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Working Around WIX SEO Limitations: Tips and Advice
Posted by Cameron Francis on September 14, 2015 in SEO

WIX SEO limitations

Nowadays a website is a prerequisite for ecommerce, and many are exploring every available option to create websites that are cost effective and easy to build. One such option is WIX. But is WIX the ideal platform for your business? Read on to find out.

What is WiX?

WIX is a free, user-friendly, website building platform. The platform helps users to create websites fast.

The biggest advantage of WIX is its ease of use. It is capable of creating professional looking websites which can be updated and edited with unrivalled ease. You do not need any technical skills to create a website with WIX. All you need is a few minutes of your spare time. The editor is very easy to understand and if you’re stuck, you can find answers to your problems in the FAQ section.

Another advantage of WIX is that it offers various design templates to choose from. This will allow you to develop a great site that comes as close as possible to a real website. You’ll also appreciate that there is a comprehensive app store from where you can obtain the tools you need to customise just about every aspect of your site.

Finally, the editor supports nine languages, making it possible to create multilingual sites. Just go to the “multilingual sites” section and you’ll find help.

Is Wix Really Bad For SEO?

The first problem is that it is very cheap or even available for free. The low price tag acts a big attraction for small businesses. What you may not know is that designing and developing an effective website can be time and resources intensive. Therefore for someone to “give” you a website for free there must be a hidden agenda.

If you’re serious about SEO, you should not use WIX. Here are the top 10 reasons why.

1. WIX is built on AJAX which poses a big problem

In WIX, each URL uses what is called a hashbang (#!). What does this mean? It means that each page on the WIX website is canonical to the homepage. In short, when Google looks at your website, it sees several duplicates of your homepage rather than different pages. Of course Google can understand hashbangs but it takes a lot of extra hard work. A better alternative would be to use pushState instead. WIX says that their sites are search engine friendly, but until the Ajax issue is addressed, there will always be questions about their SEO performance.

2. Limited technical site controls

WIX is somehow a closed system where you can only use controls provided by the WIX team and nothing more. You cannot introduce your own functions. For instance, full meta tag and robots.txt, are not available. The hashbang issue further complicates WIX websites. It limits your reporting options because SEO and analytics tools can’t function properly as they usually do on non-Ajax sites. In short, WIX limits your ability to fully optimise and manage your site.

3. No 301 redirect

The use of hashbangs also means that 301 redirection isn’t possible on WIX websites. But why do I need 301 redirection? Well, when you move pages or replace pages within your site, you will want users to find the moved or replaced pages, right? That’s where 301 redirect comes in. When the user reaches the old location, 301 redirect will inform them that the page they are looking for is moved to a new location. It might seem a negligible matter but if you don’t use 301 redirect, you lose your pages’ SEO value through bad user experience and 404 errors.

4. No SEO-friendly blog solution

Blogging has become the heart and soul of many businesses. Through interactive, helpful and engaging blog posts, you’re able to grab readers’ attention that can only be good for your online endeavours. Unfortunately, this is another area where WIX fails to make the grade. The lack of this functionality means that businesses cannot go out of their way to entice consumers with great content. Maybe you don’t use blogging at the moment, but you will in the future when your business picks up?

5. Design matters in SEO; WIX websites aren’t high-quality designs

In web design, there is common saying which goes: You only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s why most of the big companies spend so much to come up with a web design that impress at first sight. You want visitors to land on your site and stay there partly because they like your design. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for people to leave a site just because the design is not attractive enough. To add insult to injury, Google uses your bounce rate (people “running away” from your site) as an indicator of quality. So, when your bounce rates increase, your rankings decrease.

6. WIX is Google unfriendly!

Search engines see a WIX site as one long page. This limits the number of keywords and pages you can rank for. Basically, that’s how WIX works; it’s just one page that utilises flash to simulate multiple pages. Yet, the code for every WIX web page is contained within one page.

If you have optimised a website before, you will understand why this matters. Typically, you have several pages each of which brings something different to the website. For instance, you may have a services page, contact us page, and products page. When optimising the website, it is common for webmasters to optimise certain pages for certain keywords. The idea is to rank favourably for more than just one keyword to cover a broader base of consumers. This way, visitors can arrive at your site through different keywords.

You have no such option with WIX because as far as Google is concerned all you have is one long page. This can severely limit your ability to rank in search engines.

7. No unique title tags and meta descriptions

For the same reason, you cannot have unique meta descriptions for your website. This also severely affects your rankings.

8. You cannot index nested pages

The fact that your website is only one long page also means that you can’t have nested pages indexed. Search engines see only one page; therefore, it only indexes one page. Ironically, WIX comes with a sitemap! You would wonder what the sitemap is for when your website contains only one page. Probably just to hoodwink consumers.

9. No support for Google webmaster tools

If you’ve had a non-WIX website before, you will also have realised how important Google webmaster tool are. Unfortunately for WIX users, this is a privilege you cannot enjoy because WIX sites cannot be verified using GWT.

10. No support for Asynchronous Google Analytics

WIX, for all the hype, doesn’t use the Google Analytics code. There exists an older snippet, but it is slow, inaccurate, and cannot support newer features as they are released.

Seven Tips to Make Wix Work for You

However, if you’re already on WIX and like the service, what you need to do is to find ways to make the product even more beneficial to your cause. The first step, of course, is to identify your goals. Once you know what you want, it’s a simple matter of using the right tool for the job.

With that in mind, we have identified seven tips that can help you get the most from WIX.

Tip #1. Use an editor to enhance your images

Yes, it is possible to edit images from within the WIX editor. Alternatively, you can use an editor from a third party provider. Editing your images not only makes them more appealing but it is a great way of preparing your images for mobile view. Today, most users access the web via mobile devices. Ensuring a great experience both on desktop and mobile devices may help in enhancing you your search engine ranking.

Tip #2. Personalise page titles

Although a WIX website is considered a single long page by search engines, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Just like each chapter in a book has a unique title, so should your website. In any case, maybe the captivating titles may make visitors want to stay longer on your site which can go a long way in improving your search engine ranking.

Tip #3. Customise Google titles for your pages

Your Meta title defines how your site appears in search results. This can make or break a website, even those that are not built with WIX. Often, people choose titles that appear to address their concerns best. You need to make users feel that your website will provide the best answer to their question.

Tip #4. Choose your templates wisely

When developing a site on WIX, you cannot change templates half the way through. Some platforms such as WEEBLY allow for such switching, but if you’ve chosen WIX, you won’t have such freedom. Therefore, you need to choose a great template right from the onset. If for some reason you have to abandon the template you chose, you’ll have to start over again.

Tip #5. Link consistently

Consistency in your links may also help on WIX. When using WIX, you can choose to underline all your links. Alternatively, you can set the links to change colour when a mouse/cursor is hovered over the link and after the link is clicked. Just ensure that you’re consistent in your selections throughout. It improves aesthetics and general readability.

Tip #6. Make use of the WIX app market

There is a huge WIX app-market out there where you can find tools for improving your site. Apps such as Site Search and Rabbit SEO can help you track keyword rankings for your WIX website. They also offer great tips on improving WIX SEO.

Tip #7. Optimise for mobile devices

To ensure that you reach as many consumers as possible, you need to optimise your site for mobile devices. Fortunately, WIX has a dedicated mobile optimisation tool to help.

Although WIX might not be the best platform for developing websites, it is definitely not the worst either. There are issues surrounding WIX, particularly in the aspect of SEO. The fact that it is built on Ajax is a huge turn off for SEO minded businesses. But if you already have a website built with WIX, you can still turn things around. Use the tips outlined in this article to work around WIX’s limitations and get your site to rank favourably on major search engines.

However, considering the complexity of SEO, applying these tips without the guidance of a trained web professional is risky business. Even one little mistake on your part can lead to devastating results. Find a reputable web agency to optimise your WIX site for the best possible results.

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Cameron Francis

Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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