Wix SEO vs. WordPress: An Ahrefs Study of 6.4M Domains
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Wix SEO vs. WordPress: An Ahrefs Study of 6.4M Domains


There’s a lot of hate floating around the
SEO community regarding Wix SEO. Some people wonder if it’s even possible to
generate search traffic using the Wix platform. Now, Wix obviously thinks you can. In fact, they launched a contest in 2017 challenging
the world to outrank them for the keyword, “SEO hero.” Winner takes home $50,000. Long story short…Wix lost and doubts of using
Wix for SEO continued. But does anyone really have proof that Wix websites can’t generate just as much search traffic as the next platform? Well, we compared SEO metrics from 3.2 million Wix websites against the same number of WordPress domains. And in this video, I’m going to show you the results
of our data and a few reasons why some SEOs aren’t fans of Wix when it comes to search engine optimization. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Now, the goal today isn’t to prove that one
CMS is better than the other. I just want to bring some clarity through
real data and let you decide for yourself. So with that said, let’s dig into the data. To give you a quick background, we got our
list of sample websites with the help of BuiltWith.com, which is a service that shows you the different
technologies websites are using. Using their API, we grabbed around 3.2 million
domains from Wix and roughly the same amount of websites using WordPress. And with the help of our data scientist, we
used Ahrefs’ search traffic and backlinks data to draw our comparisons. It’s also important to note that we excluded
subdomains from our sample sites because other technologies or custom set ups
could have been done there. So the first thing we wanted to do was to get
raw traffic stats. So we created two buckets for each platform
to better visualize the distribution of websites that get search traffic. The first bucket were domains that get at
least some level of search traffic, and the second were domains that get more than 100
search visits per month. And here are the results. We found that around 46.1% of WordPress websites
got at least some monthly search traffic, compared with only 1.39% of Wix sites. Now, for our second bucket, 8.26% of the WordPress
sample gets more than 100 monthly search visits whereas our Wix sample, was down to 0.06%. Now, it’s pretty clear that on average, our
sample list of WordPress sites get significantly more organic traffic than
our list of Wix sites. But it’s too soon to make any conclusions. There are numerous factors that influence
organic traffic. One of the main factors being backlinks, which
in my opinion speaks louder to the people behind the websites as opposed to the platform itself. So we analyzed the average Domain Rating,
average number of “dofollow” referring domains, and average monthly search traffic for each platform. And if you’re unfamiliar with these terms,
Domain Rating is an Ahrefs metric which represents the overall strength of a website’s backlink
profile, and “dofollow” referring domains are simply value passing links from unique websites. As a whole, you’ll see that the mean, or average DR
for our WordPress sites was nearly 3 times higher than Wix sites. The number of “dofollow” referring domains was
more than 22X higher for WordPress sites. And for search traffic, you’ll see that on
average our list of WordPress sites gets around 49X the search traffic as our Wix sample. Now, the thing with averages is that they aren’t
always the best measure to identify correlation. So we also grabbed the median for each of
these statistics. And as you can see, the differences are way
off compared to the mean. So what does this all mean? Here’s what our data scientist had to say: “When measuring central tendency of data, it’s
best to calculate both mean and median and compare the two values. Generally speaking, if both values are not too
different from each other, we use the mean. But a considerable difference between them
indicates that the data is skewed. When the data is skewed, large values have
an enormous impact, making the mean larger than the actual distribution that the data suggests. In this case, the median is a more appropriate
idea of the data distribution.” To paint a super clear picture, let’s say we had 10 websites and 9 of them had 0 monthly search visits. And the one outlier had 1000 monthly search visits. The mean, or the average, would be 100 search
visits per month. Now, if we were to take the median of these
same websites, then we’d have a value of 0, which would be a better representation of
search traffic in this sample. Looking at our data set again, you’ll see that
since the mean and median are so far off, the median would be a better representation,
making correlation insignificant. Now, we wanted to look deeper into our two
buckets, which again, were websites that get some kind of search traffic, and those that
get over 100 monthly search visits. But this time, we added 3 extra layers to our analysis. #1. We leveled the sample sizes across the board. So for each bucket, we randomly selected the
same number of WordPress domains as Wix domains to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison. After all, there’s no point comparing a whole
army to just a few soldiers. #2. For each of our buckets, we looked into the
number of keywords the websites ranked for in Google’s top 10 search results. We also summed up the traffic that these keywords
accounted for. And #3. We removed keywords that were exact
matches to the domain. This would exclude traffic the domain gets
from keywords referring to its own brand. Here are the results for bucket #1. You’ll see that WordPress is higher than Wix
sites for both the number of top 10 keyword rankings as well as the traffic these keywords
account for. But again, our data is insignificant as the
mean and medians are still quite a bit off. Now, looking at the second bucket of websites
that get over 100 monthly search visits is where things get interesting. Both the mean and median aren’t too far apart,
and they show the same trend. WordPress websites had a slightly higher number
of top 10 organic keyword rankings, but Wix sites got more organic traffic from their keywords. Looking at this bucket a little deeper, you’ll
see that Wix websites had a higher Domain Rating, but a lower number of “dofollow” referring domains. So what this might be telling us is that our
sample of Wix sites are getting more search traffic based on non-link related factors. The first one that comes to mind for me are
branded queries. For example, Long John Silver’s, a popular
restaurant chain, is a website that uses Wix. And according to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that they get around 139,000 search visits per month. Now, looking at their Organic keywords report,
you’ll immediately see that the majority of their traffic is actually the result of a strong brand name as opposed to more generic keywords, like ranking
for “seafood restaurant.” Now, there are no clear-cut conclusions where we
can say that one platform is better than the next based on organic search traffic figures alone. But there are a couple of clear things that
we’ve seen based on our data. First, it seems as though more “SEO” might
have been done on WordPress sites than Wix. And we’re able to see this based on the huge
differences in organic search traffic as a whole, as well as the number of referring domains
pointing at these websites. The second thing is that there doesn’t appear
to be a relationship between the platform used and being able to rank in Google’s top
10 search results. On average, WordPress sites got more search
traffic than Wix as a whole and for our first bucket of domains that got some kind
of search traffic. But Wix had more search traffic on domains
that get more than 100 monthly search visits. So unfortunately, there are no clear-cut conclusions. But there are certain things you should know as an SEO practitioner or website owner about Wix vs. other platforms. First, when it comes down to the absolute basics of
on-page SEO like titles, meta descriptions, and URLs, Wix is for the most part OK with pages. But there are certain things in Wix that can’t
be customized, which can be more annoying than anything else. For example, from my observation, the blog
structure seems to take on the URL structure of domain.com/post/slug, which I’m personally
not a fan of. Also, when it comes down to anything custom,
advanced, or technical, you’re going to run into additional limitations. In fact, Wix says: “We are unable to provide
support for external HTML codes that are added to Wix sites as the codes have not been tested by Wix.” One example is if you plan to do multilingual SEO. Wix doesn’t support the hreflang tag at the
time of making this video. A moderator said on their forum: “There is still no
way to access code directly, even with WixCode. As far as I know – due to security reasons. So, if this tag is not in the SEO settings for
the site – then it’s impossible to add it.” Another technical limitation related to SEO
is the inability to modify your robots.txt file, which is quite important in my opinion for larger sites. Finally is a big one in the technical SEO
space and that’s regarding JavaScript. Barry Adams said in this Twitter thread: “Wix relies on client-side JS to show content & links in most cases. No JS equals no indexable content & no crawlable links. Which, as you know, is terrible for SEO on
multiple levels.” So here’s my two cents on using Wix for SEO. It all comes down to what you value. Based on our data, if all you need are the
absolute basics for on-page SEO, then rest assured that our data supports that Wix sites
don’t necessarily have a hard time ranking in Google. Wix is great for simply getting a basic website up fast and for regular maintenance like changing
text on your site, even if you don’t have a technical bone in your body. But if you plan on using SEO as a long-term strategy,
or you’re hiring an agency to do SEO for you, it may be advantageous to look into other platforms
for scalability and customization. Now, I’d love to hear from you. What have your experiences been like using
Wix for yours and your clients’ websites? Let me know in the comments and if you enjoyed
this video, then make sure to like, share and subscribe for actionable SEO and
marketing tutorials. So until the next tutorial or data study, keep grinding away, and I’ll see you in the next video.

58 Comments

  • alesiiox3

    Hello. Thanks for all the top videos you make. I will watch this one tonight. Just to ask you a pinterest video, I'm already rocking this social and I'm curious to hear your tricks. Keep up the good work, Alexis from Belgium

  • Ariful Islam

    Hello! How are you?

    I face a problem! Can you please help me out?

    When i save my new content in draft, after that i can't published it, coz when i click on Edit, it's not working!

  • James Pratt-Delzenne

    Using Median is very uncommon outside of pure statistics. It's great you've made the effort show "real" results and not biased statistics that's so common.

  • Antonio Valcarcel

    We have to keep in mind that if you are using wix, it's likely that you're in very early stages of your business and don't have much capital to invest on a site, let alone an seo strategy. That human and financial factor is a key thing to factor in.

  • Bostjan Tanko

    Totally agree with you. If you want to get into SEO, Affiliate marketing etc. game – start learning/using WordPress!

  • Saumendra S

    That's real interesting as I had faced the same compatible situation building client sites. As most of them already done the websites in wix and after 1 or 2 years they have seen no traffic other than their own. Means no organic traffic. Even the sites later transferred to plain HTML5 websites which makes huge difference s, the WordPress sites do the same. Even we have amazingly seen the blogspot sites do better than wix.

  • iclal eroglu

    When transferring from Wix to WordPress, do I get a clean slate? Or my shameful past with Wix is just going to haunt me? Anybody has any ideas?

  • Constantino Co

    This is what I always communicate to my clients where Wix is a good starting platform for low budget startup business and when the business grows they should look for a better CMS platform for a couple of reasons which were mentioned in the last part of this video.

  • Russ Michaels

    My immediate thought was it is largely down to the person who made the site. WIX is targeted at business owners with ZERO skills to do it themselves. so it makes sense to also assume that the average WIX site has likely not had any SEO done at all as the person who made the website has no idea what SEO even is.
    Whereas the people making WordPress websites are more likley to be web designers and developers or at the very least more clued up and thus will have performed some SEO on the site.

  • Michael Williams

    It boils down to customization, WordPress offers more customization which directly affects the amount SEO issues that can be addressed. Wix restrictrictions make SEO next to null which directly affects how Google crawls and relates the website material when indexing.

  • John Chereson

    I only use wix for not only my website but for my clients as well. I have several websites that rank #1 Globally for many different business categories and keywords / phrases. It all comes down to knowing how to do seo properly. I choose wix over anything else.

  • Rijo Abraham

    At some point, I knew these "Median and Mean" is going to haunt me. Should have learned them well in high school. Oh by the way nice comparison Sam.

  • SOQ Official

    Hey, Sam. Ahrefs got many fans in China. Will you come to China to attend the Shenzhen SEO Conference in the middle of July. It is a great Chance to promote your business in China

  • Show time

    Of course anyone can Google the meaning and come back but it ruins the cohesiveness of this fine piece of content

  • Bruno Erberelli

    True! I work with both, WIX and WORDPRESS, same business and same marketing approach. WIX has 600 access per month and WORDPRESS has 9.5K access per month. It does not mean that it will convert that much, but it converts better than WIX.
    In my experience, if you don't have any experience on webmaster/webdesigner, or, if you are running your own business and want to build some quick website, WIX is much easier.
    If you have some webmaster/webdesign knowledge, or, if you are quick learning. Go with WORDPRESS.

  • Muhammad Mehran Khan Attari

    WordPress can be customized a lot and can be speed optimized which is the greatest benefit to me. But wix is neither truly customizable nor speedy. Wix is slower.

  • The Foodophile

    I'm a wix expert. I have designed my website and my clients website on wix. I did feel the SEO work was limited before they updated, now I can add schema tags and add canonical. I didn't face much difficulty in ranking my clients websites.

  • The1 Tenth

    I personally do not work SEO with customers that own a WIX website, it has too many limitations that make the work super time consuming and don't always get the expected results.

  • bestonlineresults

    I have highly ranked a WIX site in a fairly competitive space in the local market. I am picking up another client who has a Wix site. We are going to start with what we have and go from there. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Making Money

    Great Video! Please do a WIX vs SQUARESPACE video like this as it'll be more like Apples vs Apples. We need to keep in mind WIX and WordPress users have very different needs. One wants to get up a quick website without little skills and as you say, probably uses it for branding (with support from social media traffic) and the other wants to dominate the Web πŸ˜›
    Anyway, useful information and I'll pass it onto my audience.

  • IQUUDO

    Thank you so much for the thorough analysis. As I've been getting my feet we in SEO I've been asking this question with no clear. You provided enough information for me to make my own conclusion, it depends on what your goal is on which will work better for SEO. You rock Sam & Ahrefs.

  • Eric Surratt

    My target or Clients are clothing Brand names. I am a sock manufacture. This is an extremely small nitch. Would you be interested in consulting in an easy nitch run?

  • Chris Wilcox

    I'd expect WordPress to be better mainly because more professional SEO and web designers use this over Wix.

  • Sky London

    Very much needed video. I agree with your conclusions, but there is a factor that people with WordPress tend to spend money on SEO as a-pose to WIX which is offen people just making a quick website themselves, thus effecting the data.
    But I think you accounted for this with then mean. πŸ‘

  • Riazuddin Jeelani

    Hey Sam, I am not a much of a talker, so I usually don't comment on your videos, but hey I watch all of them or almost all them. πŸ™‚ I must say the knowledge you share via your videos is incredible, and I'm sure people out there spending 100s or 1000s of $ for the same knowledge… BUT, I'd have a request/favor to ask – I was hoping if you could create a video on finding expired domains using Ahrefs… I would REALLLLY appreciate your help.

    Keep the knowledge coming and let the dummies like me become expert πŸ˜‰

    Cheers
    Riz

  • Neo

    Wix and sqaurespace are aweful because of how limited they are when trying to customize things.

    WordPress is so much better to use when you want to do something specifically.

    I don't take on clients who have either of those two. They're too much of a headache

  • Jordan Beynon

    Thank you for carrying out this research and comparing the data and creating this video. I would say that a lot of this data is hugely misleading by the fact that over the 3.2 million Wix sites compared to the same number of WP, the majority of those on Wix websites would have been created by people who knew nothing of SEO and rely heavily on the Wix inbuilt SEO that sucks. WP has been the go-to for people who know SEO, so therefore they are better DESIGNED for SEO purposes. Wix users, are on the whole novices and people trying to make a website themselves, whereas WP is used by professional designers and SEO savy people. So this data is comparing poorly designed websites to professionally designed websites. Can you not see how the effects all other SEO aspects? UX, time on page, bounce rates, speed, mobile friendly etc Also WP sites are more likely created by pro's are more likely to be running ongoing SEO activity, back linking activity etc than a novice on a Wix site. If you know about SEO and factor that in when designing a Wix website and conduct ongoing SEO you can compete for competitive keywords on Google. Yes there are some technical aspects that cannot be addressed on Wix currently, but it is an always progressing platform with weekly updates happening to the technology. For most SME a Wix website can compete and I have cases studies that confirm this vs handcoded, WP, Weebly, Squarespace.

  • Adriana Chavez

    Been using Wix for a few months now and so far we reach top rank with a few word phrases. Also having it connected to google helps!

  • Dallas Cartoonist Charles King

    This is BS. Wix must post all of the positive reviews.Try to get through to their support. Good luck

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