Is Wix good for SEO?

Because of the Wix SEO Hero competition where they've put $50,000 on the line, I decided to check out their platform. They've had many issues in the past but I wanted to give them a fair chance so here's what I found. Working with their editor is a pain, it's extremely slow to load and failed to load on me several times.

Title tags

All good here, you can customize them.

Meta descriptions

As with titles you can customize them.

Friendly/Customizeable URLs

I'll give Wix points for improvement here. They've removed the hashbangs #! as detailed here and you can set custom URLs

Image names and ALT Attributes

They have a place to edit, but even though I set image name and alt attribute, I ended up with blank alt text and an image name that did not include the name I gave it, so I give them a fail here.

Google Analytics

It looks like I can't get access to analytics without upgrading.

Canonical Tags

Wix used to have a problem where all pages canonicaled to the homepage. In fact, this made Wix drop out of the Google index last year. It looks like their solution was simply to remove the canonical and now there is no way to set a canonical in Wix. Be sure to check out and vote for the feature request.

Redirects

It looks like you can setup some basic page > page redirects, but what was interesting was a crawl of my brand new website showed some of the pages were already redirecting! I also saw some documentation that you needed a subscription, but that might just unlock some more features.

Duplication

Another problem uncovered with the crawl was lots of duplicated pages related to tag and archive pages.

H-tags

My crawl showed issues with multiple h1 tags, missing h1s, wrong h1s. These can be edited individually but the styling on mine seems to have tags h2-h6 as larger than h1.

Noindex

There is a selection to hide page from search results which adds a noindex tag.

JavaScript

No surprise here, when JavaScript was disabled the page was simply blank. A Wix website will not load without JS.

Mobile-friendly

Yes.

Ads

Yes, you get what you pay for and there are ads on the free version.

SEO Wizard

Wix had a tool to check your SEO. It's incredibly basic and covers title, description, page content (to make sure the keyword is there), image name, text quantity, unique titles, unique descriptions. Not impressed.

HTTPS and HTTP/2

Wix does not support HTTPS and therefore would not have support for HTTP/2 either.

AMP

Nope, no AMP support.

Sitemap

Yep, instructions here.

Adding scripts

If you want to extend support to other tools like GTM, Optimizely, or Hotjar, you may run into issues. You can't add the scripts in the header, however it looks like you can in the body with an html code element.

Robots.txt

You have no control.

Other meta tags

Here, Wix has very limited support. They're only available in Editor and not ADI.

Website Speed

Not bad. Google PageSpeed Insights had a 57/100 on Mobile and 78/100 on Desktop. Webpagetest.org showed 2.613s Load Time, 0.188s TTFB, Fully Loaded 7.483s and lots of JS files being loaded.

Hreflang

If you plan to do internationalization I'd stay away. Wix doesn't support hreflang, which is interesting because the page that announced the SEO Hero contest had hreflang tags.

Things Wix has said about SEO that are Wrong!

Meta descriptions are important to ranking

In 5 Easy SEO Tips to Boost Your Site in Under an Hour posted earlier this year, Wix made a claim that the meta description is important for website ranking. This is completely untrue and meta descriptions are not a factor at all. Matt Cutts of Google said this back in 2009. Here's what Wix said:

While the description is not visible, it too is very important for search engines! In fact, the title and description are among the first things Google uses to determine your site's rank

Social Media boosts SEO

Wix must be spending too much time on Black Hat World. They think that social media boosts SEO, mentioned in 5 Easy SEO Tips to Boost Your Site in Under an Hour. For those keeping score, that's 2 out of 5 wrong. Googlers end up addressing this one every few months, and have since at least 2014 and every time the answer is no, yet Wix somehow believes the answer is yes.

Did you know that your Facebook page has an impact on how you rank on Google? In fact, being present (and active) on any social media site, from Twitter and Instagram to Facebook and (of course) Google+ is an essential part of boosting your SEO.

When you create your website, make sure to include prominent icons for each of your social networks, linking directly to your profile on each site. You also want to make it easy for your visitors to share the content on your site. As users share your content, traffic to your website will increase and, wouldn't you know it, Google will take notice! Sites that generate a lot of social activity will come up more frequently in searches.

Also see 12 SEO Boosts for your Wix Website and SEO For Beginners: How To Nail Your New Website's Search Engine Status. They really like to push social media.

Another easy way to link external sites to your website and increase your SEO ranking is to keep up with social media pages for your business. Social media sites are some of the first pages to pop up when someone Google's your business name, so linking them to your website is of top priority.
In fact, a website may rank higher when it's associated with an active account on a social network. So open up a profile, link to it on your website, connect with your customers and post [relevant content] as often as possible.

They still recommend Exact Match Domain Names

In Wix's guide to choosing the right domain name they recommend choosing an exact match domain, in fact they claim you will rank higher in the search results. As far back as 2012 Google ran an algorithm that's specific purpose was to nerf the effectiveness of exact match domains. More recently, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes has been looking for examples of spammy EMDs in what is likely an effort to take another crack at them.

A final tip for choosing the right domain name: You will rank higher in searches when you choose an Exact Match Domain or a Partial Match Domain.

Duplicate Content will get you Penalized

I've even written about this before on Search Engine Land, The myth of the duplicate content penalty. That hasn't stopped Wix from proclaiming you can be penalized for duplicate content in this article. Even if they believed this, I wrote previously about an email I got about the "custom" content from the Wix ADI that was in fact duplicated across 200+ websites, so why do this if they know it's bad?

Be aware that if the same content is being used in other websites, search engines will recognize this as duplicate content. As a result, your site may be penalized for duplicate content.

It's important to update your site content frequently

Okay folks, there is a patent around content freshness, but there's also one around older content. Read them, in particular Query Deserves Freshness has been misconstrued to where people think you should update your website every day. In fact, some queries like news prefer fresh content, others like say historical events might prefer older content. You don't have to try and game and repost blogs or update a few words here or there or make a certain number of edits to your content over time. Wix seems to think think you should update your website often and recommends doing it.

It is also important to update your site content frequently. One easy way to do this, is by having a blog on your site and creating new blog posts on a regular basis.

Content Length

Pick a number, any number. Higher sounds better of course and people attribute length to quality when it comes to content. Wix recommends 250-400 words but those are just made up numbers with no basis in facts. It all depends on the question you are trying to answer. If someone wants to know how old Barrack Obama, that query can be answered with ONE number, 55. Seriously folks, length does not equal quality. If you want to see what makes quality content, go read my post on SEL What is quality content?

It is recommended that each of your site pages contain at least about 250-400 words.

Optimizing Anchor Text

While not technically incorrect, there are no warnings in the article Optimizing Anchor Text about over-optimization of anchor text. Instead, Wix blindly recommends you use keywords in your links. This is a dangerous mentality and I'd argue most of your links should be branded over keyword rich.

Create your own logo?

What the hell is Wix smoking that they think having your own logo has anything to do with SEO? Apparently it's "great for your SEO settings". I don't even know what that means, but go see #2 here: http://www.wix.com/blog/2014/09/12-seo-boosts-for-your-wix-website/

Wix has the best SEO

This is their claim in the contest but also in their latest blog post 10 Reasons Why Wix SEO Is The Best. Sorry Wix, you should read through my notes on Wix SEO. I'll just go ahead and say they expanded this into the second fact about Wix having "mastered the art of getting your site to show up at the top of search results by providing everything you need to get found online – the platform, tools and analytics".

Fact number 1: Wix has the best SEO.

Meta Keywords?

While I'm not completely sure on this, Wix seems to imply that you should be using the meta keywords tag for better SEO. It's part of their platform and listed under their "SEO meta tags".

You don't need any prior experience to give your site professional SEO

Their SEO Wizard does it all for you according to #8 10 Reasons Why Wix SEO Is The Best. LOL

Multi-Lingual SEO

Okay, this one isn't really about anything they said, but they have a whole page dedicated to internationalization while they don't support hreflang tagging, which is the only way to properly specify alternate language versions of a website to Google. I noted this in my review of Wix's SEO.

They just nofollow your links

Yep, if you're a free user then your external links are probably nofollowed by default in Wix. Read more here.

Pretty sure Wix just recommended to keyword stuff

You tell me, the below is from SEO For Beginners: How To Nail Your New Website's Search Engine Status.

include these keywords as often as possible in your text, headings and as alt text for your images

Using blogs for Links

I think not Wix! The Secrets Behind Using SEO to Market your Business.

Look for bloggers in your niche who can mention your business and toss you a link in their posts.

Wix seems to think Schema tagging effects SEO?

In Myth Busting: 9 Interesting Facts About Wix SEO, Wix's #2 is about schema as if it has some effect on rankings, but it doesn't.

You'll be pleased to hear that we add schema.org tags to describe and categorize the products in your online store. Some of the categories include, but are not limited to: price, availability, product name, etc. so you're in safe hands.

Google has an "SEO Score"?

Google doesn't, but that doesn't stop Wix from claiming this in Myth Busting: 9 Interesting Facts About Wix SEO

Google recently announced that they're giving a higher SEO score to sites that are mobile optimized.

Links only help if they're from related sites

I don't know about the rest of you, but most major publications and news websites aren't really related to what I do but I'd take a link from them any day. Wix seems to have other thoughts and think that links from sites not related to you will harm you. They also use an example that a link from a dentist to an interior designer from a dentist won't help. It would though and maybe the dentist is linking to you because you redesigned their office. Check it out at http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/

If you want those links to boost your SEO (and not harm you!) they MUST be from sites related to what you do.
if you're an interior designer, it won't help your ranking to get a link from a website about dentistry. You have to stick within your industry

Links from Wikipedia will help your SEO

Sorry to disappoint you Wix, but all Wikipedia links have the nofollow attribute. This literally means that the votes, as Wix puts it, do not count for your website. This attribute prevents the passing of PageRank to another website, making your friends blog in this case more likely to influence your rankings than that Wikipedia link. See http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/.

Google, Bing and others give far greater weight to links coming from websites that are reliable and popular. A link from Wikipedia or The New York Times, for example, will do far more for your site's credibility than a link from your best friend's blog.

Keyword Rich Anchor Text

Wix used this as one of their SEO Hero tips as well, but by itself and for someone new the tip is dangerous. They say that you should add keywords in your anchor text. This should come with a caveat that an achor text profile that is too keyword rich could have a negative impact on your rankings. See http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/.

If possible, you want any anchor text that links to your site to include your target keywords. This way, Google understands that there is a relationship between those words and your website. It's better to have anchor text placed on a phrase like "best Thai restaurant" or "how to build a website" than on words like "read here" or "check out this blog."

Links from .gov, .edu, or .org wesbites are more trusted

Wix indicates that getting links from these domains will be better than links from other domains because they're more trusted. This simply isn't true and comparing apples to apples, these domains vs another are not weighted any differently or treated any differently for SEO by Google. They've said this over and over again, yet this SEO myth still manages to persist. See their comments at http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/.

If you can get a link from a university or government website, that's a big plus. Search engines tend to trust and respect sites that end in .gov, .edu or .org (used for nonprofits).

Fresh links help your SEO

What is this? This simply isn't true. It doesn't matter when you got the links and Google won't magically move your website down if you don't have any recent links. See their comments at http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/.

You also want to keep your links fresh. Google stays on top of things so it's important to add new links every few months to let search engines know your site still matters.

Natural links have the most impact on your SEO

Whether someone gave it naturally or you asked for it, if it's from the same website then it makes no difference. Wix seems to believe if you didn't ask for it that it's magically stronger and makes for better SEO. They also seem to think promoting on social isn't promotion. The advice is the same old same old, create great content to get natural links. If only it worked so well as it did in this SEO dream world. See http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/

Natural links have the strongest impact on boosting your site.

Wix recommends guest posting for your SEO

Google says don't do it, Wix says do it. Matt Cutts even said Guest blogging is dead. I'd say there's a lot of room for discussion here and it's not so cut and dry. If you're doing it specifically for links though as Wix suggests, it likely is that cut and dry just not in your favor. See http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/.

Email the webmaster of the target website and offer to write a guest blog on their site. Make it clear that you are familiar with their site! Keep the email brief, but be sure to explain your area of expertise, share a sample of your writing and pitch a few topics that will be relevant to their readers. If the idea is interesting enough, the webmaster will probably be happy to have you write a guest blog. Then, be sure they agree to include a link in the post back to your own website.

Wix says give people stuff for links

That's called bribery and it's basically the same as paying for links. Yeah, Google says not to do that as well. In fact they specify that you should nofollow the links. See http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/what-is-backlinking-and-why-is-it-important-for-seo/.

Another option is to invite bloggers to review your product or services. Offer a free class at your yoga studio, a pint of your hand-churned ice cream or a cut and blow dry at your salon. In exchange, they should agree to write an online review of your business that includes a link to your site. Another great way to entice a blogger to write about you is to offer their readers a coupon to use for your products or services.