We did a Wix SEO Audit a few months ago when some annoying ads on YouTube got my attention and (re)raised my ire at the web platform. When I realized that they weren’t even able to rank their spokesperson for her own name (.com) I just about lost it. In my opinion, brand keywords are easy and an exact match domain should rank #1 in almost any instance. So did a brief external audit on what they could improve for SEO.
The post still receives a fair amount of traffic and there were several comments defending Wix. Rather unconvincingly I must add. There really wasn’t a much presented in the way of data to show that Wix could really rank competitively and I was unwilling to create a Wix site just to find out. The way I look at it, when a website fails on some basic crawling it doesn’t warrant further investigation.
To my surprise, none of my potential clients signed up after I told them all the problems Wix has a platform. That is until last week. One of our free consultations was a dodgeball league in Seattle, Evergreen Dodgeball. The basics of the call are this: on the second page of Google for dodgeball queries and the top results are more established leagues or organizations with multiple leagues, and seattle dodgeball is the top keyword and top competitor. And we’re on Wix.
Oh and this is going to be our last season if we aren’t successful. Three weeks.
In case you can’t tell, I’m legitimately excited to get a first hand look at Wix. Love a good challenge, and helping organizations like this get going in the right direction. We exist for one reason only, to help make you more successful online.
In the spirit of fairness I have documented some of the steps we took to optimize Wix for Google Search. We started the first night with making a couple of changes on the site and then verifying in Google Search Console.
Wix SEO Review
Titles are meant to accurately describe and differentiate the contents within and grab your attention. It stood out immediately when I visited the site, “evergreendodgeball,” close but no two-player swing.
I hate it when people get cute with keywords in their title tags. If you are trying to shoehorn a keyword into a page, don’t. You should be thinking about a new piece of content to target that keyword. Home page should represent your brand and state your location if you are targeting local searches. It’s not any more complicated than using your brand name, maybe a service or product you provide, and then end with the location and ZIP Code.
Not sure if that ZIP Code in the title helps you rank better, people do search for things by ZIP Code in some instances, but I mostly include it so people have an idea where your business is. It shows up enough in keyword reports for clients and research for me to think that people find it useful. In Seattle by 7pm most people have sat in about two hours of traffic and probably not looking to go very far for dodgeball after work.
For anyone else using Wix, when I pasted the title tag for the homepage it also became the title tag for the Rules page. Remember, title is supposed to differentiate and describe, they can’t all be the same. It’s as simple as just adding the page title the structure I mentioned earlier. In this case:
Evergreen Dodgeball League | Seattle, WA 98125
League Rules | Evergreen Dodgeball League | Seattle, WA 98125
Probably could have squeezed “Dodgeball League Rules” in there, but it’s not necessary.
Meta Description & Keywords
This doesn’t help you rank in most instances, but I’m going to use everything that I can. Did I mention that this is Wix? The description is a good place to give other information to people, location cost, time, and deadlines.
This isn’t good code. For visual editor websites, it’s not uncommon to see this. You don’t need two of those spans and styling it once would be fine. Not sure why the font size is in there twice. Not sure if this can be fixed from an end-user perspective.
And my crawlers are having trouble picking up anything from this site. Screaming Frog and Market Samurai weren’t able to read the headings tag, SEO PowerSuite Auditor found them. It happened on the Karlie Kloss site also, so I feel safe in my assumption that crawling remains an issue for Wix.
Image Alt Tags
Not really a ranking factor, but it is important for accessibility and it’s a good place for keywords. I left the filenames alone because I didn’t want to accidentally break any links. It’s better to change filenames before you upload to the server.
Google Search Console Verification
After I updated the site content I verified the site in Google Search Console. I just added the code, but after I using the SEO Wizard I would have just used that. Not sure if the Wizard will setup all the versions of the site in GSC, you need www and non-www versions and both http and https. It’s a pain, but technically, they could all serve different websites, so to Google they all need to be claimed. Set the preferred version to https://www.evergreendodgeball.com/. Added sitemap (for two pages) and had to wait for the search impression data to show up.
This was slightly out of scope for this project, but it was pretty easy. Found a wiki site with a list of dodgeball leagues and games in Seattle on the first page and dropped my clients link there. It’s nofollow, but it might get some click thru because it (was, sorry) ranking well on a good search. And I made a simple post to Google Plus with my client’s link.
Now, I know that I have seen some fast results, but I swear that this only took a couple of hours to move to the first page for “seattle dodgeball league.” And kept moving up throughout this week and it looks like they are position three or four for most Seattle Dodgeball search terms.
Now, this isn’t going to completely exonerate Wix, they still have some SEO deficiencies, but overall it’s workable if you know what you are doing. But I am willing to lay the blame for Karlie Kloss’s website directly at the feet of their web developer, which was allegedly her.
The say you can have it fast, cheap, and a good result, but you can only pick two. In this instance you really can have it all: affordable price, quick results, and a lasting search presence without cheap tricks.
They purchased a Search Console Verification and Google AdWords Campaign, total of $300 and another $25 for $100 promo on AdWords. SEO isn’t always expensive, sometimes the simple things can get you where you need just because the competition isn’t focused on SEO either.
So in summary, Wix is a platform that can be optimized for search. I think it has a long way to go before I would say it is SEO-friendly. And going in after the fact to change the site is a bit of a pain. Just as one example, Wix lets text boxes overlap each other in layout.
I don’t know why and I can’t think of a reason why anyone would want to do this. So if you add headings or change content you may have to layout the entire page again. And then do it again for the mobile version. If there is a setting to fix that please let me know in the comments.
Wix SEO is more than adequate for most needs and moderately competitive search terms. I feel confident we could do similar work for Wix sites with comparable competition to dodgeball keywords. Like many web development projects, naming shortcuts lead to a lack of semantic meaning post-launch. It’s better to just use the targeted keywords when developing sites, because it’s just creating a technical debt that an SEO will have to come in and fix later.