When it comes to optimising your BigCommerce store for search engines, there’s a lot you can do to improve your ranking and drive more traffic to your website.
In order to see success with BigCommerce SEO for your online store, there are many different elements that you’ll want to make sure that you get right – from your meta descriptions to your product pages or keyword strategy.
Throughout this article, we’ve shone a spotlight on SEO for BigCommerce shop owners, so that you can start making improvements to your store and reap the many benefits.
1. Optimise your custom page titles and meta descriptions
Your page title is the first element that search engines will crawl.
Ensuring that it involves your target keyword is crucial to rank on page one of the results.
Generally speaking, Google displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, you can expect around 90% of your titles to display properly.
Although there’s no one way to write your title tags, an optimal format might be:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
However, this does depend on the contents of your web page. For example, it’s unlikely that you would lay out a title like this if you were writing a blog article.
A meta description is the text that is displayed in search engine results and is usually a short descriptive summary that encourages click-through rates.
It’s good practice to ensure that each of your web pages has meta descriptions as technically any page could become an entry point for a potential customer. This includes your product pages, content pages, blog articles and even your homepage.
Make sure to include your primary keyword in the meta description, keeping it concise, compelling and informative – think of it like a mini advertisement of your page.
2. Product pages – improve your on-page SEO
Making sure your BigCommerce SEO is on point when it comes to your product pages is key to gain a good ranking in the results of search engines.
- Including long-tail keywords in your product descriptions
- Utilising internal links to strengthen key pages
- Using headers and bullet points to make elements stand out
- Search engine friendly URLs
You also need to consider your on-page keyword strategy.
It’s important to use keywords that closely align with your product pages, have a high search volume and a high conversion potential.
For example, if you’re selling “women’s yellow pumps” you’ll want to consider:
- “women’s yellow pumps”
- “yellow pumps”
- “women’s yellow pump shoes”
Where possible, avoid using the generic product descriptions that are created by the manufacturers of your products.
Many store owners do not do this, and end up with various pages of identical content, which is not appreciated by search engines who are likely to penalise duplicate pages.
3. Get your product photo descriptions (ALT tags) right
As you’ll know, adding product photos or images to your articles can be a vital selling point.
You should always remember to give your images accurate ALT attributes.
Not only does this help the search engines determine what your images are and to rank the page more effectively, but it also helps visually impaired people to know what the image is.
In code, an ALT tag will typically appear as the following:
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”image description” title=”image tooltip”>
A bad (but easy) habit to fall into is to simply repeat your primary keyword as the description for each image on a page – a process known as keyword stuffing.
Instead, you should focus on using high quality and relevant images for your pages, where it either makes sense to have the primary keyword in the ALT text, or a related keyword.
4. Encourage product reviews to improve BigCommerce SEO
Product reviews are a great means of social proof – but they can also boost your rankings.
In fact, product reviews are listed as the fifth most important factor in determining search engine rankings.
Review signals are the quantity, frequency, quality and diversity of product reviews. These are then sent to search engines which then help to rank your BigCommerce store more accurately – the better you score, the higher your search ranking will be.
Another benefit to using product reviews is that they provide fresh and relevant content on your website – an element that search engines rank highly.
A good practice to get into is to use schema mark-up to present your reviews.
This enables your product page results to display rich snippets, containing a product rating, the review, the date of the review and a brief description of it.
5. Make sure your BigCommerce store is fully responsive
Both the internet and technology are growing at an exponential rate.
Since 2016, of the people who only use one type of device to browse the internet, twice as many are using smartphones over desktop computers.
Google has always been built with its users front of mind. As mobile devices continue to rise in popularity, the search engine will accommodate for this.
Therefore, a mobile-friendly website is now a vital factor to secure a high search ranking.
Another ranking factor is time on page.
Responsive web design makes an online store much easier for potential customers to browse and navigate. What’s more, responsive design is paramount to a positive user experience.
In addition to this, online stores that are cross-device compatible are likely to load much faster, again resulting in a better user experience and a subsequent boost in search ranking.
6. Maximise site performance to enhance BigCommerce SEO
Page performance is everything.
Not only is it good for SEO purposes, but the faster your store loads the less likely potential customers will be to leave and use a competitor’s site.
In fact, faster loading websites have significantly higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates.
So, how can you maximise your site performance?
For starters, you can compress image file sizes – either using your own software or free websites such as CompressPNG.
Keep custom code clean and to a minimum where possible and avoid using a large number of web fonts as these elements can slow down your site loading time.
You can also enable accelerated mobile pages (AMP). The helps with site speed on mobile devices as they may be slow compared to desktops.
In other words, AMP allows you to optimise the experience of browsing on mobile devices by standardising a mobile version of your website. This creates a better user experience.
7. Submit sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
Sitemaps help to ensure that a website is accurately ranked within the search results. It helps search engines to crawl and index your page URLs effectively.
BigCommerce generates a sitemap automatically for your store.
To find your sitemap, edit this link: www.yourdomin.com/xmlsitemap.php
Next, enter this link into Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
8. Maintain a blog with short-tail, long-tail and LSI keywords
One of the simplest ways to improve your BigCommerce SEO organically is through the use of a blog that centres on similar themes to your products and industry.
When determining your keywords for articles, make use of a tool such as Ahrefs which identifies factors like monthly search volume and keyword difficulty.
Make sure to use a combination of short-tail and long-tail keywords when writing your blog posts and try to avoid keyword stuffing – else you may get penalised by search engines.
Another good habit to get into is to start using LSI keywords.
LSI keywords are phrases that are semantically linked and commonly found together within a single topic, which are great for creating strong levels of organic SEO.
For example, let’s say your article topic is horticulture.
LSI keywords are ones such as agriculture, botany, plants or crops.
These should appear naturally throughout your article writing and help search engines determine the main topic of your article.
Boost your BigCommerce SEO
It can be difficult to wrap your head around search engine optimisation, especially as an eCommerce platform – such as BigCommerce – can only do so much for you.
With time, however, you should be able to steadily improve your BigCommerce SEO and increase the amount of traffic to your online store.
Need some inspiration to take your eCommerce business to the next level? Download this guide on 50 ways to grow your business and start thinking big.