5 min. read
“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
– Wendy Piersall
In any contest, whether you come out on top has more to do with your own skill and strength than the size of the sword you’re holding.
However, there’s still a lot of merit to the (now old) argument over WordPress and Wix, and which one is better for SEO.
More specifically, Wix tends to get a bad rap as being poor for SEO and rankings. On many occasions, I’ve seen SEOs express their feelings on the subject with memes such as this:
On the other hand, if you ask SEOs why Wix has such a bad reputation, they are often hard-pressed to articulate the reason. Many rationales will be offered, dissected, and disputed.
A lot of SEO heavy hitters have weighed in with their two cents, while others have pulled quotes directly from Google about Wix’s SEO merits. Here, we’re going to lay out everything you need to know about WordPress versus Wix search engine optimization, and let you come to your own conclusion about which will be better for building and hosting your own website.
A Short History of Wix’s Bad Rep
On top of all that, Wix even had an issue with pages dropping out of Google’s index as recently as 2015 — obviously not good for your website.
On the other hand, a few quick observations seem to challenge the notion that Wix websites have more performance issues than other CMS systems.
Is it Really So Bad? Changes in Wix and Google in Recent Years
Today, many of the technical issues that plagued Wix in the past have been resolved. Not only is Google far, far better at crawling and indexing websites than it was ten years ago, but Wix has also greatly improved its platform for search bot visibility.
Indeed, Wix has even made some valiant attempts to turn around their reputation in the SEO world via PR campaigns. In 2016, Wix launched an SEO Hero challenge, where contestants were invited to try to outrank Wix within a 4-month period for the keyword “seo hero” in Google in exchange for a $50,000 prize. (For the record, Paris-based SEO consultant Walid Gabteni emerged as the winner.)
Plus, there are plenty of beautiful websites out there that use Wix that seem to do just fine.
For instance, US model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss has her website built on Wix, as does the restaurant chain Long John Silver’s, as well as Admost, the popular ad revenue maximization tool.
On top of that, Long John Silver’s seems to have no trouble ranking for organic keywords and pulling in heavy traffic:
Adding to the confusion, Google’s John Mueller had this to say in a Google Webmaster Help thread just two years ago:
So what’s the deal? Is Wix just the victim of outdated rumors? Or are there real issues with Wix SEO?
The Downsides of Wix
Truth be told, Wix does have some real negatives when it comes to SEO, despite all of the changes that have been made in the last few years.
Or, to put it in English: when it comes to optimizing your website for SEO, Wix makes you do a lot of the heavy lifting yourself (in contrast to WordPress, for instance, where optimizing for SEO is more user-friendly).
If you’re building a Wix website and you don’t know what you’re doing, your site could come up looking like this in Google search:
No CTA, no clear description — ugh. I had to stare for a moment just to figure out it’s for Boston Market in the first place.
Just to be clear, it doesn’t have to look like this. But fixing this in Wix is a lot harder than other platforms — despite Wix’s reputation for being user-friendly (and in certain ways, it very much is), it can be frustrating in other ways.
I should also mention that, as of this writing, Wix still does not allow you to:
- customize canonical tags
- customize product URLs
- customize meta descriptions or page titles for product pages
These drawbacks can be huge for e-commerce sites, where unique page titles and meta descriptions are essential.
One of the most frustrating things about code bloat is that it slows down your website’s loading time, which can both turn visitors away and harm your Google ranking.
On the other hand, although Wix sites tend to have slower loading times, individual pages will load very quickly once you’ve entered the website, so it at least has a positive to balance out the negative.
You Can’t Migrate Your Data
If you’re considering Wix, you must keep in mind that Wix will always own the rights to your website. This means that if your website ever has any intractable problems, you won’t be able to migrate your data to a new CMS. If you want to get your site away from Wix, you’ll have to restart with a new website from scratch.
Additionally, if you ever want to add any SEO plugins to your website that are unavailable on Wix, you’ll be plum out of luck.
At the time of this writing, Wix does not support the hreflang tag.
That means that if you want a bilingual website with options for, say, Spanish or French, you won’t be able to make the non-English portions recognizable by Google. The non-English portion of your site will just look like a web of misspellings in the search engine, so if you need multiple language options, Wix is not for you.
Another of Wix’s technical SEO limitations is the inability to modify your robots.txt file, which is quite important for very large sites. Ditto for .htaccess.
Summary: Is Wix Right for My Website?
Despite all of the above, I don’t want to put people off from using Wix completely. Google and SEO have become far more advanced in just the last few years, and your website’s needs will be unique.
Admittedly, Wix is poor for SEO if you plan on pursuing a lot of advanced SEO techniques, or if you’re hosting a large website that could benefit from customized plugins and coding.
On the other hand, Wix could be perfect website builder if you just need a small, simple CRM for your restaurant, coffee shop, or studio. Google itself admits that Wix sites have no trouble ranking, and one of Wix’s greatest strengths is its flexible and easy-to-use design editor, which many have put to good use to create some stunning user experiences.
Ultimately, the choice between WordPress and Wix all comes down to what you value!
About the Author
Nachum Balofsky is an SEO & Content Specialist at 1SEO I.T. Support & Digital Marketing. His key skills include developing creative content campaigns and kick-ass SEO, both on and off the page.
His ideal meal is chicken & waffles with black coffee.