Improving your Google search engine rankings is essential when running an eCommerce online store. It is a powerful way to reach more potential customers and expand your business operations. However, choosing the eCommerce platform that will provide a solid foundation for your SEO strategy is the first step you need to take on the long journey of building a strong online presence for your business. The dilemma usually narrows to the two most popular eCommerce platforms – WordPress and Shopify. In today’s article, our web design agency in Chicago will give you an in-depth analysis and provide you with all the necessary information you need to conclude whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO. We hope it will help you choose an eCommerce platform that best suits your needs and your level of expertise in search engine optimization.
Table of Contents
- Why is SEO important for e-Commerce businesses?
- SEO factors to consider when choosing an e-Commerce platform
- The importance of website security in eCommerce
- Why is it important to make your eCommerce website mobile-friendly?
- The importance of keyword research for e-Commerce
- Blogging for eCommerce websites
- URL Structure and 301 Redirects on WordPress vs Shopify
- Price: WordPress vs Shopify
- An overview of eCommerce SEO features on Shopify
- An overview of eCommerce SEO features on WordPress
- WordPress SEO or Shopify SEO: Which is better?
Why is SEO important for e-Commerce businesses?
One of the most important aspects of running an online business is getting traffic on your website. Without visitors, your online store will not drive sales, and soon it might become unsustainable. However, as getting traffic through PPC advertising can be expensive in competitive industries, unless you are a famous social media influencer, optimizing your eCommerce store for performance in search engines is the best long-term solution.
Around 44% of online shopping starts with a search engine. Even though it might take between three to twelve months before you start to see the results of your search engine optimization efforts, ranking on the first page of Google will put you ahead of the competition and help you grow your business. Thorough search engine optimization can help you:
- Maximize search engine traffic
- Get new customers for a significantly smaller cost compared to other sales channels
- Increase sales by obtaining more traffic
- Increase lead quality by satisfying search engine users’ intents
- Improve authority by building a relevant and user-friendly e-Commerce website
- Drive brand awareness
A well-designed product page will keep driving traffic as long as it remains relevant. That will help you reduce your marketing spending and get a better return on investments. However, when choosing the platform for their eCommerce store, many business owners wonder whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO.
SEO factors to consider when choosing an e-Commerce platform
While Shopify is an all-around e-Commerce platform, online stores on WordPress are usually built using an e-Commerce plugin. WooCommerce is the most popular e-Commerce solution for this platform, which offers a lot of flexibility for business owners who want to create an online store. To find out whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO, we’ll compare the performance of the two most popular eCommerce platforms in the following fields:
- Website Speed and Uptime
- URL Structure and 301 redirects
- Structured data support
- Ease of use
Website Speed and Uptime
If your pages don’t load within 4 seconds, the majority of search engine users will bounce back to the SERP. Since there are usually many images on eCommerce websites, be it stock images or custom product photography, it is essential to perform image optimization to achieve better page speeds. Fast websites improve the user experience and rank better on search engines, as the Largest Contentful Paint rating (LCP) is the first among Google’s Core Web Vitals. By making your store load fast, you will also provide a better user experience and get better conversion rates.
Making the uptime of your eCommerce website high is another powerful way in which you can achieve better rankings and help your online store grow. Besides the fact that keeping your online store open all the time will result in more sales, high uptime also shows crawlers that your website is reliable.
But is WordPress or Shopify better for SEO when it comes to website speed and uptime?
Is Shopify’s website speed and uptime good?
Shopify is a hosted e-Commerce platform, meaning its users don’t have to worry about making technical adjustments to servers for the sake of improving website performance. Shopify stores generally load fast, especially if the owner has paid for the dedicated hosting option. Also, access to the content delivery network (CDN) Shopify provides allows you to store your content on servers spread all around the globe, which can significantly improve website performance. And utilizing ‘lightweight’ website templates and free image editing applications will enable you to maximize the speed of your Shopify store.
Is WordPress website speed and uptime good?
If you decide to create an online store by using an e-commerce plugin on WordPress, your website speed will heavily depend on the hosting provider and framework that you choose. However, as WordPress is an open-source software development platform, if you possess the required knowledge, you can perform the necessary technical adjustments to achieve faster loading times on your website.
We recommend using the Sage WordPress theme as the backbone of your eCommerce store, as it will enable you to minimize code redundancies and build a high-performing website. In addition, image optimization is relatively easy on WordPress, as it offers many free plugins that can help you maintain speed despite having high-quality product photography on your website.
The importance of website security in eCommerce
Security is one of the many things to consider when building an eCommerce website. Keeping your customers’ payment information safe is essential for building trust and credibility. And taking necessary security measures on your website will also make your eCommerce store look better to crawlers, which will help you improve Google search engine rankings. A hacking event could not only endanger your brand reputation but also negatively impact your SEO. That’s why you need to ensure that your website:
- Has SSL certificate
- Complies with PCI-DSS
- Has malware detection up and running
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate is a digital certificate that ensures the security and privacy of your eCommerce website traffic. It encrypts information sent between your site and the browser, protecting it from eavesdroppers. Having an SSL certificate is essential for any online store that collects sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and passwords. Google looks positively on websites with SSL certificates. And complying with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is vital if you want to include the credit card payment option on your website without legal consequences.
Is Shopify secure for eCommerce websites?
Since Shopify is hosted eCommerce platform, if you decide to build an online store on it – you will not have to worry about security. Shopify’s team will take care of security breaches and keep your website safe. Shopify store comes in with a built-in SSL certificate, and you will immediately be able to see a padlock next to your URL. You will also be able to process credit card payments as soon as you set up your store. This platform allows you to install apps that further secure your eCommerce store. Some of them are:
- Rewind Backups
- Cozy AntiTHeft
Is WordPress secure for eCommerce websites?
When using WooCommerce, or other WordPress e-Commerce plugins, you will need to ensure the security of your online store yourself or rely on your hosting provider. You will need to pay for an SSL certificate and manually make your WordPress online store compliant with PCI-DSS. However, WordPress is generally a secure platform, which is updated regularly, and offers a large number of security plugins you can integrate with your eCommerce store:
- Sucuri Security
- iThemes Security
- BulletProof Security
These plugins can help you detect malware, prevent WordPress spam, make updates, and more. Most of them will send a notification in your inbox if your website is endangered, leaving you enough time to react. Another way you can improve the security and speed of your online store is by removing all unnecessary extensions.
Why is it important to make your eCommerce website mobile-friendly?
Since mobile web traffic is on the rise, mobile-friendliness is another factor we need to consider to get a clearer picture of whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO. Online stores need to be mobile-friendly because customers use their mobile devices to browse and buy products. When a website is mobile-friendly, it is designed to work well on all devices, including smartphones and tablets. You need to ensure that your online store looks and feels good, that all the important elements are accessible, and that the website can be easily navigated, no matter the user’s screen size. That’s very important for search engine optimization because Google confirmed that mobile-friendly websites perform better in search engines. Now let’s see how Shopify and WordPress stand regarding mobile-friendliness.
How easy it is to build a mobile-friendly online store on Shopify?
Each Shopify theme is built with mobile devices in mind; therefore, you will not have much trouble ensuring the mobile-friendliness of your Shopify store, no matter if you choose a free theme or pay for one.
Are stores built with a WordPress e-commerce plugin mobile-friendly?
Most WordPress themes are mobile responsive and run smoothly on smaller devices. You can also install the AMP plugin for WordPress and image optimization plugins to make your website even more mobile-friendly. Since this platform leaves almost limitless room for customization, opportunities for enhancing the user experience for mobile visitors are endless.
The importance of keyword research for e-Commerce
Performing comprehensive keyword research for SEO is a vital step you should not miss if you want to rank high on Google and other popular search engines and help potential customers find your online store. It will help you:
- Understand search intents to create an optimal SEO strategy
- Create a list of keywords that respond to your marketing goals
- Target keywords that bring higher ROI
But is WordPress or Shopify better for SEO keyword research? Former is a superior platform for performing keyword research, as it allows you to integrate some of the most powerful SEO tools – such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, and more. That will help you create high-quality content and easily monitor its performance in search engines.
Blogging for eCommerce websites
When running an eCommerce website, it is advisable to invest efforts in publishing high-quality articles. Research suggests that 68.5% of internet users believe that blog adds credibility to a website. Blogging provides a wide array of SEO benefits. It will help you:
- Rank for relevant keywords – product pages usually don’t contain much text, and that’s why having a blog is necessary if you want to improve your chances of ranking on the first page for relevant keywords.
- Build the internal linking structure – linking your pages is a great way to enhance their SEO performance by helping Google bots crawl your website, but it also enables you to keep visitors engaged for more extended periods.
- Obtain backlinks – publishing interesting articles can help you build backlinks faster. When other websites link to one of your blog posts, search engines recognize it as a vote of trust. Over time you will be able to build enough domain authority to compete with industry leaders.
- Connect with the target audience – blogging can help you build a brand voice and increase customer interaction. Once you connect with your target audience, you can perhaps set up a pop-up shop and then blog about it.
- Prove expertise – by covering industry news, explaining your production process, or giving helpful information to your readers, you can build credibility. That will help you grow your online business much faster and show search engines that you deserve to be on the first page.
If you decide to invest a lot of time and energy into blogging, besides ensuring the quality of your articles – choosing the right eCommerce platform is vital. The good news is that you can utilize the Google Search Console keyword ranking strategy on both platforms. But to get a clearer picture of whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO, we need to analyze the blogging features these platforms provide.
While both platforms have blogging functionality, WordPress is much better in this field. That should not come as a surprise since it started as a blogging platform, while Shopify mainly focuses on other aspects of eCommerce and is not very flexible for content creation. It is worth noting that installing some Shopify Apps will enable you to connect your WordPress blog to your Shopify store and share your blog posts without having to hit the copy-paste button. However, if a blog is an important aspect of your digital marketing strategy, our SEO company in Chicago advises you to stick with WordPress and its e-Commerce plugins for building an online store.
URL Structure and 301 Redirects on WordPress vs Shopify
URLs tell crawlers what your pages are about, and URL structure shows them a path to finding your content. Having a clear URL structure is vital, as it will make your website perform better in search engines. Your URLs need to:
- Be readable by humans
- Include target keywords
- As simple as possible
If you fail to make a clear URL structure, which often happens when you go with the automatically generated URLs, Google might penalize your eCommerce website.
WordPress is a better platform than Shopify when it comes to editing URLs because it gives you more room for customization. While Shopify adds strings to URLs that you can’t change, on WordPress, you can completely adjust your URL structure to achieve the best possible performance in search engines.
Running a website on a platform that provides better support for 301 redirects is also vital, as, down the road, it might be necessary to perform product migration. This type of redirect will allow you to tell search engines that any SEO value of the old page should be transferred to the new one. Luckily, WordPress plugins and Shopify apps enable you to perform 301 redirects easily. An important consideration is that you can find a broader range of free SEO plugins on WordPress.
Price: WordPress vs Shopify
There is a common misconception that you can get excellent SEO results for free. Search engine optimization is a powerful marketing tool that enables you not to pay for each click – however, people often overlook hidden costs that follow successful campaigns. You will need to invest money in advanced SEO tools, find a good hosting option to ensure website speed, invest time in content writing, and much more. To understand whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO, we need to consider the total money business owners who use these platforms need to invest if they want their store to function well with users and search engines.
After calculating all costs, our SEO company in Chicago believes that building your e-Commerce website on WordPress provides better value for money. Let’s see why:
How much does it cost to run a Shopify store?
Shopify subscription plans range from $29 per month for a Basic Plan to $299 per month for an Advanced Shopify Plan. Shopify’s hosting services are included in those prices. But if you want your own domain name, you’ll need to buy it separately. This platform provides a domain name generator, which you might find helpful if you run out of ideas. But your costs will increase if you want more selling tools, premium website templates, features such as abandoned cart recovery, or advanced SEO apps.
How much does it cost to run an e-Commerce website on WordPress?
Calculating your costs for a WordPress online store can be complicated. You will be using a free e-Commerce plugin called WooCommerce, but you will need to find a hosting provider and buy an SSL Certificate and domain name separately. An SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and a domain name can cost between $2 to $20 annually. Hosting a website might cost you from $7-$30+ per month, depending on many factors. However, you can find specialized WooCommerce hosting plans some companies provide, which can greatly reduce your costs. WooCommerce comes with built-in selling tools such as shipping label printing, order routing, inventory tracking, and more. It is worth noting that on this e-Commerce platform, you will be able to find many advanced SEO tools that could help you reach more search engine users. Also, WordPress has a large community that could provide free online marketing tips.
An overview of eCommerce SEO features on Shopify
Shopify offers a wide range of SEO features for business owners who want to achieve better Google search engine rankings with their online store. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the important SEO features available on Shopify.
Can you get a custom domain on Shopify?
Choosing a memorable domain name related to your specific industry is vital because it will allow you to obtain more search engine traffic and build unique connections with potential customers. However, if you lack inspiration, this could be a daunting task.
That’s where Shopify’s domain name generator comes in handy. This feature allows you to insert your brand name, and it will generate domain name ideas you can choose from. Buying a custom domain is made easy on Shopify since this process is entirely automated.
Can Shopify Apps help you with SEO?
Shopify’s app store offers a wide range of SEO plugins that can help you optimize your e-Commerce website to achieve better Google search engine rankings. You will be able to find:
- All-in-one SEO tools
- Free image editing applications
- Tools for improving page speeds
- Broken links identification apps
- 301 Redirect apps
However, as app costs vary on Shopify, be ready to adjust your budget.
What blogging features does Shopify provide?
Online stores built on Shopify come with a built-in blogging feature. Shopify provides basic options for editing title tags, meta descriptions, image alt texts, and URLs for your blog posts. However, this platform lacks the depth in the blogging features that websites built on WordPress offer and which might benefit businesses that try to reach a wider audience by writing articles.
When to use Shopify’s CSS editor?
Shopify makes it easy for business owners to create beautiful websites without coding knowledge. Even if you pay for premium themes, your e-Commerce website will probably look similar to some of your competitors’ online stores. However, when you use Shopify’s CSS editor, you can easily add unique features that will help you reflect your brand values and enhance the user experience for potential clients.
An overview of eCommerce SEO features on WordPress
WordPress offers versatility when it comes to SEO and leaves much space for customization. Some of the most important SEO features on WordPress are:
Highly customizable code provides more options for SEO
WordPress is the most popular open-source software development platform for building custom-coded websites. Almost limitless options for customization this platform provides will allow you to build an e-Commerce website that truly satisfies Google’s Core Web Vitals. If you invest enough resources, you will be able to create an online store that:
- Provides a unique user experience
- Has clear site structure and zero technical issues
- Goes hand in hand with your brand identity system
- Supports other sales channels
This will help you keep search engine users engaged when exploring your eCommerce website, resulting in better SEO results over time.
WordPress offers a wide range of SEO plugins
Building your online store on WordPress will enable you to access a rich SEO plugin library the community has already built. Whether you want an image optimization plugin to help you rank better on Google and other image search engines, or you are looking for an ADA WordPress plugin to make your website accessible to people with various types of disabilities – you will be able to find the right tools to support your SEO strategy on this platform.
But if you ever feel like you lack SEO features for your online store, you will be able to hire web developers who can create custom collection management tools to satisfy your needs.
WordPress provides Rich snippet support
WordPress provides structured data support, which allows you to adjust your eCommerce website to appear as rich snippets on Google’s results pages. That is a powerful way to increase the click-through rates of your online store, as your pages will occupy more area. Rich snippets will allow you to provide more information to search engine users and potentially lead to more qualified traffic, which will positively affect the whole SEO campaign.
WordPress is the best blogging platform
WordPress is the best popular blogging platform because it offers ease of use and a variety of features useful for running a successful blog. This content management system has an autosave option, keeps an archive of changes, gives you more control over affiliate commissions, and much more. And since it is an open-source platform, web developers will be able to integrate custom blogging features to help you with meeting the specific demands within your industry. A blog is a powerful tool for improving your online presence and reaching wider audiences. In case you need free online marketing tips, the extensive WordPress community will help.
WordPress SEO or Shopify SEO: Which is better?
If you plan to utilize search engines as the primary source of obtaining traffic to your online store – before hiring an eCommerce web design service, it is vital to understand whether is WordPress or Shopify better for SEO.
Undoubtedly, both platforms deserve the popularity they get in the eCommerce industry. Since it is slightly easier to set up and use, Shopify might be a better option for beginners. But when it comes to SEO, this eCommerce platform lacks depth compared to WordPress. You would need to pay for the Advanced Shopify Plan to get the many SEO benefits mentioned in this article.
If you want to build a large-scale online store and fully utilize the power of search engine optimization – choosing the WordPress platform and installing an e-Commerce plugin is the way to go. That will allow you to fully customize your store and make minor adjustments that could potentially make a difference in competitive industries. WordPress is an open-source software development platform that offers a wide array of free SEO plugins built by the community, which makes it a better choice for businesses that prioritize SEO performance over the ease of building an e-Commerce website.
The main advantage of using the WordPress e-Commerce plugin lies in the high level of potential customization regarding technical SEO. This platform allows you to build a solid eCommerce website architecture to support future business expansions and increased search engine traffic.
Get in touch with eCommerce SEO experts
Both WordPress and Shopify have their pros and cons. No matter which you choose, to build an eCommerce store that performs great in search engines, you will need a certain level of SEO expertise. However, when it comes to answering the question of whether WordPress or Shopify is better for SEO – our personal favorite is WordPress and its most popular e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. If you are knowledgeable about SEO, this combination will give you a limitless playground for improving the performance of your online store in search engines.
If you need help designing an online store or boosting its performance in search engines, feel free to schedule a call with Alpha Efficiency. Our team will create a detailed plan for building an eCommerce website that suits the needs of your business.