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One of my all-time favorite publications, Search Engine Journal, recently published a story saying that website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are terrible for SEO. Personally speaking, I think they’re being a little bit harsh but let’s take a look at this article in detail and look at the detail of the reasons as to why they say it’s a waste of time using website builders like Wix, for example, for your websites when it comes to SEO. Of course, all of these website builders have SEO functionality built-in but there are of course, some disadvantages but I think Search Engine Journal have been a bit hard.
I’d like to redress the balance a little bit in this video and explain to you why SEO with website builders isn’t a complete lost cause and, of course, rebut some of the comments made in this article. Because ultimately it’s all about you, the person in business and which solution is right for you now, which might not be right for you later. Let’s explore what they’ve said and take a look at why I think Search Engine Journal have been harsh when it comes to looking at web design and SEO from self-building websites. Let’s get into it.
Hey guys, Darren Taylor of the bigmarketer.com here and my job is to make you a better marketer. If you’re new to the channel, I’m a digital marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. I specialize mostly in PPC and SEO, so if that sounds like something of interest to you, you should consider subscribing to the channel, we’d love to have you on board. In this video what we’re talking about is a recent article from Search Engine Journal where they’ve said that website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are a waste of time.
I think they’re being a bit harsh but let’s get into it. Let’s look at the first reason they said that these website builders are a waste of time but before we do that, in case you don’t know what they are, these kind of website builders are what you called WYSIWYG editors, what you see is what you get, it’s a simple drag-and-drop interface, you can build quite a nice looking website in relatively little time and at relatively little financial cost.
It’s a really big thing that’s shaking up the web design industry because it means businesses who thought that the costs of building a website were prohibited to them getting one can now very quickly launch quite a sleek and functional website for themselves. However, it’s not always the best thing for SEO but let’s look at the specific reasons why Search Engine Journal have said this. The first factor we’re going to look at is page speed. Page speed has become more important more recently and it’s something Google do look at when it comes to ranking websites on Google.
With all things being equal, the fast website that performs better will rank higher than the website that’s slow and sluggish and displays information incorrectly. The gripe that Search Engine Journal have with Wix and other website builders is the sheer amount of code that’s generated. Of course, these website builders don’t require you to have any coding knowledge, you just simply drag and drop but when you do that and you build elements like this, it creates a ton of redundant code that’s not necessary, which can slow websites down and it can potentially negatively impact your SEO.
Again, with all things being equal, there are a number of factors going into SEO, page speed is just one of them. We’ll come back to this at the end of the video why it’s not necessarily the biggest deal in the world but before we go into the next point, make sure you hit the like button if you like what you’re hearing so far and if you love what you’re hearing so far, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel. Onto the next point. The second big issue you find with these websites that Search Engine Journal have cited is that the markup in terms of the code itself, the HTML code, is not validated.
It’s not validated markup in terms of what the World Wide Web Consortium, W3C see as valid markup. There are a lot of errors within the code which is completely true. However, what’s not completely true is the impact this has on SEO. Recently Google have come out said they do not look at the validity of HTML code as to whether or not a site will rank. In fact, Google’s John Mueller said this earlier this week. This makes a massive dent in their point really, it’s not necessarily something that businesses should be worried about.
Yes, invalid code can cause technical issues down the line if it breaks functionality or causes issues for the user and interface and what they see on screen and how the content is served but if it’s just validation issues in the background that don’t affect the users experience or Google’s crawlability of the website, then there’s not really much of an issue to speak up here. Yes, I am very well aware of the irony of the article being published in Search Engine Journal as well, so go figure.
The last major negative within the article was that you have no access to your website code, which is true because of course, it’s what you see is what you get, WYSIWYG editor. You drag and drop different elements, your logo, your menus, your pictures onto the screen with a simple drag-and-drop interface. You don’t mess around with code which is the whole unique selling point of the software. However, not having access to code does limit you somewhat. What that means is that you have no ability to upgrade your website and make ad-hoc small changes based on your code itself.
Upgrading functionality could become a problem. Yes, either a lot of these website builders have good functionality but upgrading it to something specific or niche or something tailored or a bit more bespoke becomes very difficult and that’s very true. However, again, that doesn’t impact SEO, it impacts your business if you wanted to upgrade your functionality but from an SEO point of view, there is no issue whatsoever. There is a huge caveat in that and it brings me to the whole point of this video, who is Wix, Weebly and Squarespace and all these other websites for?
Who is it for? It is for the business who can’t afford to pay a web designer hundreds or thousands of dollars to get a website presence online. This is the problem we have with this article, it’s comparing a massive multinational corporation website potentially where Wix would be suicidal. They’ll struggle to run their website if they didn’t have something bespoke or even the middle end of the market with businesses turning over 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars a year. This is an area where Wix will struggle because, of course, something bespoke, something quick, slick and perfectly functional will outpace Wix in that area.
What the whole article is missing is who these website builders are for. These website builders for the small, tiny business, the sole traders, the small tradesmen, the handyman, the plumbers, the plasterers, the electricians, the small bakeries. All of these types of business would do perfectly fine on Wix or Weebly or Squarespace or any other website builder. They don’t really have a disadvantage to rank compared to other businesses of their size. Other businesses of their size aren’t spending thousands a month on their marketing budget for SEO.
They are a lot smaller, they’re a lot leaner and they need to get online quickly. The main functionality, the whole idea of SEO is it’s mostly in terms of what’s important about links. If you can build up a positive backlink profile in a good way with the right kind of links and the right authority with the right niches, then you will rank your website and that’s the most important thing. If you were to put a website side by side using something like Wix versus somebody with a self-installation of WordPress and put them side by side to rank within the lower end of the market, they would have the same chance of ranking.
There is no difference between their likelihood of ranking just because one is built on Wix and one’s built on Weebly. You can optimize the elements of the page in the same way, you can build your backlink profile in the same way, you can get your citations done in the same way. All of these things are very similar. In my opinion, I think this article has missed the mark but let me know what you think in the comments below. If you liked this video, please leave a like, let me know in the comments as I say, whether you think that website builders like Wix and Weebly are waste of time or maybe you’re using them yourself.
More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across my channel and I’ll see you guys on my next video. Hopefully not a rant video.