SEO For BigCommerce
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Whether you have used the BigCommerce website store builder before or have never heard of it until now, it is important to understand that SEO can help push your BigCommerce presence further.
No matter the size of your business, spreading your eCommerce site to a wider audience can only mean more attention and more sales – but only if you do SEO right.
Handling SEO for BigCommerce might seem like a daunting task, but there are a lot of ways to handle your search engine optimization to benefit an individual web page – or even your entire website.
If your BigCommerce store is a major part of your business, then getting more traffic to your store can be a vital part of growing your business and finding new pockets of success.
But how do you actually approach SEO on the BigCommerce eCommerce platform? More importantly, what can a business do to spread its store page further without making huge fundamental changes to the elements that they want to keep the same?
Here is a deep dive into some of the simple (and not-so-simple) methods of getting more traction and traffic to your BigCommerce store.
Why BigCommerce platform is good for SEO?
The BigCommerce platform was designed with high-quality standards and flexibility in mind, and that makes a big difference to your SEO options.
While some platforms are very restrictive or have hard limits on how your store operates, BigCommerce is a lot more open and adjustable.
This makes it a prime target for a wide range of SEO tools and techniques.
If you want to get your site higher on a search engine results page, then there is a whole host of ways that you can achieve that goal, no matter which of the major search engines you focus on most.
BigCommerce understands SEO very well. SEO involves a lot of small adjustments and careful customisation. Sometimes, it only takes one tweak to make a page rocket up the search results or a little adjustment of some code to get your website even more traffic.
Not only does BigCommerce offer a lot of flexibility, but it has its own marketplace, giving you near-instant access to a huge variety of SEO tools and other useful toolsets that your pages might need.
This makes it an accessible platform for people who are not particularly skilled in SEO but still want to bolster their search engine rankings.
In simple terms, BigCommerce is adaptable.
If you want to push your online store higher in relevant search engine results, then you have a lot of ways to achieve that goal – and BigCommerce does not stop you from finding tools and code improvements that can enable even greater success.
SEO tips for BigCommerce stores
Whether you are an SEO specialist, a novice, or a complete newcomer, search engine optimisation is usually quite straightforward.
While the actual work you have to do will always be different, there are some core tenets of optimising web pages that usually remain the same no matter what you are doing.
While BigCommerce is its own platform, most BigCommerce SEO can be handled by simply treating your store like any other web page and using the same web page SEO techniques that you would on other sites.
Here are some of the most obvious ways to bolster your BigCommerce SEO, as well as details on what benefits they provide and how complex they might be for a first-timer.
Optimize your page titles
A page title can be more important than you might think.
Search engine platforms will present your page title as the largest part of any search results you appear in, so that page title is generally the first impression that your business will make upon your potential audience.
This means that choosing effective, relevant, clear page titles can be important.
For example, if you are doing BigCommerce SEO for a BigCommerce store that sells tech products, your page title should reflect that.
If you are doing on-page SEO for a particular product page, then that page title needs to match with the product pages in question.
Page titles are the first thing that most users will see. If it is something that interests them and meets the needs of whatever they are currently searching for, then they are much more likely to click.
Accurate and relevant page titles do two things: they increase search rankings (since the search engine algorithms can tell that the titles relate to the contents of the page), and they also mean that you will draw in more traffic from the right kind of audiences.
Optimize your meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are arguably just as important as page titles, and for a good reason.
Most search engines will present the meta descriptions alongside the title to form that first impression of your site, allowing you to add some extra context or detail to your search result listings on a per-page basis.
This can be important with both product pages and general store pages.
If a customer looks up “Winter Clothing” and finds a page titled “Fashionable Winter Clothing” that already meets their needs – but a meta description could propose a call-to-action, promote free delivery offers, or even just drum up some extra interest with some additional flair.
A good meta description can clarify the title, drawing in a more relevant audience while helping to filter out visitors who were looking for a different kind of page or set of information.
For an eCommerce platform, this kind of clarification can be vital for getting the audience you actually want rather than just a generic flood of internet traffic.
The importance of keyword research
If you want to do any kind of BigCommerce SEO – or SEO in general – then keyword research is required for success.
Keyword research involves looking up relevant keywords through exploratory searches, various keyword research tools, or even looking at your site’s own user data and the way this interacts with your platform.
Keyword research is all about finding particular keyword suggestions that could benefit your pages.
Most search engine results pages work by displaying the most relevant results for the terms that the searcher has used, and some are going to be far more popular than others.
For example, if a person is looking for an office chair, then you can expect the term “Office Chair” to be very competitive.
Most sites that sell those chairs will be using it, so exploring other terms like “Work Chair” might provide you with another way to capture an interested audience.
Keyword research can be a very complicated subject – breaking it down is the easiest way to explain what it actually does and how it can be used to your advantage.
How Keywords Effect Search Engines
When you look something up on a search engine, you use specific terms.
Typing in “Green Hats” would usually display product pages of green hats or category pages of stores that sell a range of green hats. The keyword “Green Hats” is the trigger for these pages to display.
However, not everybody who wants a green hat will use “Green Hats” in their search.
With no additional keywords, terms like “Camo Hats” or “Olive Hats” are not going to bring up those same search results, even if they are in the market for the same products.
Adding keywords to your page – in meta descriptions, image metadata or even just on the page as regular text content – fixes this.
Including keywords like “Olive Hats” on a product page will mean that it can appear in search results that include that term (or similar terms).
This can be used in a range of ways. It can spread your online store to markets using different search terms, compensate for users not knowing the exact name of a product you sell, or even show your services to potential customers whose search terms are in the form of a problem.
For example, “How do I plug headphones into a phone with no headphone jack?” this would be relevant for a company that sells headphone adapters. These customers are in the market for an adapter, but they do not know they are until they see one and/or discover that they exist.
Not all keywords need to be exact or even full phrases. What is important is that your product pages appear for the right markets – meaning people who are interested in a product or service that you are offering them.
Some keywords are far more competitive than others, which can lead to keyword difficulty.
Specificity helps – thousands of companies will be using the term “Office Desk”, so using the specific features of each desk as a keyword (i.e. “Silver Metal Office Desk”) can mean less competition and more chances to rank higher.
A lot of factors can influence search engine rankings, so less competition is usually better.
Having a greater hold on more niche terms can allow you to rank higher for relevant but specific searches, showing your product pages to audiences that are in the market for that particular product or service.
Amazon is full of autocomplete suggestions and category pages that can help direct you to useful keywords, making it even easier to tailor your search results to a specific niche.
This can also be a good way to work around the more popular search terms, helping you avoid getting overshadowed by Amazon pages.
In general, any sales platform like Amazon that offers a wide variety of products can be worth investigating.
Many of them show excellent examples of specific keywords and terms that might work, as well as product page descriptions and titles that you could use to improve your own.
Google is the most popular search engine by far, so a lot of search engine optimisation is focused primarily around Google itself.
Using Google’s autocomplete suggestions can allow you to get a good idea of what people are searching for, as well as see the product descriptions and page titles that are recommended for each search.
You can also look up each target keyword or keyphrase to see what kind of results they bring up.
This is a simple but useful way of identifying a potential SEO strategy, finding niches that suit your products, or avoiding terms that bring up irrelevant products.
If you happen to use Google Analytics, you can also sometimes check relevant terms to your user’s visits and interests.
Analytics might allow you to find the exact terms that brought your users to a specific page, giving you a way to identify the most effective keyword combinations using actual hard data.
Using competitors’ keywords
If you are struggling to compete with another business, looking at their keywords can help.
Whether you are trying to copy their keywords or just want to sidestep them by targeting a different market, there are various methods and marketing tools that can help you discover the keywords that their pages rank for.
This kind of competitor analysis can seem complex at first, but the idea is actually quite simple – you look at the keywords that your competitors are using, then use that information to bolster your own BigCommerce SEO efforts.
The closer a competitor is to your own products and services, the more this will help.
In many cases, looking at the keywords of multiple competitors can give you even more data to work with, allowing you to slowly refine your own strategy to target keywords that you have a chance of exploiting or dominating in the market.
How to know if the keywords you chose work or not
There are three factors that influence a keyword’s performance: keyword ranking difficulty, search frequency, and buyer intent.
Keyword difficulty is all about the difficulty of targeting that keyword.
Maybe it is competitive and dominated by a lot of other web pages, or maybe it is relatively free of competition and easy to use as a source of new visitors.
For example, “Leather Couch” is a very generic term that is going to be dominated by many large furniture companies.
Something like “Faux Leather Vegan Couch” is more niche – it relates to a specific product and will get less attention, but fewer companies are competing for it, and you will be targeting a smaller but more in-market audience.
Search frequency focuses on how often that keyword is searched.
A very niche keyword might only be searched a few dozen times a month – that might be great for highly specialised and high-profit product pages but not for pages that rely on a lot of organic traffic.
More specificity usually means a lower search volume. “VR Headset” is going to get a lot of traffic, and “Room Scale VR Headset” will get slightly less but still be viable.
“Hot Pink Room Scale VR Headset” is less generalised, so expect fewer searches.
There is nothing wrong with choosing lesser-used terms. However, the problems start if you choose terms that are too specific.
Driving traffic to your store should be your main goal, and that can’t happen if your main target keyword barely gets double-digit searches each week.
Buyer intent is the intent of the buyer. You ideally want people in your target audience who are actively searching for the product or service that you are offering.
Irrelevant buyer intent means that they are not actually looking for what you offer, massively reducing the chance of them being interested.
Let’s say you are selling expensive business suits. A person looking up “Wedding Business Suits” will probably be in your market, but one looking up “Cheap Business Suits” will not be.
The same goes for people searching “How to Clean a Business Suit” – they probably are not looking to buy another one and just want information on how to clean their current suit.
Positive and Negative Keywords
Positive and Negative keywords are the backbone of keyword research. WITH on-page SEO, you have both positive (wanted) and negative (rejected) keywords to consider. Negative keywords let you remove yourself from search results that do not relate to your BigCommerce SEO attempts.
Using the business suit example above, the negative keyword “Cheap” would prevent your suits from appearing for people searching “Cheap Business Suits”.
This allows you to market your BigCommerce store pages at specific audiences without getting irrelevant traffic.
These also apply to different product types with similar names. For example, what if you are selling painting sets for model kits?
The negative keyword “Wall” or “Room” can stop your paints from appearing when somebody searches “Room Paint Set”.
Editing titles for static pages
As mentioned before, changing a page title can be vital for BigCommerce SEO. Even changing your BigCommerce SEO page title slightly can make a difference, just like the meta descriptions.
Getting organic traffic based on the product descriptions that mention another related product or company name? Edit the titles to clarify what that unique page is offering.
Editing titles on blog posts
Blog posts can also benefit from using the titles and meta descriptions properly. Most blog posts offer a lot more text than just a brief description, so having clear text that appears in search results can help direct the right traffic to your site in the right way.
Editing titles on product pages
BigCommerce SEO tools allow you to edit product page meta-titles freely, meaning that you can always adjust some of the titles in your BigCommerce store to get the best results.
Page title data and metadata descriptions do not need to remain static. Changing them around over time can allow you to target changing customer bases or revived trends that relate to each product.
Add Alt Images to your Product Photos
Alt text is vital on any page. Search engines understand text on product pages but not product images – alt text or an alt tag allows you to clarify what the product images are on a technical level.
While not visible in web browsers unless you specifically look for them, all images have an alt tag.
However, by default, that alt text or tag might just be the file name – and alt text like “office-chair-red” is a lot more descriptive than “image045.jpg”.
Search engines can only see the text and alt text on your BigCommerce pages, so proper use of alt text allows them to “see” through your alt tags.
Google and most other search engines work this way, making alt tags one of the most important SEO features to understand.
Remember that alt text is mostly for the benefit of the search engine, but not entirely.
Some forms of alt text are also used for blind internet users that let their browsers read internet pages out loud – so sometimes having readable alt text on particular images can be useful if your business aims to be inclusive.
Integrate with Google Analytics
BigCommerce SEO can be integrated into platforms like Google Analytics for a huge range of benefits, as well as a Google Search Console account, Bing Webmaster Tools registering, and various other useful toolsets.
Connecting your BigCommerce pages to these platforms can provide you with a whole host of search engine ranking data, making it easier to construct everything from rich snippets to an entirely new URL structure for a more SEO-optimized BigCommerce SEO approach.
Use SSL Certificate
The Secure Sockets Layer system is what gives your site the https:// prefix on the URL rather than the original http://.
This is more secure and generally more accepted by browsers, meaning that it is the preferred option.
BigCommerce offers an SSL certificate for all users, although you can apply third-party certificates if you prefer.
This takes a deeper understanding of your overall URL settings and systems, but casual site owners should not worry too much about it yet.
Register your BigCommerce store with Google Search Console
As mentioned above, platforms like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools provide invaluable information.
Registering with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools also gives you an easy way to inform the search engines that your site actually does exist, ensuring that it gets crawled properly and put into the results on those search engines.
Use Structured Data and rich snippets
Rich snippets do not have much impact on rankings across most search engines. However, they are still a major part of said search engines since they provide users with more detail and information.
Rich snippets can include things like cooking times on recipes, or the location of a particular product, while they are still on the search engines themselves.
Understanding rich snippets can be tough at first, but they are basically structured data code snippets that search engines interpret in particular ways.
Rich snippets might include things like a product price, showing it on search engines directly instead of forcing users to visit the product pages.
Proper use of rich snippets can be tough, but mastering them is one of the more subtle SEO tips in this list.
It will not necessarily push your site higher in search engines, but it can give users more information that might lead them to your page – while also culling out users who are not looking for that price range or product type.
Integrate on-site Blogs
Adding blogs to any site can help boost search engine rankings. Blogs are a hub of content and keywords, from the contents of individual blog web pages to the meta description of each one.
Beyond that, you have blog category pages and even key pages that can be filled with SEO-friendly content.
Putting even a small blog on your eCommerce platform can give you another avenue to draw in customers. Blogs allow for meta description options and SEO-friendly URLs that you can’t get with product pages.
Create Short URLs
Short, optimized URLs can be invaluable. You have only one URL per page to work with, but URL rewrites via SEO tools can let you boost your position in search engine results as a whole.
Your auto-populated URL is usually going to be long and unwieldy, a bit like if your meta description was taken straight from the page content.
However, a custom URL (such as changing “[site]/products/furniture/chairs/recliners/542″ to just “[site]/recliners/542“) that does not actually impact your site’s layout can be quite useful for attracting users who are scrolling down search results.
Ensure that your online store is Mobile Friendly and Responsive
Mobile search results are an important market, and many people overlook mobile compatibility.
Choosing to enable accelerated mobile pages can help with getting mobile devices onto your platform, but the site’s altos need to be suitable for mobile devices as a whole.
Google prioritises accelerated mobile pages for mobile devices and will also check the mobile version of each page for issues like low site speed or poor functionality.
Whether it is changing web fonts on the mobile version or compressing images to improve site speed, making your BigCommerce SEO efforts work with mobile devices too can really help you acquire a new market and push yourself
Make your online store load fast on desktop
Fast site speeds are important. Most search engines treat loading times and performance as major ranking factors.
In general, if your site loads slowly, it will appear lower in search results. It will also be more likely to frustrate and turn away users that do decide to visit. Even something as simple as a lot of different web fonts can impact performance.
A major part of SEO is optimising the site as a whole, and that includes making it load and run properly on all major devices.
Poor site speed can also indicate flaws in coding or image compression, which can end up making the site work far worse and potentially cause problems further down the line as you continue to make changes to its layout and design.
Optimize Header Tags and Meta Tags of all Product Pages
As mentioned earlier, optimise any kind of tag, even for internal links. You never know which tags might trigger your site to appear in somebody’s searches.
BigCommerce SEO features give you the tools to adjust these tags as needed, so do not be afraid to regularly alter them to suit each niche or audience you are trying to target.
Never Use Copied Content
Duplicate content – either from another site or between pages on your own – can kill your site rankings.
If search engines find matching content on two sites, they will penalise and tank the rankings of both. Even copying your own content on your site can obliterate your site performance.
Always write something fresh, even if it is directly based on another piece of text. The less repetition you have on your site, the fewer penalties you can expect.
Using BigCommerce SEO Fields
BigCommerce offers five main SEO fields, most of which we have already talked about. If you need a quick breakdown of what to do, then here are some highlights.
Manage 301 redirects and URL rewrites in whatever ways benefit your site. Minimise the number of bulky or overly-long URLs that will appear in search results.
Include relevant, keyword-heavy metadata that still feels natural to read. You want to draw customers in while also appearing in more search results.
Product and Category Description
Give each product and category a unique description with minimal copied content. Use keywords without destroying the readability of the pages.
Find relevant keywords across any relevant niches.
Employ negative keywords to avoid irrelevant traffic, and use positive keywords to secure audiences that your competitors are struggling with (or missing entirely).
If possible, be competitive on more popular keywords, but always have a backup plan.
BigCommerce SEO Apps & Integrations
Integrate your BigCommerce store alongside platforms like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Use the BigCommerce marketplace to modify and customise your BigCommerce store directly.
BigCommerce Search Engine Optimization Conclusion
BigCommerce SEO can take a lot of forms, and there is no perfect way to tackle each project. No matter what kind of SEO work you are focusing on, there can always be alternate strategies or other details to explore.
What is important is that you understand your goals and how you can get your site or store to the kind of success that you are looking for.
SEO covers a large range of tasks, and not all of them are relevant in each situation. A large part of successful SEO is understanding when to employ each technique and when you should rethink your ideas or gather more data.
Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that BigCommerce provides a good range of SEO tools. Even if you are brand new to SEO, you can begin to explore your options almost immediately after your site is up and running.
As one final note, remember that success is not just about SEO. While SEO makes a big difference in the long run, you still need to have a business worth promoting and products worth selling.
No matter what kind of SEO marketing techniques you turn to, you are only as good as your business. SEO should be a core part of how you operate, mixing in with other business-related changes. It is not a fire-and-forget solution but a way to optimise and improve what already exists.
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