If you have a website set up for your business then you have probably heard about search engine optimization (SEO), or even about keywords at the very least. The main purpose of SEO is to improve your website’s position on a search engine results page (like Google). The better your SEO, the more chances of your website appearing on the first few pages (ideally top 3 positions) of Google which automatically equates to more visitors finding your website. This is called organic SEO (non-ad positions) and is impacted by many factors including site speed and optimization, meta data, external listings, googles reviews, regular SEO-driven blogs and more.
Shopify and WordPress are two popular content management systems (CMS) you can utilize for your business’ website, depending on your needs. Shopify is an e-commerce driven platform, specifically designed to allow merchants to have an online store presence, manage inventory and fulfill orders. If your business operates solely or primarily in the e-commerce space, then Shopify is for you. If e-commerce isn’t the primary goal of your website or business model (such as a service based business), then WordPress is likely your better route.
WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning that designing the site can be done 100% custom with the added perk of being able to update your own content post-launch. It allows a true UX/UI process, and the ability to design outside of templates and restrictions (White Canvas is a WordPress website for instance!). E-Commerce can be integrated into any WordPress, however it is not as preferred as Shopify’s robust shopping platform.
But which one is best for SEO? When it comes to SEO, there are pros and cons to both Shopify and WordPress platforms.
Shopify: SEO Pros
The load time for Shopify is very fast which works to keep site visitors on the page, instead of clicking out of it due to the time it takes to load everything up. Another pro of Shopify is the mobile optimization feature that is built into all of their websites, which helps rank higher on Google in terms of mobile SEO. As Shopify is heavily template based, their SEO features are more user-friendly for someone to just fill in the blanks with their business information quickly.
Shopify: SEO Cons
A few main cons of Shopify include: limited blogging capabilities and fewer customizable options. As Shopify is mostly used for running an e-commerce store, their blogging capabilities are lacking as business owners who opt for Shopify are choosing it for the visual appeal and simplicity of the platform. Since Google isn’t a fan of the “cookie-cutter” SEO practices, the lack of customizable options for Shopify is another con.
WordPress: SEO Pros
WordPress is known for customizable, SEO-optimized code which provides substantial support to blogging and SEO content capabilities. There are also a wide variety of SEO plugins available which can help customize meta titles and descriptions, image optimization, server optimization, and much more. With WordPress, you are also able to change the structure of the permalink URL to help satisfy Google’s requirements for SEO. It’s important to also understand that while plugins are a great feature, having too many plugins can work against your site’s load speed and SEO (see below Cons section!). We recommend no more than 3-5 plugins per website and utilizing custom code as best practice.
WordPress: SEO Cons
Due to the power of WordPress (through its customizable codes and plugins), it becomes a heavier website which ultimately slows down the speed of the website, and can contribute to higher bounce rates. As the themes are very custom-built, they are not optimized automatically for mobile and CSS, which would then require you to have more knowledge on coding for WordPress.
At the end of the day, SEO can be practiced and implemented through both platforms but the preference lies completely in your hands. If you are more comfortable/knowledgeable with one platform over the other, or if your business has a specific need that only one of the platforms can accommodate then these are key considerations when it comes to choosing between Shopify or WordPress for your business.