A Definitive Guide to BigCommerce SEO

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Among the top eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce and similar providers, BigCommerce ranks with the industry leaders.

Yet, no matter which platform one chooses, SEO is a do-or-die necessity. Without rankings, stores receive little traffic. Without traffic, sales are nil.

Fortunately, BigCommerce supplies its merchants with an array of SEO-oriented features for achieving optimization within the SERPs. 

But before we dive in to turning BigCommerce stores into SEO powerhouses, a few words on what makes the platform so desirable to retailers the world over.

Benefits of Using BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers online merchants a customizable platform capable of selling products through a dedicated storefront as well as through Amazon, eBay and Facebook, making the platform ideal for an omnichannel approach.

In addition to a wide array of themes, payment processor options and a diverse set of marketing tools, BigCommerce provides excellent security features, enterprise-class integrations and a remarkable capacity for scalability. 

Moreover, according to the company’s website, “BigCommerce merchants grow at 28 percent year over year versus the eCommerce industry average of 14 percent.” 

Pack all of this into an intuitive interface, and retailers know that BigCommerce is something special.

benefits of using bigcommerce graphic

Brands Using BigCommerce

Brands of all industries and sizes use BigCommerce to power their online dealings, including the likes of:

On-Page Optimization

Part of what really helps BigCommerce to shine is its baked-in tools and settings for implementing on-site SEO elements. 

Here are the areas retailers want to focus on to elevate their BigCommerce stores in the SERPs:

Title Tags

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Title tags are what ultimately appear as the blue title link in the SERPs. Therefore, it is essential to write accurate, alluring and meaningful titles for each page.

On BigCommerce, retailers can add these to content, product and category pages, as well as blogs.

Each page’s title tag should be unique, begin with a targeted keyword and limited to 60 characters.

title tag bigcommerce seo graphic

To edit title tags for static pages, merchants must head to the dashboard and select Store Front > Web Pages. After finding the appropriate page, click on the title and go to “Advanced Options.” Sellers can change title tags from this location.

Alternatively, to edit product pages, go to the dashboard and select Products > View. Select the desired item, click the “SEO” tab and enter the title in the corresponding field.

Finally, for blog posts, navigate to the post by going to Storefront > Blog. Choose the blog and change the title using the “Title” field.

Meta Descriptions

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Meta descriptions are the little blurbs that appear just below page titles in the SERPs. These should be added to all indexed pages of a store and should speak directly to the page’s content uniquely and appealingly, in 160 characters or less.

The goal is to write a description that search users find appealing, as these hold no direct bearing on SEO effectiveness other than enticing clicks and earning traffic.

The process for creating meta descriptions on static and product pages is the same as changing title tags (as listed above). However, to craft meta descriptions for blog posts, users will have to use the dashboard to go to Storefront > Blog. From there, select the desired post and scroll down to the SEO settings below the post editor.

Section Headings

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In HTML, page headings are indicated by <h1> tags. These primary headings should clearly describe the intent of the article, while the subsequent headings will provide more specific section titles that are targeted toward the information to follow.

website content heading

While the title tag labels the page, the <h1> header only shows on the web page. However, these tags help inform search engines of a page’s content. Therefore, it is best to include the page’s primary keyword in this destination.

Adding headings and subheadings (h2, h3, h4 and so on) in BigCommerce is simple. While editing a page, highlight the desired text and select the appropriate headings from the dropdown menu.

Internal Linking

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Internal links are necessary to help connect pages for navigational purposes as well as to pass link juice between a site’s pages.

Generally speaking, each of a store’s pages should be reachable within two to three clicks from the homepage.

With BigCommerce, when creating a webpage or editing a product description, the WYSIWYG Editor is available. Using this tool, merchants can create internal links by highlighting the text they wish to utilize as the anchor text, pressing the “link” button in the options menu of the editor and entering the desired URL to be linked to in the “Link URL” field. From there, click insert and save the changes.

External Linking

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External links are just as important to a robust eCommerce SEO strategy as these assist search engines to understand a retailer’s niche, while also helping to increase trust in a website.

Creating external links in BigCommerce is the same as generating internal links. Simply follow the steps outline above for both inbound and outbound links.

However, do keep in mind that when linking to external sites, it is important to consider the trustworthiness and relevance of the page and overall website that is linked. 

 

SEO-Friendly Images

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Given that search engines cannot yet “see” images, retailers must assist in transmitting information about website visuals, thereby helping bots to understand the contents of a site. This is part of the purpose that alt tags serve. Alt tags also help to describe images to the visually impaired, help to provide information when a picture fails to load and allow images to rank in the visual SERPs.

In BigCommerce, these tags are called “image descriptions.”

To add alt text to product images, retailers must locate the product page and the image to be edited by going to Products > View from the dashboard. Next, choose the right item and select the “Images and Videos” tab. From here, merchants can view the images and change their respective alt text or “image descriptions.”

To add alt text for images on static pages, sellers must locate the correct page by going to Store Front > Web Pages. From there, right-click the desired picture and then immediately left-click on it without selecting any of the options that appear. Successfully doing this will cause a border to materialize around the image. Next, click the picture icon in the menu to surface a form field where the alt text can be altered (in addition to other properties) by using the “Appearance” tab.

It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Trust us.

OG Tags

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Open Graph Tags, or OG tags, enable the control of how content shared on Facebook appears.

facebook post on mobile device

There are various types of open graph tags that dictate everything from a piece of the content’s title, image, description and other elements. 

With BigCommerce, OG tags can be managed when editing a product by heading to the “Other Details” tab and navigating to the “Facebook Open Graph” section. From here, BigCommerce supplies easy-to-implement selections for various content elements.

However, BigCommerce does not currently have a way to add open graph image values for the homepage of a store. Therefore, Facebook chooses whatever it finds appropriate. 

To remedy this, retailers can hardcode an og value into the head.html file of the homepage, if so desired. To do so, users must edit the base.html file in the template editor by injecting the following code in the header tags:

meta property quote

However, not all merchants are up to or capable of completing such a task. In that instance, it is advisable to seek out professional eCommerce website development services to avoid any undesirable outcomes, which most certainly can arise when playing with a store’s coding.

Meta Robots Tags

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Meta robots tags inform search engines on what to follow or not follow. This piece of code is added to the <head> section of a webpage and enables retailers to decide which pages to index or hide from search spiders. Meta robots tags also aid in telling search bots which links to follow or not follow.

Where robots.txt files suggest how to crawl a webpage, meta robots tags are more demanding in its directives

Meta robots tags tend to appear as:

meta name quote

Adding these to a BigCommerce store would once again require diving into the store’s underlying code. Unless in the hands of a capable coder, it is recommended to obtain professional assistance in such matters.

Canonical Tags

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Properly implementing canonical tags is vital for warding off the dangers of duplicate content. Canonical tags are crucial to eCommerce retailers that regularly feature products with multiple variations (color, size, etc.), thereby creating the potential for duplicate content. 

Fortunately, BigCommerce automatically sets and handles canonical tags on nearly all pages.

Page Speed

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website sale on desktop computer

Page speed is a vital element for any eCommerce store. This fact is underlined by Google’s recent announcement to use page speed as a mobile ranking factor.

Given that eCommerce site visitors expect pages to load nearly instantaneously, optimizing site speed is of the utmost importance.

Start the process by testing a site’s performance using tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, GTMetrix or a similar platform. These will all provide actionable advice on how to increase a site’s load times.

However, that is just the starting point. From there, it is essential to enact various speed optimization methods such as: 

BigCommerce is an outstanding platform that has lots to offer online retailers. However, the only way for the platform to be of any use is if consumers can find a retailer’s store.

Use this guide to optimize your BigCommerce store’s SEO performance. Alternatively, if you need assistance in helping your pages rise through the SERPs, reach out to our seasoned eCommerce SEO specialists to obtain superior implementation and results.

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