Many companies need to adjust their strategy when it comes to investing in website growth. 70% of companies still choose to invest in social media marketing, while only 27.9% use social media to find inspiration for things to do or purchase. Despite the fact that search engines account for 93% of all online traffic, 47% of small businesses aren’t currently investing in SEO.
Companies must always consider search engines when choosing an eCommerce platform. Each platform has features that could either help you or negatively affect your business.
This article will discuss Shopify and BigCommerce and some key differences regarding their features. This thorough comparison will help you decide which one would better suit your business!
Overview of Shopify and BigCommerce
When designing an eCommerce website, it is essential to consider the search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities of the platform. While many eCommerce platforms offer impressive features, without built-in SEO support, they may not be the best investment in the long run.
Nowadays, Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the most famous eCommerce website platforms online. Both of these platforms offer SEO features for their users.
According to Shopify, users can add keywords, meta titles, and descriptions relevant to their products. Shopify users can also automatically generate robots.txt and sitemap.xml files, all while preventing duplicate content with canonical redirects.
BigCommerce users, on the other hand, can customize meta titles, descriptions, and the content on their pages. The BigCommerce guide also goes over proper canonical redirects, optimized website structure, and automatic microdata inclusion to give sites rich snippets in search results.
Built-In Features vs. Apps
You can optimize your content using various built-in Shopify features. Here’s what these features do:
- Edit the title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for blog posts, web pages, products, collections, and alt text for images.
- Automatically generate the website’s sitemap—a protocol that tells search engines like Google what pages to crawl.
- Automatically generate the website’s robots.txt—a protocol that tells Google what pages not to crawl.
- Automatically generate canonical tags and add them to your URLs; this tells Google which page is the original, eliminating duplicate content.
- Automatically create a redirect from your page’s old URL to the new one should you choose to change it.
- Generate title tags containing the store’s name.
- Offer social media sharing options, etc.
In addition to the built-in SEO features, you can install SEO apps on your Shopify store, such as:
- Smart SEO
- SEO Booster
- SEO King
- SEO Manager
BigCommerce has built-in SEO features for online stores, too, including:
- Optimized URLs that are auto-populated with SEO-friendly URLs for a product, category, and other pages. With BigCommerce, you can also alter your URL settings.
- Unique URLs for each individual page, so your online store isn’t compromised by duplicate content.
- Microdata, or ‘rich snippets,’ are automatically built into your website’s product pages to enhance your search result listings through information like rating, pricing, brand, and stock levels.
- 301 redirects and automatic URL rewrites keep your website’s URLs updated when you change product names. The old URL will redirect to the updated one, ensuring that search engines understand any alterations or movements within your online store.
- CDN, or content delivery network in BigCommerce, is constantly working in the background to ensure that shoppers and search engines can access your store quickly by increasing your site’s speed.
Lastly, BigCommerce allows you to install additional SEO apps like:
- SEO Rich Snippets
- Schema Markup
- Google-Maps SEO
- Image Optimizer SEO
How They Handle SEO Issues
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), both Shopify and BigCommerce perform quite well. Below you will find some of the common SEO issues with eCommerce websites and how Shopify and Bigcommerce handle them:
Duplicate content is content that is accessible on multiple URLs. Because the same content is shown across multiple URLs, search engines don’t know which one to rank higher in the search results. The problem that arises in this situation is that the search engine chooses to rank both URLs lower and rank other websites higher.
Shopify duplicate URLs
The way to resolve the issue of duplicate URLs is by redirecting duplicate URLs to the canonical page. However, this is not permitted by Shopify. Users cannot reroute pages that exist in theory with the Shopify redirect tool.
Furthermore, with Shopify, a tagged URL can exist even if the tag itself doesn’t. The labeled pages still exist, even if all tags are erased. The Shopify platform deems URL structure as an instruction, therefore, when fed with an URL with a tag that doesn’t exist, it will return the parent page and not a 404 error. Consequently, there is an infinite number of possible URL duplications.
With Shopify, users cannot put up a redirect rule and address the problem because Shopify doesn’t allow users to edit .htaccess files. Thus, duplicates are indexed but cannot be redirected.
BigCommerce duplicate URLs
BigCommerce doesn’t have .htaccess files because the servers are NGINX i.e. users don’t have their own virtual servers. What’s different here is that BigCommerce is headless and allows you to set up any kind of wildcard redirect using your own register. Even though you cannot make up redirect rules within the BigCommerce platform, you can create some outside of it which can then be applied to your BigCommerce-powered shop.
The BigCommerce WordPress plugin allows users to accomplish anything they can do with WordPress with BigCommerce—making BigCommerce the more powerful SEO platform.
A robots.txt file is a code that tells search engine crawlers which pages on your website they can and cannot crawl. These files are important because if they are not configured correctly, they can negatively affect your website’s SEO. When a web crawler attempts to crawl a blocked page in the robots.txt file, it will result in a soft error. The bigger the number of errors on your page, the slower the crawl rate and, ultimately, the lower the ranking.
In general, Shopify’s default rules are capable of blocking search engine crawlers from crawling lower-quality web pages for most sites. In reality, most Shopify store owners don’t need to make any changes to their robots.txt file as the default configuration will be enough to handle most issues. This is because the majority of Shopify sites tend to be smaller, making crawl control an easy task. Of course, as the Shopify platform gets more users, the websites will get larger.
While Shopify’s default rules are more than enough for most cases, sometimes it is necessary for store owners to create additional rules to adjust the robots.txt to their site. They can do this by creating and editing a robots.txt.liquid file.
Similarly, BigCommerce also has a set of default rules and a list of disallowed files by default. If users wish to view or edit this list they can easily do so by going to “Settings” and then the “Search Engine Robots” section. After making the adjustments users may have to wait a few days up to a few weeks for crawlers to crawl their site again and reindex appropriately.
Category pages have a:
- Practical purpose—they divide the inventory on an eCommerce store into manageable subsections to make it easier for online shoppers to navigate to specific products quickly.
- Higher function—they can attract users from the search engine results pages to your website.
Shopify allows users to manually add products to collections and create “smart” collections which are automatically filled with products based on conditions you set. Shopify refers to them as “automated collections.”
When setting up, users can employ various criteria to populate or fill a collection such as product titles, tags, prices, weight, etc.,—so, if you create an automated collection with a certain name, you can then tell Shopify to add to that collection any product that has the title of the collection in its name.
BigCommerce allows users to manually add products to different categories or collections they create. Although Bigcommerce does not have automated collections it does have a “bulk edit” option. Bulk Product Editor allows users to access essential product values from the BigCommerce dashboard that are unchangeable by using the import default feature—thus speeding up category assignment.
Load Time & Page Speed: Which Is Faster?
The speed at which your online store loads is very important as it can affect conversions and your site’s search engine rankings. When we compare Shopify and BigCommerce load time and page speed analyzing mobile and desktop performance scores, BigCommerce is notably faster than Shopify (although Shopify is quite fast too).
|Mobile Performance Score
|Mobile Ranking (1-12)
|Desktop Performance Score
|Desktop Ranking (1-12)
Shopify vs. BigCommerce Pricing
When it comes to different tools they can use, one of the first things customers are interested to know is their costs.
Shopify provides 5 different pricing plans:
- Starter: $5 per month
- Basic: $21.50 per month
- Shopify: $62 per month
- Advanced: $266 per month
- Shopify Plus: Starting at $2000 USD per month
Shopify also offers a three-day free trial and the ability to pay upfront for a Shopify plan and take advantage of discounts.
On the other hand, BigCommerce provides 4 different pricing plans:
- BigCommerce Standard: $29.95 per month
- BigCommerce Plus: $79.95 per month
- BigCommerce Pro: $299.95 per month
- BigCommerce Enterprise: depends on the requirements
BigCommerce also offers a free trial and a 10% discount on the “Plus” and “Pro” plans by paying upfront for a year.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce are popular eCommerce platforms that offer a range of features and tools for SEO. However, their approaches to SEO differ—so one may be better suited for your business than the other.
Shopify offers a variety of built-in features for running an online store, including marketing and sales tools, as well as options for shipping and customer service management. One advantage of using Shopify is that it comes with many built-in features, giving users more freedom to pick and choose which apps they want.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, has fewer built-in features than Shopify, but its third-party app store offers more options for customizing your online store.
Ultimately, the better option for you depends on your business’s specific needs and goals. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses—which businesses should carefully consider before making a decision.