Best 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 about using
Wix for Wix 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 Wix 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 setups
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 was domains that get at
least some level of search traffic, and the second were domains that get more than 100
search for 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 SEO¬†was down to 0.06%. Now, it’s pretty clear that on average, our
sample list of WordPress sites gets 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,
the average number of “do follow” referring domains, and average monthly search traffic for each platform. And if you’re unfamiliar with these terms,
Domain Rating is an Ahrefs metric that represents the overall strength of a website’s backlink
profile, and “do follow” referring domains are simply valued 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 for Wix SEO. The number of “do follow” referring domains were
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 the 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 – Wix SEO. 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 Wix SEO 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 “do follow” referring domains. So what this might be telling us is that our
sample of Wix sites for Wix SEO is 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 “Wix SEO” might
have been done on WordPress sites than Wix SEO. 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 Wix SEOsettings for
the site – then it’s impossible to add it.” Another technical limitation related to Wix 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 support 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 Wix SEO as a long-term strategy,
or you’re hiring an agency to do Wix 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 Wix SEO and
marketing tutorials. So until the next tutorial or data study, keep grinding away, and I’ll see you in the next video.

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