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WooCommerce vs Shopify For SEO: a Head-to-Head Comparison

Sam Thomas avatar
Sam Thomas Updated: June 06, 2023


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When it comes to driving sustainable organic traffic to your eCommerce store, investing in SEO is like planting seeds that grow into a flourishing garden. Shopify and WooCommerce are the two most popular options for launching your e-commerce website. But between WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO: Which is better?

In this article, we’ll give you an ‘SEO battle’ between these two powerful platforms. We’ll examine them under 10 rounds:

  • Round 1: Ease of use
  • Round 2: Speed
  • Round 3: Mobile-friendliness
  • Round 4: The ability to customize page URL
  • Round 5: The ability to customize meta tags
  • Round 6: Auto XML Sitemap
  • Round 7: 301 Redirects
  • Round 8: Blogging
  • Round 9: SEO apps and plug-ins
  • Round 10: Cost

Which one will win? Let’s find out!

A Glance at WooCommerce and Shopify

Before we dig down to WooCommerce SEO vs Shopify SEO, let’s spend a few minutes learning more about what Shopify and WooCommerce actually are.

1. WooCommerce’s overview

Simply put, WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin built specifically for WordPress websites. To use WooCommerce, you’ll have to create a WordPress website and install the WooCommerce plugin to your site.

So, technically saying, WooCommerce is not an e-commerce platform like Shopify. However, it is still a top-choice solution for millions of store owners thanks to its open-source nature. By open-source, we mean you can fully control your e-store’s designs and features.

WooCommerce homepage

WooCommerce - a robust e-commerce plugin for WordPress

This is a pro but also a con. If you’re comfortable tweaking the source code, WooCommerce is like a dream come true, but if you’re not (most merchants aren’t), the learning curve is steep.

Talking a bit about SEO, WooCommerce has many SEO features that let you fully optimize your web store for search engines.

Pros Cons
Unlimited visual customization and feature development for techies Can be challenging for non-techie merchants
Good platform for SEO Too frequent updates
Lots of plugins, including SEO  

2. Shopify’s overview

Shopify is a robust, easy-to-use e-commerce platform that empowers ordinary people to launch and run online stores quickly. With its user-friendly interface and extensive range of features, Shopify provides a seamless experience for both beginners and experienced merchants

Unlike WooCommerce - the WordPress plugin, Shopify is a standalone solution that eliminates the need for separate hosting and technical expertise.

Shopify homepage

Shopify - an e-commerce platform famous for its ease of use and robust sales features

Shopify offers various stunning, customizable themes and a rich app store, allowing you to level up your store with out-of-the-box features.

Regarding SEO features, websites built with Shopify have high speed - a Google key ranking factor. Plus, you can optimize your product descriptions, URLs, and meta tags to improve your search engine rankings within clicks. Compared to WooCommerce, Shopify offers a more user-friendly interface and streamlined SEO setup.

Pros Cons
Easy to use It might be limited in terms of customization
Powerful built-in inventory management, sales & marketing features Basic blogging features
High loading speed Shopify’s crucial analytics reports are valid for upper-tier pricing plans only
Easy to configure SEO elements  

Check out our comprehensive WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison to get deeper insights into these two all-the-rage platforms.

Now that you understand the two platforms better, let us serve you today’s main course: Shopify vs. WooCommerce pros and cons for SEO over 10 intensive ‘rounds.’

WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO: A Head-to-Head Battle

Seat-belt on, and may the best platform for ‘SEO WINS’!

Round 1: Ease of use

According to our research, most merchants are normal people with a selling idea. This means most of them can’t code or aren’t comfortable with it. So ease of use is the first factor we consider when examining WooCommerce vs Shopify SEO.

Similar to BigCommerce and other hosted eCommerce platforms, Shopify is better known for its built-in sales features to quickly launch and scale up your business rather than SEO-oriented functionalities like WooCommerce.

Nevertheless, from our experience, Shopify’s basic SEO features are more than enough for most merchants. You can also choose from many Shopify SEO apps to fuel your SEO efforts.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, is integrated seamlessly into your WordPress website. Hence, the plugin inherits WordPress’ sophisticated SEO features and advanced configurations.

And, of course, in terms of SEO plugins, WooCommerce doesn’t come behind Shopify. We guess you’ve heard of some notable plugins: Yoast SEO, RankMath, SEOquake, etc. And though WooCommerce isn’t as beginner-friendly, the platform has more room for know-how techies.

Final Verdict: Shopify wins This round is about ease of use. So, Shopify wins with its simple but powerful SEO features that even newbies with no technical skills can configure.

Round 2: Speed

Quick fact: In July 2018, Google officially confirmed loading speed as a ranking factor. This means if your eCommerce website takes forever to load, high chances are that you won’t go somewhere far in the fiercely competitive SEO game.

Ladies and gentlemen, that makes speed the next factor we compare between Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO.

Regarding speed, Shopify has proven to be a more reliable option. The platform is designed to provide fast-loading pages, ensuring a smooth and seamless user experience.

Shopify’s infrastructure is robust and optimized for speed, allowing your online store to handle high traffic volumes without sacrificing performance.

On the other hand, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. So, the performance hinges upon various factors such as hosting, theme, and additional plugins, which require careful optimization to ensure optimal speed.

Final Verdict: Shopify wins Shopify websites have higher page speed than online web stores hosted by other platforms, including the self-hosted WordPress with WooCommerce plug-in.

Round 3: Mobile-friendliness

Did you know that as of January 2023, 60.67% of web traffic is from mobile? Plus, according to Google, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, Google won’t rank your pages somewhere high on mobile devices.

Therefore, mobile-friendliness is one of the keys to helping you rank higher on Google search results. And it’s also another factor we’ll discuss when it comes to SEO in WooCommerce vs Shopify.

To know whether your Shopify or WooCommerce store is mobile-friendly, go to Google Search Console > Navigate to the Experience section and click on Mobile usability.

Google search console mobile usability

Google Search Console will let you know whether your site is optimized for mobile or not

Shopify offers a wide range of visually appealing themes that are well-optimized for mobile devices right out of the box. This means customers can browse and shop seamlessly on their smartphones or tablets without glitches or layout issues.

Shopify mobile-friendly theme

Even a free Shopify theme is well-optimized for mobile devices

On the other hand, with WooCommerce, the story is a bit different. While WordPress themes are highly customizable, many aren’t initially optimized for mobile devices.

As a WooCommerce user, you may need to invest time and effort in finding a highly optimized theme or tweaking the CSS to ensure your website looks great and functions smoothly on mobile.

Final Verdict: Shopify wins While most Shopify themes are built with mobile architecture in mind, WordPress themes aren’t. Again, between WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO, Shopify wins when considering a website’s mobile-friendly aspect.

Round 4: The ability to customize page URL

Customizing your website URL is crucial for your e-commerce business because it helps improve your website’s visibility. A website with a well-optimized URL can rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) than a non-customized URL.

Let’s take an example.

If you sell handmade soap, a customized URL like “www.soapcompany.com/product/handmade-soap” would perform better on SERPs than a non-customized URL like “www.soapcompany.com/product/123456”. The customized URL helps search engines understand your page’s content better and improve its relevancy for a search query related to handmade soap.

Now, when it comes to Shopify and WooCommerce, both platforms allow you to customize your website URL. However, WooCommerce offers more flexibility and control over the customization of URLs compared to Shopify.

WooCommerce provides a built-in feature to customize your URL for individual product pages, categories, and tags. You can also change the permalink settings and create your custom URL structure. All you have to do is navigate to Settings > choose Permanent link and change it into anything you like.

WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO

Between WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO, WooCommerce gives you more control over your URL customization

On the other hand, Shopify only allows you to customize the URL for the product and collection pages, but you cannot change the URL structure. This limitation can be frustrating if you want more control over your URL customization.

Take product pages, for instance; your Shopify products will all begin with a fixed permanent URL handle, as shown below:

WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO

Shopify’s permanent URL cannot be changed

Final Verdict: WooCommerce wins While both Shopify vs WordPress SEO offer URL customization, WooCommerce provides more flexibility and control over the customization of URLs, making it a better choice for businesses prioritizing URL customization.

Round 5: The ability to customize meta tags

Customizing meta tags is essential for optimizing your e-commerce website’s visibility in search engine results. Meta tags, such as the title and meta descriptions, provide concise information about your web pages to search engines and potential visitors.

By customizing these tags, you can create compelling and relevant snippets that entice users to click through to your site. So, next up, we will examine Shopify vs WordPress WooCommerce’s ability to customize meta tags.

Shopify, a user-friendly platform, provides a straightforward interface for editing meta tags. You can easily customize meta titles and descriptions for each product or page directly within the platform. This simplicity is beneficial for beginners or those who prefer a streamlined process.

WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO

With Shopify, you can easily change your meta title and descriptions

On the other hand, WooCommerce offers greater flexibility in terms of customization. With WordPress’s extensive range of SEO plugins like Rank Math SEO, Meta Box, etc., you can access advanced meta tag customization options. This includes bulk editing and setting dynamic meta tags based on specific criteria.

This level of customization is advantageous if you have a large product catalog or want more granular control over your meta tags.

Final Verdict: WooCommerce wins WooCommerce with WordPress plugins can offer you more flexibility over your meta tag customizations.

Round 6: Automatic XML Sitemap Creation

XML sitemaps are essential files that help search engines understand the structure and organization of your website. They act as roadmaps, guiding search engine bots to effectively discover and index your web pages.

However, if you have thousands of products, creating XML sitemaps manually for all of them might sound like an impossible and tiring task. Thus, let’s discover SEO for WooCommerce vs Shopify regarding XML sitemap creation.

One of Shopify’s awesome features is that it automatically creates and maintains a sitemap that includes all your published pages, products, collections, and blog posts. This hassle-free approach saves you time and effort, especially if you’re not tech-savvy or don’t have the resources to manage sitemaps manually.

XML sitemap of Shopify example

The XML sitemap of Kylie Cosmetics - a popular Shopify Plus store

In contrast, WooCommerce requires a plugin to handle XML sitemap creation. Several reliable plugins, such as Yoast SEO, allow you to generate XML sitemaps effortlessly.

While this gives you more control and flexibility over the sitemap generation process, it requires some initial setup and periodic maintenance to ensure the sitemap remains current.

Final Verdict: Shopify wins Shopify takes care of XML sitemap creation behind the scenes without you having to do anything, while WooCommerce requires a plugin that might cost you some extra bucks and time to set up.

Round 7: 301 Redirects

Imagine you have a website, and one day, you decide to change the URL structure or move some pages around. When you do this, you risk losing the valuable SEO juice and the traffic those pages have gained.

This is where 301 redirects come to the rescue. They act as signposts, guiding search engines and users to the new location of your content, preserving the SEO value, and ensuring a smooth browsing experience for your customers.

With Shopify, you can easily create redirects manually, or import URL redirects to do it in bulk. But be noted that Shopify URL redirects only work for broken links. This means if a URL still works, you cannot redirect your customers to another page.

Shopify redirects

Shopify’s redirects

WooCommerce, on the other hand, will automatically create some basic redirects if you, for instance, make some slight changes to your product title. However, WooCommerce doesn’t help much with sophisticated redirects. So, you might need a plugin for that.

Final Verdict: It’s a tie In this WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO round, it’s a tie since both Shopify and WooCommerce only support basic and manual redirects. Both platforms require you to install apps or plugins for more complex redirects.

Round 8: Blogging

Blogging features are the next factor we’ll discuss in this WordPress WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO battle.

Regarding blogging features, Shopify provides a user-friendly interface with built-in blogging functionality. This makes Shopify a perfect choice if you’re looking for a simple and hassle-free way to start blogging on your e-commerce website.

Shopify blogging

The basic blogging editing page of Shopify

You can create and publish blog posts easily, optimize them for search engines, and even schedule them for future releases. However, Shopify’s blogging features may feel limited for advanced bloggers who crave more control over their content’s structure and design.

On the other hand, WooCommerce offers a powerful and flexible blogging platform integrated with your online store. With WordPress, you can access a vast array of SEO plugins and customization options.

WooCommerce blogging features

WordPress plugins will give you more control over your blog’s visual customizations

You can optimize your blog posts for search engines using popular plugins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack, helping you fine-tune your content to rank higher in search results.

Additionally, WordPress offers an extensive library of themes and templates, enabling you to create visually stunning and unique blog designs.

Final Verdict: WooCommerce wins Clearly, Shopify’s blogging features cannot even come close to that of WooCommerce. WooCommerce inherits WordPress’ fantastic blogging features with advanced customizations from the smallest elements of your blog posts.

Round 9: SEO apps and plug-ins

If you’re using Shopify, you’ll find a wide range of Shopify SEO plugins in the Shopify App Store. These apps offer lots of features such as keyword optimization, page speed optimizer, and more, all designed to boost your store’s visibility on search engines.

Shopify SEO app

SEO: Image Optimizer Page Speed - a top Shopify SEO plugin

And if you’re working with WooCommerce, you’ll have access to WordPress SEO plugins. These plugins integrate seamlessly with your WordPress website, providing all SEO functionalities like keyword optimization, meta tag management, XML sitemap creation, etc. Some popular options include Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack.

Though Shopify has multiple SEO apps and tools, the massive SEO plugins of WordPress still bring WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO to a higher level.

WooCommerce SEO plugin

Yoast SEO - the popular WooCommerce SEO plugin that has millions of users

Final Verdict: WooCommerce wins Both Shopify and WooCommerce have many SEO apps and plugins for you to choose from. However, in terms of quantity and quality, WooCommerce SEO plugins are still on the winning side.

Round 10: Cost

And last but not least, after considering all things, let’s look at the cost of WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO.

When adding SEO functionalities to your Shopify website, it’s important to note that you will need to pay for the apps. However, the cost of these apps is generally reasonable, especially for the top-ranked ones.

On average, you can expect to pay around $20 monthly for an app from the Shopify app store. While this may not be the most enticing offer for beginners, it’s worth mentioning that some apps do offer free plans, which can be pretty fascinating.

On the other hand, with WooCommerce, the cost of adding SEO plugins is considerably less expensive compared to Shopify. The pricing plan for plugins is flexible, catering to both individual users and agencies. You have the option to choose between monthly and annual payments.

For instance, the premium version of Yoast, a popular plugin, typically costs around $89 per year. Additionally, WooCommerce offers a better selection of free plugin options than Shopify.

Final Verdict: WooCommerce Wins While Shopify requires payment for SEO apps, with average monthly charges of around $20, WooCommerce’s plugin pricing is more flexible and affordable, with options for both monthly and annual payments.

WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO - Which One is Better?

This is tough…Between WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO, both platforms have pros and cons. Shopify provides efficient SEO features that you can quickly customize within clicks.

WooCommerce is more potent in terms of SEO capabilities; however, the learning curve is steep as it might require some technical skills.

If you’re a blogger who wants to enable e-commerce features for your blog site, WooCommerce is a brilliant choice since it has awesome SEO capabilities. But if you want to launch a pure e-commerce store that you can scale up later, Shopify is still our recommended platform.

This is because, at the end of the day, Shopify is easy to use, and well-packed with miscellaneous built-in sales and marketing features. And though Shopify’s SEO features aren’t as advanced as WooCommerce’s, with its efficient SEO tools and a bunch of SEO apps, you can still be doing fine on the search engines.

Want to migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify?
If your WooCommerce store has 1k+ SKUs, valuable customer data, sales analytics, and important historical data you can’t afford to lose, we recommend the WooCommerce to Shopify Migration Service by LitExtension.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shopify better at SEO than WooCommerce?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have robust SEO capabilities, but the best choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Does WooCommerce have good SEO?

Yes, WooCommerce offers good SEO functionality. It provides various plugins and tools that can help optimize your online store for search engines.

Is Shopify good for SEO?

Absolutely! Shopify offers excellent SEO features, including customizable meta tags, clean URLs, and mobile-friendly themes. It simplifies the process of optimizing your store for search engines. Is it worth moving from WooCommerce to Shopify? Moving from WooCommerce to Shopify can be worth it, depending on your circumstances. Shopify provides a user-friendly interface, comprehensive SEO tools, and seamless integration with various apps and services, making it a compelling option for many e-commerce businesses.

If you’re looking for an agency that offers migration services from WooCommerce to Shopify, LitExtension should be your go-to choice.

WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO: Final Thoughts!

All in all, between WooCommerce vs Shopify for SEO, WooCommerce offers you more advanced customizations. Meanwhile, Shopify gives you essential SEO features that are easy to configure. But Shopify is still our top pick if you want to scale up your e-commerce store in the long run.

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