are highly sophisticated and some of the most attractive designs on the market.
- Unlimited storage: This platform offers unlimited storage, meaning you can add as many products to your shop as you want, as well as images, videos, or any other information you consider relevant to market your items.
- Squarespace Enterprise: This platform offers a premium plan called Squarespace Enterprise for bigger retailers. This plan offers broader benefits and functionalities like SEO assessment, full customization, faster loading speed, and multi-store management.
Volusion is the ideal eCommerce platform for those looking for high levels of customization and care about SEO. The platform offers tools and features that allow business owners to create their online shops exactly how they want them. This hosted eCommerce solution has four different subscription plans ranging from $35 to $299 per month. The plan you acquire will determine the number of items you can add to your store and the bandwidth available.
All Volusion plans include some basic SEO features:
- Custom page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs
- Google integrations
- Keyword research tool
- Access to robots.txt
Also, regarding SEO, Volusion has two downsides: it doesn’t include a built-in blog, and page loading can be slow.
Among Volusion’s main benefits, you’ll find:
- Ease of use: This platform has ensured you can create, launch, and manage your eCommerce effortlessly. It allows first-time users without technical knowledge to operate everything from a convenient, user-friendly dashboard.
- Highly customizable and a variety of themes: Volusion enables you to bring your eCommerce ideas to life through the site builder. The platform also offers many pre-made, high-quality templates to choose from.
- It includes tutorials: The biggest roadblock most users find when creating an online shop is the lack of detailed instructions. You won’t have this issue with Volusion since the platform you’ll get tutorials to guide you through the process.
8. Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Adobe Commerce, formerly Magento, is a self-hosted, open-source eCommerce platform. This platform is strong regarding SEO but is not the most user-friendly. Unless you have coding skills or plan to hire a developer to help you, creating your online shop will be more complicated compared to other platforms on this list. On the bright side, since Adobe Commerce is self-hosted, it gives you more flexibility in terms of what you can do.
Since Adobe Commerce is fully customizable, you can easily configure your website to apply SEO best practices. This platform generates and enables you to customize sitemaps, meta descriptions, URLs, keywords, and more, allowing you to create an SEO-friendly online store for your business.
Mote Adobe Commerce benefits include:
- Page builder: Thanks to Adobe Commerce’s page builder, you can manage templates and content much more effectively. You can create and customize content-reach pages to enhance your store’s visuals and drive customer engagement.
- Excellent at driving conversions: Since this platform was developed with a particular focus on sales, it can help you increase conversion rates. With Adobe Commerce, your business can reach your target audience based on their activity history. The platform also offers one-page checkout, decreasing cart abandonment.
Choosing the best eCommerce platform for SEO for your online business
Now you know which are the most competitive platforms to build an online store. When it comes to choosing the most SEO friendly eCommerce platform, there are many elements to consider – from the platform features and integrations to your business needs and budget. But one thing is certain: SEO is indispensable for the success of any online shop. You can pick your top three and do more research on them or take advantage of their trial periods to see which one is a fit.
I know choosing the right platform to build your website is a critical decision. You might get frustrated seeing you can’t obtain all the SEO tools you need from one platform. Or the one that does have it all requires coding knowledge, which you lack. But there is a solution for that – counting on an experienced eCommerce building company. Do you need guidance creating a sales-driven, SEO-friendly eCommerce? Get in touch with me; I’ll be happy to share my experience to grow your online business.