How good is Bigcommerce for SEO?
Out of the box, BigCommerce’s SEO capabilities aren’t bad. Much like Magento, they built this platform with best practices in mind, so you can be reliably sure you aren’t setting yourself back by choosing this option.
For me, SEO functionality is actually one of the best things about Bigcommerce. Search engines look out for ‘signals’ when working out where to rank websites, and it’s very straightforward to ensure that the key ones are present on a Bigcommerce store:
- Security: Site-wide SSL is included with each Bigcommerce plan.
- Clean URLS: Bigcommerce URLs are highly customizable - it’s easy to structure them in a search-friendly way.
- Site speed: Akamai Image Manager — an automated image optimizer which helps your site load faster — is available on some Bigcommerce templates (the ‘Stencil’ range).
- Mobile friendliness: All Bigcommerce templates are responsive, and what’s more, many support AMP format for both products and pages out of the box (AMP stands for ‘accelerated mobile pages’ — it’s a Google supported format which, as the name suggests, helps your site load more quickly).
- On Page-SEO: Bigcommerce makes it very easy to change page titles, meta data and headings — elements that search engines consider when categorising your site for search results.
I’d go so far to say that, amongst the key online store building products — Shopify, Volusion, Bigcommerce, Wix and Squarespace — Bigcommerce is possibly a class leader in the SEO department. This is because the other products mentioned either don’t facilitate all of the above out of the box — or don’t facilitate it quite as well as Bigcommerce does.
Even so, you will need to do a bit of work to ensure your Bigcommerce site is performing as well as possible in search results. Let’s take a look at the key things you need to do — you can try these out yourself on an existing Bigcommerce store, or, if you’ve yet to set up a Bigcommerce store, by using a free trial.
Tip #1: Prioritize Keyword Research
For BigCommerce, and for anyone trying to rank on a search engine results page, SEO starts with good keyword research.
Keywords are the basic building block for your SEO. If you’re able to optimize a page for words that potential customers search for, then you raise the chances that they’ll find your site.
One of the best starting places is the free Adwords Keyword Planner from Google. By inserting keywords that are relevant to your product or brand, you can find high-volume keyword suggestions that are more likely to bring in traffic.
Tip #2: Perfect Your On-Page SEO
Some of the biggest points in BigCommerce’s favor are the native tools on their platform that help you fine-tune your on-page SEO. Many platforms force you to maneuver around baked-in settings that you can’t change, but that isn’t the case with BigCommerce.
BigCommerce makes this simple with dedicated SEO fields that allow you to fill in your metadata for each page. Instead of having to edit HTML, all you have to do is add a meta description, keywords, and title (all on-page SEO elements).
Aside from creating quality content, this is a one-stop solution that will help you cover the basics of your on-page SEO. You’ll need to do this for each page on your site, but the effort will be worth the payoff in traffic and revenue.
Tip #3: Optimize Your Site for Mobile
As I mentioned in the assessment of BigCommerce’s SEO capabilities, Google has transitioned to a mobile-first indexing. What that means is that your mobile site is going to have a bigger impact on your SEO than the desktop version.
So you can see how essential it is to optimize the design of your site for mobile use.
The best way to do this for BigCommerce is to use a theme that automatically makes your site responsive to mobile devices. That means instead of zoomed-out, hard to use pages, you have a scrollable and tappable page.
One option for this is to use BigCommerce’s default mobile theme, which will automatically make a responsive version of your site. However, if your desktop theme isn’t responsive, there could be issues when BigCommerce makes the transition for you.
A better option would be to use a theme that supports mobile responsiveness from the start. The Stencil Theme Platform comes highly recommended for this, and even has some features that will help with other SEO elements for your store. You can also check out the theme store to find other options that may suit your overall branding better.