Checklist of the Best SEO Services for E-commerce
In the last article – The Definitive Guide to E-commerce SEO, we figured out how to improve e-commerce SEO in search engines. However, site customization efforts will not help if you host your store on the wrong platform. Let’s take a closer look at what options are offered by different marketplaces, what difficulties may arise when placing on them, and which platform will help your site reach the TOP faster.
Even a beginner can create a simple informational website or blog. WordPress, GoDaddy, and other classic website builders have a clean interface and allow you to implement basic (often free) functionality that your visitors might want. Unfortunately, this is not suitable for e-commerce sites.
A more complex and detailed architecture is needed to host a product catalog. It is crucial to take care of the convenience of the interface for buyers: additional tabs with descriptions, specifications, reviews, visual blocks for each product. Do not forget about connecting different payment systems, a database of goods and customers, internal accounting, coordination with transport services. Achieve high-quality results based on simple CMS.
The good news is that the choice of platforms for creating online stores is quite vast. They have extensive functionality and allow you to connect additional services for doing business and promoting in search engines.
Customizing your online store to your needs is more than adding products, content, and contact information. First of all, you need to automate all services. Thus, you can process orders more quickly, provide 24/7 support, and always be close to customers thanks to mobile applications.
Anything that makes the interface of a website more user-friendly and provides a positive user experience is beneficial to SEO. However, to fully optimize the site, more effort is required: analyzing various metrics, working with additional tools, and on-page SEO elements. It is much more convenient if they are all collected in one place.
Top-10 Popular E-commerce SEO Services
Most platforms for online stores have the ability to help you rank in search engines. At the same time, each has its own pros and cons. Let’s figure out what to look for when choosing the best e-commerce platform for SEO. Build on the scale and needs of the store: the number of products in the catalog, target audience, geography, marketing campaign features. When choosing software, it is worth considering not only your web developer skills but also the functionality of the service, download speed, and compatibility with payment systems.
If you are just starting to develop a business on the Internet, we recommend considering Shopify. The platform is very easy to use and launch a store. To start a store and do white SEO for e-commerce, see the Shopify SEO 2020 article.
One of the main factors that affects Google ranking is page loading speed. Also, the speed of the site affects the user experience. Two seconds is the optimal loading time for the first screen, according to Google. The longer users wait, the higher the bounce rate. BBS conducted a study and noticed that every additional second of a site’s loading results in a loss of 10% of users.
In Shopify, it’s easy to set up Google Analytics and track data about user behavior on the site. The built-in blogging feature allows you to post articles that are useful to readers on the platform, which will bring additional traffic. Trying to make your content as authoritative as possible so that other sites want to link to it is one of the most effective white hat onsite SEO for Shopify e-commerce site tactics. You can also set up a mailing list and use it to increase customer loyalty.
Despite being simple and straightforward for newbies, Shopify has its drawbacks. Some essential features for e-commerce SEO are missing here. For example, there is no way to edit robots.txt files. Because of this, you will not be able to tell Google which pages are not indexed in the search engine. Changing the text of the URL and adding specific keywords to Shopify will also fail because the platform has a rigid URL structure.
However, you can integrate almost any application that you may need for online sales. You can sell products from the Shopify store on Amazon, choose between 70 payment systems, and even do without obtaining an SSL certificate – the settings allow you to position the site as a part of Shopify hosting.
Shopify allows you to test the service for free for 14 days. After that, a fixed amount will be deducted for each transaction. If you want to customize additional features or design themes, you will have to pay separately for that from $ 29 to $ 299 monthly.
If you worked with WordPress in the past, take a look at WooCommerce. The platform is one of the best for e-commerce SEO and provides all of the necessary functions for the development of the store. You can download and install WooCommerce for free. By default, the plugin connects to PayPal and Stripe. In the settings you will find almost everything you need. It features support for canonicalization of URLs, built-in functionality for the blog, 301 redirects, and the ability to edit robots.txt. The platform has excellent mobile optimization as well. Using extension libraries, you can add discounts and coupons to the site.
The fact that the platform works on WordPress is a huge plus. By choosing WooCommerce, you get an experienced community. Thanks to this, it will be easier to find a solution if a problem is ever to arise.
WordPress provides unlimited options for customizing and using plugins. This can be a plus for users who are already familiar with the platform, and a negative point for those who will be using WordPress for the first time. It can be difficult for beginners to get used to the platform.
The problem with the platform is not the settings – the YouTube guides can help even beginners to figure it out. As the store develops, scalability issues can arise. A large number of goods can slow down the system.
The main features of WooCommerce are free. You only have to pay for certain extensions – they are usually quite expensive, but you can probably do without them.
Drupal is a popular platform for creating online stores, and it is one of the main competitors of WordPress. It is used even by such authoritative sites as the White House, NASA, The Economist, Pinterest, etc. In the context of e-commerce, it is interesting in that it provides an almost exhaustive set of rudimentary functions and additional tools: a shopping cart, checkout, product management, and sending orders, as well as fine-tuning content.
Like WordPress, Drupal also has a huge user community and quality support. You will always be able to resolve issues quickly that may arise when creating a site. It is an open-source system – you can download it for free and then use it for your specific e-commerce needs: design an online store, manage online business processes, post a wide range of products, sell and ship your products.
Free installation of the platform does not mean that you can save money on maintaining your online store. The platform was developed for professionals, so beginners may face difficulties and may have to hire an expert to help deal with the intricacies of Drupal. Platform representatives are also ready to provide their services on a paid basis. Depending on the tasks set, official support will cost from $3 to $580 per month. Many integrated apps from Stripe to Authorize.Net will have to be paid separately.
BigCommerce is often chosen by large enterprises for their ease of use and optimization settings. This does not mean the platform will not work for you if your store is small. From the point of SEO e-commerce, BigCommerce is a great solution for all directions and niches. The platform adapts well to mobile devices, supports AMP pages, has 301 redirects, and has the ability to edit robots.txt. BigCommerce also provides access to CSS and HTML.
You can set up multiple sales channels. For example, offering products at the same time through Facebook and Amazon – with BigCommerce, sales will be collected in one place, and it will be easier to process them.
Another plus is that BigCommerce operates on a SaaS model. Backend security is of great importance here. Server problems that can lead to a site malfunction are promptly eliminated.
The platform offers the most favorable conditions for sellers – you do not need to pay transaction fees. There is no limit to the number of store employee accounts, no matter what tariff plan you choose. Personal settings, however, are not cheap. Premium templates cost about $170, although you can choose a plan for any budget (from $29.95 to $249.95 per month). You can test BigCommerce features for free for 15 days
The disadvantage of the platform is the low speed of loading pages on the site.
Prestashop is a simple platform for small business beginners. In many ways, Prestashop overlaps with Shopify and it also lacks some important features for optimization. This should not cause any problems since plugins can be added to the platform to expand optimization opportunities,
customization of advertising, social analytics, and cross-selling. You can also integrate various payment gateways, accounting systems, establish direct interaction with courier services, warehouses, ERP.
PrestaShop is open source and cloud storage. Accordingly, its use is free. In this case, you will have to pay separately for hosting, SSL certificate, and additional extensions. Also, knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP (or someone with programming skills) will be required.
The service is already supported by the fact that such large companies as Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Cisco trust it. You can edit almost anything in Magento. But to use Magento in your business, you need coding experience. The platform is open source and requires large investments, so if coding is not one of your strong skills, you will have to hire a professional to help you develop.
There is also a positive point; a large community has formed around Magento. The developers will willingly tell you how to implement this or that idea. Also, you can use ready-made solutions: themes and extensions to increase functionality.
Most of the platform’s options are free: the ability to scale SEO, individual content settings for each user, write off recurring payments, connect promotions, and discounts. That being said, licensed tools for a large e-commerce SEO company can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The amount may seem overwhelming for small and medium businesses; however, large corporations are willing to pay for high speed, thoughtful business process automation, customized cross-selling, and triggered email campaigns.
If you discard the nuance with the need to configure through code, Magento is a very powerful platform for optimization. It offers functionality that is not available on other simpler platforms.
If you have coding experience or are ready to invest in an experienced developer, Magento will do everything you need.
The Volusion platform is easy to use and good in terms of optimization. It is more complicated than Shopify but simpler than Magento. It can be said that this platform maintains the perfect balance between the ease of development and a huge number of SEO features.
Among the clients of the service are sites Intel, 3M, and Slickwraps.
A distinctive feature of the platform is the expanded toolbar. It includes a lot of useful materials for website development and supports almost all SEO functionality – no additional themes, plugins, or other add-ons are required. You can set up sales on Amazon and eBay, as well as on social networks Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. You can process orders directly in the iOS and Android app on your phone.
You can also track the actions of customers during the checkout process, learn more about customers who abandoned a purchase at the shopping cart stage. To reduce the bounce rate, you can create a mailing list and motivate visitors with discounts or other promotional offers. Implement a unique reward system, gift certificates, coupons, and other marketing tricks to attract more customers.
However, there is one big drawback. There is no blogging feature, which is the main way to get traffic. When choosing Volusion as an e-commerce SEO platform, you should immediately consider that you will have to look for a way to add your blog outside of the core Volusion features.
Wix is perfect for beginners in e-commerce. The platform is easy to use and has the majority of functions necessary for promotion.
There is excellent phone support, more than 500 beautiful templates generated by AI – answer a few leading questions, and the system will select the most suitable design. If desired, you can add the effects of disclosure, approach, manifestation, parallax to the site. All technical solutions are implemented based on Corvid – an open platform with serverless data processing. Wix websites look great both on the desktop, the same on your smartphone. You can use free hosting, connect social media accounts, and use basic e-commerce SEO services.
At the same time, Wix is largely behind its competitors. URLs cannot be configured on the platform. This slows down page indexing.
At the same time, tariff plans are quite affordable – from the free version to $47.
A good choice for beginners. Keep in mind that at some point, platform restrictions may force you to move your e-commerce store to another platform.
This is another platform that beginners can easily figure out. Most of the functions necessary for optimization are built into the platform, and it has a detailed user manual. At the same time, Weebly is not the best option for powerful SEO.
Its simplicity is similar to Wix and it’s a good platform to start with it. However, when expanding the e-commerce business, there will be a desire to expand the functionality of the platform that is used for the store.
Weebly offers three pricing plans. The basic package does not include a custom cart, coupons, and inventory management. Also, you will not be able to sell software, and there is a limit of 25 items for physical goods with a 3% transaction fee. Therefore, for e-commerce, it is better to focus on the Business or Performance plans right away.
You can try Squarespace if you do not need too complex functionality. The platform offers elegant ready-made templates with the ability to customize the design to your liking. Like Weebly, Squarespace’s visual editor is drag-and-drop, but it is harder for newbies to get used to.
After designing your website, you will have access to all the necessary marketing functions, directory settings, social media, analytics, and SEO for e-commerce. Squarespace can be integrated with ShipStation and allows you to install Pritunl and ShipBob apps. You can also configure the calculation of time and cost of delivery from major suppliers (UPS, FedEx, USPS).
The weak link is the limited number of payment systems; you only have Stripe and Paypal at your disposal. Also, Problems may arise with the connection of third-party applications.
To start selling, you need to connect a Business plan – if billed annually, it will cost $18 per month. In this case, be prepared that you will have to pay 3% for each transaction. With plans for $26 or $40, you can avoid recurring fees. At the same time, the latter opens the options for automatically restoring an abandoned cart, setting up flexible discounts, selling subscriptions and gift cards.
What Should the Site of an Online Store Be
We have previously emphasized the importance of horizontal site architecture. Product pages should be no more than three clicks from the main page of the site. It emphasizes the importance of content for crawlers – anything beyond the four nesting levels is ranked worse. Also, the fewer actions users need to take to find the desired product, the more likely a successful transaction is.
For 61% of US shoppers, the convenience of navigating an online store is the main criterion in shaping the user experience. Make the logic for placing products in categories intuitive, take care of a convenient menu, arrange bread crumbs, relink between pages, implement the option of similar or bought together products.
Add Ratings and Reviews
The same study shows that users pay particular attention to product ratings and user reviews. As compelling as the ad is, people trust the opinions of real users more. Allow shoppers to share their shopping and service experiences in your store.
It is good if the user rating of the product is displayed immediately in the SERP. To implement this option, use the Schema structured data markup.
Attract Customers With Promotional Offers
Implement your marketing strategy even before your site starts generating traffic. Marketing depends on whether website visitors turn into customers. Make sure that in your platform settings you can provide coupons, send letters of thanks, and additional product offers to customers.
Take Care of Customer Support
The ability to purchase the desired product at any place or time distinguishes online stores from physical points of sale. For customers to be satisfied with the service, it is necessary to provide technical support for the store 24/7. Buyers may need professional advice at different stages: when choosing a type and a specific model of goods, in matters of specification (technical characteristics, sizes, colors, features of use).
83% of buyers expect the seller to provide them with all the information they need. At the same time, customers have become more loyal to chatbots, although they still cannot completely replace live telephone consultations.
79% of Americans are more likely to purchase from a store that offers them free shipping. At the same time, delivery on the day of order leads to a successful transaction in 54% of cases. One way or another, the terms and conditions of delivery should be announced in advance – if you do not warn customers when they can receive the goods, 53% of them will prefer to make purchases in another store.
80% of shoppers who did not like the service during the last order will no longer shop from the same seller.
What Else to Consider Before Launching an E-commerce Project
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some are suitable for starting, but they are too limited for in-dept development. Others are too complex and require experience and investment. If you are just embarking on an SEO e-commerce trail, don’t grab onto the most powerful and sophisticated platform right away.
Objectively assess your capabilities, time, and finances that you are ready to allocate for the development of the project. You will hardly be able to create a large online store in a day or even a week. It will probably require attracting technical specialists who will help with the back end and front-end development, design, testing, content filling.
Even if you would prefer to build and promote your store yourself, SEO for an e-commerce website takes time to figure out all the nuances. After following the SEO tips for e-commerce provided in our guide, it will be easier for you to understand the topic of optimizing an online store. Properly implemented SEO will help you break into the TOPtop results of Google while earning higher clickthrough rates and sales.