BigCommerce SEO: A Quick and Easy Guide to BigCommerce SEO
You’ve built your website, set up a bunch of brilliant products and now you’re ready to sell them. But before you open your doors to the world, you want to make sure they can find you. And there’s nobody better to help than Google. Keyword research is a fundamental part of any SEO campaign, but it’s especially important for online stores looking to connect with new customers.
This article will give you an overview of exactly what search engine optimization (SEO) is, how it’s different from smart keyword management, why it matters, and how to find the right keywords for your eCommerce website. We’ll also give you the lowdown on which tools are best for doing each kind of research.
So what is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a set of rules for optimizing your website so that it can achieve higher search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines.
It is a great way to increase the quality of your website by making it user-friendly, faster, and easier to navigate. In addition, it can help to increase your revenue.
SEO is considered a subset of search engine marketing. But, unlike SEM, SEO can’t be purchased directly. It is also called organic results and it is achieved by using some techniques that help you improve the visibility of a website in search engines.
SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a website. Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the website’s trust.
SEO is very important for every website because almost all users rely on search engines to find any information on the internet.
Why is SEO important to your business?
The majority of online experiences begin with a search engine, and nearly 75% of searchers start their searches on Google. Moreover, research has shown that search engine users may trust a site more than other advertising methods, such as ads in the side column.
In today's marketing landscape, SEO is a must-have tool. Your business can expand and fulfill its goals with the power of search engine optimization (SEO).
How does SEO work?
Bots are used by search engines such as Google and Bing to crawl the web, moving from site to site, collecting information about those sites, and indexing them. Following that, algorithms examine the index pages, taking hundreds of ranking variables or signals into consideration, to decide the order in which pages should show in the search results for a specific query.
It is possible to utilize search ranking variables as proxies for many aspects of the user's experience. There are six key categories in our Periodic Table of SEO Factors, which are weighted in accordance with their overall relevance to search engine optimization (SEO). When it comes to site architecture, variables like crawlability and mobile-friendliness are critical, as are aspects like content quality and keyword research.
For each given keyword, search engines use the content on your site to determine the relevancy of your page. To put it another way, search engines have nothing to work with if you are selling Funko pops on your site and you do not mention Funko pops in your page content. Keep in mind that you don't want to spam search engines by repeatedly utilizing the same term.
How optimized is BigCommerce for SEO?
If you're new to the world of eCommerce, chances are that you've heard of BigCommerce or that you're using it. As one of the leading eCommerce platforms available, BigCommerce serves more than 60,000 online merchants who are looking to take their business to the next level.
As a BigCommerce development firm, we're well versed in their platform and all the benefits that come with it. One area we see many people struggling with is search engine optimization (SEO).
Whether you're just starting out or have been at it for a while, SEO can be confusing and frustrating. We're going to tackle one of our most frequently asked questions: Is BigCommerce SEO-friendly?
While there are many factors involved in determining how friendly your eCommerce platform is to search engines, we believe that BigCommerce does an excellent job of making sure your website is optimized for your brand and industry.
SEO features on BigCommerce
Page titles and meta descriptions
Page titles are the results that users see in search engines. They should be unique, accurate, and contain keywords for their particular page.
Meta descriptions are the short descriptions of pages that users see beneath the page title. Meta descriptions could be the difference between someone visiting your site and scrolling to the next link. It's what helps you sell your website to the customer so they should be unique and help sell your site to a user.
The great thing about BigCommerce is that it allows you to manually enter your own page titles and meta descriptions, which can help ensure that they are relevant and target the appropriate keywords.
It'll also let you know if what you're typing isn't the 'optimal length.' Page names should be between 50 and 60 characters long, and meta descriptions should be between 128 and 150 characters long.
Alt tags, which are short for "alternative," can be thought of as image descriptions. An alt tag is a non-visible text that you provide to enable search engines to understand what your site's images truly display.
If you want to add keywords to your images, alt tags are a great way to do it. They're also great for the visually impaired, because special software can read the alt tags and read out what the images are about to people who can't see them. This is called "alt text."
Now, alt tags aren't a problem with BigCommerce. Your product descriptions will automatically be used as alt tags for your images, saving you a lot of time and money. However, this can be a pain if you want to have separate product descriptions and alt tags for each picture.
This is the process of ensuring that your website is compatible with both mobile and tablet devices, as the name implies. It might be difficult for visitors to browse and purchase your items if your online store is not mobile-friendly meaning they can't add products to their cart, view products, or browse your website properly.
Today, smartphone searches outnumber desktop searches on Google. As a result, Google now penalizes sites that aren't mobile-friendly. Given that smartphones have become an extension of ourselves in recent years, ensuring that your site functions on all screen sizes are (literally) critical.
BigCommerce offers a number of themes, each of which is pre-populated with sample content. When you initially start developing your online business, you'll have a pre-designed foundation to work with. All BigCommerce themes are mobile responsive, which means they will change to fit all devices without you having to do anything.
The process of categorizing your items is known as product filtering. Take, for example, men's and women's tops, bottoms, and shoes, as well as the types of tops, bottoms, and shoes. These filters can then be displayed on your site, allowing people to quickly locate what they're looking for.
Product filtering not only saves your consumers' time and sanity while looking for items, but it also makes your site readily 'crawlable' for search engines.
All of this means that search engines can determine where certain items are located and then direct them to the appropriate page. Consider it similar to having headers and subheadings in an article — it makes it much simpler to browse than just block text.
Whenever you add a new product filter to BigCommerce, it generates a URL for that page. Duplicate material should be avoided - each URL must be unique, and web pages must be distinguishable, which may necessitate some manual labor.
Advanced SEO features you can use on BigCommerce
If you didn’t know yet, advanced SEO is what sets the best websites apart from the others. Anyone who is serious about selling online will take care of the basics of SEO, but only the most tech-savvy will tackle more complicated issues on their own. BigCommerce offers comprehensive SEO solutions that may help businesses like yours improve the performance of their websites.
Microdata, often known as 'rich snippets,' provides an extra layer of information to the way your website appears in search results. A rating, price, brand, or stock level can all be displayed. Microdata is used in most Bigcommerce themes. This information will be retrieved automatically from the data you enter when adding a product. The more specific you can be when entering data, the more likely you are to receive click-throughs to your site.
A 301 redirect automatically takes visitors from one URL to another. If you update a web page to a different URL, users will be automatically forwarded to it if they enter the previous URL.
If you don't have 301 redirects in place, regular visitors will get a 404 error notice if they input your URLs directly into their browsers.
BigCommerce handles this SEO aspect automatically as well. If you change the name of a product, for example, BigCommerce will update the URL of the product page to reflect the new name and post a redirect for anybody who searches for it under the old name.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network works with your online store to boost site performance. It strives to load photographs, videos, and other media sources as rapidly as possible in order to prevent visitors from abandoning your site due to impatience.
47% of customers want a web page to load in less than two seconds. Because most e-commerce sites feature a lot of product imagery and video, you don't want to ruin the customer experience with a sluggish loading site. Additionally, Google considers page loading time when determining a site's position in search results.
It is possible to find a BigCommerce data center almost anywhere in the world. All of these data centers will store your website’s files and will load your website on the server nearest to the user visiting. This means your site will load just equally rapidly for everyone, regardless of their geographical location.
So how can you take advantage of BigCommerce’s SEO features?
Search engines like Google use keyword research to determine what phrases people are using to find products and services like yours.
Identify a list of potential keywords searchers employ keywords while searching connected to the issue, helping to find acceptable keywords for each website.
Ways to identify keywords:
One technique to discover keyword recommendations is by employing Google autocomplete. When we type in a question or even a word, Google displays the most common search phrases. If we want to be more specific, we can add a plus sign, followed by our query, and view only the results that begin with your phrase.
If you have competitors who rank higher in search results than you, you can take keyword ideas from their websites. Enter a keyword in Google to determine who your competitors are for that term. After that, go to their website and look through their category and product pages for keywords.
However, don't just copy and paste your competitor's keywords! They may simply have a better domain authority (DA) than you, so just because they outrank you doesn't indicate they've chosen the greatest keywords. Make a note of the keywords you discover and come back to them later.
It's no secret that Amazon is a goldmine of high buyer intent keywords. Anyone who searches there has an intent to buy something. Start by typing in a seed keyword (a word you think you can rank for). For example, if we type "coffee," Amazon will suggest coffee beans, coffee makers, and coffee presses as autofill recommendations. These are all keyword suggestions that you can jot down in a Google spreadsheet and save for later.
It's easy to see how this could take a long time if you have hundreds or thousands of products. The Amazon Keyword Tool can help you with that. This useful program automatically scans Amazon's autofill suggestions for any keyword you enter in. You don't have to pay anything because it gives you three free searches every day.
To help you uncover keyword opportunities, Ahrefs is a fantastic SEO tool. It can be used for keyword research, competition analysis, backlink building, and much more.
Put your URL into the Site Explorer search field after you've signed up for an account (you'll get a two-week free trial). You can see all of the keywords your site ranks for by going to the "Organic search" tab, scrolling down, and clicking "View complete report" under the Top 5 organic keywords area.
You can narrow down the results to find exactly what you want. Normally, you'd want to look at your low-hanging fruit, which are the terms that you rank #5-10 for (meaning you can be found on the first page). It also means that with effective on-page SEO and possibly some link development, ranking higher should be rather simple.
You also have to note that choosing keywords entails more than just considering how difficult it is to rank for them or how many people search for them. You must also consider buyer intent (sometimes known as "commercial intent") while selecting keywords.
The term "buyer intent" refers to how far someone has progressed in their purchase decision.
Someone looking for the "best phone," for example, is probably still doing research and may not be ready to buy. They're probably reading product reviews and weighing the pros and cons. However, if they search for "iPhone 13 Pro Max 256GB," they're probably looking for the greatest price on that specific phone, which means they're far more likely to buy.
Buyer intent is frequently linked to a keyword's average cost per click (CPC), which may be found using Google Keyword Planner or an SEO tool like Ahrefs. This is because the more money spent on promoting a keyword, the higher the conversion rate!
Optimize on-page SEO
On-page SEO is the optimization of a website's sub-pages, which is repeated several times each time new content is published. This is mostly to get this website to the top of the search results page.
On-page SEO for eCommerce is all about getting your keywords in the correct locations. It's simply a technique for Google to understand what your page is about.
Your category pages are, without a doubt, the most necessary pages to rank. If someone finds them using Google, they will have immediate access to all of your products in that category.
You must include your target keyword in the following areas to fully optimize these pages:
- URL: Include just your main keyword in the URL and also make the URL readable and accessible (for example https://webinopoly.com/blogs/news). It’s such a basic step but it can really help with your search rankings. BigCommerce already has a feature that allows you to quickly and simply remove additional subfolders from your URL making it optimized to attract more visitors to your website.
- Title Tag: The keyword should be used in the title tag, or H1 tag, as early as possible in the text such as in the first three words.
- Body Copy: The majority of category pages skip the introduction and go right to the products, which isn't ideal for Google. Strive for a 300-word introduction with your keyword mentioned at least 2-3 times. However, in your writing, make it flow and appear natural.
- Image alt text: Because Google can't read images, it relies on alt text to figure out what they're about. This also allows you to incorporate your keyword in another location on the page, increasing your chances of appearing in Google image search results.
- Metadata: While it hasn't been proven that putting your keyword in your metadata (the gray text that appears in your search results) has a direct impact on ranks, it has been demonstrated to increase click-through rate, which has been shown to enhance rankings.
Optimize your category and product pages
Category pages are usually authoritative, high-ranking pages. Best practices for eCommerce websites suggest you should have a hierarchical structure with no more than three levels.
It means that besides the homepage, the second most imperative pages of your website are category (product group) pages. Category pages can help you reach higher rankings. Many eCommerce sites can’t rank for individual product pages because similar products are available on other larger websites and they tend to reach the first position on the search results page. Or because people normally use general terms to search for products instead of using individual product names.
Improving your site's on-page SEO and producing or upgrading content to achieve the greatest results for its target keywords, while linking back to your most crucial product pages.
Add meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are short summaries of web pages and blog posts that show up next to links on a search engine results page. You can see them in every search result on Google.
A good meta description can get more people to visit your website. Many SEO experts say that it increases the click-through rate (CTR) of a web page, which is also a ranking factor. To write a good meta description, you need to follow all of the rules on this page:
Make sure your meta description is short (less than 160 characters), accurate, and interesting so that people will want to go to the page. It should include the keyword you want to rank for.
To modify the meta description for a static page, navigate to Storefront > Web Page in your BigCommerce dashboard, choose the correct page, and then scroll to "Advanced Options."
To modify the meta description of a blog post, navigate to Storefront > Blog, click on the post, then you'll see the SEO settings below the post editor.
To modify a product's meta description, navigate to Products > View. Simply click on the appropriate product. Following that, click the 'SEO' option.
Enhance the performance of your website
Apart from enhancing the user experience of your store, site performance is critical for search engine optimization.
BigCommerce, as a hosted platform, does not allow you to use third-party hosting or write your own templates, which can assist in improving the speed of your site in some circumstances. You can use the following four recommendations to ensure that your Bigcommerce site loads as quickly as possible:
- Compress images using image compression software to minimize the file size: Certain BigCommerce templates include an image optimization tool that optimizes your photos automatically to give the optimal mix of size, quality, and file format for the device on which they are being delivered.
- Avoid using external scripts or bespoke code in excess on your site.
- Utilize the fewest possible web fonts on your site.
- Allow your BigCommerce pages and posts to use the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format.
Perform an SEO Audit
An SEO audit consists of collecting data about your website and its visibility in search engines. This includes collecting key metrics as well as identifying issues that are preventing your pages from ranking higher in search engines.
The goal is to understand what needs to be done to improve your website’s visibility in organic search results using various practices of SEO. These practices include: improving your site’s content structure, technical performance, link profile, and user experience.
Without a proper SEO audit, you and your team will not be able to understand how well you are ranking in search engines. Whether it is a technical issue with the website structure or content issue that Google or users are not able to understand the information on the website, without a proper audit these issues can affect the traffic on your website.
If you want to attract new customers and do not want to lose existing ones, then it is important for your business to get an SEO audit done by experts.
What is the difference between a technical and an on-page SEO audit?
A technical SEO audit focuses more on technical issues that might be slowing down a website, crawling issues, indexing issues, etc. It’s primarily done at the beginning of a search engine optimization process to identify problems as early as possible. An on-page SEO audit, however, is done after the technical SEO audit to identify and fix any problems that are hindering a page from ranking well. It will surely include some elements of the technical SEO audit, but it will be more focused on the content side.
There is a lot of room for customization and a wide range of features that you won't find on the competition's platforms. A few caveats are necessary before embarking on the SEO path with this platform and we hope you were able to learn something from this guide.
You can see that it isn't a complicated process at all. If you use the methods outlined above, your BigCommerce SEO will see a significant improvement. Better search engine rankings will bring you additional site visits as well as a broader audience. A solid SEO strategy is feasible if you have the correct information, and we hope this article has been helpful in that regard.