When it comes to building a website, there are no bigger names than Wix and WordPress, but how do they compare when focusing on their SEO features? Ranking well on search engines is critical for any website’s success and it all depends on your website’s SEO.
As two of the most popular platforms to build a website, each comes with all of the essentials you need to rank highly but differs in how you access these features. And what is available in a fresh install.
Today, we will explore if Wix or WordPress offers users better SEO options when building a website.
What Is SEO?
Search engines use bots to crawl through your website’s content. These bots collect data and index those pages, which is the equivalent of creating a giant library of web pages that the search engine acknowledges.
Next, the search engines begin to analyze the indexed pages based on the data the bots collected. They use a variety of factors to determine a ranking and the websites will appear in search results based on those rankings.
The higher the rank, the better the results.
The problem is that the algorithm these platforms use takes into consideration hundreds of factors. Many, of which, still remain a mystery. Website owners must optimize as many of these factors to improve their ranking, which is exactly what search engine optimization (SEO) is.
However, not every platform gives you full control over the necessary information.
For instance, many free website builders exist, but they tend to force you to use a branded subdomain. This can severely impact your SEO, so you need to avoid these if you are serious about rankings.
Similarly, the speed of your website is critical, not only for SEO but for the user experience.
Overview: Wix vs WordPress
While we will be analyzing each platform’s SEO toolset in-depth, it’s important to understand what each platform is at its core. Thus, before we get into specifics, let’s do a quick overview of what each one brings to the table.
What Is Wix?
Wix is a cloud-based website-building platform that allows you to edit your website from any device. It utilizes a drag-and-drop interface to help make it as beginner-friendly as possible.
As a result, users do not need any coding knowledge.
To make it even easier, Wix provides hundreds of ready-to-use templates that can help you start a website in minutes. However, customizing the templates can sometimes be a bit challenging to get them to look a specific way, but it is possible.
In terms of plans, Wix offers users multiple types including a free plan. However, the free plan forces you to use an assigned URL that would look like this “accountname.wixsite.com/siteaddress” which is terrible for SEO.
We will ignore that in this comparison, but it’s something to be aware of.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is open-source software that is completely free to use. However, you will need a webserver to install it on, which means you will need to pay for web hosting services.
That might sound expensive, but it isn’t. In most cases, it’s cheaper than a cup of coffee for the month.
WordPress is the most popular CMS on the market and it currently powers 40% of the internet. Its popularity can be attributed to a variety of features, but the most important include its ease of use and creative freedom.
This platform can build any kind of website and anyone, regardless of their experience, can build it. No coding is required, instead, the thousands of plugins and themes do all of the heavy lifting.
All you need to do is install the right tools for the job.
Note: There are two kinds of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPres.com is a service-based option that packages web hosting. WordPress.org, or self-hosted WordPress, is what 40% of the internet uses.
This comparison will focus on WordPress.org.
So What’s the Difference?
Wix and WordPress can both build an SEO-friendly website, but the way they go about it is quite different. Wix is a website builder, while WordPress is a CMS. These terms may sound like the same thing, but they are quite different.
With Wix, you are stuck using the Wix platform. If you are unhappy with the service, you’re out of luck. Whereas with WordPress, you have complete freedom and can go from one web host to another at any time.
And generally speaking, WordPress is cheaper on a monthly basis.
Wix vs WordPress: SEO
Now that we know what kind of platforms Wix and WordPress are, we can start discussing their SEO qualities. Each of these will be able to give users access to the basic features without much trouble. But when you start looking at more advanced features, one of these has an advantage.
Wix has come a long way from where it began. It has added a variety of SEO tools that users will find very useful and corrected a lot of early criticisms of the platform.
For instance, in the beginning, you couldn’t customize the URL structure. Even worse, that structure wasn’t SEO-friendly.
Today, things are different. You can freely change the URL structure to more SEO-friendly options. And one of the most useful tools it offers is automatic sitemap creation and submission.
This is set up during the Wix SEO Wiz.
This handy tool will walk you through the process of making your Wix website SEO-friendly. It takes a look at your website and highlights problematic parts of your content and provides helpful tips to fix any red flags.
It’s a terrific tool that can really help beginners get the most out of their website.
While Wix offers a lot of great SEO features on a fundamental level, you can start to notice a lot of limitations when you look at the advanced features.
For instance, while you can add custom HTML code into Wix, it is limited.
This means you are at the mercy of the platform’s code, and Wix is notorious for code bloat. This can make your website get bad scores when using tools to calculate page speeds.
It’s great for beginners but lacks the full control that veterans look for.
Out of the box, WordPress is not that impressive in terms of SEO. It offers a lot of basic features like changing the URL structure and setting up metadata, which is great but lacks most of the advanced features.
However, all of those features can be added with plugins.
And that is where WordPress really shines. It has hundreds of plugins that specifically focus on SEO.
Each one offers a variety of features so you can choose what you like. The most popular SEO plugin by a mile is Yoast SEO. It provides your posts and pages with a Yoast ranking which looks at a variety of factors like keyword usage, internal & external link tracking, headers, and more.
All of this information is visible in real-time so you learn how to create SEO-friendly content as you write. It also handles advanced features like sitemap generation.
However, you will have to submit your sitemap to Google and other search engines manually.
Of course, WordPress offers a lot more in terms of customization, and that can really separate it from other platforms. As open-source software, you can freely change the code, and in the hands of an expert, this can really make a huge difference.
WordPress is a bit harder to optimize your website’s SEO with, but generally speaking, it gets the best results when done correctly and offers a lot of freedom.
Just remember that not all plugins are compatible with one another, so choose wisely.
Who’s the Winner?
While Wix might be slightly easier to use for beginners, it really starts to show its limitations when you look past the basics. Whereas WordPress has a higher learning curve, but ultimately a better track record when it comes to results.
As open-source software, you have complete control over every aspect of your website. You can even change the web hosting service at any point if you are unhappy.
This is something that Wix does not offer.
In terms of flexibility and customization, WordPress is unmatched.
What About Mobile-Friendliness?
Hopefully, most of you reading this are aware that Google adopted a Mobile-First approach several years ago. This just means that search bots crawl through the mobile version of your website. Thus, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your rankings won’t be great.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention this yet, it’s because these platforms are pretty evenly matched in regards to mobile.
Any website you build on either platform will work great in a mobile environment, but I would give a slight edge to Wix. Simply because the website templates actually create a mobile version as well. Thus, it’s guaranteed to work.
WordPress isn’t much harder, but you may have to adjust some settings manually to get everything right. Regardless of which platform you use, all of your content will be mobile-friendly without much work.
What If I’m A Beginner?
If you are just starting out and want to know which platform is right for you, let’s discuss.
As I said, Wix is a tad bit simpler to manage your SEO because everything is baked into the platform. You won’t have to install any other tools or change any code with Wix.
That said, WordPress isn’t exactly rocket science. It is a bit more complicated in terms of SEO, but it’s still relatively easy.
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself what kind of website are you building? We’ve done a full comparison of Wix and WordPress in the past and our recommendation remains the same, WordPress offers a lot more in terms of features and customization.
As a beginner who might need to change the scope or scale of their website in the future, WordPress is the better option. Not to mention cheaper.
Why Not Combine the Two?
Now I know that some of you might already be aware that you can actually use both Wix and WordPress together.
It’s actually quite common for some users to build with Wix and import their creations into WordPress. At its core, Wix is a website builder, so it excels at building pages. WordPress is a full CMS, so it does a better job at managing that content.
Of course, there are a variety of other page builders you can consider like Elementor, but it’s always worth pointing out that these tools are compatible with one another.
You could even run one or the other as a subdomain.
Stay Up to Date on SEO Changes
Google regularly makes changes to its ranking system every year. Staying on top of those changes is critical for success. And if I’m being honest, it’s another area WordPress succeeds in.
As open-source software, WordPress can quickly adapt to changes. New plugins will be available, and if not, you can write your own code to make the necessary adjustments.
Instead, websites on a platform like Wix may suffer until the platform updates.
After all, it could take several weeks before the platform makes the necessary changes, or adds the ability for you to make those modifications.
Do you prefer Wix or WordPress when it comes to SEO capabilities? Do you feel one platform is easier than the other?