BigCommerce SEO Review: Spike Sales With Outstanding Optimization

BigCommerce Reviews

Join us as we break down BigCommerce SEO for you. In this review, we’ll explain what it is, why it’s important, and how it can help your online store.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is a term that gets bandied about a lot in the world of ecommerce. But what exactly is SEO, and how does it impact you when selling?

SEO is the process of tweaking your site so it’s easy for search engines, like Google and Bing, to understand. In essence, the easier it is for Google to know what your online store is about, the higher chance you have of ranking – i.e. appearing on the first or second page of search results.

Think of SEO like one big motor race. All the cars (websites) are vying for the number one spot (ranking), but must constantly upgrade parts of their vehicles (optimize) to stay competitive. You could have a great-looking car on the outside, but if your competitors are all packing Ferrari engines, you sadly don’t stand a chance.

With so much information on SEO out there, it can all be a bit overwhelming. It’s also difficult to know where to start, and more importantly, how you can apply all this information to your site.

That’s where BigCommerce comes in. It’s an ecommerce platform that helps thousands of regular folk build their own online stores – without any technical expertise!

BigCommerce itself says that the average brand using its platform reports 28%annual growth year-on-year! BigCommerce SEO plays a massive part in this.

BigCommerce has tons on built-in SEO features, which we’ll discuss throughout this guide. After just a few minutes reading, you’ll have a clear idea of what SEO is, what BigCommerce’s SEO features are, and how you can apply them to your own online store.

Best Built-In Features

4.2 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Further Information

The Top Ecommerce Platforms of 2019 – Learn who competes with BigCommerce for the title of this year’s best ecommerce platform.

Ecommerce Website Builder Comparison Chart – For a side-by-side look at the best ecommerce website builders, head over to our detailed comparison chart.

1

What is SEO?

There’s no one surefire thing you can do to get your website ranking highly. There are tons of factors that impact SEO – over 200 of them in fact, according to Google. What you can do, though, is break these factors down into essential SEO, and advanced SEO.

Essential SEO is what all sites should look to nail. These are basic tweaks that anyone can make to their online store. If your presence on search engines is virtually non-existent, then these changes are certain to help your site to start ranking.

Advanced SEO is what separates sites on pages two or three of the search results from those on page one. As the name suggests, these are more technical or niche changes you can implement to help your ranking once you’ve got the essentials in place.

You can also implement what’s known as ‘paid search’, where you pay to feature in search engine results based on particular phrases, known as ‘keywords’. However, this review will focus on non-paid, or ‘organic’, search.

BigCommerce helps you nail both essential and advanced SEO. Below, we’ll discuss what these SEO factors are, why they’re important, and how BigCommerce’s SEO features can help your online store.

Further Information

BigCommerce Review – Read our full in-depth guide on how BigCommerce stacks up as an overall ecommerce website builder.

2

4 Essential SEO Features on BigCommerce

Essential SEO is a series of small changes that can have a big impact. For starters, a lot of SEO is geared around keywords. Keywords are essentially the search terms people type in to find things.

If, for example, a shopper wants to buy a specific type of sneaker, they may search for ‘White men’s Nike sneakers’. If your store stocks Nike sneakers, you’re going to ‘target’ those words by featuring them across your website.

Now that’s cleared up, let’s take a look at some essential SEO factors:

Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

What is this?

Page titles and meta descriptions relate to the text you see when you type something into search engines. The clickable link is known as the page (or meta) title, whilst the information below it is the meta description.

Metadata example
Most people are familiar with Google’s search results and how websites are presented.

Why is it important?

Your page title is what search engines will present to users. You need to make sure that all of your pages have unique page titles that are directly related to the content within them.

Meta descriptions can make the difference between someone visiting your site or scrolling along to the next link – here’s your chance to sell your site to them! The meta description should also include keywords based on what the page contains.

How does BigCommerce help?

BigCommerce allows you to manually input your own page titles and meta descriptions, so you can be sure they’re relevant and targeting the right keywords.

It’ll also tell you if what you type isn’t the ‘optimum length’. Page titles should generally be between 50-60 characters long, while meta descriptions should sit around 128-150 characters.

This helps you avoid the dreaded ‘…’ at the end of your title/description. This is where Google cuts you off, as what you’ve put doesn’t fit in the search results. When you’re trying to attract customers, the last thing you want is a title that stops mid-senten…

BigCommerce metadata
BigCommerce’s handy form lets you add your own metadata.

Alt Tags

What is this?

Short for ‘alternative’, alt tags can be simply thought of as image descriptions. An alt tag is made up of non-visible text, which you enter to help search engines know what your site’s images actually show.

Why is it important?

Not only are alt tags a great way of attaching keywords to images, they’re also great for the visually impaired, as specialist software can identify the tag and read the image description to those who may be unable to view them.

How does BigCommerce help?

With BigCommerce, you don’t have to worry about alt tags. Your product descriptions will automatically double up as your image alt tags, saving you valuable time. However, this can be annoying if you want to have separate product descriptions and alt tags.

Mobile Optimization

What is this?

As the name suggests, this is the process of making sure your website fits both mobile and tablet screens. If your online store is not mobile optimized, it can make it very difficult for people to browse and purchase your products.

Why is it important?

As of 2018, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than desktop. Because of this, Google now penalizes sites that are not mobile responsive. Given smartphones are like an extra limb these days, making sure your site works across all screen sizes is (literally) essential.

How does BigCommerce help?

BigCommerce has a selection of themes to choose from which are populated with example content. This equips you with a pre-designed base to work off when first building your online store. All BigCommerce themes are mobile responsive, meaning they will automatically adjust to fit all devices – so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Product Filtering

What is this?

Breaking your products up into categories – for example, men’s and women’s, tops and sneakers, Nike and Adidas. These filters can then appear on your site, so users can find what they’re looking for with minimal hassle.

BigCommerce product filtering
Segmenting products so they can be filtered makes it easy for potential customers looking for something specific.

Why is it important?

As well as preserving your customers time and sanity when searching for products, product filtering also makes your site easily ‘crawlable’ for search engines.

All this means is that search engines can identify where specific products sit, so they can then link people to the relevant page. Think of it like having headings and subheadings in an article – it’s a lot easier to navigate than just block text.

How does BigCommerce help?

Every time you add a new product filter on BigCommerce, it will create a URL for that page (e.g. https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/ecommerce-website-builders/bigcommerce/bigcommerce-seo-review/). One thing to be careful of is duplicate content – each URL must be unique and web pages must be individual, which can require some manual work. If they’re not, Google will frown upon it.

3

4 Advanced SEO Features on BigCommerce

Advanced SEO is what separates the top websites from the rest of the pack. Anyone who is serious about selling online will take care of essential SEO matters, but only the switched on few will take advanced matters into their own hands.

Microdata

What is this?

Also known as ‘rich snippets’, microdata adds another layer of information to how your website appears in search results. The information shown can be a rating, price, brand, or stock level.

Microdata example
We’ve used microdata to give users an insight into BigCommerce’s overall rating, before they click through.

Why is it important?

Studies have shown that microdata not only increases the likelihood of someone clicking on your website, but also increases your chances of conversion (i.e. making a sale).

The more information you can provide people within search engines, the better. Your online store becomes more authoritative, and visitors will build up a level of trust in you.

How does BigCommerce help?

Most Bigcommerce themes incorporate microdata. This information will be automatically pulled from the information you provide when adding a product. The more detailed you can be when inputting information, the better chance you have of getting click-throughs to your site.

301 Redirects

What is this?

A 301 redirect transfers people automatically from one URL to another. If you move a web page to a different URL, visitors will be instantly redirected to it if they type in the old URL.

Why is it important?

For starters, you’re not letting any wasted traffic slip through the net! If regular visitors type your URLs straight into their browsers, they’ll be met with a 404 error message if you don’t have 301 redirects in place.

How does BigCommerce help?

This is another SEO factor that BigCommerce handles automatically. If you change the name of a product, for example, BigCommerce will update the product page’s URL to reflect its new name and put a redirect in place for anyone who searches by its old name.

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

What is this?

A Content Delivery Network works with your online store to help improve site speed. It aims to load photos, videos and other media sources as quickly as possible, to avoid people leaving your site out of impatience.

Why is it important?

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Most online stores will be full of product imagery and videos, so it’s vital you don’t give a bad first impression with slow site speed. Page loading speed is also an important ranking factor for Google – in this situation, slow and steady does not win the race!

How does BigCommerce help?

BigCommerce has data centers all over the world, from London to Los Angeles and Sydney to Singapore. All of these data centers will store your website’s files, and will load your website on the server closest to the person visiting. This means your site will load just as quickly for everyone, regardless of their geographical location.

HTTPS Security

What is this?

HTTPS is a combination of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). It keeps your website secure by encrypting communication, which helps to prevent hacking and increase users’ security when browsing and entering payment details.

Why is it important?

Cyber security is always a worry for online shoppers. The risk of getting hacked or having your card cloned for fraud is something everyone wants to avoid. By supporting HTTPS, your site will protect shoppers’ personal information, which they can be assured of thanks to the padlock icon and ‘https://’ in your URL.

HTTPS example
The padlock icon is a universal symbol used to show that a website is secure.

How does BigCommerce help?

BigCommerce offers built-in HTTPS across all its pricing plans. Not only does this give all of your consumers peace of mind and confidence in your store, it’s also something search engines look kindly on. Google won’t want to recommend links to unsecure sites, so any one store without HTTPS is at a disadvantage straight away.

Specific SEO Tips

BigCommerce Overview – Get a general feel for BigCommerce as a platform; the history of the company, how it works, and who should use it.

BigCommerce Pricing Review – Dive straight into BigCommerce’s pricing plans and see where the real value for money is.

4

Monitoring & Measuring SEO Success with BigCommerce

It’s all well and good making all these changes to improve your website’s SEO, but how can you tell if it’s really working?

That’s where analytics comes in. Although ranking is the obvious way to measure the success of your SEO tweaks, other metrics can also give you a strong indication of how effective they’ve been.

Things like visitor counts, conversion rate, and revenue are all good ways of measuring how SEO changes impact upon your online store. Being able to assess this on a page-by-page basis is great too, as you can trial changes on a single web page before rolling them out across your site (if they’re successful).

BigCommerce Analytics

BigCommerce SEO has its own built-in analytics. This gives you a clear breakdown of all the key metrics to consider when tracking performance levels.

Alongside keeping an eye on sales figures, you can also see your visitor count, and how people are coming to your site (search, direct, social media etc).

BigCommerce SEO apps
BigCommerce’s analytics dashboard. Source: BigCommerce.

All these stats go a long way to helping you keep tabs on SEO performance. If you add metadata to a product page for the first time, you should be able to see the impact that it has on all your other metrics.

Google Analytics

For a more in-depth look look at your website’s performance, you can integrate BigCommerce with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics lets you really dig into metrics on individual pages. You can chart page behavior over time, and see if SEO changes have given you an ‘uplift’ (i.e more site visitors and conversions).

All you have to do is create a Google Analytics account, then paste a tracking ID – which is generated for you when you sign-up – into your BigCommerce analytics. From there, you’ll have access to both BigCommerce and Google Analytics, helping you maximize your online store’s SEO.

5

How Much Does SEO Cost with BigCommerce?

BigCommerce has four different pricing plans: Standard, Plus, Pro and Enterprise. Here’s a look at how they break down into monthly costs:

BigCommerce Plan Cost (monthly)
Standard $29.95
Plus $79.95
Pro $249.95
Enterprise Must contact BigCommerce for a quote

As you’d imagine, the more you pay, the better the features you get  Below, you can see which features are included at which price point:

Nearly all of BigCommerce’s SEO features are included on every plan. The exceptions are Google customer reviews, custom SSL, and product filtering – for those features, you’ll need to be on the Pro plan ($249.95/month) or higher.

BigCommerce also offers a free, 14-day trial. This is great for those who want to try before they buy, and get a real feel for BigCommerce without fully committing to it.

Premium BigCommerce SEO

We’ve already discussed product filtering in our essential SEO section, but here’s some insight into the other features exclusive to BigCommerce’s Pro plan:

Customer Reviews let shoppers rate your products. This gives you more content that may contain keywords, and is a good indication to Google that people approve of your products and that they’re of good quality (assuming the reviews are positive of course!)

Custom SSL allows you to transfer an existing SSL security certificate to your BigCommerce site. Given HTTPS is built-in to every plan, though, this isn’t really an issue.

On top of these SEO features, BigCommerce also provides apps you can purchase.

BigCommerce SEO apps
BigCommerce’s app store is full of extra SEO tools you can use.

All the apps come with a brief description and a star rating. Each one serves a different SEO purpose, with prices ranging from free to $45/month.

Fav SEO is by far the most popular SEO app, with over 100 reviews and an average 5-star rating. It helps you with things like metadata, SEO audits, rank tracking, and analytics.

6

BigCommerce SEO vs Competitor SEO

Features
Basic Plan
Advanced Plan
Customize Metadata
Image Alt Tags
Mobile Optimization
301 Redirects
Keyword Support
Customize Metadata
Image Alt Tags
Mobile Optimization
301 Redirects
Keyword Support
Customize Metadata
Image Alt Tags
Mobile Optimization
301 Redirects
Keyword Support

When it comes to BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Wix SEO, all platforms are pretty similar in their offerings. BigCommerce and Shopify are purpose built for online stores, so we’d recommend their SEO over Wix, as it’s tailored specifically to ecommerce.

One advantage BigCommerce has over Shopify is keyword support. BigCommerce has an extensive guide on keyword support which teaches you how they work and how to create keyword-rich content. This guide is invaluable to anyone out there looking to conduct some specific keyword research.

Further Information

Wix SEO Review

Shopify SEO Review

7

BigCommerce SEO: What It Can’t Do

BigCommerce is pretty well-equipped in the SEO department. That said, some SEO tasks have to be undertaken with specialist tools. So, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get ready for some manual SEO work!

Keyword Research is one such practise that can’t be done on BigCommerce. Tools like SEMrush can be used in tandem with BigCommerce, though, and can help you identify which keywords you need to include in your content.

Backlinks are another SEO factor you’ll have to do yourself. This is where you get other websites to link to yours, in order to build up what’s known as ‘domain authority’. The more credible websites that post links to yours, the better you’ll look to Google.

Internal Linking is also a favorable SEO technique. For this, you need to add hyperlinks into your own content that connect to relevant pages. If you have a blog, for example, you should link out to your product pages as and when you discuss them. This helps search engines identify that you’re producing relevant and expert content.

8

BigCommerce SEO: Summary

You should now have a pretty well-rounded view of SEO: what it is, why it’s important, and how to make SEO changes to your online store. We’ve also discussed BigCommerce SEO, and how it helps you achieve your ranking goals.

To recap, let’s look back at each section and briefly cover what we learnt:

Section Summary
What is SEO? SEO is the process of making changes to your website that will help improve your visibility on search engines like Google and Bing.
Essential BigCommerce SEO
  • Metadata – adding page titles and descriptions that appear in search results.
  • Alt Tags – giving images descriptions so Google can recognize what they display.
  • Mobile Optimization – ensuring your website automatically adjusts to fit different screen sizes.
  • Product Filtering – grouping your products into categories to make it easier for search engines to read.
Advanced BigCommerce SEO
  • Microdata – adding more information in the search results with ratings, prices, stock levels etc.
  • 301 Redirects – automatically sending users to a new URL if you change it and they search the old one.
  • CDN – a system that helps your file sizes load faster depending on where users are accessing your site from.
  • HTTPS – a layer of security that protects you and your consumer’s personal details.
Measuring SEO success on BigCommerce BigCommerce has its own analytics suite where you can examine key metrics like visitor counts, user journeys and revenue. You can also connect Google Analytics for further insight.
How much does SEO cost on BigCommerce? BigCommerce has a 14-day free trial, and plans range from $79.95 to $249.95/month. Most SEO features are available across all plans, but some are only on the Pro plan and above.
BigCommerce SEO vs its competitors BigCommerce has impressive SEO features in comparison to Shopify and Wix, with ecommerce-specific SEO and keyword support.
What can’t BigCommerce SEO do? Certain SEO practices are down to you. Keyword research, backlinking, and internal linking must all be done manually.

Overall, BigCommerce is a great platform from an SEO perspective. It has all the features you need to rank highly, and allows you to do any additional SEO work you see fit. BigCommerce is perfect for small to enterprise-level businesses, and can fit any company size depending on the plan you go for.

The only way you’re going to know if it’s right for you, though, is by taking BigCommerce for a spin. Why not take out a 14-day free trial today, and let BigCommerce put you in the SEO driving seat.

9

BigCommerce SEO: FAQs

How long will it take Google to update page titles and meta descriptions?

Updating page titles and meta descriptions can usually take 1-2 days to appear in search engine results. You should make sure your page titles are no more than 60 characters long to avoid them being cut off in the search results.

How long does it take for SEO changes to take effect?

It can take up to a whole year to see the full benefit of SEO changes, but you should start to see improvement after a couple of months. You can keep track of your SEO performance using tools like Google Analytics.

How does BigCommerce SEO compare to WordPress SEO?

BigCommerce is the clear winner. It has tons of built-in SEO features that WordPress only offer as add-ons. If you install Yoast SEO as a plugin on WordPress, you can get access to a host of SEO features, although this comes at an extra cost.

Is paying for SEO worth the money?

It really depends on your budget and expertise. Paid search or professional SEO support is obviously beneficial, but it usually doesn’t come cheap. Either way, you’ll still want to identify the keywords you’d like to target so you have a clear idea what’s needed.

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.

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About Charlie Carmichael

Charlie Carmichael

It's my job to research website builders and find out which one's really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I'm in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but have great success once there.

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