Can Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, other Site Builders “Do” SEO as Well as WordPress?

Can other Site Builders do SEO as well as WordPress? Instead of saying yes or now let's ask some questions instead.

Most of the SEO pros I know gripe, that compared to self-hosted WordPress websites, site-builder platforms like Wix and Weebly are a nightmare both to work with and in terms of search-engine indexing/ranking results. Wix, Weebly, and other partisans (and paid staff!) naturally bitterly object that they are too just as good as WordPress.

My assessment is that many sites built with those other platforms underperform because they’re built by beginner or untrained site owners who may no know the first thing about doing SEO correctly anyhow. It’s also possible those platforms don’t have the sort of internal assessment and bulk-update tools that mature WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, etc. have. That would tend to bias SEO pros.

Oh, and site builder platforms may or may not be very good at adding “seo” facilities (actually more like social-media) like Facebook pixels, Pinterest verification, etc.

The good news is once a platform reaches a certain saturation point Google’s likely to teach its AI how to spelunk through the kind of ugly, unstructured HTML and Javascript salad some page builder sites use to make things “what you see is what you get” for authors. So at least in principle you probably can make sites that Google can parse and rank.

But why argue, especially since all platforms (including WordPress) are constantly evolving?

Instead let’s ask questions that should help assess any platform’s SEO potential:

  • Can you customize which categories or tags are set as the default?
  • Can you customize ecommerce product URLs (are they clean and human readable or are they code salad like “?prod=c78485311”)
  • Can you add customized meta description to all pages including ecommerce product pages?
  • Can you customize page titles for all post types including product pages?
  • Can you add the kind of targeted microcoding Google uses to create rich Google Cards in search results?
  • Can you add the kind of metatags and validation scripts social media platforms require to work well?
  • Can the platform provide correctly formatted images for social-media banners, default images, etc?
  • Oh yeah, and do they provide individual permanent links for blog posts that don’t evaporate the bottom entry when a new one is added the way (can’t remember which) one of those platforms notoriously does?

If yes (cough*WordPress*does*cough), and if it can do those things in a standardized and efficient way then cool beans. Otherwise?  Maybe not.

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David Innes,

I've been building and maintaining websites since 1997 and building and supporting similar hypertext-driven software since 1987. I've done maintenance, support, and maintenance for physical and digital systems since 1981. And no, I still haven't seen it all but by now I usually know where to look. More about David Innes...