Popular Website Platforms and How They Impact SEO
There are a lot of website platforms available that can suit businesses of any size. When choosing a website builder or content management system (CMS), you’ll want to think about your budget, ease of use, design and development experience, customer support, and other factors.
Importantly, you’ll also want to think about search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO-friendly website builder can help ensure that your website is discoverable in the search engine results.
Based on our experience and expertise, here are the pros of cons of some popular website platforms and how they affect your SEO and pages on your site.
WordPress has built up a reputation for itself as one of the top content management systems.
- Ability to fully customize SEO elements.
- A variety of plugins for security, speed, and other elements that may impact your SEO.
- Responsive, mobile-friendly themes are available.
- Requires some web development knowledge to fully optimize your website for SEO.
- Plugins may slow down your website, cause other technical issues, or even crash your website.
- Frequently targeted by hackers because it’s popular and open-source. Security issues can negatively impact your SEO.
Overall, WordPress is a robust website platform that can accommodate a variety of needs. To maximize its full potential, you’ll want to utilize a web developer.
WTM has WordPress developers.
Shopify is a popular platform for ecommerce websites. Unlike WordPress, it’s a builder, not a CMS, so Shopify does come with some limitations.
- Easy to encrypt your store through Shopify (again, security is important for SEO).
- Automatically creates a sitemap of your store. A sitemap is like a blueprint of your website that Google uses to navigate it.
- Provides hosting and maintenance so your website stays secure and up-to-date.
- Inability to edit your sitemap. This is a major drawback because you may need to remove certain URLs from your sitemap that you don’t want indexed by Google.
- Shopify doesn’t allow you to access other files from your website that you may need in order to fix technical SEO issues, including the robots.txt file and the .htaccess file.
- If you sell products internationally, you will need to create a separate storefront for each country. This makes international SEO challenging since you’ll have a separate website for each country and Google may see these as duplicates.
Overall, Shopify is a good choice for first-time sellers, small and midsize businesses, or those with a limited development budget.
Drupal is considered one of the top content management systems available. Like WordPress, it’s a robust platform with plenty of advantages.
- Like WordPress, Drupal is fully customizable, giving you the freedom to do whatever you need to optimize your site for SEO.
- Drupal’s software is designed for security, and since it’s open source, its community is constantly working to find and address vulnerabilities.
- Drupal has a high capacity to handle and organize content. It can easily accommodate hundreds of thousands of pages with a flexible taxonomy (the way pages are organized on your website). This makes it ideal for large enterprise brands.
- Requires extensive web development knowledge to fully optimize (even more so than WordPress).
- The steep learning curve for non-developers makes it hard to update SEO elements like metadata and image alt text.
Ultimately, Drupal is a good choice for enterprise brands and sites with a lot of content. If you have an in-house web team or work with a skilled developer, you can create a truly unique and functional website using Drupal.
BigCommerce is a robust platform for online stores. It has some beneficial features for SEO, but it also has its drawbacks.
- Automatic URL updates and redirects when you rename products. This is helpful if the product has changed significantly and you don’t want users to come across an outdated product page.
- Responsive, mobile-friendly themes are available.
- Supports additional markup language for rich snippets (features that appear in search results). For example, you could add markup for product reviews, and Google will then show those reviews right in the results page for your product:
- Automatic URL updates can create unnecessary redirects, thus wasting crawl budget.
- Difficult to set canonical tags (you’ll need to edit the theme files directly). Canonicals help resolve duplicate content issues that can hurt your site’s ability to rank.
- Blogs are automatically created on a subdomain (subfolders are better for SEO) and lack categories.
Magento is another popular ecommerce platform that is also pretty SEO-friendly. However, it is expensive, and it can be complicated for businesses that haven’t sold online before.
- Easy to update product descriptions and copy.
- Can generate sitemaps.
- Follows best practices for website architecture and navigation.
- Slow front end loading speed, but can be improved with additional optimizations.
- May require some configuration to reduce duplicate content issues.
- Default settings, including default page titles, are not always optimized for SEO.
Magento is a robust platform and may be ideal for complex, enterprise websites. It’s ideal to have additional web development resources readily available, but SEO teams can easily manage important content elements.
Why Website Platform Matters for SEO
While some website platforms have their limitations, it’s possible to optimize for search if you have the right expertise. Conversely, even if a platform is SEO-friendly, you need to practice good SEO to improve and maintain organic search visibility.
Here are some common issues that we often see due to a client’s website builder or CMS:
- Slow page speed and page loading
- Compatibility issues with third-party Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
- Slow or incomplete indexing from search engines
- Poor taxonomy/site structure (this can make it hard for Google and other search engines to navigate and understand your website)
- Sitemap errors
- Rendering issues
- Lack of mobile-friendly design
All of these problems can impact SEO. You could be missing out on rankings and traffic to your website because of technical issues pertaining to your website platform.
Need Help Choosing a Website Platform?
Other factors such as hosting, pricing, and security should guide your decision, but don’t discount SEO when choosing a platform.
If you lack an in-house team or want a second opinion, our web development and SEO teams can help you choose the website platform that best suits your business’ needs. We have experience working on most platforms, including WordPress, Shopify, Bigcommerce, Drupal, and Magento. Get in touch with us and see how we can help guide you through the process.