BigCommerce SEO Issues & Common Problems
BigCommerce is a hosted eCommerce platform solution that was founded in 2009. Today, BigCommerce is one of the most frequently used eCommerce CMS on the market, behind the likes of WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento. Like the other big eCommerce platforms, all of these hosted shopping platforms have the same drawbacks. They all tend to prioritize user-friendliness for the website owner over much more important eCommerce features such as integrated SEO settings, tools, and features. We have worked with many BigCommerce stores in the past, and are all too familiar with the many SEO issues, problems and drawbacks of this platform.
The Most Common BigCommerce SEO Issues & Problems Include:
- Poor SEO Support, Documentation and Tutorials
- Blog functionality lacks CRO tools and SEO settings / options
- Duplicate Content / Lack of Canonical Settings
- Slow Site Speed
- Lack of Core eCommerce Functionality
- Lack of Dev Site & Staging Environment
- Counterintuitive Admin
For such an established platform, it’s shocking that BigCommerce still lacks many features that are standard in other shopping cart CMS. Take a look at the usage stats below for BigCommerce, as provided by BuiltWith.
Below is a list of the five most common SEO issues that we’ve run into when optimizing websites on the BigCommerce platform. Some of these problems are inherent to BigCommerce and there is no real solution (besides switching to an SEO-friendly CMS like Onveos.). For the issues that there are workarounds or improvements to be made, we’ve shared our tips to solve the problem.
1. Poor SEO Support and Tutorials
There are many really annoying issues that the average webmaster might not realize are glaring SEO issues on the BigCommerce platform. What’s more frustrating is that the BigCommerce SEO support and tutorial section offers very little helpful information.
With so many headache-causing SEO issues on BigCommerce, it’d be nice if they offered better support for SEO professionals looking for help making fairly basic changes that are simple on competing shopping cart platforms.
2. Blog Issues - SEO & CRO Problems
There are numerous issues that make BigCommerce’s blog less-than-ideal for SEO:
- By default, BigCommerce will install the blog on a subdomain, for example, blog.yourbigcommercedomain.com. Since Google treats subdomains as separate entities, this is not ideal for SEO, as the organic value of your blog won’t help to boost the authority of your domain in the same way it would if it was setup as a folder of your domain. E.g. YourBigCommerceDomain.com/blog/.
- The blog functionality lacks integrated tools for CTA and CRO, such as easily adding buttons, modules for related products, etc. An eCommerce store blog should drive organic traffic and conversions, and the BigCommerce blog fails in these areas.
- Due to the restrictions of the theme, basic changes to blog layout via traditional coding changes may be much more complicated, requiring significantly more time and resources, i.e. money.
- Lack of categorization for blogs. Categorizing your blogs helps Google better understand the content.
- Lack of easy way to edit the blog landing page. By default, the blog listing page often shows the entire blog post on the listing page itself, causing duplicate content issues. We’ll complain about the lack of canonicals and how this relates to duplicate content below.
3. Canonicals and Lack of Duplicate Content Tools
The ability to set canonical URLs for products and categories is standard in many shopping cart platforms, but it is still quite complicated in BigCommerce. There still is no easy way to do this without editing theme files directly. For more information, follow this two-year old thread from the BigCommerce support forums and you’ll see how bad the support network really is for BigCommerce. This basic SEO functionality that BigCommerce customers have begged for for years, with no signs of adding it anytime in the near future.
Duplicate content, whether in the form of duplicated product descriptions from manufacturers, thin content, or caused by your blog posts being double posted on the listing page and article page, can really hurt your website’s ability to rank. If BigCommerce wants to consider itself an SEO friendly platform, this is one of the first issues it should address.
4. Site Speed
Site speed is an important ranking factor, since Google puts a priority on the user experience of websites it sends search traffic. Like most template-driven shopping cart platforms, BigCommerce is clunky and slow. Do you have a BigCommerce website designer or developer on hand to make improvements to site speed? Even so, due to how BigCommerce is designed, it is not easy nor time effective for a developer to make basic changes to improve site speed.
Above, popular BigCommerce site RockBottomGolf performs poorly on Google's PageSpeed Insights Tool
5. Lack of Core Functionality and Dev Site To Test Development Changes
Want product reviews on your BigCommerce store? The best way to achieve this is via a downloadable app (like extensions on Magento or plugins on WordPress). Want to have you developer add this functionality manually? BigCommerce has no support for easily creating a dev site or staging environment, so dev changes to your site are made even more complicated and hard to QA before implementing on the live site.
6. Counterintuitive Functionality in Admin
Even making basic changes to certain pages in BigCommerce can feel very complicated. For example, if you’ve ever tried to edit a brand page, you’ll notice that the content on those is managed in the “banners” section in the admin, as opposed to traditional page edits you can make at the category or product level. This is just one example of many counterintuitive processes in BigCommerce that can make webmasters coming from a more SEO friendly platform like WordPress or Onveos scratch their heads.