SEO and Your Ecommerce Platform – What You Need to Know

19 Dec 2020

What’s the Best Ecommerce Platform for SEO?

If you’re selling online and looking to generate sales through your own online shop, then SEO is something that will be incredibly important to you.

Done right, it can drive incredibly relevant and high converting traffic to your site – people who are already actively looking for products like yours. A good organic traffic profile can also reduce your reliance on paid advertising channels, allowing you to enjoy a more balanced mix of marketing channels rather than relying exclusively on the likes of Google Adwords.

But how well do you do at SEO is down to hundreds of different factors! We can loosely divide them into 3:

  • On site technical (the technical elements of your site like page speed, canonical tags, how URLs are structured and similar)
  • On site content (the titles, descriptions and content on your pages, amongst other things)
  • Off site factors (a number of different things dominated by links back to your website from other high quality and relevant websites

Without solid technical foundations, your work in the other two areas could be rendered completely ineffective. But you are largely at the mercy of your platform in terms of how solid your technical SEO is.

With that in mind, it’s absolutely imperative, if you’re to successfully generate sales through SEO, to ensure you have an ecommerce platform that is built with this in mind.

What to look for in SEO terms in an e-commerce platform?

There are a number of things to look for from an SEO point of view and some of the most important are outlined here.

1. Editable Content

All aspects of the content you add should be modifiable. This includes, but is in no way restricted to:

  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • On page product copy or category copy
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Filenames
  • URLs

All of these things will play a pivotal role in how your online shop performs from an SEO point of view.

With Shopblocks, you can quickly and easily modify all the elements that matter.

2. Speed - With a Focus on Core Web Vitals

Slow ecommerce websites won’t only cause your customers to leave, but can also give you an SEO headache. Google confirmed in 2010 that the speed at which a page loads is incorporated as a ranking factor. More recently, Google confirmed a wider change coming in May 2021:

 

In other words, if your website is slow, it can hinder your ability to drive organic traffic.

Things that can slow a website down include poor hosting, oversized images and inefficient code.

With Shopblocks, you get a completely hosted solution, so we take the headache out of hosting. And our platform is built around speed, so you get fast, efficient online shops. We've been built for speed from the ground up and have already been testing and fine tuning in keeping with Core Web Vitals.

3. HTTPS

In 2014, Google confirmed that sites with SSL certificates (those with https URLs rather than http) would benefit in search.

Shopblocks takes care of that. All sites launch with us with https URLs and anyone attempting to access your site from http variants will be redirected properly.

 

4. Canonical Tags

Duplicate content (multiple URLs with the same content) is a problem from an SEO point of view. And that doesn’t just apply to multiple URLs on different domains. If you are using the same content on lots of pages on your own website, this too can have a detrimental impact on your shop’s SEO.

Of course, if you know this you wouldn’t simply copy and paste descriptions onto multiple products. But “internal duplicate content,” as we refer to it can happen as the result of your ecommerce platform letting you down.

Consider this scenario using a footwear shop as an example:

  • A user visits the men’s trainers category on your site – example.com/mens-trainers
  • The user then clicks to “sort from highest to lowest price.” That URL changes to example.com/mens-trainers?sortby=pd (or something similar)
  • The sorted URL has the same content as before and the same products. They are just now simply organised in a different way

This is essentially duplicate content.

But with the use of canonical tags, you can implement a tag on the ?sortby=pd URL to tell Google this page is essentially just a variant of the main category page. This eradicates a duplicate content issue.

Surprisingly, not all ecommerce platforms handle problems like this and it can be a real issue from an SEO perspective.

Shopblocks handles all of this for you, so you don’t have to worry about it!

5. Multi Device Friendly

Mobile ecommerce is the norm and Google rates a page’s “mobile friendliness.” How well your site renders for mobile users will influence how well if performs in SEO terms for users searching from mobile devices.

But going a step further, Google announced plans to make its entire index mobile first, so how your site renders on mobile could affect your visibility for users on all devices.

Shopblocks websites are responsive, catering to users on all devices with a fast, easy to navigate and consistent experience.

6. Take Control of Your Crawl

Particularly on bigger ecommerce websites, control of what Google crawls and doesn't can really help you make the most of your crawl budget. So some control of your robots.txt file can be really useful. Lots of other ecommerce platforms give you a default robots.txt file and no option (not even with disclaimers!) to adapt and edit it. 

We don't like that approach. We think it would be arrogant of us to assume no SEO could ever want to make any modifications to our standard robots.txt file. So while you don't need to change it and we've made sure it's absolutely fine, if you do want to adapt it in keeping with your SEO crawl optimisation strategy, be our guest.

Getting Your Technical SEO Right

The above are just 6 of the most important things you need to consider from an SEO point of view when deciding on an ecommerce platform.

If you’re looking to find out more about on page SEO, check out Google’s own Starter Guide.

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