How to Get Started with SEO for Your BigCommerce Store

What is SEO and Why is it Important for Your BigCommerce Store?

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is a must-have for your BigCommerce store. It’s all about improving your online store’s visibility to your audience through search engines like Google. And guess what? It seriously boosts your organic traffic!

Here’s a quick start to your BigCommerce SEO journey:

  • First, tightly knit those relevant keywords into your product descriptions and page content.
  • Then, make sure your meta descriptions are on point, too.
  • Seeking quality backlinks from relevant websites will also help your ranking.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your SEO. So, keep at it, and in no time, your store will enjoy the organic traffic it deserves!

How to Get Started with SEO for BigCommerce

Step 1: Register your BigCommerce store with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools

Optimizing your BigCommerce store for search engines is crucial for driving web traffic. Registering your store with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools can boost your SEO significantly.

  • Start by creating an account on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • For Google, click on ‘Add Property’, and for Bing, select ‘Add a Site’. Follow the respective instructions for both.
  • After registering, you’ll need to submit an XML sitemap for indexing. It’s a code cataloging your site’s critical pages, used by search engines for effective crawling.
  • Good news – BigCommerce automatically generates your sitemap! Access it at ‘[yourdomain].com/xmlsitemap.php’
  • Submit this link to both the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools for proper website crawling and indexing.

Remember, proper SEO can make or break your online visibility. So, don’t miss this step.

Step 2: Focus on on-page SEO

Step 2: Master On-Page SEO

  • Choose clean URLs, incorporating your target keywords.
  • Commence your product titles with those keywords.
  • Incorporate focus keywords in the H1 tags for better visibility.
  • Position focus keywords early in your content, ideally the opening paragraph.
  • Leverage ‘LSI keywords’ – alternatives to your focus keywords and include long-tail keywords in your content.
  • Optimize and tag images correctly.
  • Remember, blog posts that are comprehensive tend to rank better.

Use these tips cleverly to let search engines know what your page is about, helping your BigCommerce store rank higher in search results.

Step 3: Optimize your page titles

Example: If you own ‘Jim’s Cars’ in Brooklyn selling Volkswagen, use ‘Volkswagen Cars Brooklyn’ over ‘Jim’s Cars.’

Keep the format ‘Primary Keyword – Secondary KeywordBrand Name’ in mind, but adapt it to suit your page’s context.

Lastly, don’t ignore meta descriptions – treat these as mini advertisements of your page, ensuring they’re concise yet compelling, and contain your primary keyword.

Remember, the goal is to attract users to visit your page! Ergo, create titles that offer a compelling snapshot of your page’s content.

Step 4: Perform keyword research

Keyword research is a crucial SEO strategy to get your BigCommerce store found in search results. It involves finding the right balance of relevance, authority, and volume. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Start with brainstorming relevant topics your audience might be interested in. Think from their perspective and list down potential keywords.
  • Input your main topic into Google’s Search Bar for auto-suggested keywords. Also, check out the related searches at the bottom of the search results page.
  • Use online forums like Quora to find informational keywords related to your business.
  • Utilize keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Ubersuggest, Keywords Everywhere, SECockpit, and Google Keyword Planner for detailed insights.
  • Lastly, spy on your competitor’s websites to see which keywords they are ranking for.

Remember, choosing the wrong keywords could attract the wrong audience or not rank at all, so choose wisely.

Step 5: Craft content that prioritizes the reader’s experience

Prioritize Reader Experience In Your Content

  • Write engaging and valuable content. Your audience craves original material that speaks to their needs, so keep your blogs, product descriptions, and multimedia content fresh.
  • Avoid overusing keywords. Yes, they’re important, but loading your content with too many can make it seem unnatural. Keep it conversational and relevant.
  • Stay on top of trends. Understand what resonates with your audience and tailor your content accordingly.
  • Remember, content isn’t just about SEO optimization. It’s an elegant dance between appealing to search engines and offering a superb experience to your customers. Ultimately, your content quality affects your ecommerce store visibility and potential sales.

Step 6: Add alt text and optimised file names to your images

To enhance your BigCommerce site’s SEO, paying attention to image alt text and file names is crucial. Both help search engines understand the context of your images and can improve your visibility in searches. Here’s how to optimise them:

  • Add alt text by navigating to Storefront > Web Pages.
  • Click on Insert/Edit Image to upload your image.
  • Go to the Appearance tab and type your alt text in the Image Description field.
  • For file names, ensure they’re descriptive and contain relevant keywords.
  • They must be brief and hyphen-separated for search engines to comprehend them effectively.
  • Prior to upload, double-check your image file name to avoid future hassles.

That’s it – SEO optimisation made simple!

Step 7: Use clean URLs

  • Start by ensuring the URLs of your BigCommerce site’s posts, pages, and products are short, simple, and keyword-focused.
  • Avoid using numbers and special characters as they’re unsafe and avoid long, confusing URLs like: http://www.object.com/index.php?id_lexpezi=280&sid=6p96e
  • Instead, use readable, sensible URLs with target words. For instance: www.yourdomain.com/blue-guitars instead of www.yourdomain.com/bgtrsain1593prds22
  • Go to Storefront > Web Pages to edit a page URL. Enter the URL in the ‘Web Page Details’ section.
  • For blog post URLs, head to Storefront > Blog. Scroll to the ‘SEO’ section to edit the post URL.
  • To change product URLs, navigate to Products > View. Click on ‘SEO’ and edit the URL in the Product URL field.
  • If necessary, create a 301 redirect after changing a high-performing page’s URL, but try to keep URL changes minimal.
  • Short, simpler URLs boost SEO performance. BigCommerce generates these for you, but you can customize your URL Structure Settings for cleaner URLs.

Step 8: Leverage rich snippets

Boosting your SEO is a cinch with rich snippets in your BigCommerce store. Rich snippets aid in understanding your page’s content, improving click-through rates (CTR), and enhancing search positions.

  • Start by squeezing out every bit of data for your product details pages on BigCommerce. The platform automatically pulls microdata from these inputs to create rich snippets, featuring vital information like brand, ratings, reviews, pricing, and stock levels. Remember to double-check everything – accuracy matters.
  • Got additional Schema markup to add? Just generate your Schema code and embed it into your page, product, or post’s HTML on BigCommerce.
  • If adding the code manually isn’t your cup of tea, either alter your BigCommerce theme files or opt for a third-party application to add Schema markup for you.

Remember: Companies that utilize rich snippets see their CTR increase by 20%-30% with an overall 58% boost. Make the most of this to elevate your SEO game and attract more traffic.

Got your code in order? Run it through Google’s structured data testing tools to ensure everything’s just right. Now, you’re ready to give your search results a detailed and engaging edge.

Step 9: Add alt text to images

  • Start by locating the page with the image. Navigate through Storefront > Web Pages in your BigCommerce.
  • Right-click your chosen image but dismiss the opening menu by clicking the picture again.
  • Click the ‘picture’ icon found in the menu bar.
  • A box allowing image edits will appear. Go to the ‘Appearance’ tab and type your alt text in the ‘Image description’ field.
  • Expert tip: The alt text should contain your focus keyword but also be clear for visually-impaired users.
  • Adding appropriate alt text helps in better search engine categorization, ADA compliance, and screen reader accessibility, enhancing the overall SEO of your site.
  • Remember, repeating your primary keyword for every image is a bad practice, referred to as keyword stuffing. Instead, aim for diverse, relevant descriptions.

Step 10: Optimize category pages

Optimizing category pages is key for SEO success in your BigCommerce store. With good SEO, you’re more likely to rank high and get noticed. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by making your URL SEO-friendly, it should clearly describe the category.
  • Craft your title using keywords related to products in the category.
  • Write a compelling description, giving enough information to inspire clicks from search results.
  • Include a unique H1 tag featuring keywords.
  • Use high-quality images of products and make sure to optimize the alt tags.
  • Use filters and other features to streamline customer search.
  • Keep track of conversion optimization factors, including reviews, calls to action, and special offers.
  • Use strategic navigation and strong information architecture. Ensure a natural flow from homepage to category (and possible sub-categories), and then to product pages.
  • Link product-specific keywords to appropriate product pages for a strong internal link strategy.
  • Keep user experience in mind: place your grid or list product layout first, followed by optimized content.

Remember, content shouldn’t interrupt the category experience. So, balance SEO strategy with user experience!

Step 11: Employ headings to guide navigation

  • Use just one H1 heading per page.
  • Keep your H1 different from your page title to avoid seeming over-optimized by search engines.
  • Sub-optimal SEO performance? Try to avoid using the BigCommerce page builder, as it lacks the option to add headings properly.

Step 12: Improve your image alt text and file names

  • Pro tip: In BigCommerce’s WYSIWYG Editor, add alt text under the Appearance tab in the Image description field after inserting the image on the Storefront.
  • Expert advice: Before uploading, double-check your file names. Note: avoid re-uploading images in BigCommerce because of file name tweaks, it can be tricky. When renaming, separate words with hyphens for optimal readability by search engines.

Step 13: Assess the quality of your on-page SEO

Bonus Step 14: Adopt a mobile-friendly theme

Step 13: Assessing On-Page SEO Quality

  • Check the ‘Health’ of your on-page SEO. Do a thorough review of title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and content quality.
  • Ensure your title tags are under 60 characters and include focus keywords.
  • Headers should be used appropriately (H1, H2, H3, etc.), without bold or italics.
  • Meta descriptions should be enticing, driving users to click through.
  • Your content should be unique, engaging, and contain long-tail and LSI keywords.

Bonus Step 14: Adopting a Mobile-Friendly Theme

  • Remember, more than 60% of Google searches are from mobile devices in 2021.
  • Choose a mobile-responsive theme for your BigCommerce store.
  • Test the theme’s mobile preview before finalizing it.
  • Enable Google AMP in your store for a smooth mobile browsing experience.

SEO Best Practices for Your BigCommerce Store

1. Optimize Your Web Pages for Search Engines

Optimizing web pages for search engines is crucial; it’s the key to improving your website’s visibility and attracting more traffic. Here’s a quick guide on how you can ace on-page optimization:

  • Ensure your title is catchy, contains keywords, and is under 60 characters.
  • Apply proper headings (H1, H2, H3), don’t bold or italicize.
  • Write compelling and concise meta descriptions to boost click-throughs.
  • Craft high-quality, original, relevant content to keep visitors engaged.
  • Prioritize optimizing high-traffic pages—use tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs Site Explorer for insights.
  • Your page URL should be keyword-rich and descriptive.

Remember, your content is the bridge between you and your users—make it relevant and engaging!

2. Use Search Engine-Friendly Images

In your BigCommerce store, optimizing images for search engines is of great importance and here’s why.

  • Search engines examine your ‘alt text’ and file names – these offers insight into your image’s context.
  • Making sure your alt text has relevant keywords is crucial as it can boost your visibility in Google’s image search results.
  • To add an alt text, go to Storefront, choose Web Pages, and click on Insert/Edit Image. Upon uploading your image, input your preferred alt text in the Image description field.
  • Naming your file right can also enhance your SEO efforts. Keep it short, remember to add your focus keywords, and confirm it before uploading.

Remember, quality content ties you to your customers, so keep it authentic, compelling, and customer-focused.

3. Optimize Your Page Titles and Headings

Optimizing page titles and headings is crucial for SEO in your BigCommerce store. They help search engines comprehend and rank your page. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin your page title with a focus keyword, e.g., ‘Volkswagen Cars Brooklyn — Jim’s Cars.’
  • Limit titles and long-tail keywords to 60 characters or less.
  • Devise compelling, content-reflective titles that engage audiences, not just search engines.
  • Use headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) strategically to structure and highlight your content. Don’t bold or italicize them.
  • Finally, remember that these practices also apply to your homepage and product landing pages.

By following these tips, your BigCommerce site’s SEO ranking can be optimized effectively.

4. Optimize Your Site’s User Experience

Boosting your BigCommerce store’s usability and SEO go hand-in-hand. The better the user experience, the more search engines favor your site. So, how do you enhance site optimization?

  • Cut down on loading time. Speed matters. Compress image files, limit custom codes, and avoid numerous web fonts.
  • Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These pages load faster, improving mobile browsing significantly.
  • To find out what improvements your site needs, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool.

Remember, a better user experience leads to higher conversions. So, don’t compromise on speed and mobile-friendly formats. Aim for swift, seamless, and satisfying shopping experiences!

5. Make Use of BigCommerce’s SEO Features

Boosting your store’s online visibility is a breeze with BigCommerce’s wide array of SEO features. By leveraging these in-built tools, you can surge ahead in search engine rankings and expand your reach. Here’s a condensed checklist to optimize your BigCommerce store:

  • Start by using an SEO-friendly URL structure.
  • Edit metadata in BigCommerce for improved search engine performance.
  • Optimize your page titles to make them more search-friendly.
  • Write compelling meta descriptions.
  • Utilize the unique category descriptions feature.
  • Enhance your pages using Schema.org structured data.
  • Enable Google AMP on your product pages.
  • Make sure your page load speeds are optimized for both desktop and mobile.
  • And lastly, enable breadcrumbs to improve your site navigation.

Remember, every little step counts when it comes to SEO!

6. Create High-Quality Product Pages

High-quality product pages are powerful tools for boosting your BigCommerce store’s SEO and driving customer satisfaction. With strategic use of keywords, unique content, and a user-focused design, you can elevate your ranking in search engine results.

  • Start with a solid keyword strategy for your product pages. Include high-search-volume, high-conversion long-tail keywords that closely align with your product pages in your product descriptions. For instance, if you’re selling “women’s yellow pumps,” consider incorporating keywords like “yellow pumps” or “women’s yellow pump shoes.”
  • Make a conscious effort to avoid using generic product descriptions provided by manufacturers. Duplicate content does not win favor with search engines; they are likely to penalize identical pages across multiple stores.
  • Leverage category pages for your SEO advantage; they are often the authoritative, high-ranking pages on an eCommerce website. Ensure your site’s structure is hierarchical, not exceeding three levels for optimal SEO impact.
  • Pay attention to your SEO work on category pages. A failure to optimize these pages may inadvertently have a negative effect on your site’s overall domain authority within its product categories.
  • Implement all conversion optimization factors on your store homepage like special offers, customer reviews, prominent call-to-action buttons, and more. These factors not only help keep visitors engaged but also assist in steering them towards conversion.
  • Your product page should have an SEO-friendly URL that clearly describes the product. This can significantly influence how both users and search engines perceive the content on the page.
  • Include in your title keywords related to the products in the category. The description should give users enough information to encourage them to click on your link from the search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Incorporate a unique H1 tag with relevant keywords. The textual content should provide useful information about the category and include internal links to subpages or related pages on your site for further exploration.
  • Display high-quality images of products or sub-categories. Filters and other features can also be implemented to help users narrow down their choices, enhancing the user experience significantly.
  • Maintain a strategic navigation system. Design your store architecture in silos to establish a natural flow from the homepage to category and possible sub-categories, and finally, the product pages. Using breadcrumb links can help guide search engines and users, enhancing both SEO and user experience.

By following these steps for creating high-quality product pages, you can greatly improve your BigCommerce store’s SEO performance and drive better customer engagement. Remember, an investment in structured, keyword-rich, and user-friendly product pages is an investment in your store’s overall success. Subscribe to SEO best practices and keep refining your strategies for enhanced visibility and better conversion rates.

7. Use Category and Subcategory Headings

Boosting your BigCommerce store’s visibility and searchability is easy when you learn the art of using category and subcategory headings correctly. It not only spruces up your SEO but makes your content readable and accessible. Let’s dive into how to play smart with headings.

  • First off, navigate to Storefront > Web Pages. Highlight the text meant to be a heading, pick your desired heading type from the formatting drop down menu, and voila! Not too arduous, right?
  • Prioritize your H1 heading, it’s a major player that search engines recognize. Do include your focus keyword, but limit it to just one per page.

Remember, SEO is tricky, posting multiple H1s or making your page title identical to your H1 might just irk Google. So tread lightly!

8. Optimize Your Site’s Backend

To boost your BigCommerce store’s SEO, you need to start with optimizing your site’s page speed. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by testing your store’s loading speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It’s best to run this on all of your best-selling products to maintain consistently high scores.
  • Remember to compress product images. Larger image files can significantly slow down your page loading time.
  • Lower the usage of external scripts and custom code on your site. These bits of code can slow down your site’s loading speed.
  • Clean out apps that you aren’t using from your site.
  • Avoid an excessive use of different web fonts, as they can also drag your site speed down.
  • Make use of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It enhances your page’s loading speed on mobile, providing users with a quicker and smoother experience.

Concerning SEO, don’t forget that BigCommerce’s powerful administration panel allows you full access to customize your blog and information pages. You can edit metadata, header tags, titles, and URLs to make them more SEO-friendly. Keep in mind, faster loading pages appeal to both search engines and internet users and can result in higher page rankings.

  • The art of attracting quality backlinks is crucial for SEO in your BigCommerce store. This is how search engines like Google see that your store matters. Backlinks are like positive recommendations from other sites, establishing your store’s relevance, trustworthiness, and authority.
  • To get started, identify your backlink generating opportunities. Ahrefs Site Explorer and Semrush Backlink Analytics are effective tools for checking your and your competitors’ backlinks.
  • Collaborate with key influencers and opinion leaders for partner content production. You can identify these potential partners using BuzzSumo.
  • Don’t play sneaky with search engines by spamming backlinks. Ensure diversification between dofollow and nofollow backlinks for a healthy, balanced profile.
  • Aim for 3-5 links per keyword, spread out, not all at once, to avoid suspicion.
  • Try to get backlinks from sites with less than 25 outlinks, PageRank greater than 0, and a domain lifespan of over six months.
  • For manual backlink building, techniques like broken link building and guest posting can prove highly effective. You can find broken links with tools like Google Webmaster or Dead Link Checker. Creating content around these broken link topics and getting webmasters to replace the broken link with yours is a savvy move.
  • Guest posting can also be an effective strategy. Write quality posts for other blogs or websites in your niche, embedding your store’s link in the content.
  • Remember, the emphasis should always be on quality, not quantity, when it comes to backlinks. Aim for significant influencers and reputable websites for backlink generation rather than scattering low-quality backlinks indiscriminately.
  • Finally, maintain a regular monitor of your backlink profile to keep track of your SEO progress. It’s a game of patience and persistence, but the payoff is tremendous when you see your BigCommerce store climbing the SERP ranks.

10. Monitor Your Site’s Performance

  • Improving your BigCommerce SEO starts with monitoring your site’s performance. Keep an eye on it by using tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which can give valuable insights on how to enhance your site speed. Remember, a faster site promotes better user experience and improves SEO.
  • Compress image sizes with free tools like CompressPNG to decrease load time. Remember, the faster your site loads, the less potential loss to competition.
  • Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Slower mobile speeds can lead to potential customers heading elsewhere. AMP optimizes mobile browsing for a superior user experience.
  • Use Google Analytics and register your site with Google Search Console for analyzing traffic and pinpointing high-visit content. For keyword research, opt for SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush.
  • Pay attention to your most visited pages — home, category, and product. Optimize these with on-page SEO to bump up search engine visibility and traffic. Use Google Analytics and Ahrefs Site Explorer to know which pages need your attention first.
  • Track your rankings with Keyword.com or Ahrefs. Ahrefs’ rank-tracking feature can keep you updated with changes in rankings, aiding in competitor analysis. Or, create an SEO dashboard in your Google Analytics account to track organic – One crucial step to improved SEO on your BigCommerce store is tracking site performance. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to review your site’s speed. This tool will provide steps to fine-tune load times, enhancing user experience and SEO.
  • Invest time in compressing image file sizes with software or websites such as CompressPNG, to expedite load times. Keeping your custom code clean or minimized and limiting web fonts used can also boost page speed.
  • Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to guarantee swift loading times on mobile devices, providing a better user experience.
  • Make use of Google Analytics and register with Google Search Console to keep an eye on your traffic levels. For keyword research, Ahrefs and Semrush are recommended.
  • Concentrate on optimizing your most visited pages such as home, category, and product pages through on-page SEO. Tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer and Google Analytics can help identify the most visited pages to prioritize.
  • Measure your success using Ahrefs for tracking search rankings or create an SEO dashboard in your Google Analytics account. Refreshing your knowledge daily on essential metrics such as keyword positions, domain rating, referring domain, and overall search visibility will ensure continuous improvement of your SEO prowess.

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