Setting up an e-commerce store is super easy these days, but choosing a platform that fits your SEO needs is where you’ll find the real challenge.
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There’s a lot of money to be made in e-commerce, and the barriers to entry are very low.
That’s why competition is pretty intense in this area. All it takes is a laptop and an internet connection, and almost anyone can set up a store in minutes and compete directly with others from all over the world.
With so much competition from the start, how can an e-commerce business stand out and get buyers’ attention?
Well, one of the most important ways to gain an edge is by choosing an e-commerce platform that’s well-suited for Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
That will go a long way towards making sure that the right buyers can find your e-commerce store easily through search engines.
As you know, there are already countless e-commerce platforms available today. Sadly, not all of them will serve you well if you’re trying to prioritize the SEO of your e-commerce store.
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So, in this article, we’re going to take a deep-dive into this topic to help you figure out the best options for your needs.
First, we’ll get on the same page about why SEO matters for e-commerce in the first place. Then, we’ll look at five of the best e-commerce platforms for SEO, along with their pros and cons.
Let’s get started.
Before we continue, it’s essential to understand why SEO matters to your e-commerce store in the first place. SEO will help your e-commerce store in three ways: So the correct customers can find your store, to grow your profits cost-effectively, and to do it all in a long-lasting way.
So The Correct Customers Can Find Your Store
For e-commerce stores, not all traffic is the same. You don’t just want people to look at what you have to offer, but you want to attract customers who are more likely to make a purchase and keep coming back for more.
By optimizing your store for search engines, customers looking for your products will find your store much easier.
That will lead to higher-quality traffic for you and possibly a higher conversion rate.
There’s a famous saying that you have to spend money to make money. That’s undoubtedly true, especially when it comes to running an e-commerce store.
E-commerce store owners can spend money in many different ways to increase their bottom-line, though not all methods are necessarily useful.
Investing in SEO, however, is quite promising. Plus, it’s straightforward to track its effectiveness and make adjustments, especially with metrics like site visits and sales numbers.
To Do It All In A Long-lasting Way
Unlike other areas of an e-commerce business, SEO is one that lasts for a long time. It’s not something that expires in any way, so you don’t have to renew or update it.
Instead, continued optimizations will build on whatever SEO success your store already enjoys.
The Best E-Commerce Platforms for SEO
Now that we’re clear on why SEO matters to your e-commerce store, let’s look at five of the best platforms that can help you make the most of it. For this list, we’ll look at Shopify, Squarespace, WooCommerce, Magento, and Volusion.
Shopify is probably one of the most popular e-commerce platforms out there today, and for good reasons. The platform is straightforward to use, allowing beginners to build their stores without facing a steep learning curve quickly.
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But don’t let that ease-of-use fool you. The platform is chock-full of useful functionality that can meet even some of the world’s largest brands’ needs.
In particular, when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, Shopify offers blogging and the ability to integrate Google Analytics into your store, both of which are crucial SEO features for any e-commerce store.
Blogging helps with SEO because it allows stores to put up tailored content to attract the store’s target customers.
With Google Analytics, on the other hand, store owners can then track and monitor incoming traffic with a high degree of accuracy to see if their SEO is effective or not.
As mentioned before, Shopify stands above many other platforms because it’s both easy to use and powerful enough for expert users.
When it comes to SEO in particular, the blogging feature and Google Analytics integration are both crucial.
Beyond that, Shopify also offers an extensive library of plugins, many of which simplify the SEO management process even further.
There are a couple of drawbacks, though. For one, Shopify doesn’t allow you to change the URL of your store.
From an SEO perspective, that could be a drawback if you ever need to update your custom URL to better-optimize your store for search engines.
On a more technical note, Shopify also makes it so that you can’t edit your store’s robot.txt file.
If you’re not aware, the robot.txt file acts as a guide to search engines to know which pages to crawl, and more advanced SEO strategies involve editing that file.
Squarespace is another popular option for e-commerce stores. This platform is somewhat like the previous one because it’s easy enough for first-timers to use, while also offering plenty of functionality for more experienced store builders.
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Many users love the broad offering of templates that you can use to set up your store even quicker without having to worry about the design aspects of it just yet.
There are two qualities of Squarespace that make it great for e-commerce stores from an SEO perspective. Firstly, the blogging feature is seamless and very easy to use. Besides that, the sites you build on Squarespace are highly-responsive for mobile users.
As mentioned before, blogging is an essential feature to have if you want to optimize your store for search engines. With a blog section, you’ll be able to write content using the ideal keywords to attract your target buyers.
But why does mobile responsiveness matter?
Well, that’s because a significant amount of traffic to your site will come from tablets and smartphones, not just people behind laptops or PCs.
If your e-commerce looks fantastic to a user even when browsing on the smaller screen of a smartphone, they’ll be more comfortable making a purchase.
Squarespace does have some limitations, especially for larger e-commerce stores.
Firstly, there aren’t many plugins that you can use to improve the SEO of your e-commerce store. Plus, Squarespace might not be the best option if you plan on building a vast store.
The reason for that is simple. Larger stores listing more products will need a level of organization that Squarespace can’t provide.
Plus, the platform also lacks the option of building your store in different languages to cater to buyers from other world regions.
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WooCommerce is an incredibly versatile plugin that helps you transform your WordPress site into a Search Engine Optimized online store.
So, if you already have some experience in using WordPress, adopting WooCommerce shouldn’t be a problem at all.
For starters, WooCommerce offers blogging capabilities and makes your store very mobile-friendly.
Beyond that, you also have features that are missing from some of the platforms mentioned earlier. For instance, you can also customize your URL to make it easier for search engines to find your site.
Editing the robot.txt file is also a breeze.
Still, with all that functionality and customization does come at a price. If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, you’re going to face a very steep learning curve that first-timers may find overwhelming.
Remember: WooCommerce puts all the power in your hands. So, if you’ve got the knowledge and experience to optimize your e-commerce store for search engines, you’re going to be able to do a lot of great things.
On the other hand, new users may have to work hard to handle things before achieving the same results.
Next on this list is Magento, an e-commerce platform that’s probably better suited for larger businesses than smaller, independent sellers.
Still, it earns a spot on this list because it offers the two things that an online business needs: it’s built with SEO as one of its primary strengths, and there’s an incredibly high degree of customizability that comes with it.
For those reasons (plus a much higher price tag than other platforms), Magento is the preferred e-commerce platform for much larger brands that want to operate their e-commerce store.
Still, let’s dive a little deeper into the pros and cons of this platform.
As mentioned before, Magento is engineered for SEO and offers plenty of customizability.
One of the most notable qualities of this platform is that it’s open-source, which means that a company can adapt it to fit whatever need they may have.
In simpler terms, Magento offers so much freedom that an e-commerce store can look and function in whatever way the company wants it to.
Being fully-customizable also means that companies can optimize their online store’s every tiny aspect to rank better on search engines. We’re talking about more technical aspects of SEO that go far beyond editing the robot.txt file or editing page URLs!
In other words, if the e-commerce store was a car, Magento allows users to take the engine apart and rebuild it in any way they want to.
As we’ve seen earlier on this list with platforms like WooCommerce, the more customizable a platform is, the higher the technical knowledge required to make the most of it. Magento is another perfect example of that reality.
Being open-sourced and fully-customizable, users must have the necessary coding knowledge and experience to make the most of the platform. Unless you can do that yourself, you’re going to need to hire employees with the right skill sets.
Besides that, as mentioned earlier, Magento has a much more expensive price tag than any other platform on this list. It’s suited for larger companies and not smaller businesses wanting to set up an online store.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at another user-friendly option called Volusion.
Of all the platforms we’ve covered so far, this is probably the best one for first-timers and amateurs who are still gaining first-hand knowledge about building e-commerce sites with SEO.
Using the platform is affordable, and it comes with plenty of great benefits.
At first glance, the only downside to this platform is that it’s biased towards those who are new to e-commerce so that the platform might be less suited for larger businesses and more experienced users.
The first user-friendly pro that we must highlight is that Volusion will walk you through the entire process with its tutorials.
That’s right! This platform has educational material that will help you throughout your journey of building an online store and optimizing it for search engines.
Beyond that, it has the SEO functionality that you’ll expect. You can customize your URLs and even your 301 redirects if you have that as part of your SEO strategy.
Besides being unsuitable for larger businesses or expert users, Volusion is also missing a blogging function. Perhaps that’s a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, you won’t have to worry about blogging yet if you’re still new to SEO. However, that might limit your SEO abilities if you want to include content blogging as part of your overall e-commerce strategy.