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Best eCommerce Platforms and Shopping Cart Software for SEO

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One of the most important features to look at when choosing a shopping cart platform is how SEO-friendly it is. There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of eCommerce platforms, so it’s important to take a look at all the features offered, including which are best for SEO.

93% of all internet activity begins with an organic search and if you aren’t being found in those searches, it’s likely you won’t reach your maximum online potential. To be found in those searches, your site needs to be optimized for digestion by search engines. SEO for eCommerce websites is just as important, if not more important,  as SEO for any other site. The platform you choose is essential to the success you will see organically.


The Two Types of eCommerce Website Platforms

Before you choose your platform, you need to know which type is right for your situation. Suppose you are looking to create an eCommerce website to sell handcrafted items you make. There is a finite number of product types you are able to create, so you will likely have a small product line. If you are in this situation, a templated platform may be best for you. The custom eCommerce solution is perfect if you sell a lot of different product categories or have complicated product ordering such as customizations or filtering. If you are a larger enterprise-level operation with integrations to consider (ERP, CRM, etc.), you need an enterprise-level shopping cart platform.

When you have complete control over the customizations, you can do a lot more with your site and scale it as you grow, whereas templated platforms can restrict you from making large scale changes. Of course, with custom features comes custom development work and higher costs.


Common Open-Source Custom Shopping Cart Platforms:

  • Magento
  • Onveos
  • WooCommerce (WordPress)
  • ZenCart
  • OpenCart
  • PrestaShop
SEO on magento shopping cart platform

Common Hosted Shopping Cart Solutions:

  • Shopify – (starts at $29/month)
  • BigCommerce
  • SquareSpace
  • Wix
  • Volusion
SEO on a hosted shopping cart

What to Consider

To be able to decide which shopping cart software is best for SEO, you’ll need to have an idea of what exactly you’d want to have in your perfect software. Although there are a lot of other things to consider when choosing the best eCommerce platform for SEO, these are the most important:

  • Customized / Independent Navigation Links
  • Customized / Independent Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
  • Customized / Independent Headers
  • Customized Content Fields
  • Dynamic Meta Tags
  • XML Sitemap
  • Robots.txt
  • Canonicals
  • Structured Data (e.g. Schema)
  • Article / Blog Capability
  • Custom & Clean URL Structure
  • Site Speed
  • Ratings / Reviews
  • FTP / Code Access

Open-Source eCommerce Platforms

Many people prefer open-source eCommerce platforms for SEO and web-stores because of the ability to customize the site. Open-source means the code is open and available to edit the way you want. Below is an overview of some of the best eCommerce platforms that are customizable and open-source.

Magento

View Magento’s official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: Average site build is $22,000 but can go up to $100,000+ – The cost depends on the size of business, which Magento product solution is chosen, customizations, and more.
  • Monthly subscription: N/A
  • Pros: Highly customizable, third-party integrations, mobile friendly, choose your own hosting, independent meta information and navigation elements
  • Cons: URL structures are messy and often long and complicated because of parameters, slow page speed/load speed, product page configurations, duplicate content, search page indexi

Onveos

  • Initial Cost: Starts at $10,000 including design of website
  • Monthly subscription: None
  • Pros: Made for SEO, highly-customizable, independent fields for all SEO elements, robust CMS/resource and article management, customized page layouts for CRO, SEO-optimized URL structure, ability to add dynamic meta information, product/company review management, editable sitemap and robots.txt files
  • Cons: Uses version control and not FTP for code changes

WooCommerce (WordPress)

  • Initial Cost: WooCommerce & WordPress are both free (hosting, domain, etc not included)
  • Monthly subscription: Some plugins have a monthly cost
  • Pros: Custom URL structure, highly customizable, integration of product and content is easy, easy image optimization, independent SEO fields (page titles), breadcrumbs, WooCommerce code is optimized for SEO
  • Cons: Prone to hacking and malware, use of too many plugins can impact speed, hard to manage with large inventory or customizable products, development needed to add some SEO features (independent H1s for example), WooCommerce doesn’t have SEO features in and of itself

ZenCart

  • Initial Cost: Free
  • Monthly subscription: None
  • Pros: Hundreds of thousands of plugins, forum community for support, ability to customize and add fields, can use any host
  • Cons: SEO is not intuitive, many optimizations need additional plugins

OpenCart

  • Initial Cost: Free
  • Monthly subscription: Free, plugins may cost extra
  • Pros: Commercial level SEO plugins, mobile friendly, independent field for SEO elements (not all elements, though)
  • Cons: Not as customizable as other open-source platforms, not suited for large businesses, no caching available, very basic

PrestaShop

View PrestaShop’s official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: Free
  • Monthly subscription: Modules and add-ons can go up to $150+
  • Pros: Large number of modules to help with SEO
  • Cons: Not user-friendly, expensive plugins, lacks basic SEO features, not good for large businesses, lacks independent navigation elements, need modules to update sitemaps and robots.txt files

Hosted eCommerce SEO Software Solutions:

Shopify - (starts at $29 per month for Basic Shopify. Shopify starts at $79 per month and Advanced Shopify starts at $299 per month)

View Shopify’s official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: N/A
  • Monthly subscription: $29 to $299+ per month
  • Pros: Better design than other template-driven platforms, Relatively affordable, user-friendly, popular, many payment gateway options.
  • Cons: Transaction fees up to 2%, Template restrictions, site speed, lack of SEO settings (more about common Shopify SEO Issues)

BigCommerce

View BigCommerce’s official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: N/A
  • Monthly subscription: $29.95 to $249,95 for Pro, custom pricing for Enterprise-level.
  • Pros:  Better industry-specific features, flexibility with switching themes.
  • Cons:  Poor blog, reliant on Apps for eCommerce functionalities, SEO limitations and drawbacks (more about common BigCommerce SEO Issues).

SquareSpace

View SquareSpace’s official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: N/A
  • Monthly subscription: $16-$26 when billed monthly
  • Pros: Cheap, beginner-friendly
  • Cons: You get what you pay for. Lack of core eCommerce features, SEO limitations, poor site architecture, lack of customization.

Wix

View Wix’ official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: N/A
  • Monthly subscription: $11.99 – $29.99 per month
  • Pros:  Affordable
  • Cons: You get what you pay for. Very poor SEO settings and features, not eCommerce friendly, no custom functionality, etc.

Volusion

View Volusion’s official pricing page here.

  • Initial Cost: N/A
  • Monthly subscription:  $29 – $299 per month, custom plans for custom features.
  • Pros:  Multiple payment gateways,  affordable, build your own theme
  • Cons:  Lack of available integrations, lack of customizability.

Conclusion

Choosing the right eCommerce platform largely depends on your business’ unique needs, goals, and budget.

No matter which platform you choose, SEO should still play a large role in your inbound marketing initiatives.


We hope this article helps guide you towards choosing the perfect shopping cart platform for your online store, but we’d love to discuss your project with you in detail! Give us a call at 866-647-9218 to speak with an eCommerce expert, or click Talk To Us Today below for more information!

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