Updated: Aug 18, 2019
You might have read about Wix SEO... and you are probably just as
confused as me about what people say and what people actually have experienced.
So on my journey to get the full picture I decided to make a complete checklist of the 19 most important SEO factors, that I have experienced in the last couple of years working with SEO.
This checklist is based on the current capabilities of Wix SEO. I will explain the 19 SEO factors step by step and clarify if the current state of Wix has a way of implementing these or not.
✓ Customize Page Titles and Meta Descriptions Explanation: It must be possible to add and edit Page titles and meta descriptions without affecting the pages 'URLs. Wix' solution: In Wix you can customize the page titles and meta descriptions on almost all pages. A slight downside is that it isn't possible to add symbols in the page title or in the meta description. The reason why I mention this is because symbols can help get people's attention, and thus increase the CTR (Click Through Rate). Furthermore, there are some Wix apps such as Wix Events and Wix Bookings that generates pages for your website, but in these you're not allowed to customize the page title or meta description. Instead the page title will be the same as the page header, and the meta description will be the same as your general description of the event or booking.
✓ Adding Alt Attributes Explanation: All attributes, abbreviated as Alt-Tags, tell Google what is in the picture. Alt Tag is also the text that visually impaired people get read aloud by the browser, when they visit your site. Therefore, it should be possible to add and correct ALT attributes for all images added to blog posts and on general pages. Wix' solution: Adding Alt-Tags in Wix is possible and is made very easy. However, there are few apps, like Wix Events and Wix Bookings, where Alt Tag settings are not available.
✓ Author information on blog posts available in Structured Data Explanation: It should be easy for the visitor to identify who you are and what you do, when you are writing content in your blog. This will make your content look more valid and trustworthy to the user and Google which will gain more authority to your website. Wix' solution: It is possible to add blog writers and contributors in the Wix Blog. You can set page members as Blog writers, and choose if their name should be visible when publishing posts. As an extra feature Wix has added automatically Structured data, that gives Google information about the post and also the author. Here's an example.
✓ Customize Heading Structure (H1 - H6) Explanation: It should be possible to customize a page with correct headings (headers and subheadings). This makes it more of a simple task for GoogleBot to crawl your page. When the page is easy to crawl, it signals to Google that the page is professional, which improves the page authority, which in turn helps the ranking of the page in the Google search-engine. Wix' solution: Wix allows you to make Heading Structure from H1 - H6. However in Wix Blog you're limited to H1 - H3, which is sufficient as you usually do not use H4 - H6.
✓ One page, one URL Explanation: All pages must be available on one (and only one) URL individually. If this is not possible, it is necessary to have a suitable solution with redirects, canonical tags, hashtag implementation in URL or noindex meta tags.The reason why we don't want more than one URL per page, is that GoogleBot will consider it as duplicated content and penalize the site by de-ranking or completely deleting the page from Google's search results. Wix' solution: Wix does not generate multiple URLs for the same page. So in this case you're completely safe operating with Wix! Nevertheless, Wix automatically implement Canonical Tags on all pages, but for other reasons which I will discuss in point 7 (Canonical Tags).
✓ Redirects Explanation: It should be possible to redirect pages if a page is moved from one URL to another. This will happen if you change the CMS system. An example could be if you're moving your website from WordPress to Wix and vice versa. There are several ways to redirect pages, but if a page has changed URL permanently the correct way is to make a 301-redirect. Wix' solution: Wix has a limit of 500 redirects (usually enough), and it is not possible to bulk upload redirects in Wix. On a webinar Wix explained that the bulk upload is a feature that will be available in the near future.
✓ Canonical Tag Explanation: To avoid duplicated content it should be possible to create a Canonical tag. Canonical tags indicate the primary version of a page, so that if you have one page with two or more URL's attached, you can use Canonical tag to give google the primary URL and disregard the rest. The canonical tag is also important, when you're sharing your website on platforms like Facebook, Twitter ect. because they're adding an analytics tag to your existing URL. An example from Facebook (where the analytical tag is in red): yourdomain.com/?fbclid=IwAR0WJbxr.... Wix' solution: As mentioned earlier, Wix automatically adds a canonical tag on every page created, but it can also be customized on general pages.
✓ Meta Tags (Noindex) Explanation: It should be possible to noindex pages that you don't want Google to index. such as: Terms and Permissions, Cookies policy, shopping cart, etc. Wix' solution: On every general page, there is an option for the page to be indexed or not. However, there are some pages generated by Wix apps, where noindex isn't an option. Personally, I have a bad experience concerning a members-page in wix, where a huge amount of member profiles were indexed. This can be prevented/solved by noindexing the pages, and it is generally a good idea to be aware of this if you create a members-page. There is a quick fix, if you want your entire website to be noindexed. Go to settings > SEO and then turn off "Allow search engines to include your site in search results".
✓ SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) / HTTPS Explanation: SSL HTTPS has the following benefits: (1) Encryption of information between website and user (2) Authentication of website ownership to the user (3) Anonymous browsing of the website's sub-pages for the user Wix' solution: Websites in Wix have by default a SSL certificate.
✓ Correct 404 - page not found errors Explanation: If your visitor lands on a page that does not exist, a 404-response and an user-friendly error page must be provided. Wix' solution: Wix has a "Wix 404-page" by default which not very user friendly but recently they have launched a feature that allows Wix-users to customize their own 404-page. I've tested this feature and unfortunately I couldn't make it work. It displayed an error message every time I was testing it on the published site. However, I'm looking forward to see this feature work in the near future!
✓ Customized URL Explanation: A good URL is short and contains the keyword of the specific page. Having a strong URL structure is benefiting you website in 3 ways. Therefore, it must be possible to customize the page URL. Wix' solution: In Wix you can customize the URLs on all general pages including Wix Store, but as before mentioned, the Wix apps Wix Events and Wix Booking does not include this feature yet. However, the URL that is automatically generated in the apps is made according to best practice.
✕ Breadcrumb Explanation: A breadcrumb structure gives users an understanding of their location on the website, and at the same time gives the search engines a better overview of the site's hierarchical structure. As something new, the major search engines (including Google, Yahoo! and Bing) have joined forces for a mark-up, including pointers on how a breadcrumb structure should look. Wix' solution: Wix does not provide Breadcrumbs as a feature, but on their Wix Corvid forum there is a couple of explanations of adding a breadcrumbs by using Wix Corvid. However, it all seems very complicated and I'm not able to find a coded breadcrumb in their examples that works. For now breadcrumbs is a requested feature in Wix.
✕ Robot.txt Explanation: Normally the Robot.txt is used to noindex pages, that do not contribute to the search engine's understanding of the site. This could for instance be: internal search results, shopping cart, payment pages, etc. The Robots.txt file can also be used to specify the site's Sitemap (s), which I will discuss in point 14 of this blog. Wix' solution: In Wix, it is not possible to access the Robot.txt file, but the common functionalities such as noindexing pages is already available in Wix.
✓ XML sitemap Explanation: XML Sitemap informs Google which pages, images, and videos your website contains and makes it easier for GoogleBot to get an overview and crawl your site faster. Wix' solution: When you go through the Wix SEO Wiz Plan, the last step will connect your site to Google Search Console and automatically upload the sitemap. You can also add a sitemap to Google Search Console manually by entering /sitemap.xml in the sitemap function in Google Search Console.
✓ Clear navigation with text links Explanation: The primary navigation must consist of text links of HTML, that is easy for GoogleBot to crawl. Wix' solution: Links and buttons made in Wix are written in HTML5, which makes them easy for GoogleBot to crawl and understand.
✓ Caching the website Explanation: Local caches allows you to store your website's data on the visitors device, which has the advantage of faster loading-time next time the visitor visits your site. Wix' solution: This feature is available in Wix, but not by default. You have to enable it for each page. Additionally it should be noted, that the maximum time of the cache existing on the visitors PC is 12 hours.
✓ Rich Snippets Explanation: Rich Snippets are made with Microdata and are used to help Google understand the content on your website. If your page for example contains a recipe or a blog post, the Microdata will give Google information about the page. Google will then display a Rich Snippet directly in their search results. Examples on Rich Snippets. Wix' solution: Wix automatically provides Google with Microdata of your site, when you're using their blog, store, events or other Wix apps. You can also add custom Microdata in the Advanced SEO Panel.
✓ Google webmaster tools Explanation: Google provides webmasters with several tools that helps you improve you website. The most used Google tools are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager and Google My Business (For local businesses). It should be possible to connect these webmaster tools as they are very helpful and important to you as a webmaster and/or SEO expert. Wix' solution: In Wix you can connect these tools easily without implementing even typing one line of code. In Wix Dashboard, you can connect to Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager or Verification Code (Which is Google Search Console) then enter your code and you're connected - simple as that. (Newest update)
✓ Modified Since Explanation: When Google Crawl your site, it safes a copy. When Google comes back to crawl your site again, you need to have a tag that tells Google when the page was last modified. Wix' solution: This is an automatically function in Wix. You can't either disable or enable it.
Summary of Wix SEO
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 3,5/5 Wix is definitely doing well, when it comes to Technical SEO, and compared to their competitors they are way ahead of the pack in many areas. In the following section, I will highlight my personal pros and cons list.
Automatically Structured Data (JSON Microdata) - Wix has implemented structured data on the New Wix Blog and in their Wix Store. Furthermore Wix has added a Structured Data field in their New Advanced SEO Panel, where it is possible to add custom Microdata. If you want to add Microdata that applies to all pages, you have to do it by going through the following path:
Dashboard ➤ Settings ➤ Tracking & Analytics ➤ + New Tool ➤ </> Custom Here you can insert your Microdata and click "load on every new page". If you want to know more about Microdata, Google has an explanation here: learn how Structured data works. User friendly interface - Normally SEO can be very complicated to execute, especially concerning the technical part, but that is where Wix really stands out. Managing SEO settings like Header structure, Page titles and Meta descriptions, URL customization, Alt-tags, ect. is all made intuitive and user friendly in Wix.
Bad loading speed - As Wix is built as a closed CMS system, it only allows you to customize a limited selection of technical factors of which they decide. This means that you can't access the HTML. Since you cannot change the HTML, you can't optimize it either, which can cause slower loading times, if your website has a lot of apps, pictures, videos, ect.