Working in e-commerce is a serious undertaking. The activity allows entrepreneurs to provide goods and services without needing a real-life shopfront. Thankfully, there are lots of platforms to choose from. However, determining which one is best for your business may be difficult. Whether you’re launching your first e-commerce store or your fifth, the platform you pick can seriously impact your organization.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the best ecommerce platforms for SEO that have the most comprehensive Search engine optimization features to reduce the complexity of your research.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO plays a vital role in finding your ecommerce platform as it helps you reach more customers. In addition, most people visit search engines to find something in particular. For that reason, your website should be as visible as possible on the web.
Ultimately, you must enhance your standing on the search engines more than your competitors. If so, you’ll receive more attention to your online store. More exposure equals more profits; therefore, this should be one of your main focuses.
While most ecommerce platforms have fundamental SEO characteristics, making it easy to change the headline, content, and tags, is not enough. You have to find an e-commerce platform that can most benefit your business.
What to Look For in an Ecommerce Platform for SEO
Wouldn’t it be better to have a website that loads in seconds rather than minutes? Customers appreciate a speedy website rather than experiencing lag when loading.
If you want this kind of control over your e-commerce website, hosted solutions might not be for you. E-commerce systems managed by the platform ensure optimum speeds, but a few are superior to others like SEO.
Platforms won’t leave you with a slow ecommerce website, but they will not invest as much energy into the details of your site speed.
But if website control is in your hands, you can regulate the site speed. However, there is a downside to that. You would be managing the bandwidth, and you will have to find a way to fix your site if it crashes. This can happen if a website attracts many visitors in a short space, i.e., has a lot of traffic. In contrast, if you use a hosted platform, all of this would be the platform’s responsibility.
Added Canonical Tags
Canonical tags are used by Google to establish which section on your site is the primary content source. Once you add canonical tags to your page, you’re indicating that this piece of material is duplicate and that the original source may be found here.
But unless you don’t have supervision over your tags, you might wind up with a slew of sites that Google considers canonical, even if they aren’t actual canonicals.
With hosted e-commerce platforms, you will not have this amount of control in most cases. You may need to employ a developer, which will cost you money. If you are just starting out or own a small business, you might find that this responsibility is not for you yet. But as your business grows, your need for a more sophisticated SEO grows with it.
Robots.txt File Availability
This document informs search engines such as Google about the sites you want and do not want to be listed. Robot.txt ensures that your pages with a higher value receive more traffic.
They limit your chances of using this file for hosted platforms. There are some like BigCommerce that allow you to make those changes yourself. But, at the same time, others like Shopify limit your access.
This feature consists of a list of all the pages on your website that search engines can index. It serves as a point of reference. HTML and XML are the two kinds that are used. The HTML version is intended for web users, while the XML version is designed for search results.
You must have an up-to-date XML sitemap to submit to Google, regardless of the content you would like to hide or show on your website. You would also benefit from avoiding automatically generated XML sitemaps. It can lead to pages that are not canonical, have errors, etc.
Some e-commerce platforms have the XML sitemap already built into their design, while others use things like plugins. For example, WordPress necessitates utilizing a plugin; however, Shopify offers it as a standard feature. Simply put, because it contains all pages by default, you may change its function using a Shopify plugin.
You may have to fix your pages, including redirecting from old to new pages, adjusting the information, and addressing other issues. That’s where the batch uploading feature comes in handy. Without that feature, you will be stuck having to update every page individually. Since this can take time, your user experience and, most likely, your SEO can suffer.
Hosted platforms are not the best way to go if you want this feature. They usually require a plugin. If not, you will have to do the work manually.
You might be thinking that a plugin does not sound that bad. Well, think again. With a plugin, unintended consequences may arise. An unknown plugin can create a mess for your SEO. For example, you are trying to perform a batch upload, but instead, the plugin makes a mess of things. As a result, you will have to deal with redirect analytics and site traffic. Ensuring that your platform has a trustworthy plugin is essential in such a situation.
So, make sure that your platform offers a trustworthy plugin for batch uploading if it is a managed platform.
You can do batch uploading independently. But if you don’t have a lot of experience in this field, you should hire a developer.
Content Marketing and Blogging
This adds fresh material to your website regularly. It can let your customers know about the new content on your website while focusing on fresh keywords. Most come with features that are already built-in, making it easier for you to have features you need on one platform. But in the case that your platform does not include a blogging and marketing feature, you will need to create a blog on your site independently.
Automatically Generated and Indexed Pages
In the case of eCommerce, several extra URLs may be generated that are automatically labeled as indexes. In addition, canonical URLs are used to manage content.
For linking, Shopify uses the navigational URL to items rather than the finished product URL. On this platform, therefore, you will have automatically generated sitemaps. This means that you can’t delete pages or make your own changes. You can’t directly apply the “no index” tag for pages that you don’t want to index. Most Shopify themes do not let you put content on category pages underneath the products. Users can put materials above the goods; however, this reduces the conversion rate.
To handle these problems while using Shopify, you will need to hire a developer again. And in case you were wondering, no, there are no plugins that can take care of this problem for you, unfortunately.
This is definitely a thing to watch out for. Since it can have an effect on the performance of your search engines.
Other SEO Features to Watch Out For
- Your personal IP address
- Separate navigation links − something that each excellent e-commerce software provides
- Separate site titles and meta descriptions to manage what information appears in search results
- Separate picture ALT tags
- Separate H1 headers
- Buttons for social sharing
- Access to log files — so you can monitor when search engines analyze your site
A List of Best Ecommerce Platforms for SEO
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform that runs on WordPress. When it comes to SEO features, WordPress is the king of SEO – the entire platform is built for it. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should opt for this platform. Open-source platforms mean free, but even a free e-commerce platform costs money. Let’s explain.
The software is free, but the hosting, your own domain name, and an SSL certificate are not. So those are things you will need to invest in.
You’ll have to download and install the WooCommerce plugin when you install WordPress. Since WordPress doesn’t come with e-commerce functionality right out of the box, you will have to do that first. There is always an option to add more WordPress plugins or WooCommerce modules. As a result, you can have even more features, making your website more accessible.
Style and Usability
If you have already worked with WordPress, you’ll have no problem understanding WooCommerce. However, if you’re a newcomer to this platform, you will find that it’s not very user-friendly. Granted, it will take you some time to learn every bit of how to use it. It isn’t bad to learn more about your platform’s do’s and don’ts, but it will take time away from driving traffic to your store.
When it comes to themes and designs, you have a variety to choose from on WordPress and WooCommerce. There are so many plugins you can select what you like and dislike while building your online brand.
- You will get custom URLs.
- You can work with blogging.
- You can use robots.txt.
- You can easily edit independent titles, meta descriptions, and more on merchandise pages, category pages, and so forth
WooCommerce can be integrated with apps such as QuickBooks, Shippo, and more.
Pros of WooCommerce
- The program is entirely free to use.
- You can choose from many developers if you need any assistance.
- Strong SEO features, give you a lot of control over your online store.
- You can sell both physical products and digital items.
Cons of WooCommerce
- The plugins that don’t come with SEO features are not free. So you might end up using a lot of money for premium options.
- Other plugins from other platforms might not work for you. Therefore, you are limited to WooCommerce plugins.
- If you want quality hosting, it will be expensive.
This platform has become very popular over the years. In fact, many lists of the finest e-commerce systems include it.
BigCommerce is pricey, starting at $29 each month and up to $299 a month for the most expensive plan. All plans contain SEO tools to assist website owners.
Style and Usability
The platform is straightforward to use. If you are a beginner and not a tech-wiz, this is the perfect platform for you. It mostly takes care of everything for you, so you don’t have to stress about a thing. Plus, it looks professional.
BigCommerce offers high-quality designs with a lot of different themes to choose from. Hence, you can make your online store visually appealing while also giving your customers a fun experience while shopping.
BigCommerce offers several essential features not found on other platforms:
- Built-in 301 redirects
- Ability to edit your robots.txt files with the additional edit of your URL structure.
- The templates are all responsive, so you can easily adjust to the viewing screen.
- The templates also work with Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).
- Image optimization – helps with speed and image quality.
BigCommerce, a global leader in eCommerce, interfaces with over 100 major organizations, including Webgility, ActiveCampaign, Stripe, Avalara Tax, etc.
Pros of BigCommerce
- Many features are available even on the Base Plan.
- Sells in multiple currencies.
- Real-time shipping calculations and analytics are available and included in the plans.
- Due to its expensive plans, there are no additional fees.
Cons of BigCommerce
- Pages sometimes load slowly.
- No shipping discounts are available.
- Features are less customizable.
- The built-in blog doesn’t have an RSS feed.
Shopify provides all the tools a beginner will need to start a business.
As mentioned before, Shopify comes with a few issues regarding the SEO features. Unfortunately, it can be an uphill battle to overcome them.
Style and Usability
Shopify is made for newcomers who have little to no experience building and running an online store. However, it is straightforward to use, and you can have a professional website within a few hours with the platform’s help.
By using Shopify, you will access many custom-made themes for your online store. If you pick out a more advanced plan, you will have a lot more templates at your disposal so that you can build up your own original brand.
Shopify has a number of tools that might help e-commerce business owners. Note that not all the features are available for the basic plan. As you advance up the plans, however, many will become available. Here are some that you can use in any plan:
- Changing the page names and descriptions on every page.
- An in-built blogging tool to assist with additional keywords.
- You may use redirects to prevent people from visiting sites for items you no longer sell.
The platform integrates with 3,220+ apps ranging from retail to merchandising to financing. In addition, it works with Stocky, Oberlo, Amazon, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, and other services.
Pros of Shopify
- Several SEO elements are incorporated right out of the box.
- Shopify is fast; it loads in less than one second.
- 14-day free trial period
- You get access to a support system that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Suitable if you also have a physical store
- The right platform for dropshipping
Cons of Shopify
- There are just too many SEO difficulties to cope with. Therefore, you will need a developer who is familiar with Liquid.
- Using too many Shopify applications to obtain the functionality you want may cause problems with your site.
- You must pay app fees and manually enter everything to use them.
- Fewer customizing options
Wix is also a great website builder for beginners since you do not need any technical or coding knowledge to use the platform. In the early days, it didn’t place much focus on the SEO features of the forum. But now, it comes with a selection of features to help everyone build their perfect online store.
Even though there are much more advanced platforms out there, with additional SEO features, Wix is great for small businesses and newcomers. With plans starting at just $23 per month, this is an excellent option for those on a budget.
Style and Usability
As stated above, you don’t need any coding experience to work on this platform. It is user-friendly and straightforward to use. Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly build up your store and brand with almost no issues.
There are fewer templates to pick from, but there is something for everyone’s online store. Wix has 500 stunning website templates that you can personalize using an editor. You can use this to create an amazing-looking ecommerce platform.
Every plan includes SEO tools:
- Delivery and item tracking
- Assistance with digital items
- Abandoned cart reminder emails
- Robots.txt included
- Canonical tagging
- 301 redirects in bulk
- Image optimization feature added
- APIs for users who require a little more control
In terms of integration, Wix has you covered. Wix connects with various applications, including QuickBooks, MailChimp, and others.
Pros of Wix
- The Wix platform’s SEO is incorporated into the dashboard.
- There is no need to install extra plugins or engage a developer. There is no need for coding skills.
- You may connect your Wix website to Google Search Console and Google Analytics directly.
Cons of Wix
- You can’t switch your platform by transferring your business to another one.
- The site speed is not the best.
- There is an issue with many duplicated page tags and archives.
Squarespace was initially a hosted website with no e-commerce functionalities, but it has progressed since then. As a result, this platform introduces users not only to e-commerce functionality but also to SEO features.
Because the Personal plan does not have e-commerce services, you must pay a minimum monthly cost of $26 to obtain them. However, you may get a 30% yearly discount, bringing the standard plan fees down to $16 per month. As the plans go up on the price scale, your e-commerce features are updated and extended. To be safe, it is in your best interest to pick out a more expensive plan so that you can enjoy all the features.
Style and Usability
Squarespace is known for being an easy-to-use platform. You get what you see. For that reason, it is an excellent opportunity for beginners to dip their toes into the business world without any complications.
When it comes to design, Squarespace makes your dreams a reality. With many different templates, you have various options to choose from. There is no need to have a dull site when you can make it unique and fun.
The platform offers several SEO advantages:
- Unique URLs.
- 301 redirections
- Meta title and meta description
- Sitemap generators
- It is mobile responsive
- It has a feature for blogging.
Squarespace integrates with over 4,000 apps. That includes Pipedrive, Slack, Salesforce, and many more. It is one of the platforms that integrate with most apps, taking it to the top tier.
Pros of Squarespace
- It offers a free trial on its plans.
- It is simple to use for novices.
- Its integration with social platforms is excellent.
Cons of Squarespace
- There are just a few payment methods available (Stripe and PayPal).
- Unsuitable for SEO newcomers
- There are just a few extensions available to add functionality to your store.
- Your website cannot be translated into different languages for overseas customers.
Volusion is another hosted e-commerce platform. The pricing ranges from $29 per month to $299 per month, depending on your chosen plan. The plan you purchase determines the number of products you can host, the number of features you get, and so on. Note that you will have to pay additional fees if you go over the limited bandwidth.
Style and Usability
The main selling point for Volusion is how easy it is to use, especially for beginners. Choose your theme, add your products, and let the platform handle the rest. It is very easy to customize your website to your liking. Although it does not come with too many templates, Volusion can still deliver and make your website beautiful.
All Volusion plans include these SEO features:
- You can customize your page titles and meta descriptions.
- SEO features include sitemaps and custom URLs.
- In addition, you will have access to Robots.txt files.
Volusion works with all major payment channels – PayPal, Stripe, and so on – and takes all card payments.
Pros of Volusion
- Free 14-day trial for the plans
- SEO tools are available on all plans.
- No transaction fees are required.
- Dedicated secure checkout included
- Guides and customer support for all users
Cons of Volusion
- There is no built-in blog feature. If you want a blog, you’ll have to install it separately.
- There are sale limits, making it harder for you to expand.
- It takes a bit of time to load the pages.
Magento is well-known as a self-hosted, open-source e-commerce platform handling more than $100 billion in gross volume every year. It’s now part of the Adobe product suite and powers many businesses.
Style and Usability
Although it is a very popular platform, it is not very user-friendly. However, it is very flexible since it is a self-hosted platform. But as a beginner, you will have a hard time figuring out every technical detail, so you might need to hire help if you are looking to launch your business using this platform.
Much like WooCommerce, Magento uses plugins as additional features to make your web store more accessible and assist you with your every need.
If you want to make sure your Magento store is SEO-friendly, you’ll need to install an extension.
Magento integrates with 30+ other platforms and apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and so on.
Pros of Magento
- It is totally free to use.
- Comes with lots of developers’ help.
- Will grow with you as your business expands.
Cons of Magento
- Hard to use. It takes time to learn how to create an online store.
- Some technical knowledge is required.
- Quality hosting can be expensive.
How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for Seo?
What Are Your Main Business Requirements?
SEO is essential, but it is not the only factor to consider when launching or developing your e-commerce platforms. Because SEO is simply a piece of your whole business plan, it should only be a fraction of your final choice. Make sure that the platform of your choice handles:
- Order fulfillment
- Inventory management
- Customer support
Think about the overall functionality you need from your e-commerce platform before deciding.
How Much Authority Do You Require?
We’ve previously discussed how much control you’ll need to manage things like tags, bulk uploads, etc.
As a beginner in the online business world, building your website may be too much responsibility to handle. Moreover, if you are on a budget and you can’t afford to pay for hired help, you should consider a platform that comes with SEO features already intact.
However, understanding how to operate SEO features-hosted platforms will take time and patience. Therefore, you’re better off using a more advanced platform because you will have more control.
What Is the Current State of Your Website Infrastructure?
If you are operating with a developer that helps you with bad plugins, you might opt for a more self-hosted platform that gives you all the control.
If you don’t want to hire a developer, choosing a self-hosted e-commerce platform is not something you should be doing. This platform can compensate for a shortage of developers who can help you make your website to your liking.
Your SEO Strategy
Depending on your priorities, you might not want to get into online marketing. If you aren’t sure about implementing a solid content marketing strategy, Shopify’s built-in blogging services are an excellent place to start. If your current SEO features start boring you, there’s always the possibility of changing or moving to another e-commerce platform later.
If we are already talking about migrating to another platform, you should be aware of the challenges it comes with. Your SEO, the store’s traffic, and sales may suffer as you make the transition. That’s why it is in your best interest to choose a platform that ticks every box in your list of requirements.
It is essential to keep all things balanced. For example, you wouldn’t want to spend more on your startup and not make enough profit to cover the cost. Also, you wouldn’t want to start out too small either, as it might take a lot more time to grow your business. Ideally, you want an e-commerce platform built for growth to support you as you scale.
The ecommerce platforms mentioned in our article all claim to be the best. And in many ways, they are all the best for certain types of ecommerce businesses. But what works for some business owners might not work for another. And that’s okay. What matters is that you choose the best ecommerce platform for your business.
We suggest taking a few platforms from our list. Try them out on their own domain with the free trials that most offer, or just download everything necessary. Be sure to research everything thoroughly before diving into a new business opportunity.