Ecwid is a tool for building your own online store. It’s a ‘software as a service (SaaS) tool, meaning that you don’t own the software, but pay a monthly fee to use it.
Much like other e-commerce platforms, Ecwid allows you to set up ‘catalogs’ of products, and add photos, pricing, weight, etc. for each. You can define shipping rates, accept credit card payments, and so on – all the key stuff that you’d expect to be able to do using an e-commerce solution. All this is done via a web browser — there’s nothing to install on your computer.
Ecwid differs significantly from competing products like Shopify, Squarespace, and BigCommerce however that it is not really designed to let you create a standalone e-commerce website; rather, it’s designed to allow you to add an online store to an existing online presence.
Ecwid works by giving you a ‘widget’ that gets placed on other sites — hence the name Ecwid: it’s short for ‘E-commerce Widget’. You get a few lines of HTML code (the widget) to add to an existing website or social media profile, and your store is displayed wherever you’ve inserted this code.
Search engine optimization (SEO) in Ecwid
The key things to watch out for with SEO features in online store building products like Ecwid are as follows:
- how easy it is to key elements like page titles and meta descriptions
- how easy it is to create clean, search-friendly URLs
- how fast you can get a product page to load
The good stuff first: you can edit the title of your page and its meta description easily; the relevant fields are pre-populated for you automatically, but you can tweak them to suit your SEO objectives.
Less good is the fact that you can’t manually change the URL of a product — you have to make do with the one that Ecwid generates for you.
This is not ideal because keywords in URLs are used by some search engines to categorize content during indexing. However, the URLs that are automatically generated by Ecwid include the title you’ve given to your product — so if you include some keywords in your product title (not a bad idea anyway) your URL will include them too. This serves as something of a workaround, but I’d prefer full control over URLs.
Another area where Ecwid doesn’t perform quite so well on the SEO front involves AMP — accelerated mobile pages.
As the name suggests, AMP pages load faster on mobile devices. This encourages people to stay longer on your page, thus increasing ‘dwell time’ — something which is believed by many SEO experts believes to be rewarded by Google with preferential treatment in search results.
Additionally, Google sometimes highlights AMP pages in carousels in search results, giving AMP content an extra little boost.
Unfortunately however — and unlike competing products such as BigCcommerce or Shopify — you can’t create AMP versions of your products using Ecwid. (You can use it to create dynamic order notification emails — you can find out more about this here — but being able to display products in AMP format is more useful).
Although there’s room for improvement with regards to SEO in Ecwid, I wouldn’t necessarily view its current deficiencies in this area as a showstopper; it’s important to remember that keyword research, link building and having great content on your site are as important to SEO as the technical aspects of SEO.