Those trying to decide which eCommerce platform offers the most advantages for their business always have a hard time weighing in the strengths and weaknesses of two of the best options: Shopify and WordPress.

Shopify´s ease of use, attractive templates, and scalability have always made it extremely attractive for businesses and brands who wanted to have their store up and running fast. Users love the fact that they don’t have to learn to code to set up their online store in order to end up with a professional-looking website. You basically sign up, choose an attractive template, upload your products and you´re good to go.

When described like this, Shopify sounds too good to be true, and some might say it is. One of the biggest problems Shopify SEO specialists have with the platform is their software-as-a-service approach. This means that every change made on the platform, for example changing your theme or uploading new products, has to be done through Shopify directly. If you want to adjust certain settings like your meta title and description, then this too needs to be changed via their own interface.

WordPress, on the other hand, has always been known as the tool with which talented people can do almost anything they want to their websites. Its open-source and developer-friendly software allows for a multitude of free and premium plugins which would make even the most demanding WordPress SEO specialists happy.

Moreover, WordPress has always focused on content management, an area where most other eCommerce platforms have not been able to gain a serious foothold.

However, despite its significant advantages, WordPress hasn´t been able to establish an uncontested dominance. In fact, the gap has been narrowing lately thanks to Shopify´s tenacity and strategic thinking.

The Evolution of Shopify SEO

In 2020, Shopify announced an alliance with the Social Media leviathan Facebook. The move allowed Facebook and Instagram users to shop directly from shoppable posts. This is a move that has been long anticipated by Shopify and its users, as it allowed for an easy way to integrate the power of social media with eCommerce without the need for unnecessary steps during the checkout stage.

Later, in 2021, Shopify announced similar features for TikTok users, as it launched a new feature called ShopNow. But the definite blow, the one that allowed Shopify to shake the eCommerce ground, was their partnership with Google Ads and the possibility to obtain hits and conversions directly from Google results. Expert eCommerce agencies, especially those offering Shopify SEO services, would finally see a way to seamlessly combine their marketing efforts between SEO, PPC, and social media.

The New WordPress

WordPress has responded to Shopify´s relentless advances with some equally impressive moves of their own. Their latest release included more personalization features for customers so that they would feel right at home on your shop’s website. This is an effort to regain the trust of people who feel intimidated by the abundance of options and settings in WordPress.

One performance improvement, which was introduced with the newest releases of WordPress, is their superior caching capabilities. Shopify has responded by making great strides into improving its own cache system in recent months; however, the open-source nature of WordPress and specific features like W3 Total Cache still give it a slight advantage, and they still had the definite best plugins for SEO…. up until this month.

Shopify´s Latest Maneuver

According to a recent analysis of the SEO capabilities of WordPress and Shopify, it seems that both platforms have been leveling out their respective benefits and disadvantages as they try to gain more market share from each other.

However, Yoast CEO’s recently announced a partnership with Shopify, breaking their long standing stance on closed source platforms and their hitherto exclusive focus on WordPress.

For years, many SEO experts would insist that Yoast alone tipped the scale in favor of WordPress since it allowed for better use of metadata and SEO tools. It also helped design and craft extremely optimized content strategies that would take into account every indexable page of your website, making Yoast one of the most used plugins in the world and a must-have for any SEO-related effort.

The problem with Yoast was that it exclusively supported open-source platforms. According to their website, Yoast’s core values made them naturally inclined towards more collaborative environments where almost anybody could contribute to the collective knowledge and organic development of their partnerships with other platforms and creators.

What Changed?

Those with a more cynical view of this industry would jump to say that Yoast just wants a bigger piece of the eCommerce cake. After all, in this environment, it is impossible to survive if you are not focused on growth and enlarging your customer base.

However, we have been in this game long enough to recognize the constant effort companies like Yoast and WordPress put into giving their users more useful and intuitive tools and helping them grow their online shops and websites. By paying close attention to what they do, we can clearly see that Yoast’s new partnership with Shopify was not just a stunt to get more clients and increase sales. The change is actually in line with their mission to make the internet more accessible for small businesses who want to sell their products without the involvement of middlemen of any kind.

On their part, Yoast has assured everyone they will continue to support the WordPress community with undivided attention.

Will the Partnership Work?

While this merger of two major players in their respective fields may seem like a war on eCommerce, it actually seems like the opposite. Both companies saw that they were not serving their customers properly, or at least not totally in line with their manifest core values. WordPress was locking out potential users by supporting platforms only they used; while Shopify had not kept up with the latest SEO advancements and was not serving its clients’ best interest by forcing them to work in a rigid environment that did not allow for much user customization.

Now, while we don’t know exactly how this partnership will play out in the long run, we can clearly see it has made both platforms more attractive than they used to be and Shopify SEO more important than ever.