How visible you are online and the ease with which you can be found by potential customers is crucial to thriving in today’s super competitive digital space.

This all means that you need all the cogs of your SEO to be working smoothly to have the best chance of getting where you need to be – or more specifically, in front of who you need to be in front of.

Any online retailer requires a solid ecommerce platform on which to operate. But of the major contenders, which is best positioned to meet your SEO requirements?

The Williams Commerce team has plenty of experience working with Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento as part of our ecommerce offering.

So from an SEO perspective, we feel we’re in a good position to highlight the SEO-related benefits and options for three of the major platforms these providers have – Shopify Plus, BigCommerce and Magento 2.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus provides users with access to more than 100 payment gateways, prioritising speed, reliability and demand generation.

From an SEO standpoint, Shopify stores come with SEO at their core, with a number of features that allow users to optimise content for SEO purposes.

Many SEO elements are taken care of automatically. These include auto-generated canonical tags, which are added to pages to prevent duplicate content appearing in search results.

Sitemap.xml and robots.txt files are also automatically generated. Similarly, Shopify Plus has themes that automatically generate title tags in order to include your store name.

What’s more, each theme is required to have social media linking and sharing options. That makes it easier to promote your brand and what you offer.

As a user, it’s easy to:

-          Edit title tags

-          Edit meta descriptions

-          Edit URLs for blog posts, webpages, products and collections

-          Edit alt text for images

Shopify stores are also built to follow SEO best practices. This includes content following a logical hierarchy of categories, pages not using iframes, and URLs having standard characters and simple structures.

And, as an added bonus, Shopify also offers its own ‘plug in SEO’ app. This app allows Shopify stores to quickly and easily check for SEO problems. These would include speed issues, keyword problems and any broken links. The only issue is that this app comes at a slight cost.

Potential drawbacks that have been highlighted for Shopify Plus include the inability to edit the robots.txt file and issues with handling filter pages.

Generally speaking, however, Shopify Plus can be great for SEO if the work is done and the correct procedures and SEO checklists are followed.

interior of fashion store with Shopify Plus logo in foreground


A partnership blossoming around the BigCommerce ecommerce platform

BigCommerce is a SaaS ecommerce platform that helps take some of the internal pressures off retailers by providing everything on a service basis.

That means no internal hosting, added flexibility and a lower overall cost for business.

Read about the differences between SaaS and on-premise ecommerce here

BigCommerce includes plenty of SEO features and customisation options for users in order to boost ranking results.

These include:

-          Optimised page architecture

-          Microdata

-          Optimised URLs

-          301 redirects and URL rewrites

-          Rel=“canonical” elements

-          Accessible content

-          Content delivery network

-          Site-wide HTTPS

One of the major SEO benefits of BigCommerce is the ease with which pages can be changed. BigCommerce URLs are also easy to customise and structure in a search-friendly way.

What’s more, mobile responsiveness is a big deal in the modern SEO world and BigCommerce is a great option on this front. All BigCommerce templates are responsive, and many also support the AMP format.

Another SEO benefit is having critical schema microdata built in, while there are also plenty of additional plug-ins to add to the equation.

Magento 2

Magento 2 is known for its powerful page builder capabilities, with drag and drop editing tools for site content. That means retailers can build an exceptional shopping experience with few barriers and little to no developer assistance.

Responsive design themes also allow for optimisation across devices, as well as being touch-friendly and customisable. This flexibility for Magento 2 offers SEO advantages in and of themselves.

Recent updates have also allowed for customisation around the priority and frequency of products, categories, CMS and other pages on an individual basis – all adding to the platform’s SEO equation.

Sitemaps are now also present and sent to search engines quickly and automatically. XML files can be separated easily, while robots.txt can be customised and schema is now integrated within Magento 2.

Other SEO benefits include product page and category page optimisation, as well as layered navigation.

SEO capabilities – Comparing 3 major ecommerce platforms


   ShopifyPlus      BigCommerce    Magento 2
Auto-generated canonical tags               ✓                 ✓             ✗
Auto-generated sitemap.xml               ✓                 ✓             ✗
Customisable Robots.txt               ✓                       ✓             ✓
Ability to edit meta data               ✓                 ✓             ✓
Ability to edit URLs               ✓                 ✓             ✓
Own SEO app               ✓                 ✗             ✗
Additional SEO apps/extensions available               ✓                 ✓             ✓
Available as an SaaS Solution               ✓                 ✓             ✗


There are a host of factors to consider when selecting the best ecommerce platform for you and it’s never a decision to be rushed.

However, one thing to bear in mind with SEO is that you get out what you put in.

Williams Commerce has years of expertise across all three platforms discussed in this article. We are a Magento Enterprise Solution partner, a BigCommerce Strategic Partner, and a ShopifyPlus agency partner.

Furthermore, our digital marketing team has dedicated SEO services that can help you get the very most out of your ecommerce site, increase your search visibility and ultimately enhance your business.

Get in touch with Williams Commerce to discuss your ecommerce needs.