Demandware is an ecommerce platform that’s now known as Salesforce Commerce Cloud. (Despite the name change, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is still popularly known as Demandware, so we’ll refer to it this way throughout).

According to Oncrawl, Demandware is the choice of over 20% of ecommerce businesses that use enterprise software. That includes global brands like Adidas, Lacoste, and Puma.

For businesses like these, owning real estate on page one of Google search results pages is crucial for both brand awareness and revenue generation. To claim a piece of the growing pie that represents shoppers using search engines, brands like these turn to Demandware SEO.

What is Demandware SEO/Salesforce Commerce Cloud SEO?

Demandware SEO (search engine optimization), also known as Salesforce Commerce Cloud SEO, is a marketing strategy that involves improving the ranking of Demandware stores on search engine results pages (SERPs). Higher positions on SERPs are correlated with more organic search traffic from Google and other search engines. And more traffic translates to more potential customers on your website.

Since ecommerce SEO is an organic marketing strategy that can be executed on a relatively limited budget, it’s a popular choice for businesses of all sizes, from small stores to large enterprises. And unlike other digital marketing strategies, SEO can actually deliver compounding ROI over time.

Is Demandware SEO-friendly?

The features of Demandware make it the platform choice of larger ecommerce companies. It has strong merchandising capabilities, and it allows for hyper-personalization and experimentation, as well as omnichannel strategies and complex data management. It also comes with support from the Salesforce team.

But what about SEO? Some, like Lydia Sims on the Pearl Lemon blog, call Demandware a mostly SEO-friendly platform:

From purely an SEO standpoint, the Salesforce Commerce Cloud/Demandware has a reputation for being a platform that is easier to optimise than many others and easier to keep free of potentially harmful to SEO technical errors. It can also boast great uptime – crucial to the success of any retailer who offers an online e-commerce option – and can be maintained without the need for very pricey additional development work.

Then others, like the team at Salt Agency, say otherwise:

Like many platforms, SFCC relies on customised development onto the core platform framework, which means that mistakes are often made, and other things are missed. The reason for this is that sadly, a developer’s priorities are (in the majority of instances), not the same as someone working in SEO.

It’s safe to say that as a popular choice for enterprise brands, Demandware undoubtedly has some SEO-friendly features. And as long as your developer is prioritizing an SEO-friendly infrastructure, you should reap the benefits of those features.

Common SEO Issues in Demandware and how to solve them

All that said, Demandware is not without SEO challenges. Here we compile the most common SEO issues you’ll have to control for when you use Demandware.

Product category page duplication

When a user click “show all” on a category page, Demandware will add a ?viewall=true to the end of your URL, creating duplicate content. This should be controlled for with canonical tags that point to the root category page.

A product category page that causes a Demandware SEO issue.

Product page duplication

When a user clicks a product in on your category page, depending on where that product is on the category page in relation to the other products on it, Demandware will automatically add start=2 or start=3, etc. to the URL. This again creates duplicate content issues and exhaust valuable crawl budget. Canonical URLs to root product pages can solve this.

Alt tag roadblocks

Demandware offers no efficient way to edit alt tags quickly. On an enterprise ecommerce site with countless pages and media, this can make for a major resource drain if it’s not resolved with automation.

Duplication from /demandware-{}/ directories

If you don’t disallow and noindex / and /demandware.static/, it can result in duplicate content that’s not valuable for crawlers. These can include staging domains, product variations, and even login pages.

No server log access

Demandware is self-hosted, which means you can’t access server logs. This will inhibit crawl optimization, forcing you to turn to other SEO tools to improve crawl budget.

Faceted navigation duplicate content

When your users sort products by size, color, brand, etc, in a menu that is usually located in the left sidebar, Demandware will automatically add a character string to the end of the URL, like prefv1, or prefn1, etc, which translates to duplicate content. You can block these parameters from being crawled with robots.txt or control which you want Google to crawl with Google Search Console.

A page with faceted navigation that causes a Demandware SEO issue which duplicates content.

Bad default URL linking

A lot of default URLs created by Demandware don’t go to the absolute URL of their internal links. Among other issues, this can deplete link equity among your pages.

Default redirects instead of 404

When a page is not found, Demandware defaults to 301 or 302 redirects. But best practices dictate that when a page is not found, users should be delivered to a 404.

Long and complicated homepage URLs

At times Demandware will create long and complicated variations of your homepage URL. Make sure these are accounted for with redirects to your true homepage.

10 Demandware SEO strategies for your online store

It doesn’t matter how search-friendly your ecommerce platform is. To reach peak ranking on SERPs, you’ll need to know and use SEO best practices. Here are 10 for your Demandware store.

1. Conduct exhaustive keyword research

To prove to Google you have content relevant to a visitor’s search, you need to have relevant keywords placed in strategic positions on your web pages. These can be found with the help of SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Search Console.

2. Make your content easy to consume

Google won’t send people to your content if it’s not easy to read, watch, listen to, etc. To make it organized for visitors to consume, make sure you use a page title and HTML header tags: H1 through H4 to create a hierarchy of information, which visitors can use to find what they’re looking for quickly.

3. Optimize organic SERP CTR

Focus on improving your meta titles and meta descriptions to boost the likelihood your search engine listing gets clicked. Your title should be a compelling title that differentiates you from other listings on the page and communicates a benefit. Your description should elaborate on that title, letting visitors know what they’ll find when they click through.

4. Speed your page load time

There are lots of ways to improve page speed. Some of the most popular include compressing CSS files, minifying JS, using a cache, and building pages with AMP. Considering page load time is a major effector of user experience and an official ranking factor, this should be a focus.

5. Incorporate social media into your SEO

Social links don’t count as backlinks, but they do give people more opportunities to view your content. And more opportunities to view your content means more opportunities for backlinks. Research has shown that more social engagement — specifically social links — is correlated with more backlinks.

6. Use link-building tactics you can scale

Link-building for enterprises is different. Strategies need to be scalable. Luckily as an enterprise there are ways to use size to your advantage to build tons of links and prove your authority to Google. Identifying unlinked brand mentions and focusing on niche content are just a few.

7. Lead Google to your valuable pages

With so many pages, it’s inevitable Googlebot misses some on an enterprise site. Send an XML sitemap to the search engine through Google Search Console to show it where to find all your pages. That way, none of them get left out of search engines.

8. Make clear how you want your site to be crawled

Some pages, like admin and checkout pages, should be excluded from search results. A robots.txt file can communicate this to Google, as well as other more specific instructions on how to crawl your site.

9. Use rel=canonical for duplicate content

The canonical tag prevents Google from indexing the wrong page when two pages are identical or near-identical and they have different URLs. This is particularly helpful on Demandware sites, where duplicate content is a pervasive SEO issue.

10. Don’t skimp on schema markup

For enterprises, rich snippets mean more SERP real estate for highly competitive keywords. When every pixel of space on the SERP counts, schema markup makes it easier for Google to better crawl and serve robust, engaging search listings.

Get a complimentary Demandware SEO audit

Among other platforms for ecommerce websites, Demandware has the advantage for enterprises. But as you’ve seen, it does come with a host of technical SEO issues.

Want to see how you’re doing with Demandware SEO? Get an instant SEO audit below. Or, schedule a free consultation to see how an intent SEO consultant can boost search traffic revenue by 700%.