An eCommerce platform is a software technology which enables you to build an online store and manage a business online.
Securing the top ranking in Google search results is the ultimate goal of all eCommerce business owners. This not only helps them to gain a huge number of customers but also increases their profit margins.
We are in an era whereby websites are competing among themselves for a better rank. It is estimated that there are over 12-24 million eCommerce stores around the globe.
This might sound like a huge number, but in reality, only 650,000 stores are making more than $1,000 a year.
Types of eCommerce Website Platforms
Choosing the right type of eCommerce platform is dependent on your requirements.
Before choosing one, think about your marketing goals and what exactly you want from the software.
Say, for example, if you are an artist who likes to see your products online, a template platform would work best for you. This type of platform also works best, if you have a finite number of products to sell.
On the other hand, if you are planning to sell different categories of products, opting for a customized eCommerce solution will work perfectly.
For huge online stores, an enterprise-level shopping cart platform is required for enterprise-level operation in addition to other integrations (ERP, CRM, etc.)
Templated platforms restrict you from making large scale changes while you enjoy greater flexibility with custom eCommerce solutions.
You can choose between eCommerce solutions that are open-sourced or hosted ones.
Open-Source VS Hosted Platform
The following features are attributed to each category of eCommerce platforms:
- Hosting needs to be set up.
- You are required to pay for hosting.
- Gives you full ownership.
- You can take your store anywhere, change to a different hosting, without any restrictions.
- Not required to set up hosting.
- No need to pay for hosting but may need to pay a monthly fee to use the platform.
- Does not give you ownership. You are subjected to the platform’s terms and conditions and can be banned and terminated, potentially losing everything.
- You can’t take your store and move it to a different platform. You are essentially locked with the platform for life unless you rebuild from scratch on another platform.
Open-Source Shopping Platforms:
- WooCommerce (WordPress)
Hosted Shopping Platforms:
What are the benefits of integrating SEO in an eCommerce platform?
We know that integrating SEO in an eCommerce platform brings many benefits. Let us examine some of the advantages.
1. Guarantees a better rank in search results
For any online store, a top listing on Google searches is a vital key to success. eCommerce without SEO is like opening your shop at midnight and in the middle of nowhere.
Presently, online competition is so tight that nobody will bother to scroll to the bottom of search results.
Research has indicated that about 31 per cent of the users click on first rank holders. The number of clicks decreases as we move down the page.
Implementing SEO tactics helps your site to gain a higher rank and attract more customers.
2. More web traffic
With an SEO optimized eStore, you may find more and more traffic coming to your online store. This will lead to more conversions and boost sales within a short period.
3. Better Scores
The search engine algorithms are aligned in a way to scan your ads on the main page whilst making sure that the ads are relevant to the page content.
This ensures a higher quality score and better rank in search results, thereby increasing your credibility.
Criteria to consider in an eCommerce platform
The following are some of the factors that are assessed when ranking software in terms of SEO:
- Dynamic Meta Tags
- XML Sitemap
- Article / Blog Capability
- Custom & Clean URL Structure
- Site Speed
- Ratings / Reviews
- FTP / Code Access
- Customized / Independent Navigation Links
- Customized / Independent Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
Top e-commerce platforms that support SEO
Originally developed as a plugin for WordPress, this platform gives you all the features which are vital for an online store. WooCommerce is an excellent option since the entire platform is custom-designed to support advanced levels of SEO.
The platform is fully enriched with lots of plugins and customizable options. Not to mention the support of a large and experienced community that is ready to lend a helping hand when you run into trouble.
WooCommerce has almost all the features necessary for SEO, such as robots.txt editing, in-built blogging feature, URL canonicalization, built-in 301 redirects.
With numerous plugins there to assist the user, you can do almost everything imaginable for SEO.
- Completely FREE and open source.
- Comes with a large number of plugins.
- You have full control of your content and store.
- 100% Customisation – You can add any features you would like to have.
- Supports canonicalization of URLs, 301 redirects, and almost everything for SEO.
- Large Woocommerce Community – You will find abundant documentation, articles and informative guides.
- More difficult to set up as it’s more technical.
- You need to pay/download the extension to use the primary feature.
- The user should be good at WordPress.
- On-going maintenance is the responsibility of the store owner.
When compared to the popular eCommerce platforms out there, one of the most attractive features of Shopify is that it is simple, easy to use and affordable.
Studies have proven that site loading speed is one of the significant factors which determines the search engine ranking. This is also highly beneficial when it comes to improving the user experience.
The built-in blogging feature will act as an additional advantage which many of the popular platforms lack.
Further, it is very easy to implement “Google Analytics eCommerce tracking” in Shopify. This helps the owner to gain valuable insights regarding customer behavior and demand for products, thereby assisting in making better decisions in running the business.
- Excellent loading time
- Relatively easy to set up
- Works great when integrated with Google Analytics
- Simple and easy to use
- Multiple customizable features
- Required to pay a monthly fee
- No option for the user to edit the robot.txt files directly. This is important as it allows you to inform the search bots regarding the pages that shouldn’t be indexed in the search results.
- Rigid URL structure.
- A lot of plugins require additional payment.
- HTML site map requires additional payment.
The main advantage of Magento for eCommerce business owners is that it is an open-source and a powerful platform which enables customization to any extent.
That said, Magento does require programming skills to implement and integrate into your eCommerce store. For business owners, you might need to consider hiring a developer before choosing this.
However, this platform is so flexible that it enables you to customize the features which are not possible in others platforms.
- Allows SEO modifications from the back end. This includes title tags and meta description.
- Option to edit the Robot.txt file.
- A robust platform that has everything you need
- AMP needs to be enabled for higher loading speed.
- Requires excellent coding skills for customization.
- Clearing the page cache after changes can be clumsy.
- Requires technical assistance to make it SEO friendly.
Weebly has a simple and straightforward approach to the development of eCommerce stores. If you are a store owner who is planning to offer services online, this could be an ideal choice.
Weebly comes with cheap and flexible pricing options that are attractive to the eCommerce merchant starting on a minimal budget.
There are built-in SEO features for beginners. However, this is not really sufficient for huge online stores
- Flexible and user friendly.
- Has an extensive guide to help you with SEO.
- Features are quite basic for an initial start.
- Not good for advanced SEO.
- Don’t support advanced features.
This is an excellent choice for beginners who require a simple drag and drop eCommerce platform. However, for implementing features like advanced SEO, using this might not be a good idea.
The recent update of Wix has fixed many of the past flaws, and it remains a refreshing choice for most of the SEO needs. Perfect fit for small businesses, blogs and personal websites.
Wix lacks several essential features like customization of product URLs, meta descriptions and Canonical URLs. Further, page indexing is comparatively slow.
- Comes with several free themes.
- Several past issues have been fixed.
- Extremely user friendly.
- Great customer support.
- Slow indexing.
- Supports only limited customization.
- No URL canonicalization.
- Site architecture is far from AMP standards.
- Additional plugins are not available.
- It is challenging to implement advanced level SEO.
When it comes to choosing an eCommerce platform that is easy to use with relatively simple features, this is a fantastic option.
Squarespace is a popular choice for designers, photographers and artists who want their displays to be presented in an exquisite manner.
Thanks to its simple setup and integration option, millions of users use this worldwide.
However, if you are someone who is looking for more control at the back end, Squarespace might not be sustainable long term.
- Excellent in design and with easy to implement HTML elements.
- Provides back-end modification for features such as FTP.
- Supports basic functions such as Robots.txt and XML sitemap.
- An automatic HTML sitemap is not possible.
- Not friendly for beginners.
- Frequent indexing errors.
BigCommerce is one of the robust platforms to choose if you are planning to open your online store.
It’s simple, and straightforward SEO features earned it a place1 among the top platforms.
The entire design is custom-tailored to meet burdensome enterprise requirements, and you need to hire a developer to customize your online shop. It is somewhat similar to Shopify and Squarespace, but less complex than Magento or PrestaShop.
This platform has several SEO friendly features such as mobile-friendly design, built-in 301 redirects, access to HTML and CSS code, and SEO friendly URLs.
Here, you can directly edit robots.txt files which many of the other eCommerce platforms don’t allow.
One notable drawback of BigCommerce is that at times, the website loading speed can be deficient. However, it does support AMP pages.
- Allows you to edit Robot.txt
- Easy to customize
- Supports AMP pages
- Great community support
- Loading speed is slow.
- The PHP site map is not good.
This platform resembles Shopify in many of its features. The design and integration is quite simple and easy to understand which makes it is ideal for newcomers in the eCommerce industry to design and develop their very first online shop.
Although several SEO options are present, all have to be set up manually, and there are no tools available to ease the process.
- Great functionality after SEO configuration.
- With global SEO configuration, any change is reflected in all the pages.
- Additional plugins cost more.
Ghost has several functionalities similar to that of WordPress, and if you are a WordPress user, you are sure to like this platform.
This comes with basic features, but is fully customizable as per the requirements.
One additional advantage of Ghost is that it comes with numerous plugins and saves the cost of hiring a developer.
This platform is fairly easy to use so beginners can try to start with this.
- Metadata editors are right inside the editor.
- Native AMP integration.
- Third-party plugins are not allowed.
- HTML Sitemap.
- Blogging is allowed only if the user chooses a more extensive release option.
10. Open Cart
This platform is designed from PHP, which uses MySQL to store the data. Open Cart is an open-source platform that comes with a variety of beautiful designs and themes.
A user-friendly dashboard helps to manage the published and unpublished content.
The inbuilt SEO tool is potent enough to ensure a good site ranking even when used by beginners.
- Mobile friendly.
- Commercial level SEO plugins.
- Independent field for SEO elements.
- Comes with fundamental features.
- Not suitable for large businesses.
- No caching is available.
Volusion is another well-designed platform, which is easy to use when compared to sophisticated platforms such as Magento.
The SEO functionality is quite good and comes at a reasonable cost. However, it lacks several features when compared to popular platforms such as Shopify.
Lack of built-in blog features is one of the main disadvantages of Volusion. Blogs are necessary as it helps to gain massive traffic resulting in better conversions.
- Great for SEO support.
- Easy to implement and use.
- Loading speed is slow.
- In-built blogging feature is absent.
With millions of online stores out on the web, choosing an platform with great SEO functionality is very important for success in business.
An ideal software should not just help to gain more traffic but also help the brand owners to increase sales and get more ROI. Needless to say, platforms like Woocommerce that support advanced level SEO and have multiple customizable features make it an ideal choice for eCommerce brands.
Need help to drive those valuable organic search traffic to your eCommerce website? Ask us for a free audit check your website now!