A Complete Guide to BigCommerce SEO (2024)

My experience with chatbot, AI, and everything around it has been a bittersweet journey. Here is how ChatGPT brought the paradigm shift with respect to its implementation in our SEOKart app on BigCommerce.

June 20, 2023 | 7 MINUTES

Statistics have found 63% of shopping journeys begin online, which proves that regardless of where customers are finally making the purchase, their journey with a brand starts by doing research online - which primarily boils down to using the search engine. That’s why irrespective of what you sell, how much competition you have, having a BigCommerce SEO strategy is a must!

While platforms like BigCommerce simplify taking your business online with impressive storefronts, getting discovered by the right set of consumers is easier said than done. Add to that the increasing competition in eCommerce, and you can see brands experiencing high customer acquisition costs.

This is where tapping into the natural flow of brand discovery should become a priority for online businesses on BigCommerce. And apart from being present on social media, this means focusing on the search engine.

In this blog, we’re going to walk you through what BigCommerce SEO is, why it is important and how you can get started. Get ready to double your organic traffic in no time!

What is BigCommerce SEO?

BigCommerce is a robust platform with a user-friendly interface that enables businesses to set up their online storefronts. It comes with unique built-in features, and SEO capabilities that further help the business create an engaging shopping experience for their target audience.

But talking about BigCommerce SEO, the eCommerce platform comes with a few features to help brands get discovered on search; these include:

  • Optimized URLs: BigCommerce auto-generates SEO-friendly URLs for a product, category, and other pages with an option to change the URL settings to further improve their searchability.
  • Unique URLs: BigCommerce guarantees that every unique page has only one URL to prevent duplicate content that could compromise your store.
  • Microdata: Microdata, or "rich snippets," are automatically built into your website's website product pages to enhance your search result listings with information like ratings, brands, stock levels and pricing.
  • 301 redirects and URL rewrites: BigCommerce's auto-populated URLs adjust and reflect changes when you rename a product, and the old URL will be redirected to the new URL.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): BigCommerce's CDN loads and sends photos and other files as fast as possible, improving your site speed. This is a vital metric for shoppers and search engines alike!

Why is BigCommerce SEO Important?

When it comes to marketing and advertising tactics, it has become a pay to play ecosystem lately. The more budget you can set aside, the more attention your brand can get.

Tackling discounts as well as increasing costs of acquisition is not a long-term strategy for most online businesses - this is where building your own audience comes into play and BigCommerce SEO is crucial for the same.

An SEO-optimized BigCommerce store generates traffic organically and constantly, unlike paid campaigns that stop performing when the budget goes down.

Since it also taps into the real intent of a search engine user, the tactic is led by pull-marketing, instead of pushing discounts to attract online shoppers.

Here are some statistics you will find interesting about eCommerce SEO:

  • Organic search is the primary source of website traffic, with SEO leading to 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media.
  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate in comparison to outbound leads, such as print advertising or direct mail, with a 1.7% close rate. This statistic highlights the potential of SEO to drive more sales.
  • According to HubSpot, SEO is the second most-effective channel for acquiring new customers after social media.
  • Google's #1 organic search result has an average CTR of 31.7%, and the top 3 results get 75.1% of all clicks, which indicates the significance of high rankings in search results.

While the numbers around SEO impact are positive, getting started with a BigCommerce SEO strategy is more than just writing good product descriptions for your catalog.

So in the next section, we’re going to share a step by step that we recommend our customers to follow.

How to get started with BigCommerce SEO

When it comes to search engine optimization for eCommerce businesses, there are several on-page, off-page and technical aspects that one needs to look into. But let’s break this down into simpler steps to make the process of getting started with BigCommerce SEO less overwhelming:

Step 1: Start with keyword research

Keyword research is the foundation for creating a successful BigCommerce SEO strategy.

Along with discovering what's trending in your industry, you will also be able to identify how your target audience searches for specific products across different categories and how your competitors are enticing them to visit their website.

The right set of keywords can help you attract the right target audience that is more likely to convert into a customer. Here is a simple checklist to simplify your keyword research:

  • Make a list of broad topics relevant to your brand
  • Expand each topic based on the products you have with more descriptive phrases
  • Use Google Keyword planner or tools like Semrush to identify search keywords
  • Take note of the search intent (navigational, commercial, transactional) and the websites ranking for it
  • Create a list of keywords you want to focus on, based on search volume, search relevance, keyword difficulty and keyword search intent
  • Do a competitor analysis to identify the keywords they are focusing on

PS. We will be creating a detailed guide on keyword analysis for eCommerce brands soon. Subscribe to our blog to be notified!

Step 2: Perform an SEO audit

SEO audit means the analysis of a website. You have to look at problems hampering a page's ability to rank on search engines and rectify those areas needing improvement to get more visibility in search results and drive retention. It is the initial step in creating a BigCommerce SEO strategy based on your website, niche, and business goals.

Here’s what it typically includes:

Technical Audit

The first check needs to be done on the technical errors of the website like:

Indexing & Crawlability

You have to check whether the site is indexed and whether the search bugs are prohibited from scraping the data on your website.

  • File robots
  • Sitemap
  • Client Side (40x, 50x) Errors

Reasonable website redirects do not include redirects: HTTP, HTTPS, 301, 302.

  • Friendly URL
  • Absolute URL
Encoding & technical factors
  • Not optimal for mobile
  • Problem with HTTPS
  • W3C HTML and CSS error
  • Photos are lost
  • Does not have an alt tag
  • Losing title
  • Duplicate title
  • The title is too long
  • Loss of description
  • Duplicate description
  • The description is too long

Content Audit

When you find that the existing content is not meeting the content quality standards, you must do a content audit to improve or process it.

After a few months, conduct the content audit again to check if the search purpose has changed so you can edit it accordingly - this is especially important for the product descriptions and details you add to the online store.

Some of the common problems that come up in content audits of eCommerce websites include duplicate content, thin content with less than 600 words and low-quality content that does not match the intent of the keyword in focus.

Backlink audit

Backlink auditing is when you identify backlinks that do not meet the quality criteria you established while doing your off-page work and making decisions to change or process them.

Some of the common problems an audit may highlight include low-quality backlinks, backlink is not indexed or is broken.

Step 3: Focus on-page SEO

On-page SEO is the optimization done on your BigCommerce website. This includes your homepage, product pages, collection pages, blogs, lookbooks and every other sub-directory and sub-page created to enhance your storefront.

Here are four main components of on-page optimization for BigCommerce stores:

  • Meta title: The title is the first line that appears in the search results; so you want to ensure you have the best keyword describing the contents of the page present in it. You also need to ensure it does not exceed 60 characters in length.
  • Meta description: Meta description is the main narrative of the content that provokes excitement, motivating search engine users to click through the link and reach your BigCommerce store.
  • Headers: Headers are considered layouts, and it is wise to prioritize the keywords that need SEO to appear on the Heading to facilitate the content indexing process. This may include the product title or the collection title based on what is being displayed on the page.
  • Quality content: Content is definitely the most crucial element in BigCommerce SEO. Therefore, the website should offer valuable and quality information for online shoppers, written in an easy-to-read and understandable style - this includes product descriptions, product care and other information.

Step 4: Perfect category and product pages

Category pages are generally high-ranking and authoritative and can help you reach more consumers on the search engine. But they need to be structured well as per intent and the ease of shopping that they can offer to a consumer.

It is best to have a hierarchical structure with no more than three levels for an eCommerce website. Otherwise, it may create an adverse effect, and your overall category domain authority will be affected negatively as the search engines will not consider them as significant.

Many eCommerce sites cannot rank for individual product pages as similar products are available on other larger websites, which reach the first position on the search results page.

Another reason may be that people commonly use general terms to look for products rather than searching by individual product names.

An optimized one-page product should include the following:

  • An SEO-friendly URL that describes the category
  • Specific keywords related to products in the category
  • An apt description provides sufficient data for users to know why they should click on your link from the SERPs
  • A unique H1 tag with keywords
  • Textual content that includes category-related data and internal links to subpages or other pages of the site
  • Superior quality images of products or sub-categories
  • Integrate all conversion optimization aspects like store homepage offers, customer reviews, CTA, etc
  • Filters and other elements to help users narrow down their choices and find what they are looking for in the fastest possible way

Step 5: Build backlinks for the website

Backlinks are links from one or other different websites directed to your website. Google and search engines rely on the number of backlinks directed to a website to evaluate rankings for SEO results.

Pages with many backlinks are likely to have higher organic search engine rankings.

Putting backlinks on high-quality websites relevant to your business is always beneficial as it can also drive in relevant organic referral traffic!

Backlinks act as endorsements for your BigCommerce store. Featuring wide-ranging posts about subjects people are interested in brings a decent SERP ranking within reach. This shows that others vouch for your products and content and that what you deliver is highly relevant to online shoppers.

But remember, quality over quantity is key when building backlinks through your off-page BigCommerce SEO strategy.

PS. We will be doing a detailed guide on building backlinks for eCommerce stores. Remember to subscribe to our blog to get notified!

Step 6: Leverage rich snippets

BigCommerce supports an additional markup language to make rich snippets appear in search engines. Usually, Google displays page titles and meta descriptions in the search results, but with this extra markup, you can tell search engines how to display surplus data about your products and store.

Leveraging rich snippets establishes significance for products and offers customers quick access to data that inspires people to click through to your product.

These rich snippets show below your page title and meta description, influencing what search engine users see in their SERPs.

BigCommerce can use the specifics of your input to enhance your SERP listings automatically with product information such as:

  • Brand
  • Ratings
  • Reviews
  • Stock levels
  • Pricing

Step 7: Maximize site performance

Page performance is not only beneficial for SEO purposes, but the faster your store loads, the likelihood of potential customers leaving your site and using a competitor's site will lessen.

Faster-loading websites have significantly higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates. So, how can you maximize your site performance?

  • You can compress image file sizes using your software or free websites
  • Keep custom code clean and avoid using many web fonts, as these components can slow down your site loading time
  • Enable accelerated mobile pages (AMP), which helps with site speed on mobile devices, creating a better user experience.

Wrapping Up

SEO is more important than ever with the growing competition in eCommerce, especially in times when the CAC is increasing by the day.

Relevant organic traffic can additionally help with better retargeting and remarketing, leading to lower customer acquisition costs.

While BigCommerce definitely offers a lot of features to help brands get started with eCommerce SEO, businesses need to do more. This is where looking into the smallest of nuances of your web pages can help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors in the search results.

And that’s where brands love using the BigCommerce SEO plugin, SEOKart.

SEOKart is a fully-loaded, all-in-one SEO app for BigCommerce stores that helps them not just audit their website, but also optimize every element present and highlight, with an AI-assisted list of insights and actionables. So you can optimize your online store from one dashboard alone and track its search performance closely!

Don’t believe us?

Book a demo of SEOKart with our BigCommerce experts today.

Frequently asked questions

How do I improve SEO on BigCommerce?

The best way to improve SEO on BigCommerce is to focus on your keyword research and optimize each of your pages with relevant search phrases on the intent they serve. We recommend using a BigCommerce plugin like SEOKart to get page-by-page actionables and the ability to implement the SEO optimizations required.

What are the problems with BigCommerce SEO?

The major problems with BigCommerce SEO include limited blog functionality lacking CRO tools and SEO settings, duplicate content checker, lack of canonical settings, slow site speed, poor SEO support, documentation and tutorials. But you can tackle this with the help of BigCommerce SEO plugins like SEOKart.