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Wix vs SquareSpace vs WordPress: Which Is The Best Website Builder For SEO?

When it comes time to build a website, it’s important for you to consider which website builder is the best one for your particular venture. And there’s one often overlooked aspect of the available website builders that’s particularly important to think about: search engine optimization.

SEO is a critical part of the decision making process because, once you’ve invested time and effort to build out your website, you’re going to want to make sure you stick with that website for a while and that that particular website can be found in Google.

So, before we delve into the specifics of each builder and explore which one is the best fit for your business, side hustle, or organization, let’s first zoom out and begin with the end in mind.

What Is Your Goal With Your Website?

We all build websites for very different reasons.

  • Sometimes we build a website on a whim so we have a place to house content we create around a hobby or interest.
  • Sometimes we build a website to amplify a message we want to share but don’t necessarily want to monetize.
  • And sometimes we build a website to create a digital doorstep for a business venture. We are in it to win it and are committed to our dream of being entrepreneurs or small business owners.

What your goal is will inform which investment of time and money to build that website is right for you.

That said, no matter the reason you’re building a website, you likely have a sneaky hidden assumption about that website.

You might think that just by building a website, you will get found in Google search results.

I know because I made the mistake of thinking this when I launched my first online business.

But here’s the truth: If you build it, they won’t come. 

It was incredibly disappointing to realize that building a website was not enough. And not only was just building a website not enough, there’s actually a whole organic marketing ecosystem behind getting your website found and turning strangers on the internet into happy clients.

All that to say: no matter the website builder you choose, you’re going to want to consider how that website might be found in Google so that you can increase your impact and your income.

The solution to this problem is to think about your SEO strategy before you choose your website builder.

Lauren Gaggioli

About guest columnist Lauren Gaggioli

Lauren is an SEO coach and online course creator who loves building online businesses. Having leveraged organic marketing strategies to grow and sell her first business, she now helps her fellow digital entrepreneurs increase their impact and income via bespoke SEO services for small businesses, the Organic Marketing Ecosystem course, and by hosting an online mastermind group for entrepreneurs.

When she's not working, you can find her training for her next runDisney half marathon or channeling serious Molly Weasley vibes knitting up a new sweater, puttering in her garden, homebrewing beer with her husband, or making a delicious mess of the kitchen with her kids in their home just outside Seattle.

What is SEO & Why Does It Matter When Picking The Best Website Builder?

SEO stands for search engine optimization.

There are a lot of things you can do to get into Google’s good graces, but the core of search engine optimization is having a website that speaks to Google’s bots and to the humans who find you via search.

It’s about developing a website that lives at the intersection of user experience and SEO. You must provide quality content that people are searching for and structure the overall website in a way that indicates to Google precisely what search intent you are trying to meet.

When you do both of these things well, Google is empowered to be a matchmaker between you and your ideal prospect.

But there are some technical requirements here. Google is going to check in to make sure that your website is up to snuff technically speaking.

So, when you’re considering where to put your time and effort to build out your website, it’s important to think about that from the beginning so you invest your resources wisely.

And that’s where comparing the 3 big players in the website building space comes in…

Wix SEO vs SquareSpace SEO vs WordPress SEO

These three website builders are each wonderful in their own way, but the learning curve for each is wildly different.

The more complex the system, the longer it takes to learn. So if you want to get your website launched by yourself and as quickly as possible, you can begin by considering it through the lens of the learning curve.

When it comes to these website building options, they are ranked as following from easiest to most challenging to build a website in.

  1. Wix
  2. SquareSpace
  3. WordPress

The user interface for Wix is incredibly simple, SquareSpace is more complex, and WordPress is the most challenging to master.

However, that’s not the full measure of which website builder is the best fit for you.

The reason the difficulty level ratchets up as you go is the level of control you, as the user, have over that website’s performance.

If you want your website to rank in Google, you must consider how each website builder performs once you hit publish.

SEO and Page Speed

As Search Engine Journal recently reconfirmed, page speed is a ranking factor for Google.

And though you can get a technically ho-hum website to rank if you do quality keyword research and find profitable keyword opportunities to target, above a certain threshold your site’s technical performance will limit your SEO performance.

So let’s consider these real world examples from myself and two of my organic marketing course and online mastermind clients so we can compare the technical SEO performance of Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress.

Wix SEO Performance

One of my clients built her website on Wix when she got started serving local clients with her pediatric occupational therapy services in Orlando, Florida.

And her Wix website has served her well…to a point.

Wix PageSpeed Insights

Wix PageSpeed Insights Performance

Wix Organic Traffic Performance

Though she doesn’t drive a ton of traffic in the grand scheme of things, her website and the strength of her Google Business Profile has allowed her to fill her schedule.

She even has a waitlist; however, now that she wants to scale her business into online courses, she’s had to purchase Kajabi to host those courses which is an additional $1,800 or so per year.

This is where she hosts her online course about picky eating.

So though she saved on her website and it was absolutely the right builder for her when she got started, there was still a learning curve and it took a lot of time to build it out. And she’s starting to experience its limitations at the very moment that she’s aiming to scale.

Unless Wix decides to fix underlying code issues or move her website to a faster server, she’s stuck with the speed they deliver.

She doesn’t have the agency to impact her website’s technical performance so she’ll have to decide: stick with Wix and do the best she can by implementing a broader SEO strategy or move the website fully and know that the sky’s the limit moving forward.

SquareSpace SEO Performance

Another client has an eCommerce website that he built in SquareSpace. He ships amazing Disney surprise boxes nationwide and also does Disney gift and grocery delivery to Disney World resorts.

After a little over a year of working together, we’ve taken his traffic from a monthly average of about 200 organic search users per month to over 3,000 per month.

SquareSpace Organic Traffic Performance

But we noticed a plateau and, when you take a look at his PageSpeed Insights report, it’s not hard to see why.

SquareSpace PageSpeed Insights

And - just like my client who uses Wix - he had to choose: move to a website builder where he has more agency over the website’s performance or stick with a site that not only was limiting his growth but was also charging him exorbitant eCommerce fees.

He’s made the decision to move over to WordPress, and I cannot wait to see how his improved performance and user experience will impact his revenue moving forward.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, when his new website launches, it’s going to blow the 22% revenue increase he saw in Q4 2023 from the organic content strategy we implemented in SquareSpace out of the water.

WordPress SEO Performance 

I’ve always been a WordPress fan. And the reason I have is the control I retain.

There’s a bit more technical knowhow involved with self-hosted WordPress websites, particularly if you want to build your website yourself.

However, being able to choose your host and your theme and the plugins that can improve performance gives you agency to fix the problems you see on your website on a more granular level.

You give up that control with all-in-one website builders like Wix and SquareSpace because they control the code and the hosting.

With my first business, I was able to drive an average of 16,000 new users to my website every month via organic search for two years in a row.

These inbound leads brought tremendous ease and abundance to my business. While a lot of that had to do with the SEO strategy I employed, Google trusted my website in no small part due to its strong technical foundation.

I’ve only just started building out the content on my newer website in the last year, but consider its performance compared to those above.

WordPress PageSpeed Insights

WordPress Organic Traffic Performance

With SEO, time and consistency are the magic ingredients.

Because I am certain that the technical foundation of my WordPress website is strong and I know that I am executing a content strategy that leverages timeless SEO principles that are pleasing to Google, it is only a matter of time before the content I’m creating jumps even higher in the SERPS (search engine results pages).

I can be patient because I know my digital house is in order. And I am ready to receive those lovely strangers on the internet when Google starts sending them my way en masse.

It’s coming. And I’m calm and confident not only because I’ve done it before, but because I know that this system is built to handle a rapid scale up once Google opens the organic search spigot fully.

Which Website Builder Is Best For SEO?

Because SEO hinges, to some degree, on your website’s technical performance, my preference is always going to be to err on the side of having more control. WordPress balances ease of use with agency to improve performance. If you want to have the most control over your website’s performance without the challenge of custom coding a website, WordPress is the best website builder for SEO.

Wix and SquareSpace are fine if you’re floating trial balloons or are a hobbyist. But you must know and accept that, if you ever choose to commit to that path, your SEO strategies are going to have to be all the stronger to overcome those website builders’ technical limitations. Even then, there will be a limit to your growth.

As I shared earlier, clearly stating your goals for your website is vital and beginning with the end in mind will help you decide where to focus your attention.

But, make no mistake, regardless of your goals and which website builder you choose, there will be a learning curve. If you take the “easier” route and have to migrate later, there is a cost to that. While your website content can be moved, the time and energy you invested in that initial learning curve will be scrapped and you’ll need to learn a whole new CMS on your new website.

Getting Started With SEO

I will be forever grateful that I had the foresight when I was new to digital entrepreneurship and organic marketing to invest in custom WordPress development at the start.

I happily paid for WordPress services as part of my startup costs and then invested the time to learn how to update my WordPress website myself because I knew I was playing for keeps.

That investment paid off. The ongoing revenue from my first company aside, I made more than six times the initial investment in my website when I sold my first company.

Make no mistake: your website is a business asset.

However, it does deserve to be said that the most technically sound, beautiful website in the world won’t rank without a solid organic marketing strategy behind it. And the worst performing site still has a chance to rank if you back it with a quality data-backed content plan.

That’s why I support entrepreneurs and small business owners as they craft their SEO-optimized content plans regardless of the website builder they’ve chosen to get started with.

Whether you want to craft your own organic digital marketing strategy or would prefer the more hands-on SEO consulting services that I provide, like website audit services and organic strategy consulting, I can help you come up with an amazing data-backed plan to get your website found in Google.

And, if a custom WordPress website or a website redesign is needed, Anitra and I can work together to make that plan a digital reality.

Regardless of how you choose to proceed, I hope you take the time to think about the goals you have for your website before you dip a single toe into the digital waters. The waters are deep and the current is swift.

Having a plan - preferably a plan that speaks fluent Google - is one of the best ways I know to ensure that your website can be found by your ideal prospects at the precise moment they need the information or services that you have to offer.

That said, sometimes when you’re getting started, the best thing to do is step back and see how the website that you already have is performing.

To help with that, I offer a free DIY Website Audit. It’s a great way to get the information you need to lay out your website’s plan for increased impact and income.