Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform to Support SEO Success
SEO is critical for online visibility and success. That applies to all websites, including eCommerce sites. Did you know that 93% of all Internet activity begins with a search via Google, Bing, or another search engine? If your eCommerce store isn’t visible in the SERPs, then your would-be customers can’t find you.
The challenge here is that not all eCommerce platforms are SEO-friendly. Many factors play a role in SEO, from user experience to load time, graphic quality to keyword use, backlinks to meta tags, and so much more. It’s critical to choose an eCommerce platform that helps you put your best foot forward.
Of course, it can be pretty challenging to compare eCommerce platforms. Looking at features and capabilities doesn’t tell you what’s under the bonnet of its SEO capabilities. Below, we’ll help you make a more informed decision.
The Factors That Matter
First, let’s explore the factors that matter to SEO when it comes to eCommerce platforms. Some of the most critical include the following:
- Independent navigation links, page titles, page URLs, meta descriptions, ALT tags, and H1 headings
- Canonical URLs
- Robots NoIndex capabilities
- Integrated blogging
- 301 redirect capabilities
- Social sharing
- Business-owned IP address
- Auto XML sitemap
- Custom domain name
Based on those factors alone, you’ll find that today’s top three eCommerce platforms are Shopify, WooCommerce, and 3DCart. Magento comes in fourth, followed by SquareSpace and Volusion. Weebly, Wix, and BigCartel are further down the list. ZenCart and osCommerce round things out. Remember – this list is ordered from best to worst when it comes to supporting SEO success and nothing else.
Other Capabilities to Consider
In addition to helping you conquer the SEO conundrum, your eCommerce platform should also offer other key capabilities. Of course, the value delivered by each feature will vary depending on your specific industry and even by niche. Below, we’ll explore a few capabilities and features that you might want to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform.
Homepage Product Feature
Depending on your eCommerce site, you might want to feature popular or best-selling products on the homepage. This can offer several benefits for your customers, including reducing the amount of time they have to search through your catalogue. It can also provide you with additional SEO opportunities (images, product descriptions, and keywords, etc.). Plus, your homepage will likely have the highest link authority, which means that any pages linking directly from that page will get additional authority in Google and other search engines’ eyes.
No matter what your industry, if you have more than a single page of products, your customers are going to be frustrated if there’s no way to search the site. A site-wide search delivers time-savings, convenience, and alleviates that frustration. Yet, not all eCommerce platforms support site-wide search capabilities.
You can further ramp up this feature’s benefits by using Google Analytics to determine the most frequently used search terms for the products you sell and then building those terms into your site/search capabilities.
Amazon demonstrated singlehandedly the importance of social proofing in the form of customer product reviews. Today, consumers increasingly expect eCommerce companies to follow suit. Not only can customer product reviews help provide the needed social proof, but they can also help in other ways.
User-generated content is popular with Google. It can also help break up duplicate content on similar product pages while incorporating keywords that further build your SEO success.
Be Aware of Additional Cost
Before choosing an eCommerce platform, one thing to consider is that, while your preferred option might make all of the features we’ve discussed available to you, they might come at an additional cost. Do your research, know your budget, and determine whether you can find the same feature with another platform at a lower price or free of charge. However, also remember that higher-cost options may come with additional perks, such as access to live customer support 24/7.
The Final Word
Ultimately, Shopify, WooCommerce, 3DCart, and Magento are the top contenders in the SEO-friendly eCommerce platform industry. They’re a safe bet for most businesses, regardless of industry. However, you might want to explore the list further to find the right mix of benefits and cost-savings to suit your unique needs and goals.