Recently I’ve had two acquaintances contact me to give them some feedback on their websites. After looking into the first website, I quickly came to the conclusion that the online website builder and host they were using was detrimental to securing decent search engine rankings.
The service ignored the most basic fundamentals of search engine optimisation. When the second person came to me, I noticed they were using the same service and realised that it must be somewhat popular. The service I’m referring to is call Wix and they claim to currently host over 6 million websites!
What? They are actually advertising that they are search engine friendly? Is this not paramount to false advertisement? Not only would I describe wix.com’s website creator and hosting service as not search engine friendly, I would suggest it is actually quite search engine unfriendly.
I can see the appeal of the service, it actually makes creating a website from scratch easy enough for most people to be able to produce something presentable, in little time. But the trouble comes when they expect search engine traffic.
Fist let me clarify, I’m describing Wix’s premium paid service in this post. I can’t imagine anyone half serious about their business or website using the free service, as you cannot use your own domain name and the free version plasters your site in wix ads.
So, what exactly makes Wix websites so search engine unfriendly?
One Page Only
Wix limits the amount of keywords and pages you can rank for, because in the eyes of the search engines it is just one page that utilises flash to imitate several pages. The code for every page of a wix site, is contained within one page.
Typically when optimising a website, I consider which pages to optimise for certain keywords. You have no such option with Wix. You get one page to optimise for all of your keywords – which is severely limits your search engine traffic / ranking potential.
This means that you also cannot have:
Unique Title Tags / Meta Descriptions
For the reason above, having only one page to work with means that your virtual pages cannot be optimised for unique title tags and meta descriptions.
Deep Pages Indexed
The search engines only see one page, therefore they only index one page. It is almost ironic that wix automatically creates an xml sitemap, because it only contains the one page.
Also, in the nice to have category, but unavailable to Wix customers:
Google Webmaster Tools
You cannot currently verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools with Wix. GWTs verification requires either a file to be uploaded (cannot do with Wix), for you to be using the Asynchronus Google Analytics snippet (see below) or to edit DNS settings – an option which may not be possible or may be far too advanced for most people that would consider using Wix.
Asynchronus Google Analytics
Wix does not use the new asynchronus Google Analytics code. The older snippet is slower, less accurate and will not support newer features as they are made available.
My final beef with Wix, is their pricing, it’s not that it’s crazy expensive. The site lists the ad-free package starting at $8.25 per month, to the ecommerce package at $16.178 – both when paid yearly. It’s just that the alternatives are similarly priced and are actually SEO friendly.
I would suggest a shared hosting plan and a WordPress install would be a better option for most of those 6 million customers.
So, apart from helping people realise what they will and won’t get with this service, I hope my post and others like it get the attention of Wix, so that they might improve their service to make it not only easy to create a website, but also give that website a decent chance of being found online.