Selecting the best eCommerce platform to optimise your SEO

There are also many organisational considerations to address when choosing the right medium to optimise your SEO.

With more consumers moving online for their weekly shopping needs and Australians spending an estimated $37.8 billion online from July 2014 to June 2015 based on a report,* digital marketers StewArt Media have stated that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has never been more important for organisations to remain relevant and competitive. And so it makes it crucial to know how to best optimise your SEO.

A common question for businesses is: What is the best e-commerce platform for SEO? It is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on what is important to the organisation from an SEO perspective.

There are many “trade offs” when choosing a system that caters for your needs. No platform is immune to problems, depending on how it’s been customized.

The key criteria for choosing an e-commerce platform for the purpose of SEO are:

1. Ability to edit headings, page titles, URLs and filenames

A content management system (CMS) such as Magento or WordPress with WooCommerce allows you to easily change URLs and filenames. This is important for those who want to avoid doing it programmatically. Some CMS will generate a product image thumbnail with a generic name, making it harder to distinguish between images. In this case, a plugin may help with overcoming this hurdle. The option of customised URLs and filenames will allow you to include keywords that will boost your rating in Google searches.

2. Ability to easily create redirects

Flexibility is essential for SEO. Stewart suggests avoiding platforms that restrict the ability to upload bulk redirects freely. Many proprietary platforms fall into this category. Therefore, many open source platforms are better for their flexible nature. Being able to easily create redirects will prevent the likelihood of the viewer running into errors and having to wait longer for the page to load, furthermore limiting the ability to rank highly.

3. Ability to easily add no follow, canonicals and no index tags

These overlooked areas instruct search engines to refrain from indexing particular areas, therefore, transferring value towards your priority sections.

4. Speed is an area of high importance

When selecting an ecommerce platform, it is useful to run speed checks on existing examples (for example, using the Google Page Speed tool or webpagetest.org). The faster a page runs, the more likely the Googlebot will access your content. This increases the likelihood of rising in the Google search ranks. BigCommerce and Shopify are great for speed.

There are also many organisational considerations to address when choosing the right medium. Businesses with small catalogues work quite well with WordPress (with WooCommerce) whereas Magento is better suited for larger businesses.

* Roy Morgan Online Shopping in Australia June 2015 (Australia)

Jim Stewart, CEO, Stewart Media

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