In the world of web development and online store creation, Shopify and WordPress are two powerhouses and offer a variety of features that businesses can use to create fully-fledged and functional websites.
But how do these platforms perform for SEO? After all, having an epic website is one thing, but without a carefully crafted SEO strategy, no one will ever visit it, what a waste!
On the one hand, Shopify is user-friendly, has some decent built-in SEO tools, and its fast stores are mobile-optimized. In contrast, WordPress may be more difficult to learn but gives far greater customization and a huge range of SEO plugins. This is the barebones, but if you read on, I delve deeper into the Shopify vs WordPress SEO argument to see which platform triumphs.
Shopify is a user-friendly ecommerce platform that allows anyone to create an online store without prior web development knowledge. You get everything in a subscription including hosting, a URL, and access to their development tools.
In terms of SEO, Shopify keeps it simple and gives you a range of simple tools and analytics to work with. The app store has SEO plugins available, and mobile optimization and site loading speeds are a big contributing factor too.
Page loading speeds and compliant code are important for SEO and things that Google looks for and Shopify delivers this. You can choose lightweight themes that specialize in fast loading speeds and will automatically optimize on-page items like images. This means your store will load fast and you won’t get any penalties with Google.
All Shopify themes are also mobile optimized and load perfectly on mobile devices. You can even preview how the site looks on mobile devices to make sure things like menus and images work on smaller screens. Mobile optimization is another key factor that Google looks at for ranking.
On-page SEO for Shopify is decent too and although it doesn’t compete with WordPress in terms of customization, you can quickly add important SEO features like alt tags and META tags. The app store also features a solid range of SEO plugins. For first-time users, the on-page SEO is easy to manage and you can eventually incorporate things like Shopify Schema too for your products.
As part of your Shopify subscription, you get an SSL certificate issued which is vital for store security. SSL certificates also contribute towards search engine rankings as sites without them are generally viewed as unsecured and thus won’t be promoted.
WordPress is a web development platform that allows for the creation of online stores using plugins like WooCommerce. It offers more advanced features and control compared to Shopify and you can get packages that include hosting from third-party providers like Blue Host.
For SEO, WordPress is as advanced as you want. The plugin library is immense and it has hundreds of SEO tools you can incorporate into your online store. The optimized code helps keep your website compliant with W3C standards too, and you can easily incorporate blogs into your store for content marketing.
The main benefit of WordPress is the access to SEO tools and plugins. Popular options like YOAST SEO and Rank Math are incredibly advanced and allow you to easily manage your on-page SEO and create things like pilar content. These tools have fantastic documentation too and they give you great flexibility in your approach to SEO.
WordPress is also far more customizable than Shopify and you can edit the underlying HTML code if needed.
There are essentially no limits to how you develop your WordPress online store, and with ecommerce tools like WooCommerce, you can also make your online store incredibly advanced to give your users the ultimate shopping experience. Shopify does offer customization, but you are always confined to work within the boundaries of their online store framework.
Blogging is a vital part of SEO content marketing strategies and WordPress allows you to seamlessly integrate blogs into your website or online store.
Generating new blog posts is easy, and you of course have the on-page SEO analysis tools like YOAST SEO to make the blogs optimized. The plugin library also allows you to add extra blog features like share buttons and comment sections.
Shopify doesn’t give quite as much control over your link structure and URLs and this is actually an important part of SEO. Understandable URLs are a must for an effective SEO campaign and WordPress essentially gives you complete control of your URL hierarchy and structure.
I hate doing this as it seems useless, but, there isn’t an overall winner for SEO. That doesn’t mean that each platform doesn’t have strengths and weaknesses and this is how you pick the best option for your business needs.
Shopify is the user-friendly option – for the entrepreneur who has no web development or SEO knowledge. The built-in tools can get you started, and it already has some SEO-friendly features like mobile optimization and fast loading speeds.
WordPress is for the larger business or the entrepreneur with prior web development and SEO experience. It’s huge plugin library, excellent customization, and blogging support allow for the development of more advanced SEO plans.