BigCommerce SEO: Best Practices for Optimizing Stores
BigCommerce is a robust and versatile e-commerce platform that helps businesses create and run online stores efficiently. It was built in 2009 and has quickly become one of the leading players in the e-commerce industry.
With BigCommerce, you can easily design your store, manage products, and accept customer payments. Additionally, it provides tools for making your online store appear in search engines like Google, boosting your site’s visibility.
The most exciting part is that BigCommerce keeps rolling out new updates to give you and your customers the best experience while using the platform. I love the large community of developers and store owners ready to share their experiences and provide real-life insights on any problem you have.
So whether you’re a small or medium-sized business looking to expand or a large enterprise looking for a platform to scale, you’ll always find functionalities and resources specific to your business needs.
Here are other standout features of the platform:
- Website personalization with a responsive design template.
- Efficient product management
- Multiple payment options and secure payment processing
- Marketing and SEO tools.
- Mobile optimization.
- Customer groups and segmentation
Why is BigCommerce a Good Option for SEO?
BigCommerce isn’t just an online store platform. It’s a powerful place for boosting your website’s visibility on search engines. With its built-in SEO features, you can improve your site’s ranking and attract more customers:
- Built-In SEO Features:
BigCommerce offers many built-in SEO features that help to optimize product pages and improve search engine rankings. These features include unique and optimized URLs, meta tags, and header tags, allowing you to optimize your pages for relevant keywords.
- Advanced Reporting and Analytics Tools:
BigCommerce offers advanced reporting and analytics tools for monitoring visitor data and order trends and assists with merchandising to enhance your marketing strategies.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN):
Site speed is crucial in SEO rankings, as faster-loading pages provide a better user experience.
BigCommerce uses a content delivery network (CDN) to improve your website’s loading speed.
- Seamless Integration with SEO Tools:
BigCommerce integrates seamlessly with various SEO tools and platforms like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Connecting BigCommerce with these tools gives you real-time insights that will inform your marketing strategies.
- Automatic 301 Redirects and URL Rewrite:
You don’t have to manually update each link when you make changes to your web pages. BigCommerce automatically adjusts the URL to reflect the changes and sets up 301 redirects.
What are the problems with BigCommerce SEO?
Like any e-commerce platform, BigCommerce has its set of challenges regarding SEO. Some of them are:
- Lacks canonical settings
- Lacks advanced blog features
- Poor URL structure
- Poor tutorials and support
- Duplicate content
- Limited payment options
Here’s how you can avoid experiencing any of these issues:
BigCommerce SEO Tips to Improve Rankings
As I pointed out earlier, BigCommerce has excellent features for improving your visibility and rankings on search engines. However, these features need to be correctly utilized to generate conversions for your online store.
In this section, I’ll detail optimizing your BigCommerce store for improved rankings and higher conversions.
Use Buyer-intent Keywords
Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy.
Get it right, and you’ll be raking in thousands of leads to your website without spending a dime on Google Ads. Adam Heitzman, co-founder of HigherVisibility, puts it better:
“But keyword research is more than driving more traffic to your site. It also plays a crucial role in maximizing your website conversions. When you target buyer intent keywords as part of a holistic keyword strategy, you can build a site that generates sales just as well as it generates traffic and leads.”
The biggest advantage of targeting buyer intent keywords is that it places you right in front of prospects ready to buy. You attract relevant and high-quality traffic to your site by ranking for these keywords.
How to perform keyword research
- Consider what words customers might use to find your products. Are they looking for information, ready to buy, or comparing products? Ask yourself: what challenges are they currently facing? How do they conduct searches to address these concerns? Analyze their position on the sales funnel to segment your keywords accordingly.
- Use free tools like Google Keyword Planner or Search Console to know the best-performing keywords for your site. You can also use it to generate more keyword ideas:
- Google is equally an excellent resource. Use the Google auto-suggest feature; People also ask section and the related searches feature to discover more ideas:
Or the ‘Related’ Search section:
- You can also visit Quora to see what questions people search for about your business:
- Paid SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush provide more in-depth insights into your keyword research strategy. You can also use these tools to know what keywords your competitors are searching for:
- Other eCommerce sites like Amazon can also be a great place to find what key phrases your customers are using:
Tip: Consider using long-tail keywords. For instance, if you sell yoga pants, instead of using yoga pants for men’ use ‘yoga pants for tall men’ or ‘yoga pants for tall men with pockets.’ This is because long-tail keywords have less competition, and they’re specifically targeted to what a segment of the market needs. This makes your site appear to potential customers ready to buy.
Make Content Marketing a Priority
Content will remain king as long as we live in a modern tech world.
Too many eCommerce business owners ignore content marketing. This is because they believe eCommerce is entirely sales-inclined. This may not be entirely correct. Let me explain.
81% of retail shoppers conduct research before making an online purchase. This proves that not all customers are looking to make a purchase immediately. There will still be some informative searches that customers will use to inform their purchase journey.
That said, don’t override content marketing in your SEO strategy for BigCommerce. Recognize the search intent and what page your content needs to live on. It can be a blog post that’ll drive top funnel traffic and pull customers to make a purchase.
Creating helpful content around these searches builds awareness, funnels in quality traffic, and establishes authority within your industry. And when it’s time to make a purchase, your web visitors already know where to look.
Some content marketing ideas that work are:
- Create valuable, informative, and relevant content for your industry or products. This can be through how-to guides, DIY tips, comparison guides, etc.
- Create relatable product reviews and demos that show a 360 view of your product. Talk about the benefits, showcase the features, and other vital information.
- Share user-generated content on your eCommerce home page or social channels.
- Use different forms of content to cater to your target audience. Be creative, too. This can be infographics, video explainers, using virtual reality to encourage try-ons, etc.
- Repurpose and distribute content on your social media and email marketing platforms.
Even BigCommerce mentions that:
Use SEO-Friendly URLs
Using clean URLs for your products increases the chances of your product ranking on SERPs. Typically, your URLs should be:
- Optimized with the right keywords
A good example is https://yourstore.com/big-plastics/ rather than https://yourstore.com/bigplastics345pds33/.
How to change your web page URL
- Go to your admin panel and navigate to Storefront >> Web Pages
- Enter the right URL in the ‘Page URL’ box
How to change your product page URLs
- Go to your admin panel. Click on Products >> View
- Go to the ‘Search Engine Optimization section and edit the product URL:
Best practices for BigCommerce URLs
- Use hyphens to separate words in a URL (i.e., https://yourstore.com/iphone-charger/.
- When changing your page URLs, create a 301 redirect to redirect old URLs to the new page.
- Use canonical tags to avoid duplicate URLs, especially if you have many category pages.
- Regularly check for broken links using SEO tools like SEMRush
- Minimize (or if possible, don’t) use dynamic parameters (i.e., “?=222#) in URLs. They make them look cluttered and less user-friendly.
Note: BigCommerce has an SEO feature that auto-generates SEO-friendly URLs for your product, category, and other web pages. They also automatically set up 301 redirects when you change your URLs.
Optimize for Speed
Search engines like Google prioritize page speed as one of their ranking factors. A slow site speed increases bounce rates, impacting your rankings and overall conversions.
Research further reveals that 90% of shoppers abandon carts if the website loads too slowly. If your checkout takes over 30 seconds, over 50% of your customers will leave. All these statistics prove that you need to optimize your site speed for improved user experience and, ultimately, higher rankings.
However, several factors may impact your page load speed – large images, server response time, third-party extensions, etc. In addition, you don’t have the option of buying your own hosting for your website. You’re limited to BigCommerce hosting and templates, which limits your control over your site’s speed.
- Optimize your images. Follow BigCommerce specifications for all images on your website.
- Enable Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to ensure your page loads quickly on mobile.
- Leverage big commerce’s CDN to cater to your customers outside your location.
- Limit the use of third-party apps on your site. You don’t need it if it’s not adding any value.
- Avoid adding too many codes or special features because they can slow down your site.
- Avoid excessive web fonts on your BigCommerce site and use faster-loading ‘safe’ fonts.
Use Structured Data For Rich Snippets
Search engines use structured data to understand the content of a page to enable ‘rich’ snippets on the result pages. These snippets are more visually appealing and detailed than normal search results and can influence your click-through rates.
By implementing structured data markup, you can highlight the critical details of your business (price, images, ratings, etc.) on the search results, gain more visibility, and compete effectively with other industry leaders.
Fortunately, BigCommerce automatically generates rich snippets for your online store by extracting data from your web and product pages and also supports additional markup language. You don’t have to worry about creating them yourself.
So, it’s crucial to include all relevant information, such as pricing, reviews, availability, etc. Also, consider integrating third-party apps like SchemaPlus for even more effective rich snippets.
Note: You can mark up various elements on your page, such as products, reviews, recipes, etc. Use additional markup language like Schema.org to enhance the quality of your rich snippets.
Optimize Meta Titles and Descriptions
Product titles are one of the most essential elements of eCommerce SEO.
They directly impact your conversion rate since it’s the first thing web users see when searching for your product or service online.
Elizabeth Azide, BigCommerce head of Marketing, advises that your titles should be ‘specific and accurate.’ That said, every web page on your store needs a unique and accurate meta title. Although BigCommerce can automatically generate one based on the content on your web page, it may not be SEO-optimized.
Best practices for writing meta titles that convert
- Keep it under 60 characters or less
- Use your primary keywords first. Don’t stuff your tags with keywords
- Include your brand name. A good example is ‘Lavender scented candles – ScentsbyJo.’
- Write unique titles for each web page
- Add incentives to encourage a click-through
Meta descriptions are equally important when optimizing your BigCommerce store. It should complement the title and be compelling enough to encourage a click-through.
Remember that search engines may not always use the meta description provided for a web page. When this happens, a portion of the page content that accurately caters to the user search queries is used instead.
Use Headers Correctly
The headers are another vital component of your online store. They give a nice hierarchical structure to your page and help search engine bots crawl it effectively. Secondly, they allow web visitors to scan your page to find the information they’re searching for. Visually impaired people will equally be able to understand your web page content.
Luckily, adding headings in BigCommerce is an easy peasy.
Whenever you’re editing a web page, highlight the relevant text and select the type of heading from the formatting drop-down menu:
Keep in mind that the H1 is the most crucial heading, and it’s what search engines look out for in the code when crawling your web page.
The rule of thumb is that your <h1> should always contain your primary keyword. Also, use only one <h1> per page. You can segment other sections of the page into <h2>, <h3>, <h4> tags, and so on.
Optimize Category Pages
Well-optimized category pages help you rank well on search engines and provide a better shopping experience for your customers. Arrange your categories logically and create a hierarchy from your homepage to subcategories and products.
This will help users navigate your online store quickly and show search engines which pages are essential.
Tips to optimize category pages
- Plan your website structure with a category hierarchy to ensure a natural flow from one page to another
- Use breadcrumb links to help visitors and search engines connect product pages to the main category and understand their importance. It’s like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to follow.
- Add relevant keywords and tags to your page titles and descriptions to improve your category pages’ visibility
Why Hire an Agency with BigCommerce SEO Experience?
A skilled, reliable BigCommerce SEO agency is well-versed with the features of the BigCommerce platform. They understand how to identify potential issues affecting your rankings and know the exact techniques to improve them.
Agencies with BigCommerce SEO experience also have industry-certified, trained specialists with hands-on experience handling BigCommerce SEO projects, ranging from small tasks to the most complex ones. These agencies also invest in tools, courses, and technologies that would cost you thousands of dollars to acquire.
In summary, if your goal is to improve your website visibility, attract relevant traffic, and increase conversions (fast), an agency with expertise in BigCommerce SEO might be the best option for you.
If you’re looking for an agency to help you handle the dirty work and generate your desired conversions, you’re in the right place! At HigherVisibility, we combine laser-focused targeting with optimal post-click experience to achieve all your SEO goals. Schedule a no-obligation call with any of our experts now to know if we’re a good fit.