Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) remains one of the most crucial topics amongst merchants and marketers.
Effective implementation of SEO can be the driving force to taking your ecommerce business to new heights. Neglecting it, however, will lead to falling traffic and being overtaken by the competition.
So, given the importance of SEO in the modern-day, when starting up your ecommerce store or considering a migration to another ecommerce platform, the SEO capabilities of that platform should be one of the main considerations in your decision process.
And this is where BigCommerce steps in. Now we appreciate that depending on your ecommerce business size, the industry you operate in and some other factors, there may be other commerce platforms more suited to you. However, if BigCommerce is already one you are considering, the SEO features and capabilities of it make it a strong candidate to be your next ecommerce platform.
In this blog, we will take a look at some of these stand-out SEO features of BigCommerce, how they work and can help you transform your online store. But first, let us look at SEO and why it is still as important as it has ever been.
SEO – Is it still really that important?
We know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, but what does that really mean?
Simply put, SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of organic (non-paid) traffic to your website. It is the process whereby all the various factors influencing where your website ranks on a search engine, are optimised to drive more traffic from them to your website.
All these various factors include but are not limited to, your website’s meta data, content on your website and keyword usage backlinks to your website, social media activity, mobile/tablet friendliness, the speed of your site and many more factors.
Despite this, some have tried to argue that the importance of having a constant and effective SEO strategy has diminished over the past few years. We strongly feel the opposite. The simple retort to that statement would be the number of people using search engines daily is only increasing, so why should focus on SEO to drive traffic from those search engines decline in importance?
SEO is not a one-off thing, with constant algorithm changes and updates from leading search engine companies such as Google and Bing, you must ensure your SEO strategy is compliant And up to date with the latest goings-on in the world of SEO. These search engine companies now demand more from websites as the rewards from effective SEO are now also greater.
Be sure to read more on how the team at Williams Commerce can ensure your SEO strategy is as effective as it should be.
SEO on BigCommerce
Now that we understand the importance of SEO let us look at some of the many SEO features on BigCommerce.
Did you know that it is expected that by 2021, Mobile will make up almost 73% of worldwide ecommerce sales?
Considering that, along with Google moving to mobile first indexing, being on an ecommerce platform that supports mobile functionality to the fullest is vital and BigCommerce does exactly that.
BigCommerce became one of the first ecommerce platforms to integrate Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). This “integration simplifies category and product detail pages, improves mobile site speed and click-through for online sellers”. According to a 2017 study, sellers that utilised AMP on category pages saw a 20% improvement in their click-through rate. AMP now comes as standard practice on all BigCommerce themes saving you the effort and cost of its development and integration.
One issue we find common with large websites especially who have poor mobile page speed scores is unoptimised images. Having large images or images served in old gen formats is often the cause behind poor site speed. This can lead to huge negative consequences as the consumers become more and more impatient. To combat this, BigCommerce merchants all have access to Akamai Image Manager at no additional cost.
Akamai Image Manager is an automated image optimiser that optimises your images for whichever device or browser a user may view your website on. This removes all the hassle in this process and provides a much better overall user experience.
When you ask a marketer about SEO, more likely than not the first thing to come to their mind will be all of the on-page SEO variables that dictate whether or not your SEO strategy is a successful one. These on-page SEO variables include heading tags, Meta page titles & description, page content & keyword usage and URL structure just to name a few.
These variables are vital in deciding where your page ranks. Especially for product & category pages, these factors can often make all the difference. Given the importance of this, BigCommerce ensures you are fully in control when it comes to implementing your on-page SEO strategy.
One of the most important of these variables is page titles. Search engines use these to categorise where the page ranks. On BigCommerce you 3different options on how to edit your page titles depending on the type of page it is. The same goes for meta descriptions and heading tags, they are easily editable to ensure your SEO strategy stays consistent. You also have full control over the URL structure of your website, to ensure they are SEO friendly.
A sitemap is essentially a blueprint of your website. They are a way to let search engines know which pages on your website are available for crawling. It is a list that “provides information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site” – Google.
They are key to best practice SEO and on BigCommerce, unlike some other ecommerce platforms, auto-generates your XML sitemap which saves the hassle and can also be easily accessed. They can also be modified simply to ensure you have full control.
As touched on previously, the site speed of a website as grown in importance for SEO over the years, and not only on mobile but all devices. Faster loading sites have proven to display better conversion rates and SEO. Google has, for some time now, considered a website speed a one their signals used by their algorithm when ranking pages.
BigCommerce understands the magnitude of speed and has certain priceless features to help with site speed. We have already mentioned the Akamai Image Manager and the integration with Google’s AMP, but other features are also available.
From our experiences, we stressed how images are quite often one of the main culprits of poor site speed. To address this, BigCommerce sites can easily make use of the BigCommerce CDN (Content Delivery Network). A CDN “is a collection of distributed servers located across the globe that store files accessed by website visitors”. The CDN located nearest to the website user handles the visitor’s requests. They are key in determining how a long site takes to load and protect against server crashes during times when there are high levels of traffic on your site. BigCommerce comes equipped with an industry leading CDN with modern architecture to provide exceptional results and ensure load times are kept to a minimum.
There are many other ways to reduce sites speeds on BigCommerce. Another being the store theme frameworks available on BigCommerce that use a streamlined framework with speed in mind to offer a seamless experience for the end user. BigCommerce allows gives you control over how many featured items are displayed on your homepage which can save load times.
Being a certified BigCommerce agency partner, at Williams Commerce we have first-hand experience of the benefits of BigCommerce when it comes to site speed.
In November 2019, we assisted a happy client to make the move to from their existing commerce platform to BigCommerce, and it did not take long for them to see improvements in speed.
Only a mere 2-3 months after making the jump we saw vast improvements in speed when comparing a three-month period year on year. This client being a retailer of everyday attire, very much welcomed this improvement in speed and also increased organic traffic. Be sure to also view our case studies section to get full details on how we helped more satisfied clients make the successful jump to BigCommerce.
It would be impossible to fit all the various SEO features and benefits that BigCommerce brings into one blog, but we hope this has given you a taster of what to expect, from an SEO perspective, when it comes to BigCommerce.
If you believe BigCommerce ideal platform to transition to or start on, you have come to the right place. Simply get in touch with us to see how we can help take your business to the next level or make your vision of an online business come true.