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It’s no secret that Wix has a bad reputation among search engine optimization (SEO) experts. The general consensus is that WordPress is superior to not only other CMS but also Wix.

Despite this, Wix is making every effort to change the perception among search engine optimization specialists (SEOs).

That’s why, in 2017, they started a competition to see who could outrank them for “SEO hero.” What is the prize? $50,000 dollars.  

But the real question is: Is Wix that bad? Is all of this hatred justified, or is it the result of idle rumors? And how about WordPress?

3.2 million Wix and 3.2 million WordPress websites were analyzed for the answer to this question.

I’ll go over the findings in this post, and you can make your own judgment on which CMS is best for your needs.

Ahrefs made a comprehensive study to find out just which CMS is the best when it comes to SEO. 

They used BuiltWith, a service that displays the various technologies behind websites, for their sample of 6.4 million sites.

If you’re curious about how this works, go to their site and type in any domain name in the search box. Then look under “Content management system.” It’ll let you know if the website is powered by Wix, WordPress, or something else entirely.

SEO METRICS

For their SEO Metrics, Ahrefs used:

        Domain Rating (DR): A measure of overall strength of a website’s backlink profile on a scale          from 0-100. Higher = stronger.

        # of referring domains: The number of unique linking website with value-passing links.

         Estimated organic traffic: The estimated number of monthly organic visits from Google.

This what they found: 46.1% of WordPress sites received some monthly search traffic compared to only 1% of Wix sites.

The Study

In order to better understand the SEO implications of these two platforms, they cut and diced the data

They divide into 2 buckets

          Bucket #1 Sites with organic traffic

          Bucket #2 Sites with 100+ monthly organic visits

 

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WordPress sites receive significantly more organic traffic on average than Wix sites, as shown by their research.

However, this information does not stand as proof that one platform is superior to another.

Why? Because organic traffic is affected by a wide range of factors… and many of them are unrelated to the website’s content management system (CMS).

Consider the power of backlinks.

The number of backlinks from unique websites was found to be directly proportional to the amount of organic search traffic.

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The sample of Wix and WordPress websites was compared to see which had the better Domain Rating, more do follow referring domains, and more monthly search traffic in the US.

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  • WordPress sites have nearly three times the DR of Wix sites on average
  • For WordPress sites, the average number of “dofollow” referring domains is 22 times greater
  • WordPress sites enjoy 49x more monthly organic traffic than similar non-WordPress sites.
  • That said, focusing on average can lead to erroneous interpretations of datasets

As a result, we took the average of each theses metrics as well

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Here, the difference is much less pronounced as can be seen. Nevertheless, what does that imply?

Here’s what their data scientist had to say about it:

“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.”

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Loveme Felicilda, Data Science Ahrefs

Imagine that we only had 10 websites to choose from to get a better understanding of this concept. One outlier had 1,000 monthly search visits, while the other nine had no organic traffic.

The average number of searches per month is 100.

Instead, the median number of organic visits per month would be zero.

Or, to put it another way:

Wix or WordPress sites alike receive little to no search traffic and have poor backlink profiles. However, the average is clearly skewed by a small number of extremely popular and authoritative WordPress websites in our sample.

Going Deeper

Next, we wanted to examine the search traffic on Wix and WordPress sites in greater depth.

For this to work, we felt that we needed to eliminate as much bias as possible from our samples and gather some additional data first.

Because of this, our analysis now includes three additional levels of detail.

First, we made sure that sample sizes were equal throughout the board.

Only 44,600 of the 1,475,147 WordPress sites in our sample have any traffic.

That’s a big difference, so we chose the same number of WordPress domains (44,600) as Wix domains at random to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison. After all, it’s pointless to draw comparisons between an entire army and a handful of its members.

Second, we discovered the total number of top 10 keyword rankings

We counted the number of keywords that each site in our sample ranked for in Google’s top 10 results for.

In addition, we calculated how much organic traffic each site receives as a result of using those keywords.

Lastly, exact-match keywords were omitted, for three reasons:

If the website’s domain was xyz.com, the keyword xyz was removed. This was done in order to block traffic from branded search queries.

Listed below are the findings for all websites receiving at least 0 organic visitors:

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As you can see, WordPress outperforms Wix in terms of an average number of top-10 keyword rankings and traffic generated by these keywords.

However, the mean (average) differs drastically from the median once more, indicating that outliers greatly skew both samples. As a result, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from these findings.

But when we only look at websites with over 100 monthly visitors, things start to get interesting.

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In terms of top 10 keyword density, you can see that the mean and median are very close when comparing WordPress and Wix.

As a result, our findings suggest that WordPress websites tend to have slightly more top 10 rankings than Wix websites.

Wix, on the other hand, dominates the organic traffic generated by those keywords.

Basically, WordPress websites have more top 10 keyword rankings than Wix sites, but Wix sites receive more traffic from their top 10 rankings than WordPress sites.

You’ll see that Wix Websites have a higher Domain Rating, but fewer dofollow referring domains, when you dig a little deeper into the data for this “bucket.”

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SIDENOTE. This graph only includes median values because the dataset included a lot of outliers.

This suggests that non-link-related factors, such as ranking for and receiving traffic from branded searches, maybe driving more search traffic to the Wix sites in our sample.

Long John Silvers, a well-known restaurant chain, is an example of a Wix-based website.

Also, according to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, they receive approximately 133,000 organic visitors each month.

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The majority of their traffic comes from branded queries rather than generic keywords like “seafood restaurant,” as you can see from their organic keywords report.

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The Conclusion

Unfortunately, the information available at this time is inconclusive.

There’s no way to conclude that one platform is superior to another based solely on the findings of this research.

As a result of these findings, we can say that:

  1. WordPress sites appear to have benefited from more SEO work than Wix sites. On the basis of huge differences in overall organic search traffic and the number of referring domains, we can see this.
  2. Using WordPress vs Wix, there appears to be no correlation between a site’s ability to rank in Google’s first ten results.
  3. As a whole, WordPress site attached more visitors from search engines than Wix-hosted ones. Wix, on the other hand, raked in more search traffic from domains with more than 100 monthly search visitors.

It’s impossible to say whether one of these platforms is “better” than other based on organic traffic.

WHY DDOES WIX GET A BAD RAP?

To begin, Wix does an adequate job of on-page SEO basics like adjusting title tags, meta description, and URLS.

It’s very simple to make changes in the backend, just like in WordPress.

However, a minor annoyance is that the blog URL structure frequently uses the /post/prefix

This isn’t really a problem for SEO, it’s just annoying

Now Wix seems to have an image problem because of the difficulties when customizing more complex or technical features.

Let me illustrate with a few-world examples

 

Multilingual SEO

At the time of writing, Wix didn’t support the hreflang tag

In comparison, WordPress offers a variety of free plugins to accomplish the same thing.

Here’s the one we’ve got on the Ahrefs blog

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JavaScript and Code Bloat

In the technical SEO world, Javascript is a huge deal.

This is what Barry Adams had to say about it on Twitter.

If you look at the source code of some Wix websites, you’ll find a lot of unnecessary code, much of it written in Javascript. Pagespeed is a ranking factor, so having a lot of code bloat is detrimental to your site’s performance.

I found this Wix site’s Pagespeed Insights score:

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Use Wix or WordPress if you’re concerned about search engine optimization?

No one can say with certainty what the answer is to that question.

It all boils down to personal preference.

If all you need is a simple CMS and minimal SEO requirements, Wix is a good choice. After all, our research shows that Wix sites do well when it comes to ranking in Google.

With Wix, you don’t need to be a techie to launch and maintain a simple website. Wix is used by a few people I know for this very reason.

However, you should look into other platforms (not just WordPress) for scaling and customization if you’re using SEO as a long-term strategy or hiring an SEO agency.

JohnD

Author JohnD

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