There stand the two gladiators Shopify vs WooCommerce in the battle for the title of top eCommerce builder in the past few years. They are, in fact, powerful in their own categories. So to decide which one better suits you, it depends heavily on your needs and the ability to afford one. The Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO is also a solid match since both provide robust SEO tools which outrun almost any other candidate.
In this article, we are going to show you how SEO features of the two platforms differ from each other and how they should influence your decision. Which shopping cart should you choose following SEO criteria? Stick close to any detail we provide in this comparison on Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO features.
Side note: If you are looking for an overview of the two giants, we suggest you refer back to our Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison.
And now, stay focused!
Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO features
Speed & Uptime
Let’s kick off the battle “Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO” by the first factor Speed & Uptime. A speedy website can significantly improve end-user experience and is recognized by search engines. In fact, search engines are normally very secretive about the factors that are part of their algorithms. As a proof, Google explicitly said that the speed at which a page loads is one of those factors affecting SEO.
A website with high uptime will be marked as reliable by crawlers, keeping web ranking stable on SERP. Speed and uptime of a website can fluctuate significantly from month to month, and you’d better regularly review them.
On Shopify, sites are generally quick to load, especially for the upper grades of your Shopify edition where your site is hosted on a dedicated server. On top of that, it is estimated that Shopify sites are reliably “live” more than 99% of the time.
Shopify has apps that can be added to enable uptime reviewing feature. For example, an app named ShopStatus facilitates store owners to track their site’s performance themself.
In contrast, due to its self-hosted nature, there are a lot of things to do to improve WooCommerce overall performance. Speed and uptime of WooCommerce are primarily not so good without support from third party services, especially for larger sites that are getting a lot of orders.
Luckily, there are a variety of solutions available to fix speed and uptime for WooCommerce sites. For instance, one can change web host provider or change login page URL to enhance speed and uptime. Even simply purchasing a faster theme could also be a considerably effective method.
An SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection. Plus, the certificate helps safeguarding and allows sensitive data to be privately transmitted over web or internal network. Therefore, it plays an important role in eCommerce sites as to secure personal and credit card information that users submit to.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce provide SSL certificates authentication features but in quite different ways.
The superb Shopify is itself capable of providing SSL certificates to stores after its custom domain has been properly added. Still the best part is yet to come. SSL certificates are activated in Shopify for your store’s checkout, and for any content that’s hosted on your domain. All by default! Plus, customers who access the original URL will be automatically redirected to the encrypted online store.
In WooCommerce, it costs you a little effort to set up SSL certificates. However, you have plenty of options to fulfill the tasks. For self-hosted websites, it’s usual to reach out to SSL certificate providers to pay them a fair amount of fee. However, with WooCommerce, you can also afford free options! WooCommerce recommends users to get free SSL certificates from a preferable certificate authority named Let’s Encrypt. But as a trade-off, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is limited to functionalities compared to traditional ones. For instance, its SSL certificate is not verified by a specific company and makes web users place less trust.
Please notice that WordPress/WooCommerce URLs need to be updated after installation of an SSL certificate. At this point, it’s considered another disadvantage of WooCommerce compared to Shopify in the Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO comparison.
Auto XML Sitemap
XML Sitemap is a plain text file and is used to describe and structure data on the internet. It is located in your web server to help search engines find and index your content.
Auto XML sitemap is considered a heavy-weighted SEO facilitation factor. For an eCommerce website, maintaining an XML is not something you want to perform manually. Especially when your online store contains hundreds to thousands of unique products.
A good eCommerce builder should automatically generate an XML sitemap whenever there’s a data amendment to your website. Great to know that Shopify online stores have built-in SEO which enables automatic XML sitemap file generation. The sitemap file is located at the root directory of your Shopify store’s primary domain name. This sitemap file is automatically generated and links to separate sitemaps for your products, collections, blogs, and webpages.
While Shopify has built-in generator feature, WooCommerce relies on third-party plugins to automatically generate XML sitemaps. There are a couple of plugins that you can use to create a sitemap for WooCommerce website:
Though each of the two platforms has its own method to create sitemap, the level of convenience is almost the same. Concluding that WooCommerce requires a further minor act to complete the quest by adding plugins.
301 Redirects (or URL redirect) is the feature which is used to redirect users or search engines from one URL to another. It helps you to ensure your customers can still find what they’re looking for after you’ve made changes to your product’s URL.
Shopify allows users to create a URL redirect when you change a URL on your store. It’s very simple to create one by following a few simple steps.
Right from your Shopify admin interface, go to Online Store > Navigation, then click URL Redirects. Proceedingly, it is all about setting old and new URLs so you can redirect your visitors to.
With Shopify, keep in mind that only broken URLs should be redirected. If the old URL still loads a webpage, the URL redirect won’t work.
On WooCommerce sites, WordPress will attempt to automatically handle basic URL redirections. For example when you change the title of a product page in WooCommerce. However, redirects with complexity aren’t handled this way. So it’s recommended that to perform 301 Redirect on WooCommerce, you should install plugins that provide such feature. There are bunches of plugins available, you should choose carefully one that can meet your expectations.
If you’re opposed to adding plugins, it’s alright, you can create 301 Redirects using the .htaccess file. This method is applicable since WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform and you can have access to your server. You can look up for this file by accessing your server’s public_html directory via FTP or File Manager. It’s where you can set up URL redirects manually. For specific instructions, visit WooCommerce redirect guide.
In this Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO factor, it’s quite simple for Shopify users to create 301 Redirects as the platform has this feature built in. Meanwhile, WooCommerce has diverse ways to create redirects since it allows plugin installation.
Google puts lots of weight on the number and quality of links pointing to your site. So apart from the contents that appear on store sites, one should definitely spare efforts to create a prominent blog. Not only would it be a place for newsworthy discussions, but also a place that could attract precious external links. Accordingly, blog is another essential factor involving Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO comparison.
Some of the eCommerce platforms do not include a blog as a standard feature, but it’s not the case for Shopify. It’s very simple to set up blog and create a blog post on Shopify. The blog design is part of Shopify site’s design theme and can be customized by editing the Liquid code.
To help diversify the customer’s intention of visiting blogs, Shopify supports multiple blogs operations. This allows you to segment the kind of information you distribute based on your customers’ interest to attract even more traffic. You can even add apps to customize blog functionality which can be found on Shopify Apps Store.
Knowing that WordPress is itself a dedicated blogging system, definitely WooCommerce will inherit a lot from this to create blogs. Accordingly, you can easily create a blog for WooCommerce by adding a post right from the WordPress Admin dashboard. You can also boost blogging experience with WooCommerce by purchasing eyes-catching blog themes available on ForestTheme and many other marketplaces.
Apps and Plugins
Both of the platforms have enormous stock of apps and plugins that can help immensely improve SEO performance. In this factor, comparing Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO is the ultimate definition of “Battle of Giants”.
Here are some of the best SEO apps for Shopify verified by their vast community.
- SEO Image Optimizer: An one-click-install SEO app that helps promote Google Image search rankings for your store.
- Plug in SEO: An app that analyzes all the key areas of the website that influence the SEO performance.
- SEO Doctor: Prominent as its name, this app helps troubleshoot SEO issues and show you how to fix them easily.
WordPress SEO plugins are not particularly designed for WooCommerce but all websites powered by WordPress. However, adding SEO plugins is a great way to optimize your WooCommerce store. Some of the best SEO plugins for WooCommerce are as follows:
- Yoast SEO: An outstanding all-in-one plugin, proven by the figure of 5 million downloads and thousands of positive reviews.
- All in One SEO Pack: Great plugin for beginner WooCommerce users because of its simplicity automatic operation.
- WP Smushit: An ideal plugin that helps optimizing images uploaded to WooCommerce to increase website speed.
Ease of use
Ease of use is an essential factor that contributes to the Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO clash.
Like most of other eCommerce platforms, Shopify is not explicitly designed for SEO. However, its built-in functionality plus the diverse availability of apps makes it a tough challenger. Shopify’s SEO is well-equipped enough for sites to thrive. It has all the core features you need for eCommerce SEO, and they’re generally very simple to make use of. SEO apps for Shopify are also easy to install and operate, especially due to the technical-free nature.
Originally built in a dedicated blogging platform, SEO friendly is considered a big yes for WooCommerce. With the WordPress editor, you can easily edit body content, URLs, meta descriptions, alt tags, and other page elements to optimize product pages. It can greatly benefit from the help of plugins which are vast for WordPress. And those plugins, of course, could also make it hassle-free for users to make use of. It’s Yoast SEO that can be given out as clarification for an example.
Last but not least, how much you have to pay for SEO plugins and apps also matters in the Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO. A great eCommerce builder is expected to cover all bases including SEO factors. However, sometimes you need more advanced options to facilitate your online growth, that’s when this factor needs to be considered.
For Shopify, you’ll still need to pay when adding SEO apps to your website, and the price is reasonable for those top-ranked apps. The average monthly charges for an app available on Shopify app store is usually around $20. That amount is actually not quite a good bid for beginners though. However, it’s fascinating to know that some of the apps provide free plans!
Paying for WooCommerce is considerably less expensive compared to Shopify since the pricing plan for plugins are flexible. It ranges from individual to agency purchase, providing both monthly annual payment options. For example, the average yearly charge for the premium version of Yoast is $89. Also the availability of free versions is far better than Shopify’s.
Following this Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO factor, WooCommerce is slightly more favorable than Shopify. However, your choice should always rely on certain circumstances to best utilize financial resources.
In the battle Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO, it’s a tough decision to call out the winner. They are superbly robust platforms, enabling your products to appear in front of the right people. Both of the two platforms provide apps and add-ons that boost your store’s SEO performance.
With WooCommerce, you have full control over every aspect of your store including the parts that affect SEO. In the meantime, Shopify SEO is also easy to manage. While WooCommerce has the marvelous Yoast SEO as companion, Shopify has its wide range of integrations in apps store, too!
When it comes to technical requirements for SEO, Shopify has the edge on other platforms due to many of its integrated features. For example: quicker loading speed for all pages, SSL certificate authentication by default. Opposed to Shopify, you have to buy the SSL certificates for WooCommerce sites yourself. You can either create it for free but it requires technical skills to perform the task.
Shopify is clearly the one to beat in the list of ready-made SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms. Meanwhile, WooCommerce, powered by WordPress and has plenty of integrations with reasonable prices, reinforcing itself in every ranking competition for SEO.
Finally, there can be declared a narrow win for Shopify in SEO. About which eCommerce suits whom better, it should depend on overall platform assessment rather than just SEO. Check out our comprehensive comparison between Shopify vs WooCommerce for a broader view about this.
What is the most optimal choice to migrate your store?
If you already have a website and you are considering making a switch from Shopify to WooCommerce or vice versa, here we have the optimal solution for you. With the help of LitExtension, switching to another platform is no longer a big deal. We offer an advanced automated migration tool that transfers all of your data to another platform quickly, with high level of security and accuracy. Currently, we are supporting migration among 90+ most popular platforms.
You can refer to this complete guide on Shopify to WooCommerce migration to see the whole process of switching eCommerce platforms with LitExtension.
To have your doubt cleared in a blink of an eye, we provide free Demo Migration feature for you to check it on yourself how the process works. Should you have any question, please contact LitExtension Team!