Shopify vs BigCommerce SEO comparison

Updated: May 30, 2021

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Despite the fact that search engines generate 51 percent of online traffic, just 44 percent of firms spend on SEO. Surprisingly, 81 percent of firms invest in social media, despite the fact that it accounts for just 5 percent of online traffic.

It is critical to consider search engines while selecting an eCommerce platform. Regrettably, not all platforms are created equal, and some might be detrimental.

In this “Shopify vs BigCommerce SEO comparison”, we will look at some of the differences between Shopify and BigCommerce’s SEO features. BigCommerce is superior as long as you use it correctly.

Table of contents

Duplicate URLs

Additionally, it’s very uncommon for e-commerce sites to have several URLs linking to the same content for a number of reasons. A number of systems, such as blogs, employ URL variables to store user information. The same material is loaded whether URL is in uppercase or lowercase, but they do so without redirecting the URL. URLs that include product tags are often referred to as product tag URLs.

Themes and plugins affect both Shopify and BigCommerce in different ways, with differing results. However, BigCommerce provides more available solutions to combat the issues that they cause.

Shopify Duplicate URLs

There is no way to resolve the underlying issue without redirecting duplicate URLs to the canonical page. This is just not permitted by Shopify. Their redirect tool does not enable you to reroute pages that exist in theory.

Furthermore, Shopify does not need the existence of a tag in order for a tagged URL to exist. Even if you erase all of your tags, the labeled pages remain. The Shopify platform considers URL structure to be an instruction, and if you provide it a URL with a tag that doesn’t exist, it will still return the parent page rather than a 404 error. As a result, there is an endless number of possible URL duplication.

Because Shopify does not allow users to edit.htaccess files, there is no way to put up a redirect rule and address this problem. Duplicates exist and are indexed, but they cannot be redirected.

BigCommerce Duplicate URLs

To be clear, the BigCommerce platform does not have.htaccess files since the servers are NGINX and users do not have their own virtual servers. The key distinction is that BigCommerce is headless, and you may set up any kind of wildcard redirect with your own registrar. While you cannot create redirect rules inside the BigCommerce platform, you may create them outside of it and apply them to your BigCommerce-powered shop.

The BigCommerce WordPress plugin allows you to accomplish whatever you can do with WordPress with BigCommerce, making it a much more powerful SEO platform.

Robot.txt

Shopify vs BigCommerce SEO comparison Robot.txt

Shopify Robot.txt

Regrettably, the Shopify platform also contains numerous directives in the robots.txt file that prevent search engines from scanning pages on your site that you may (or may not) wish to have indexed:

These three lines prevent search engines from scanning any URL that has a plus sign or space after the “collections” folder.

If you divide your items into product categories or vendors, Shopify will create product type and vendor pages with URLs similar to these:

So, if your product categories and suppliers have names that include more than one word, the pages they create will have a plus sign and will not be crawlable by search engines, preventing the information on those pages from being indexed. This also throws off the search engine crawl pattern, making it more difficult for search engines to accurately identify and crawl additional sites.

There may be reasons why you don’t want certain sites crawled, but this is something that should be within user control and, more importantly, shouldn’t be decided by something as arbitrary as whether or not the vendor or product category consists of more than one word.

BigCommerce Robot.txt

The Robots.txt file allows you to tell search engines and other crawlers how to index and crawl your site. You can tell them not to index or crawl certain folders or pages on your site, tell it whether or not to follow links, tell it where your sitemap or sitemaps are, and make other similar commands.

As for which platform is better for this, there is no question. BigCommerce is better. The reason for that is pretty straightforward. BigCommerce lets you edit robots.txt, and Shopify does not. This is a native feature of the BigCommerce platform and doesn’t even require you to run it headless.

Blogging

Shopify vs BigCommerce SEO comparison Blogging

Shopify Blogging

It is not feasible to operate Shopify from inside a WordPress website. WordPress, in fact, cannot be installed in a subdirectory of your Shopify site. You have no choice but to install it on a subdomain.

The idea that hosting your blog on a subdomain is bad for SEO is widely held, although it is debatable. Subdomains are not treated differently by Google. There’s no reason to assume this is a deceptive position, but it may be confusing.

While it is technically true that Google does not care if your blog is hosted on a subdomain, it does care that it is hosted on different servers, almost certainly uses a different theme template, almost certainly has a different navigational structure, and that links between the root domain and subdomain are probably handled differently than internal links on the blog and on the root domain.

All of this implies that it requires a significant amount of development work to connect your Shopify shop and blog in such a manner that Google views them as part of the same business, and that SEO authority will not flow naturally between the two without a significant amount of additional work.

Of course, you can avoid these issues if you utilize the Shopify blog platform instead of WordPress, but this comes with inherent constraints.

To begin with, Shopify does not have access to important SEO plugins like as Yoast or Rank Math. This severely restricts the amount and ease with which you may modify your SEO settings.

In terms of content marketing, Shopify is severely weakened due to the absence of article versioning. This implies you must either create your own internal article versioning system or accept that any modifications you make are permanent.

Shopify only allows you to use tags for your blog entries, not categories. Because of this significant constraint, it is difficult to offer search engines with a large amount of significant semantic information. It requires your blog’s architecture to remain flat, which means SEO link authority and relevance aren’t shared without significant human work.

Without WordPress’s open-source ethic, most themes and plugins that come with the CMS are paid, significantly limiting potential.

Some essential content marketing capabilities, such as an archive and highlighted photos, are also lacking until you explicitly integrate them.

For all of these reasons, despite the limits, it’s often a preferable idea to set up a WordPress blog on a subdomain. To get the most out of it, navigational connections must be made to both platforms that significantly combine the two sites. The themes should be as comparable in design and code as feasible, and significant work should be put into perfecting the connection architecture between the two platforms.

BigCommerce Blogging

Shopify and BigCommerce were both designed first and foremost as eCommerce platforms. Both platforms have minimal blogging options that are regarded as an afterthought. Because properly executed blogging is by far one of the most dependable strategies to increase search engine traffic and authority, these restrictions are problematic.

As previously said, BigCommerce provides a WordPress plugin that lets you to operate the platform inside WordPress. That means you receive all of WordPress’s capability and SEO flexibility. We don’t advocate utilizing BigCommerce’s native blogging functionality, but WordPress is, in our view, the greatest blogging platform in terms of SEO and usability. The WordPress plugin’s comprehensive and entire integration provides you with all you want.

HTTP Headers

Shopify HTTP Headers

At this time, you may have detected enough of a trend to predict how this one will end. Both the BigCommerce and Shopify systems lack the ability to alter HTTP headers, although BigCommerce can be operated headless or in WordPress, where the headers may be customized. So, if you were expecting to accomplish anything with HTTP headers in Shopify, you’re out of luck.

BigCommerce HTTP Headers

HTTP headers may be used to notify search engines of a variety of crucial things, including:

  • Canonical links: In addition to using the rel=canonical element inside the HTML of a page, you can also use canonical links inside the HTTP header to convey a more strong signal to search engines. While search engines may continue to disregard it, citing the canonical page using both ways may boost search engines’ confidence in the signal.
  • Hreflang links: These instruct search engines where to look for other copies of a page in various languages. Again, this can be done using HTML, but you may possibly boost robustness by specifying it in the HTTP header as well.
  • -Robots-Tag: While HTML may be used to noindex or nofollow a website, this can also be done with other files. You can’t use the robots meta tag to prevent Google from indexing a PDF ebook you’re using as a lead magnet, for example. It’s only possible via HTTP headers. You may also use this header to instruct search engines not to display cached links in search results, not to include snippets, not to offer to translate the search listing, not to index pictures on the page, or to specify a date and time when the website would be unavailable.
  • Cache Control: The way a user’s browser caches a page is influenced by several HTTP header replies. Browser caches may improve the reloading speed, but if they are not refreshed often enough, changes to the website will not load.
  • Variable: This is a critical HTTP header that is used for compression, cookies, and device-specific versioning.
  • Several security-related headers

Again, Shopify just does not support any of them. You may change any of these if you are running BigCommerce headless.

Final thought

While a good SEO may do a lot with a Shopify site, the platform has inescapable limits that BigCommerce does not, at least not if you operate it headless. While every company is unique, we suggest using BigCommerce as your eCommerce platform and wrapping it in WordPress as the CMS for the majority of eCommerce sites. Moreover, we hope this “Shopify vs BigCommerce SEO comparison” will help you pick the right one.

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