SEO Contract Killer: Shopify to WordPress Proposal
Every day, SEO companies sentence a promising SEO contract to death when they are forced to have an awkward conversation with Shopify store owners about first switching to WordPress. WordPress usually uses WooCommerce, but the key is that its WordPress.
WordPress allows for more advanced SEO practices. However, it’s the contract killer. So I’m writing a blog post to explain the reasoning.
Not only does this involve building a brand new website customers will also have to transfer their inventory to WooCommerce. Why? Because Shopify essentially has parental controls, and true SEO requires access to everything. A company that claims they are Shopify SEO experts is a company that has never seen The Wolf of Wall Street or Saving Private Ryan. There are many good things about Shopify. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Jack Black in “School of Rock.”
Be careful when Googling this subject. Shopify offers websites money for sign-ups they generate through their affiliate program. This causes the articles to be heavily weighted in Shopify’s favor.
WooCommerce on WordPress
WooCommerce is the #1 eCommerce Plugin for WordPress. Still, to give WordPress even more credibility, there are tools that allow you to build your Shopify store in WordPress. We actually launched a Shopify WordPress hybrid store, and it was nice for awhile because our tool for drop-shipping was only offered through Shopify. However, we got rid of that tool just so we could move to WooCommerce. After 7 years of working with the WooCommerce and WordPress combination, my experience is that it can be as powerful or as simple as you’d like it to be. When it comes to eCommerce SEO, being able to control your products is essential.
Shopify: Training for WooCommerce
Whether you view Shopify as a stepping stone to the next level or your final destination depends on your business plan and your market. If you feel like you have reached a plateau, you should ask an SEO for competitive analysis and keyword rankings report. Sharing your business objectives and industry insights will provide a context to report that will improve the recommendation. Switching from Shopify to WordPress is a big decision, and a good SEO can assess the upside and risks involved. If you decide that Shopify is your destination, you can ask your SEO to assist as long as you moderate your expectations.
WooCommerce: The Flexible eCommerce Solution
Although the dashboard is not quite the same, WooCommerce is the #1 eCommerce Plugin for WordPress. Still, to give WordPress even more credibility, there are tools that allow you to build your Shopify store in WordPress. We actually launched a Shopify WordPress hybrid store, and it was nice for awhile because our tool for drop-shipping was only offered through Shopify. However, we got rid of that tool just so we could move to WooCommerce. After 7 years of working with the WooCommerce and WordPress combination, my experience is that it can be as powerful or as simple as you’d like it to be. When it comes to eCommerce SEO, being able to control your products is essential.
Shopify is one of the best options for reaching a point where you can invest in WooCommerce. Many Shopify users signed up after having success on Amazon or Etsy. It’s an admirable decision because its a lot more work. Plus, I’m not an economist but every new eCommerce marketplace feels like a step in the right direction. And Shopify plays an important role in this noble effort. However, there also myths about the switch WordPress which will be covered below.
How are Shopify and WordPress different?
WordPress and Shopify are both Content Management Systems. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system that is more or less governed by its users. Shopify is first and foremost a proprietary e-commerce platform that contains a CMS and a toolkit that is far from open-source. Although Shopify offers support to its users, the WordPress community is very active.
Myths about Shopify and WordPress
- Shopify is more affordable than WordPress. It’s only more affordable because the website will cost more to build with WordPress (and you will probably need pay for hosting and upkeep.) While WordPress is getting a reputation as the more expensive option, it’s technically free to use and there are no platform-based transaction fees. You will have to pay for hosting and upkeep which many SEO companies offer because of its impact on SEO. Still, the two are comparable in terms of cost. This article is just based on the idea that you already have a Shopify website built
- Shopify apps are the same as WordPress plugins. Well, this is true in the sense that are both software. However, the WordPress Plugin Directory and the Shopify App Store are not comparable. There is a lack of choice. Shopify apps for product reviews or even SEO functionality are frequently limited to paid subscriptions. And when there is a free alternative, it often seems like it was added to simply maintain the appearance that the store is not simply another revenue stream for Shopify which definitely takes its cut. The WordPress plugin directory is my favorite part about WordPress. Demonstrating the best example of a free open-source marketplace, innovative plugins are added every day while top ranking plugins release updates to maintain their crown. There are many subscription-based or one-time fee plugins in the directory, they’ve often earned their right to charge on the free market by earning their users with a free version. In addition, you can upload plugins you’ve created or purchased from outside the marketplace. My favorite plugins are free single-function plugins that were clearly just created by a developer to solve an issue and shared with the community. You won’t find that on Shopify. There are too many good things to say about WordPress plugins.
- Shopify is easier to use than WordPress. While Shopify is easy-to-use, WordPress can be easier to use if built correctly. Given the appropriate permission assignment and Admin Dashboard set-up, WordPress can be even easier to use than Shopify. During the SEO process, some SEO companies design the site this way so they can work with their clients to develop content. Or even train in-house employees to manage the website. Using a WordPress theme like Divi and a reliable backup system, we’ve help companies take back control of their website from developers who have boxed them out of the process entirely.
- Shopify SEO is just as good as WordPress SEO. Because I know there is at least one person who will disagree, I’ll say that Shopify has some nice SEO qualities. Google does seem to enjoy knowing exactly how a Shopify will be structured. Those collection pages are always right where they are supposed to be. I’ve observed that Google does seem to enjoy consistency as it tries to organize the internet. Shopify is also ususally secure which is important to Google as well. They don’t want to infect their users. However, being safe and consistent will earn you Google “friendzone” rankings. WordPress can replicate a Shopify site structure if it wanted, but the fact you can modify everything about WordPress means that it allows you to provide an enhanced experience for your users. Since Shopify must not throw any curveballs at their users, it naturally evolves slower to adopt Google standards.
Switching to WordPress Website is Not an Upsell
There is a misconception that SEO companies try to upsell websites. This is mistaken and logic can prove it. For example, it’s often clear when a new website is not in a company’s budget based on a variety of cues. Still, they pitch it anyway even though they are fairly confident that adding an expensive website to an already expensive SEO investment is essentially declining all of the money. This is where some companies go against their SEO instincts and make concessions that will doom the effort.
Why SEO Companies Must Quote Website Builds
There is a misconception that this is what SEO companies want. In reality, SEO companies would be more successful if this was never necessary. Unfortunately, the website plays an important role in both short-term and long-term SEO strategies. The SEO company knows it already will take a few months to achieve results because Google doesn’t move quickly no matter how good your SEO. Now, they are adding a large sum of money for the website build which threatens the deal. They must now trust that the client has the budget and patience to reach Page 1 Promiseland. Google doesn’t make it easy, but if it were easy, everyone would do it.
Why are WordPress website builds more expensive the Shopify?
Time is the primary reason that these sites are more expensive. At minimum, 50+ hours goes into a website build. Many companies have been burned after lowering their website costs to obtain an SEO contract so that is why it may seem like SEO companies are being overzealous. Their hands are tied. They can’t fully do their job within the Shopify framework, and they usually won’t provide heavy discounts on the website because of the amount of work performed up front is substantial. Time spent working o your website is time that wasn’t spent working on another website. Good web designers are in short supply.
And although you can pay to greatly enhance your Shopify website, you simply cannot achieve the same level of functionality. So its easier just use the Shopify editor and save money for the WordPress build. Everything about Shopify is designed to be easy, and that business model is great. Lower barriers to entry means more marketplaces and more competition. But all of that comes at a cost. Shopify support would not be able to handle the requests if they dropped those restrictions.
But when it comes to ranking, you are going to be limited by Shopify. That means that an eCommerce WordPress build using WooCommerce is going to give your SEO the freedom necessary to get your site to rank. The fact remains that your website is the foundation of your SEO strategy, and attempting to cut corners limits your ability to achieve your full SEO potential. That may not sound like a problem until you consider that you’ll be competing against an increasing number of competitors that can.
In some situations, companies are simply not in a position to invest in SEO. Continuing to grow on Shopify is actually the best option. It simply comes down to ROI. In many industries and markets, SEO offers the great ROI of any marketing effort. In some, the investment will put too much of a strain on the business which creates a bad situation for everyone.
Shopify: A Great eCommerce Platform for Getting Started
Remember, this article is about Shopify SEO and not Shopify itself. I started my first eCommerce store on Shopify. Shopify makes it easy to get your website live as quickly as possible, especially if you can’t afford to pay a web designer thousands of dollars. Honestly, its Shopify’s ease-of-use and affordability that make them such a worthy adversary to SEO companies.
Shopify is probably the most popular eCommerce platform in the world. Many Shopify users signed up after having success on Amazon or Etsy. It’s an admirable decision because its a lot more work. Plus, I’m not an economist but every new eCommerce marketplace feels like a step in the right direction. And Shopify plays an important role in this noble effort.
This essentially places a large sum of money between them and the retainer. There is a misconception that this makes the SEO company happy. It does not. The SEO is already challenged by the fact that it will take a few months to achieve results, and now you are adding a large sum of money to the mix. You are now trusting that the client has the budget and patience to reach Page 1 Promiseland.
Even more companies will not bring up the website if they sense budget pressure. These companies will claim that SEO can be effectively done on a Shopify site, and I can see their point to an extent. However, let’s take a quick look at some possible reasons for an SEO company to stay with Shopify.
Main Reasons to Stick with Shopify
- If you’ve taken a “Beginner SEO Course,” Shopify has everything you need from Title Tags to Meta Descriptions
- Google is familiar with the Shopify site structure because they are all structured the same (Helping Google is a good thing.)
- You’ve spoken with an SEO, and the potential upside or marketplace saturation does not warrant the investment
Reasons to Switch from Shopify to WordPress for SEO
- Leverage some of the best SEO plugins available on the market
- Truly restructure your website for the optimal SEO experience with advanced technical SEO practices
- Design benefits will allow you more freedom when building a user experience that offers added value to your website visitors
- Integrating SEO into your design process is advisable in most SEO scenarios.
- Customizing your eCommerce user experience within WooCommerce and its add-ons
- At its core, SEO is about content and WordPress blogging and page editing interface makes it easy to work with your SEO to develop quality content