Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can make or break your BigCommerce store. These optimizations are some of the most important ongoing marketing efforts that require effort and attention.
Having a well optimized store can assist growing your organic channel. That's why we're outline a few basic and advanced techniques for optimizing your BigCommerce presence for the search engines.
BigCommerce SEO Basics
Use SEO Optimized (Short) URL Structure
When setting up your BigCommerce instance, be sure to enable short urls under the Web Page URL format. This will give you a shorter and cleaner URL structure. This setting will remove the /page/ slug and the .html part of the URL.
How to Edit Metadata for Search Engine Optimizations in BigCommerce
Before we start to optimize the titles and meta data in your store, below is a list of quick shortcuts that you can use to navigate to the SEO options on specific the homepage, specific pages and blog posts. The fields to enter a metadata can be found in the following locations:
- Homepage: Store Setup › Store Settings › Search Engine Optimization section
- Category pages: Products › Product Categories › Edit › Search Engine Optimization section
- Product Pages: Edit any product or add a product › Other Details Tab › Search Engine Optimization section Web Content Pages: Storefront Content › Web Pages › Advanced Options
- Blog Posts: Storefront Content › Blog › Search Engine Optimization section
Google hasn’t publicly disclosed what the proper character limit for a page title should be. If you do a quick search for a random product yourself, you will see that it the page titles it displays can vary by length. We generally recommend staying under 60-65 characters. Don’t forget that your page title should include the focus keyword for your product, category or blog post, plus the store name as a general web best-practice. Here is an example of a best-practice page title: Green Golf Polo Shirt for Men | World's Best Golf Shop.
There can be instances where Google or other search engines will use your product description to display on the results page, favoring it over the actual meta description you entered. Again, this will depend on Google’s algorithm, which almost impossible to predict. We would still recommend having a unique meta description for your products, even if you have detailed product descriptions.
The length of displayed meta descriptions has recently seen a big change. Earlier this year, Google rolled out an update that increased the meta description length from 160 characters to 320 characters. But again, similar to page titles, Google can cut off the description depending on the search result. It’s still best-practice to include your focus keyword in the first two sentences of your meta descriptions. Google will highlight and bold the focus keyword on the search results pages, which will make your pages “stick out” better.
Similar to meta descriptions and page titles, you need to have good focus keywords describing the products in your category page. Try to summarize all the products that you have in the specific category in good 2-3 descriptive sentences and make sure to stay under 320 characters.
Tips and Tricks to Enhance BigCommerce SEO
Enhance Your Pages with Schema.org Structured Data
Structured Data may sound super complicated, but it’s actually really easy to set up and edit. There are BigCommerce apps for reviews that will automatically generate structured data on your product pages. One app we love is called Yotpo. It does all the hard work of formatting the code on your product pages that will be displayed as start ratings on search engine results page. It takes a few clicks to setup and enable this feature. Having the star ratings and number of reviews will help your product pages stand out among competition.
Enable Google AMP on your Product Pages
AMP stand for Accelerated Mobile Pages. This is a Google backed project that helps improve user experience on mobile devices. AMP content loads almost instantaneously, which will help improve bounce rates. Visitors tend to leave pages that take too long to load. Many SEO industry experts believe that with the recent Google mobile-first indexing, the search engine will favor pages that are well optimized for mobile devices.
Optimize Page Load Speeds for Desktop and Mobile
In July 2018 Google rolled out the “Speed Update” which will affect rankings for slower loading pages. You can optimize your site for page speed to prevent losing your high ranking pages to faster loading stores.
This is a built in feature into many popular BigCommerce themes. Breadcrumbs help improve the overall user journey when they navigate between different product pages or categories. It also helps search engines understand your site structure. We recommend turn on breadcrumbs by default, this option will not hinder the design of the product or category pages.
Overall, eCommerce success begins when potential customers are able to find your site and locate the products they need. With BigCommerce's SEO capabilities and proven best practices, you store can be on the road to increasing organic visibility in no time. And if you're looking for an expert opinion, feel free to request a Free eCommerce Website Assessment using the button below!
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