With 45,476 stores operating on their platform, BigCommerce has become one of the world’s leading e-commerce solutions for online businesses.
They’ve had steady quarter-over-quarter growth for the past few years, solidifying them as a force to be reckoned with in the e-commerce SaaS space.
As with other platforms like Shopify, it’s up to each online store to handle its marketing, which is where SEO (search engine optimization) enters the picture.
BigCommerce SEO is a must for any store owner hoping to expand their influence online, generate more traffic, and earn more revenue.
A plus is that BigCommerce has some incredibly useful SEO features straight out of the box, making it far easier to keep track of your optimizations.
Besides that, a lot of work goes into building an effective SEO campaign, but that effort pays for itself and then some due to the results it can provide.
32% of businesses swear by SEO, as it provides a higher ROI than any other marketing channel.
It’s also extremely cost-effective, as there are no costs associated with optimizing your content for search engines.
In fact, if you’re an online store owner with plenty of spare time, you can do almost everything yourself (although you may need some help creating content).
Also, fear not if you’re clueless about optimizing websites for search engines, as we’re here to provide a step-by-step guide on developing a successful BigCommerce SEO campaign, so stay tuned to learn more.
Raising brand awareness for a new online store is no easy feat, especially if you lack a marketing budget.
Social media advertising, PPC (pay-per-click) ads, and Google shopping campaigns are all pretty costly to implement – and they may be outside the realm of possibility if you’re just starting out.
That’s why SEO is the #1 choice for promoting e-commerce stores.
Not only is it extremely affordable, but it’s also enormously effective for building a customer base when done correctly.
Why is that?
There are lots of reasons why, but arguably the biggest one is that 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine.
Regardless of the types of products you sell, your target audience will use search engines like Google and Bing to find them.
With a little SEO magic, you can get your e-commerce store to appear at the top of the search results for queries related to your products.
When combined with CRO (conversion rate optimization), you’ll enjoy a steady influx of organic traffic that you can convert into leads and sales.
It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving, as you’ll continue to generate targeted traffic from your highest-ranking pages well after their publish date (especially if you periodically update them).
SEO is also great for opening up other marketing possibilities for your business.
Once you start earning more revenue due to higher SERP (search engine results pages) rankings, you’ll have the budget to invest in costlier methods like paid ads, Google shopping campaigns, and using AI.
With a BigCommerce store, you’ll already have some powerful SEO tools.
The team at BigCommerce knows how essential SEO is for online stores, so they included some handy features that make optimizing for search engines easier than it would have been.
URL structure plays a big role in SEO, especially for Microsoft’s Bing.
No matter which search engine you’re optimizing for, you’ll always want to utilize a simple, uniform URL structure.
BigCommerce has your back in this regard, as it automatically creates SEO-friendly URLs that are short and sweet for your product, category, and landing pages. You also have the option to alter your URL settings to adhere to your standards.
This ensures you’ll never have to worry if your URLs aren’t formatted properly or contain the right keywords.
A clunky URL structure can confuse search engine crawler bots, which is why it’s nice to have tidy URLs without lifting a finger.
The team at BigCommerce also included a way to prevent duplicate content from appearing on your online store by ensuring every unique page has only one URL.
This is great because duplicate content is a huge issue for e-commerce SEO.
Whenever two or more pages share the same URL and content, search engine crawlers become confused and don’t know which to index, which can lead to them all disappearing from the SERPs.
Duplicate content is so prevalent in e-commerce due to the nature of product pages. Most products feature different colors and sizes, and they have individual pages for each. Without using canonical tags, it’s extremely easy for an e-commerce store to rack up tons of duplicate pages.
With BigCommerce, you’ll avoid those headaches entirely, which is a huge perk.
Microdata is automatically built into your product pages with BigCommerce, which enhances how your website appears in the search results.
Also called ‘rich snippets,’ microdata will help your site stand out amongst a sea of blue hyperlinks. With microdata, features like reviews, pricing, brand, and stock levels will appear alongside the link to your site, adding extra information and visual appeal for users scrolling by.
This can mean the difference between a click and being ignored. For instance, if your online store appears alongside others, yet yours has microdata showing a 5-star review average, users are more likely to click on your result than others with no reviews.
Page speed is a huge SEO ranking factor, so it’s not something you should take lightly. If your website doesn’t load within a fraction of a second, most users will click back to the SERPs and select another result.
Google also has its Core Web Vitals test, which runs on every site in its index to ensure proper speed for both loading content and user interaction.
Fail the test, and you’re far less likely to rank well on the SERPs.
One of the best ways to speed up a website is to use a content delivery network, and BigCommerce includes one for all its online stores. The CDN works hand-in-hand with your store to boost performance, primarily by loading photographs, videos, and other media sources as quickly as possible.
This feature is excellent for keeping your URL and site architecture nice and organized.
A common SEO pain point for e-commerce store owners is when they have to rename one of their products or replace one product with another. If they rename a product, they must remember to adjust the URL to reflect the change, which is surprisingly easy to forget.
If they replace a product, they must use a 301 redirect to direct customers to the new page from the original link. BigCommerce solves both of these issues by automating redirects and URL changes.
Whenever you rename a product, the URL will automatically change to reflect that. The same is true if you replace a product, as BigCommerce will add a 301 redirect without you having to lift a finger.
While BigCommerce’s included SEO features are undeniably useful, they’re only supplementary tools – so you’ll need to know how to develop a search campaign from scratch.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of planning, launching, and monitoring an effective SEO campaign for your online store.
You can think of SEO as a mind-reading game.
What do we mean by that?
Think back to the last time you used a search engine like Google.
You likely asked some type of a question with your search query, such as ‘Is pork meat red or white,’ just as an example. Doing a quick Google search, plenty of web pages are dedicated to answering this question.
How did they know to target that keyword for a piece of content?
They knew it was worth their time and money because of two factors: keyword research and their knowledge of their target audience. When researching keywords, they noticed that lots of people were wondering if pork was red meat or not due to the high search volume of the keyword ‘is pork meat red or white.’
A high search volume means there’s a lot of interest in the keyword, meaning creating a piece of content for it has the potential to generate lots of traffic. Besides that, they have a strong understanding of their target audience, so they know it’s a prevalent question (they might even hear it asked every day).
Based on those two factors, they decided to use their resources to create an informational piece of content that answers the question the keyword poses.
As a search engine user, you aren’t privy to all this behind-the-scenes magic. All you see is that someone read your mind and created content that answers your question.
The first step of becoming an SEO mind reader is to gain a deep understanding of your target audience, and one of the best ways to do so is to create a buyer persona.
To develop a buyer persona (also called customer avatar), you’ll need to familiarize yourself with your target audience’s wants, needs, and desires.
That way, through keyword research and understanding what your customers want, you can ‘read their minds’ by creating content perfectly tailored to their needs.
You’ll be able to answer their most pressing questions, solve their problems, and inform them of crucial new developments that matter to them.
Buyer personas are also crucial for understanding the type of tone your audience responds to, which is invaluable for your content creation efforts.
A buyer persona is a fictional member of your core audience that you create to gain insights into how your customers think.
You should give them the following:
Each aspect of your buyer persona MUST come directly from hard data about your target audience.
The best way to do that is to A) analyze the habits of your target demographics (including analyzing any customer data you have available) and B) think like a member of your audience by frequenting their online hangouts.
Take to relevant forums, Facebook groups, and sites like Reddit to peer inside the minds of your potential customers. Pay attention to the questions they ask, the type of language they use, and the products they’re interested in to understand them better.
Monitoring your performance is pivotal for SEO, so you need to get set up on a few analytical platforms before proceeding further.
They’re also completely free to use, which is a huge plus.
GSC is a great place to start, but you’ll need first to verify that you own your online store before you can start using the tool. To add your store, log in to GSC using your Google account (you’ll need to create one if you don’t have one), and select Add Property from the drop-down menu.
Next, you’ll need to choose the type of property you want to add, and the options are:
For BigCommerce stores, your best bet is to choose the URL-prefix property. This option also grants you more ways to verify your website, which is a plus.
Next, you’ll need to verify ownership, and you’ll have several methods available. You also have the option of verifying later if you don’t have the time right now. As soon as the verification is complete, you’ll start to see your site data after a few days.
Getting set up on GA isn’t as difficult; you just need to log in and enter the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to track.
Bing Webmaster Tools is only necessary if you plan on optimizing for Bing SEO. Here’s an overview of how to connect your website to BWT.
Once you’re set up on GSC, GA, and BWT, you can move on to the next step: conduct an SEO audit on your existing content.
It’s where you analyze your current product and category pages through the lens of SEO. In particular, your goal is to tighten up your existing content so that it performs better on search engines.
This is also the step where you get all your ducks in a row by implementing best practices like optimal keyword placement, high-quality content that’s not too thin (no page should contain less than 1,000 words), and improving technical factors like broken links and redirects.
You won’t have to worry too much about duplicate content or URL structure, as BigCommerce’s built-in SEO tools will handle that for you.
The things you should look out for are:
Also, every blog post and product description should target one primary keyword and at least one or two others.
Here’s a quick guide on how to properly place keywords throughout a web page without appearing spammy:
These are the primary sweet spots you should hit for each web page.
Suppose some of your pages aren’t actively targeting keywords. In that case, you’ll need to either look up some keywords for them (more on how to do this in the next step) or delete the content (especially if it’s not useful, relevant, or currently ranking).
You should also look out for ‘easy win’ keywords during your audit, which will help you start seeing positive results sooner rather than later.
What makes a keyword an ‘easy win?’
If you discover you’re already ranking for a keyword in positions 4 – 30, you can give them a quick boost with some optimizations. When done right, you should see SERP ranking boosts for these ‘easy win’ keywords in a few weeks.
This ensures that you start to see an influx of organic traffic as soon as possible, as SEO is notoriously slow to start taking effect. Check your current keyword position rankings on GSC and BWT to see if there are any easy-win opportunities.
If you do notice a few keywords within that 4 – 30 sweet spot, here’s what you should do:
These tweaks will strengthen your ranking power for these easy-win keywords, which should shoot you further toward the top of the SERP results.
Next, you must uncover relevant keywords for your next batch of blog posts, product descriptions, and category pages.
Keyword planner tools, such as the ones offered by The HOTH and Ahrefs, really come in handy here. These tools are great because they provide important metrics like search volume and keyword difficulty.
The ideal keywords to target are queries that have a high search volume, a low keyword difficulty score, and an upward search trend.
You can also target long-tail keywords, which feature low search volume and low difficulty scores. These keywords are useful because they’re highly specific and convert better than shorter keywords.
Another effective keyword research tactic is to use Google autocomplete. Simply start typing keywords related to your niche, and Google will autosuggest real keywords that people search for all the time.
As soon as you have a list of valuable keywords, it’s time to start creating content based on them. When doing so, consider the intent behind each keyword, which can include the following:
Keyword planner tools come in handy for this phase as well, as they often categorize keywords based on intent.
You should also create an editorial content calendar to keep track of your release schedule. Ideally, you should blog 2 – 4 times a week to see the best results.
Content creation is also very time-consuming, so you should consider hiring freelance copywriters that specialize in e-commerce.
The final step is to build backlinks to boost your SEO performance. While backlinks hold ranking power for virtually every search engine, they matter the most for Google.
Links from trusted websites serve as ‘trust votes’ or ‘credibility votes’ for the quality of your content, and they can drastically improve your SERP rankings. For example, if you can’t seem to outrank a competitor using on-page and technical SEO tactics, they probably have more links than you do.
There are lots of ways to build backlinks, including:
These are all viable ways to build links.
However, you should only target websites that are trustworthy, high-quality, and authoritative. You can check a website’s ‘domain rating’ using Ahrefs Website Authority Checker.
As you can see, quite a bit goes into an SEO strategy, but the results are more than worth it when done correctly. As soon as you start generating steady organic traffic, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to create new customers.
If you lack the time to focus on SEO for your BigCommerce store, you can always hire BigCommerce SEO experts through FreeUp.
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