When we think of selling online and establishing a strong search engine visibility, two options that quickly come to mind are Shopify vs WordPress SEO.
Which is better for improving SEO and driving more relevant search engine traffic? The answer to this question is not a straightforward one. As the typical SEO answers – it depends.
There are no clear-cut pointers or directions to go. It depends on several factors, including your business needs, technical knowledge, budgets, etc.
Shopify vs WordPress for e-commerce SEO are evenly comparable, which makes it even more challenging to say why Shopify is better than WordPress for eCommerce.
However, I will focus solely on both platforms’ SEO aspects in this Shopify vs WordPress for SEO. I am leaving other areas aside so you can get a clear optimization feature of both platforms.
Let’s` dive in…
Shopify vs WordPress Overview
This review of WordPress e-commerce SEO vs. Shopify SEO is based on the self-hosted WordPress platform.
This is where my expertise lies, and it is what I would base this comparison post on.
If we’re on the same page, continue reading…
WordPress was founded in 2003 primarily as a blogging platform. It is an open-source project with a huge community of developers and contributors from all over the world.
Since its launch, the CMS giants have undergone numerous core updates and evolved to fit other website needs such as e-commerce, business websites, portfolios, etc.
WordPress powers more than 43% of the web and can be used to create any online property.
However, to use WordPress as a full-fledged e-commerce platform, you need an additional plugin such as Woocommerce, memberpress, easy digital download, etc.
Straight out of the box, WordPress is SEO-friendly, easy to use, and gives endless customization possibilities.
With an active daily user of about 2.1 million from 175 countries, Shopify is truly a global brand.
Started in 2006, Shopify is primarily an eCommerce software developed to make it easy for anyone to start, grow and manage an online shop.
Shopify is suited for non-technical users who want an easy-to-use solution, a one-click setup process without the hassle of hosting and website maintenance.
All-in-all, Shopify provides a quick and easy setup process for beginners and small-sized businesses to start an online shop.
Consider reading through our comprehensive Shopify review for a more in-depth look at Shopify features, functions, SEO features, pricing and supports. You have a broader view of how Shopify works and its extensive features.
Shopify vs WordPress For SEO
Now, let’s look at what’s better, Shopify or WordPress, and how each compares in the following areas.
We will mostly look at how each platform helps with all aspects of SEO and optimizing user performance.
Both WordPress and Shopify provide an easy way to start on their platform. Getting started with WordPress’s self-hosted platform is easy, fast, and straightforward.
You must purchase a domain name and a hosting account from a web host. Once you get these things, you’re all set up.
Next, you must install WordPress on your host, install the necessary plugins and themes, create pages, and start blogging.
Apart from the domain name and hosting, WordPress is free to use. And many of the plugins you’ll need to extend the functionalities of your blog or eCommerce site are free.
However if you need more control, advanced features, and security, you may be required to purchase a pro feature.
Also, you need an eCommerce plugin to sell on WordPress with all the functionalities like payment, checkout page, add to cart, product pages, automatic tax calculation, receipt, etc.
On the other hand, Shopify is a premium platform where you pay to get started. This means you have everything to kick off your eCommerce store pre-installed and ready to use.
You don’t need to worry about hosting, themes, payment systems, product pages, SSL certificates, checkout, cart, etc.
All the tools and features required to sell online come with your Shopify subscription.
And it takes a few steps to open an account on the website. Shopify is a hosted platform; you don’t need a website to use Shopify.
For non-technical users and businesses that want a simple and quick way to start an online store, Shopify is better than WordPress.
Blogging is an integral part of SEO; the more often you blog, the more traffic you can drive from search engines and referral traffic.
The quality and consistency of your content output directly correlate with a higher ranking.
WordPress is arguably the best blogging platform anyone can start with. It makes blogging fun and easy to manage and provides all the tools and features you need to excel.
Blogging on WordPress can improve your SEO and give you the capability only a store platform can dream of.
Shopify offers blog functionality as an eCommerce platform, but it’s far from giving the same features as WordPress-powered sites. It lags and can only be improved over time to rival the likes of the WordPress blogging platform.
If blogging is part of your online shop SEO strategy, you must consider your online store choice.
Search Engine-Friendly URL
Search engine-friendly URLs are part of an SEO strategy, though a minor ranking factor for search engines like Google.
But having a page URL that is consistent, keyword rich, and easy for users and search engines to understand is essential to SEO.
WordPress offers more customization and control over permalink structures. It is user and search-engine friendly.
You can control how your website or store URL reads in WordPress. Woocommerce, one of WordPress eCommerce plugins, offers various permalink settings for your product and category pages.
You can set product category-based URLs, product tag bases, and more. And have total control over the setting of your store URL structure.
Shopify does not offer URL customization like WordPress, but that is not to say that Shopify is bad for SEO.
By default, you’ll generate a canonicalized product collection URL when you add a product after creating a collection.
Whatever your product name will define the last part of the URL.
Also, you can’t bypass the product folder, but you can update the product handle URL and force it to link from the collection to make it more SEO-friendly.
For beginners, understanding how to structure Shopify store URLs can be a challenging task at the beginning.
If you want to edit the last URL part of the product or collection entry, scroll down the page to the search engine, click edit, and enter your ideal text in the previous part.
Now you’re able to have a page title that is different from the slug.
For more helpful information on how to make your Shopify URL more user and SEO-friendly, check out this post.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to customizing your WordPress eCommerce store. You can do incredible things with your store with the help of its eCommerce plugins.
No matter what you think of your store, you can achieve it with WordPress.
There is a plugin for everything in WordPress, from payment solutions, engagement, security, performance, and SEO, to web sign; WordPress is blessed with a vast community of active developers.
And if you’re a tech guru, web design expert, or SEO professional, you can tweak your WordPress software or theme files to fit your blogging or eCommerce needs.
On the other hand, Shopify has limited apps in its store.
While you have apps to extend the functionality and features of your online store, there are limits to what you can achieve compared to WordPress.
Shopify does not offer advanced SEO professionals and web designers the capability to fine-tune their online stores as per their business demands.
However, it handles many repetitive SEO tasks like sitemap submission, titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, keywords, etc.
With the addition of Yoast to the Shopify app store, Shopify eCommerce owners can now enjoy the SEO plugin for optimizing their content and stores.
Supports for Structure Data
Structure data is part of an SEO best practice as it helps search engines understand your content and pages.
It can also help increase the click-through rate through rich snippets. And as you sell through an online store, it is worth even more to implement structure data on your website.
If search engines understand what you sell and your target audience location, your store will rank for more relevant queries.
WordPress provides comprehensive, structured data support through its plugins and a manual approach.
Using a plugin is more recommended and an easier way to get around implementing Structured data markup on your eCommerce site.
Shopify also provides an easier way to implement structured data in its store. It offers a standardized schema structured data markup.
You can implement it with one of its apps or try to do it manually. Using an app is the recommended option.
You don’t want to risk tweaking code and breaking something. Moreover, you need a good knowledge of Shopify Liquid and HTML to do it manually.
The best option is to use an app design for implementing structured data on your Shopify store. You can use the TinyIMG Shopify app or JSON-LD for SEO to create and add structured data to your online store.
You can increase your search visibility, drive more relevant traffic and improve click-through rates.
WordPress and Shopify support structure data implementation, which is good for SEO.
How your web store performs regarding speed and user experience affects search ranking. The faster a page loads, the better the user experience.
And for search engines like Google, page speed and user experience are part of the ranking signals. So you need an e-commerce platform built for speed and optimal performance.
Being a self-hosted platform, WordPress e-commerce store performance largely depends on your web host server quality and third-party resources.
You can choose where your online store is hosted and what resources you install.
This has its advantage: you can eliminate what you don’t want and keep what makes sense to your business.
It can also mean that small businesses and individuals on a tight budget struggle to get the services and tools required for optimal site performance, especially if you have little to no knowledge of codes.
Shopify is a hosted platform built for speed and optimal user experience. The backend infrastructure scales the computing systems to give maximum speed and performance.
Also, Shopify’s underlying technology is lightweight and less resource-intensive; this gives it an upper hand over WordPress in terms of speed.
All these can also mean that you have less control over optimizing your Shopify store. For example, you don’t have control over which CDN to use, local browser cache, and server-side page cache.
So if you suspect that performance is affected, things are within and outside your control. You can check a list of what you can and can not do to improve a Shopify store’s performance.
This Shopify vs WordPress SEO won’t be complete without looking at each platform’s entry-level plan and price.
It is next to nothing to start an eCommerce store on WordPress. The only exception is registering a domain name and buying a hosting package. And you don’t need a high-cost hosting plan in the beginning.
With less than $100, you can start your eCommerce store on WordPress.
A domain name costs less than $10, and a hosting plan for less than $20/month is a good starter.
You can buy a theme like Astra Pro for $47/yr and install the free starter templates, which give you access to hundreds of professional design themes.
This allows you to build stunning web pages in minutes without coding or being a developer.
Woocommerce, the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugin, is also free.
Shopify’s basic plan starts at $29/month, giving you access to basic ecommerce marketing tools you need to sell online.
$29/month seems pretty decent for an all-in-one e-commerce solution, but things can quickly add up when you add more premium apps to your store.
However, you can access advanced e-commerce solutions you would otherwise pay separately for. Shopify saves you all the hassle and legal work of operating an online shop.
So, in the end, it all depends on your choice, business goal, and technical knowledge.
You can use the Shopify 3-day free trial period + one dollar monthly for three months and experience the e-commerce platform before deciding.
Conclusion…Shopify vs WordPress SEO For eCommerce
Shopify vs WordPress for e-commerce SEO is a debate that will go on for a long time. Both platforms have advantages and disadvantages.
If you want an easy-to-use done for you SEO solution, Shopify is the right choice.
But you won’t be able to dig deeper into more SEO opportunities and explore advanced tactics that could help SEO growth.
If you want high usability, absolute control over SEO, and a robust content management system, go for WordPress.
Getting used to certain features and tools may require some training and time, but in the end, you have a great platform to sell your goods online.