Is WordPress or Shopify Better for SEO: A Comprehensive Analysis

As a professional and experienced technical SEO agency, we often encounter clients asking us; “Is WordPress or Shopify better for SEO?” This question is crucial, especially for businesses that want to maximize their online presence and increase organic traffic, and ultimately sales. 

In this article, we will analyze several factors, such as URL slug structure, Schema limitations, hosting speeds, HTML-to-text ratios, and other on-site SEO modifications, to determine which platform offers superior SEO capabilities.

URL Slug Structure

One of the first elements to consider when comparing WordPress and Shopify is the URL slug structure. The slug is the part of the URL that comes between the very last “/ … /”. A well-structured URL is essential for search engines to efficiently crawl and index your website.

WordPress offers greater flexibility in customizing URL slugs. With the help of plugins like Yoast SEO, users can create clean and descriptive URLs that include target keywords. This customization can help improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) as well as navigation.

On the other hand, Shopify has a more rigid URL structure. Although it is SEO-friendly, users cannot modify certain parts of the URL, such as the “/products/” or “/collections/” prefixes. This limitation can make it challenging to create URLs that perfectly align with your SEO strategy.

Schema Limitations

Schema markup is a form of structured data that helps search engines understand the content on your website better. Implementing schema markup can lead to rich snippets, which can significantly improve your click-through rates from the SERPs. This doesn’t directly affect rankings, but with a better CTR and a longer dwell rate (the amount of time a user spends between clicking on your link and going back to Google search), Google will rank your site higher. 

With WordPress, you have complete control over schema markup. By using various plugins or adding custom code, you can implement any type of schema markup you need.

Shopify has inherent schema limitations. While it does offer some built-in schema markup, users are unable to add or modify the structured data without accessing the theme’s source code. This can prove challenging for those without coding expertise, making it difficult to maximize schema markup benefits.

Hosting Speeds

hosting speed guy running

Website loading speed is a crucial factor for SEO, as search engines like Google prioritize fast-loading sites. Both WordPress and Shopify offer reliable hosting services, but there are notable differences.

WordPress websites are usually hosted on third-party hosting providers like SiteGround, Bluehost, or WP Engine. The hosting speed can vary greatly depending on the chosen provider, the hosting plan, and server locations. With the right hosting provider and proper optimization, WordPress sites can achieve excellent loading speeds, especially when paired with a good CDN (content delivery network).

Shopify is a shared hosting platform meaning that all Shopify stores are hosted on the company’s servers. While Shopify provides fast and secure hosting, there is less customization that you can do yourself. But if you’re on this platform, you probably are not trying to get that deep into it anyway. 

Honestly, the Shopify hosting platform can be faster than a lot of WordPress hosting options, just not as custom. It is important to have the proper hosting set up in either case if you are trying to rank your website in search engines. 

HTML to Text Ratios

The HTML-to-text ratio is the proportion of actual visible text content on a webpage compared to the HTML code that forms the layout of the page. If there is not enough text on a page, Google may not find it as valuable to a user as one that speaks in-depth about a topic. 

WordPress provides extensive control over the website’s structure and layout, allowing users to optimize the HTML-to-text ratio. By using custom themes or clean themes, minimizing unnecessary code & plugins, and using plugins like Autoptimize, WordPress users can achieve an optimal HTML-to-text ratio.

Shopify’s theme-based structure may limit the ability to optimize the HTML-to-text ratio. Most themes and plugins want to include as much as possible so you see the value and want to buy them. The downfall to that is they are often bloated with extra code to do all the things it does, even if you only need it for one or two functions. Although some themes are optimized for SEO, users have less control over the code, making it challenging to improve the ratio without significant customization.

Other Limitations of Shopify for On-Site SEO

Beyond the factors mentioned above, there are a few more limitations to Shopify’s on-site SEO capabilities:

  1. Restricted access to robots.txt file: Shopify does not allow users to edit the robots.txt file, which controls how search engine crawlers access and index the site. This limitation can make implementing advanced SEO strategies that involve managing crawl budgets and indexing preferences difficult.
  2. Limited options for content creation: While Shopify allows users to create pages and blog posts, its content management system (CMS) is not as robust as WordPress. This limitation can make it challenging for Shopify users to implement advanced content marketing strategies and optimize their on-site SEO. More so, with the limited design options in Shopify, it is more difficult to use your blog pages to bring that organic search traffic into your sales funnel. 
  3. Limited SEO plugins: Shopify’s app store offers a limited selection of SEO plugins compared to the extensive options available for WordPress users. This can restrict the ability to tailor your SEO strategy and implement advanced optimization techniques on a Shopify store.

Wrapping up

When addressing the question, “Is WordPress or Shopify better for SEO?” It is clear that WordPress offers greater flexibility and control over various aspects of SEO, such as URL slug structure, schema markup, HTML-to-text ratios, etc.. Furthermore, the extensive library of plugins and customization options makes WordPress a more versatile platform for implementing advanced SEO strategies.

However, this does not mean that Shopify is an inferior choice for SEO. Shopify’s built-in SEO features and fast hosting speeds make it a viable option for e-commerce businesses that prioritize ease of use and simplicity. It is essential to consider your specific needs, resources, and goals when choosing the best platform for your website.

Ultimately, the success of your SEO efforts depends on factors beyond the platform you choose, such as the quality of your content, the effectiveness of your backlinking strategy, and your ability to optimize various on-site elements. By focusing on these aspects, you can achieve high search engine rankings and drive organic traffic to your website, regardless of whether you choose WordPress or Shopify. On either platform, if you keep user experience in mind over stuffing content into your pages, you will win. Traffic doesn’t mean anything if they don’t convert into a customer.

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