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20 Tips and Best Practices

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20 Tips and Best Practices


Most people choose WordPress as their website’s CMS because it’s easy to use and SEO friendly out of the box. 

Both of these things are true, but it’s important to remember that WordPress is just a content management system (CMS). So the mere fact that you’re using WordPress isn’t enough to rank on search engines.

Luckily, WordPress makes it super easy to implement many SEO best practices.

In this guide, we’ll cover 20 SEO best practices, share tips to help you rank higher, and explain how to implement them on your WordPress website.

Here are the practices that made the list:

  1. Check search engine visibility settings
  2. Set preferred domain
  3. Set up permalinks
  4. Require manual approval for blog comments
  5. Install an SEO-friendly theme
  6. Install an all-in-one SEO plugin
  7. Make sure to generate a sitemap
  8. Exclude low-value content from indexing
  9. Install Ahrefs’ SEO plugin
  10. Write a “clickworthy” title
  11. Set an SEO-friendly URL slug
  12. Use headers to create hierarchy
  13. Internally link to relevant content
  14. Add alt text to images
  15. Write a compelling title tag
  16. Write a compelling meta description
  17. Nest pages in subfolders
  18. Install WP Rocket
  19. Minify code
  20. Install ShortPixel

1. Check your search engine visibility settings

There’s a checkbox in WordPress that, if checked, is effectively an SEO death sentence for your website because it prevents Google from indexing your pages. And if Google can’t index your pages, they can’t rank.

You’ll find this under Settings > Reading > Search engine visibility:

Search engine visibility in WordPress

Make sure this is unchecked if you want to stand any chance of ranking whatsoever.

Google looks at domain.com and www.domain.com separately, so it’s important to choose a preferred version for your site. You can do this under Settings > General. Just set the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to your preferred version.

Preferred domain in WordPress

For a new website, it doesn’t really matter which version you choose. But if your pages are accessible at both URL versions, your best bet is to use the version with the most backlinks.

To see which version this is, plug them both into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool and check their referring domains.

For us, it’s clearly the non-www version:

Referring domains to preferred domain in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

The beauty of WordPress is it automatically redirects the other version to the preferred version so that search engines and visitors can only access your site at the preferred domain.

WARNING

Changing the preferred version can cause technical issues if your site has already been up and running for a while. If you’ve any concerns, it’s worth enlisting the help of a developer to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Permalinks are basically the URL format for your posts and pages, and the “post name” option tends to be the most SEO-friendly because it helps:

  1. Make it immediately obvious what the page is about.
  2. Keep URLs short, which can prevent them from truncating in the search results.

However, if you’re already using a different permalink structure, then changing it can lead to broken pages. So if you make a change, you’ll want to crawl your website with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit after the fact to check for 4XX errors:

4XX errors in Ahrefs' Site Audit

If there are any, you’ll want to use a WordPress plugin like Redirection to redirect the old URLs to the new ones.

4. Require manual approval for blog comments

Spammy blog comments are unlikely to cause penalties or any drastic SEO issues because they’re pretty much always nofollowed. But according to Google, they can still cause some SEO issues for a few reasons.

Luckily, WordPress makes it really easy to solve this issue once and for all by offering users the option to set all blog comments to require manual approval.

You can do this in Settings > Discussion > Comment must be manually approved:

Blog comment approval in WordPress

5. Install an SEO-friendly theme

Pretty much all WordPress themes are responsive and mobile-friendly these days, so there’s not much to worry about there. What you really need to check when choosing a theme is its performance.

If the theme is bloated with unnecessary code and features, it’ll slow your website down. And that’s not good, given that page speed has been a Google ranking factor for over a decade.

So when choosing a theme, it’s worth reading through the description to see what’s included. If there’s a bunch of features you won’t use, it may not be the best choice for you.

You can also run the theme demo through PageSpeed Insights for a better sense of its performance.

WordPress theme in PageSpeed Insights

If you already have a theme and its performance isn’t great, give tips #18–20 a shot and hire a developer to optimize it if it’s still slow.

6. Install an all-in-one SEO plugin

Extend the SEO functionality of WordPress and make it easier to optimize aspects of your site with an all-in-one SEO plugin. We use Yoast SEO, but there are plenty of other alternatives.

To install it, go to Plugins > Add New > Search for “Yoast SEO” > Click Activate > Click Install:

Installing Yoast SEO for WordPress

Most of the settings will be good out of the box, but we’ll adjust a few of them as we go.

7. Make sure to generate a sitemap

Sitemaps list the important posts and pages on your site to help search engines discover them. Yoast SEO creates a sitemap for you, but you need to make sure the option is turned on.

To do that, go to SEO > General > Features > Toggle “XML sitemaps” on:

XML sitemaps toggle in Yoast SEO

8. Exclude low-value content from indexing

You should only allow Google to index pages that offer value to searchers. Tag pages and format-based archives rarely fall into this category, so it’s generally best practice to exclude them from indexing.

To do that, go to SEO > Search Appearance > Taxonomies > Toggle “Show Tags in search results?” off:

Excluding tag pages from indexing in WordPress using Yoast SEO

Do the same for format-based archives too.

9. Install Ahrefs’ SEO plugin

Our free WordPress SEO plugin audits and monitors content performance and gives recommendations on how to improve it.

For example, if the plugin spots that one of your pages is no longer ranking in the top three for its target keyword, it’ll tag it as “No longer well-performing” and give a personalized recommendation on how to improve based on your settings:

Ahrefs' SEO Plugin

Here, it recommends that we update a post that no longer ranks. If we hit the suggestion caret, it gives advice on how to do that:

Content recommendations in Ahrefs' SEO WordPress plugin

Recommendation

The next eight tips are content-related. Keep them in mind when adding posts and pages to your WordPress website.

10. Write a “clickworthy” title

Every page and post in WordPress needs a title, which you set here:

Clickworthy title in WordPress

This title usually gets shown elsewhere on your WordPress website. For example, the title for this post shows up on our blog archive page:

Example of a blog post title

For that reason, it’s important that your title entices visitors to click through to your page while accurately describing what the page is about. In other words, the title should be clickworthy but not clickbait.

If you’re struggling to write something that fits the bill, take inspiration from the SERP titles of the top-ranking pages for your target keyword, as these are often the same or similar to the page title. You can do that in Google, but it’s better to use our free SERP checker for more accurate, non-personalized results:

Ahrefs' free SERP checker

For example, you can see above that many of the pages ranking for “SEO tips” talk about boosting traffic or rankings in their SERP titles. So this is probably a good angle for a clickworthy title for this topic.

11. Set an SEO-friendly URL slug

By default, WordPress sets the URL to the full title of the post or page. This is rarely ideal because it’s usually long, and long URLs tend to get truncated in the search results.

For a more SEO-friendly URL, click “Edit,” enter your primary keyword (or a close variation), and replace the spaces with dashes.

URL slug in WordPress

12. Use headers to create hierarchy

Headers create structure and help visitors and search engines to better understand the hierarchy of your content.

In WordPress, you can use the WYSIWYG editor to quickly and easily add relevant headers. Just hit the “Paragraph” dropdown, and you’ll see six header options:

Heading tags in WordPress

Sidenote.

If you’re using WordPress’ block editor, things will look slightly different. You’ll need to click to add a “Heading” block instead. 

As most WordPress themes use the post title as the first header (H1), it’s best practice to use H2-H6 in the content itself.

13. Internally link to relevant content

Internal links point to other pages and posts on your website. They’re important for SEO because they help:

  1. Keep visitors on your site.
  2. Boost the “authority” of your other content and rank the content higher.

You can add internal links to posts and pages in WordPress using the WYSIWYG editor. Just highlight the text you want to use as the anchor, hit the “Insert/edit link” button, and paste in the URL of another page or post on your website.

Adding internal link in WordPress

Sidenote.

Again, things may look a bit different if you’re using the block editor, but the process is pretty much the same. 

If you’re not sure if and where to add internal links, sign up for a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) account, run a crawl in Site Audit, then go to the Link opportunities report to see relevant internal link suggestions:

Internal link suggestions in Ahrefs' Site Audit

For example, you can see above that it recommends we internally link the phrase “link building tactics” in our guide to bad links to our list of link building strategies.

14. Add alt text to images

Alt text is important because it:

  1. Tells Google what images are about, which may help them rank higher on Google Images.
  2. Improves accessibility for visually impaired visitors using screen readers.
  3. Replaces the broken image on the page if the image breaks.

To add alt text in WordPress, fill in the “alt text” field when uploading an image:

Adding alt text to images in WordPress

Sidenote.

Once again, things may look slightly different in the block editor, but there’s still an “alt text” field. 

Just try to keep it short and sweet while being descriptive.

Recommended reading: Alt Text for SEO: How to Optimize Your Images

15. Write a compelling title tag

Google usually uses your title tag for the snippet in the search results.

Yoast sets your title tag to your post or page title by default. This is often fine, as you should have already crafted an enticing post title. But sometimes it’s too long, so it’s worth pasting in the full title manually to make sure it’s not likely to truncate.

If it gets highlighted green, you’re all set. If it gets highlighted red, it’s too long.

Adding title tag in WordPress using Yoast SEO

You can usually solve the issue of a lengthy title tag by removing any superfluous information. Easy ways to do this include:

  • Removing information in brackets.
  • Removing unnecessary words.
  • Rephrasing.

16. Write a compelling meta description

Meta descriptions aren’t a direct Google ranking factor, but Google often uses them for the search result snippet.

For that reason, it’s important to write a compelling meta description that supports your title and further entices people to click.

Here are a few tips for doing that:

  • Double down on search intent
  • Use an active voice
  • Keep it under 120 characters

Recommended reading: How to Write the Perfect Meta Description

17. Nest pages in subfolders

Assuming that you set your permalink structure to post name, your page and post URLs will look like this:

domain.com/post-name
domain.com/page-name

But with pages, you can create them with different levels using subfolders.

For example, let’s say you’re a digital marketing agency offering three different services: SEO, PPC, and social media marketing.

Here’s the best way to structure that:

  1. Create a “Services” landing page that lists the services you provide
  2. Create individual pages for each service you offer
  3. Link to each service page from your “Services” page

Here’s what your URL structure will look like by default:

domain.com/services/
domain.com/seo/
domain.com/ppc/
domain.com/social-media-marketing/

That looks OK. But it is better to nest the individual service pages under the “/services/” subfolder like this:

domain.com/services/
domain.com/services/seo/
domain.com/services/ppc/
domain.com/services/social-media-marketing/

That’s easy to do in WordPress. Just use the “Parent” dropdown on the page editor and choose the “Services” page.

Nesting pages in WordPress

Recommendation

The next three tactics are about page speed. Use these to speed up your website and improve its performance. Note that we haven’t covered every optimization you can make here, as page speed is a complex topic. So if you want to delve deeper into this side of things, read our full guide to speeding up your WordPress website.

WP Rocket describes itself as a web performance plugin that boosts your page speed. The beauty of the plugin is that it makes a bunch of useful optimizations out of the box, including browser and server caching.

Here’s what caching does in a nutshell:

  • Browser caching – Saves common files on visitors’ hard drives so they don’t have to keep re-downloading them on repeat visits.
  • Server caching – Saves static versions of your webpages on your server so they’re ready and waiting whenever a visitor requests them.

This is not a free plugin but, in my opinion, it’s well worth the $49 price tag if you have the budget. If you’re looking for a free plugin that does something similar in terms of caching, try one of the many other caching plugins available.

Minification removes unnecessary white space from your code to reduce file sizes.

Minified vs un-minified code

It’s simple enough to enable minification if you’re using WP Rocket. Just head to the File Optimization settings and check the options to “Minify CSS files” and “Minify JavaScript files.”

Minification in WP Rocket

If you’re not using WP Rocket, give Autoptimize a shot (it’s free).

warning

Enabling minification can lead to features breaking in some instances. So it’s always best to test how this affects your website in a staging environment before deploying live.

ShortPixel automatically compresses and optimizes the images you upload to WordPress. This makes the image files smaller, reduces strain on your server, and makes things load faster for your visitors.

To get started, install the plugin, activate it, then enter your API key in the settings.

Note that ShortPixel is a freemium plugin. So if you’re compressing more than 100 images per month, you’ll need to buy some credits or sign up for a paid plan. This only costs a few dollars and is well worth the money, in my opinion.

If you do have the budget for a paid plan, it’s also worth hitting the option to bulk optimize the images already uploaded to WordPress.

Resizing images using ShortPixel

Final thoughts

WordPress is flexible, easy to use, and provides a good base for SEO. But it can only get you so far because it’s just a CMS. If you’re serious about ranking on Google, there are a few more things you’ll need to do.

Ready for better rankings? Read our step-by-step guide to ranking high on Google.

Got questions about WordPress SEO? Ping me on Twitter.





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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT train using multiple sources of information, including web content. This data forms the basis of summaries of that content in the form of articles that are produced without attribution or benefit to those who published the original content used for training ChatGPT.

Search engines download website content (called crawling and indexing) to provide answers in the form of links to the websites.

Website publishers have the ability to opt-out of having their content crawled and indexed by search engines through the Robots Exclusion Protocol, commonly referred to as Robots.txt.

The Robots Exclusions Protocol is not an official Internet standard but it’s one that legitimate web crawlers obey.

Should web publishers be able to use the Robots.txt protocol to prevent large language models from using their website content?

Large Language Models Use Website Content Without Attribution

Some who are involved with search marketing are uncomfortable with how website data is used to train machines without giving anything back, like an acknowledgement or traffic.

Hans Petter Blindheim (LinkedIn profile), Senior Expert at Curamando shared his opinions with me.

Hans commented:

“When an author writes something after having learned something from an article on your site, they will more often than not link to your original work because it offers credibility and as a professional courtesy.

It’s called a citation.

But the scale at which ChatGPT assimilates content and does not grant anything back differentiates it from both Google and people.

A website is generally created with a business directive in mind.

Google helps people find the content, providing traffic, which has a mutual benefit to it.

But it’s not like large language models asked your permission to use your content, they just use it in a broader sense than what was expected when your content was published.

And if the AI language models do not offer value in return – why should publishers allow them to crawl and use the content?

Does their use of your content meet the standards of fair use?

When ChatGPT and Google’s own ML/AI models trains on your content without permission, spins what it learns there and uses that while keeping people away from your websites – shouldn’t the industry and also lawmakers try to take back control over the Internet by forcing them to transition to an “opt-in” model?”

The concerns that Hans expresses are reasonable.

In light of how fast technology is evolving, should laws concerning fair use be reconsidered and updated?

I asked John Rizvi, a Registered Patent Attorney (LinkedIn profile) who is board certified in Intellectual Property Law, if Internet copyright laws are outdated.

John answered:

“Yes, without a doubt.

One major bone of contention in cases like this is the fact that the law inevitably evolves far more slowly than technology does.

In the 1800s, this maybe didn’t matter so much because advances were relatively slow and so legal machinery was more or less tooled to match.

Today, however, runaway technological advances have far outstripped the ability of the law to keep up.

There are simply too many advances and too many moving parts for the law to keep up.

As it is currently constituted and administered, largely by people who are hardly experts in the areas of technology we’re discussing here, the law is poorly equipped or structured to keep pace with technology…and we must consider that this isn’t an entirely bad thing.

So, in one regard, yes, Intellectual Property law does need to evolve if it even purports, let alone hopes, to keep pace with technological advances.

The primary problem is striking a balance between keeping up with the ways various forms of tech can be used while holding back from blatant overreach or outright censorship for political gain cloaked in benevolent intentions.

The law also has to take care not to legislate against possible uses of tech so broadly as to strangle any potential benefit that may derive from them.

You could easily run afoul of the First Amendment and any number of settled cases that circumscribe how, why, and to what degree intellectual property can be used and by whom.

And attempting to envision every conceivable usage of technology years or decades before the framework exists to make it viable or even possible would be an exceedingly dangerous fool’s errand.

In situations like this, the law really cannot help but be reactive to how technology is used…not necessarily how it was intended.

That’s not likely to change anytime soon, unless we hit a massive and unanticipated tech plateau that allows the law time to catch up to current events.”

So it appears that the issue of copyright laws has many considerations to balance when it comes to how AI is trained, there is no simple answer.

OpenAI and Microsoft Sued

An interesting case that was recently filed is one in which OpenAI and Microsoft used open source code to create their CoPilot product.

The problem with using open source code is that the Creative Commons license requires attribution.

According to an article published in a scholarly journal:

“Plaintiffs allege that OpenAI and GitHub assembled and distributed a commercial product called Copilot to create generative code using publicly accessible code originally made available under various “open source”-style licenses, many of which include an attribution requirement.

As GitHub states, ‘…[t]rained on billions of lines of code, GitHub Copilot turns natural language prompts into coding suggestions across dozens of languages.’

The resulting product allegedly omitted any credit to the original creators.”

The author of that article, who is a legal expert on the subject of copyrights, wrote that many view open source Creative Commons licenses as a “free-for-all.”

Some may also consider the phrase free-for-all a fair description of the datasets comprised of Internet content are scraped and used to generate AI products like ChatGPT.

Background on LLMs and Datasets

Large language models train on multiple data sets of content. Datasets can consist of emails, books, government data, Wikipedia articles, and even datasets created of websites linked from posts on Reddit that have at least three upvotes.

Many of the datasets related to the content of the Internet have their origins in the crawl created by a non-profit organization called Common Crawl.

Their dataset, the Common Crawl dataset, is available free for download and use.

The Common Crawl dataset is the starting point for many other datasets that created from it.

For example, GPT-3 used a filtered version of Common Crawl (Language Models are Few-Shot Learners PDF).

This is how  GPT-3 researchers used the website data contained within the Common Crawl dataset:

“Datasets for language models have rapidly expanded, culminating in the Common Crawl dataset… constituting nearly a trillion words.

This size of dataset is sufficient to train our largest models without ever updating on the same sequence twice.

However, we have found that unfiltered or lightly filtered versions of Common Crawl tend to have lower quality than more curated datasets.

Therefore, we took 3 steps to improve the average quality of our datasets:

(1) we downloaded and filtered a version of CommonCrawl based on similarity to a range of high-quality reference corpora,

(2) we performed fuzzy deduplication at the document level, within and across datasets, to prevent redundancy and preserve the integrity of our held-out validation set as an accurate measure of overfitting, and

(3) we also added known high-quality reference corpora to the training mix to augment CommonCrawl and increase its diversity.”

Google’s C4 dataset (Colossal, Cleaned Crawl Corpus), which was used to create the Text-to-Text Transfer Transformer (T5), has its roots in the Common Crawl dataset, too.

Their research paper (Exploring the Limits of Transfer Learning with a Unified Text-to-Text Transformer PDF) explains:

“Before presenting the results from our large-scale empirical study, we review the necessary background topics required to understand our results, including the Transformer model architecture and the downstream tasks we evaluate on.

We also introduce our approach for treating every problem as a text-to-text task and describe our “Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus” (C4), the Common Crawl-based data set we created as a source of unlabeled text data.

We refer to our model and framework as the ‘Text-to-Text Transfer Transformer’ (T5).”

Google published an article on their AI blog that further explains how Common Crawl data (which contains content scraped from the Internet) was used to create C4.

They wrote:

“An important ingredient for transfer learning is the unlabeled dataset used for pre-training.

To accurately measure the effect of scaling up the amount of pre-training, one needs a dataset that is not only high quality and diverse, but also massive.

Existing pre-training datasets don’t meet all three of these criteria — for example, text from Wikipedia is high quality, but uniform in style and relatively small for our purposes, while the Common Crawl web scrapes are enormous and highly diverse, but fairly low quality.

To satisfy these requirements, we developed the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus (C4), a cleaned version of Common Crawl that is two orders of magnitude larger than Wikipedia.

Our cleaning process involved deduplication, discarding incomplete sentences, and removing offensive or noisy content.

This filtering led to better results on downstream tasks, while the additional size allowed the model size to increase without overfitting during pre-training.”

Google, OpenAI, even Oracle’s Open Data are using Internet content, your content, to create datasets that are then used to create AI applications like ChatGPT.

Common Crawl Can Be Blocked

It is possible to block Common Crawl and subsequently opt-out of all the datasets that are based on Common Crawl.

But if the site has already been crawled then the website data is already in datasets. There is no way to remove your content from the Common Crawl dataset and any of the other derivative datasets like C4 and .

Using the Robots.txt protocol will only block future crawls by Common Crawl, it won’t stop researchers from using content already in the dataset.

How to Block Common Crawl From Your Data

Blocking Common Crawl is possible through the use of the Robots.txt protocol, within the above discussed limitations.

The Common Crawl bot is called, CCBot.

It is identified using the most up to date CCBot User-Agent string: CCBot/2.0

Blocking CCBot with Robots.txt is accomplished the same as with any other bot.

Here is the code for blocking CCBot with Robots.txt.

User-agent: CCBot
Disallow: /

CCBot crawls from Amazon AWS IP addresses.

CCBot also follows the nofollow Robots meta tag:

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">

What If You’re Not Blocking Common Crawl?

Web content can be downloaded without permission, which is how browsers work, they download content.

Google or anybody else does not need permission to download and use content that is published publicly.

Website Publishers Have Limited Options

The consideration of whether it is ethical to train AI on web content doesn’t seem to be a part of any conversation about the ethics of how AI technology is developed.

It seems to be taken for granted that Internet content can be downloaded, summarized and transformed into a product called ChatGPT.

Does that seem fair? The answer is complicated.

Featured image by Shutterstock/Krakenimages.com



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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

Google updated their Google Discover feed guidelines to emphasize the most important elements to include in the feed in order for it to be properly optimized.

Google Discover Feed

The Google Discover follow feed feature offers relevant content to Chrome Android users and represents an importance source of traffic that is matched to user interests.

The Google Discover Follow feature is a component of Google Discover, a way to capture a steady stream of traffic apart from Google News and Google Search.

Google’s Discover Follow feature works by allowing users to choose to receive updates about the latest content on a site they are interested in.

The way to do participate in Discover Follow is through an optimized RSS or Atom feed.

If the feed is properly optimized on a website, users can choose to follow a website or a specific category of a website, depending on how the publisher configures their RSS/Atom feeds.

Audiences that follow a website will see the new content populate their Discover Follow feed which in turn brings fresh waves of traffic to participating websites that are properly optimized.

According to Google:

“The Follow feature lets people follow a website and get the latest updates from that website in the Following tab within Discover in Chrome.

Currently, the Follow button is a feature that’s available to signed-in users in English in the US, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Canada, and Australia that are using Chrome Android.”

Receiving traffic from the Discover Follow feature only happens for sites with properly optimized feeds that follow the Discover Follow feature guidelines.

Updated Guidance for Google Discover Follow Feature

Google updated their guidelines for the Discover Feed feature to emphasize the importance of the feed <title> and <link> elements, emphasizing that the feed contains these elements.

The new guidance states:

“The most important content for the Follow feature is your feed <title> element and your per item <link> elements. Make sure your feed includes these elements.”

Presumably the absence of these two elements may result in Google being unable to understand the feed and display it for users, resulting in a loss of traffic.

Site publishers who participate in the Google Discover Follow feature should verify that their RSS or Atom feeds properly display the <title> and <link> elements.

Google Discover Optimization

Publishers and SEOs are familiar with optimizing for Google Search.

But many content publishers may be unaware of how to optimize for Google Discover in order to enjoy the loads of traffic that results from properly optimizing for Google Discover and the Google Discover Follow feature.

The Follow Feed feature, a component of Google Discover, is a way to help ensure that the website obtains a steady stream of relevant traffic beyond organic search.

This is why it’s important to make sure that your RSS/Atom feeds are properly optimized.

Read Google’s announcement of the updated guidance and read the complete Follow Feature feed guidelines here.

Featured image by Shutterstock/fizkes



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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here’s Everything to Know About Wix SEO

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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here's Everything to Know About Wix SEO

As of 2023, Wix provides solid options for a basic SEO setup that will cover most needs but still lacks the flexibility of more advanced and granular settings.

In this article, I go through all the nooks and crannies of Wix SEO options so you can decide if Wix is right for your needs. I’ll also share some tips on how to make your Wix website more search-friendly if you’re already a Wix user.

Does Wix have everything you need for SEO?

Wix has a bit of a bad reputation for SEO. This is because from its launch in 2006 until its first big update in 2016, it lacked many basic SEO functionalities like adding alt text and being able to change URL structures.

However, that is no longer the case. You can now do virtually every on-page SEO task using the Wix platform. It even hired expert SEOs, such as Mordy Oberstein and Crystal Carter, who have pushed for more SEO features and better communication.

Back in 2019, we ran a study comparing Wix SEO to WordPress SEO analyzing over 6.4M websites. We found that, on average, far more WordPress websites get organic traffic than Wix websites. 

WordPress vs. Wix organic traffic

However, we believe that this is due to the website owners, not the platforms themselves. On average, Wix website owners are less tech-savvy (and less educated on SEO) than WordPress users, simply because of the extra learning curve that comes with using WordPress.

Editor’s Note

The study and its methodology weren’t great. Given that there are so many variables involved, we didn’t see a way to rerun it properly. We decided to replace the study with this guide, providing more value to readers and being more fair to Wix.

That said, we had the Wix’s SEO team provide feedback on this article as part of the editing process to ensure accuracy and increase objectivity.

Michal Pecánek

Let’s also see what Googlers have to say about Wix.

Here’s a quote by John Mueller, Google’s senior search analyst, on the topic of Wix SEO:

Wix is fine for SEO. A few years back it was pretty bad in terms of SEO, but they’ve made fantastic progress, and are now a fine platform for businesses. The reputation from back then lingers on, but don’t be swayed by it.

What they’ve done in recent years is really good stuff, including making it trivial to have a really fast site (as you see in the Lighthouse scores — admittedly, speed is only a tiny part of SEO).

If Wix works for them, and they don’t need more, there’s no reason to switch.

John Mueller

So overall, Wix has the majority of features most website users would need to manage SEO. But there’s more to the story…

While Wix has no major SEO issues, it does have three minor issues that may stop you from wanting to use it if you’re serious about search:

  1. Website builders will typically load slower than custom code – Wix inevitably has code bloat from features you will never use. This is true even if you use WordPress and install a theme builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect, so this isn’t exclusive to Wix. That said, it’s only a minor issue, and it already has great Core Web Vitals compared to other CMS types.
  2. Less-than-ideal multilingual support – If you plan on publishing your blog posts in multiple languages, you may want to skip Wix. For example, you don’t have full control over the URLs for different language versions of your site. However, some of these aspects are in its feature requests and may be available soon.
  3. Limited advanced SEO control – Wix lacks some advanced SEO features. For example, it’s difficult to edit the auto-generated sitemap. Additionally, Wix generates cryptic file names for images (e.g., 09a0ab7~mv2.jpg/), which is not good for ranking on Google Images. 

Ultimately, Wix’s SEO features will work for most website owners out there. 

If you are a business owner who wants to focus more time on running your business and less time on learning how to build the perfect website with the best features, Wix is an excellent choice.

To help you decide if Wix is right for you, we made this helpful table of who should and shouldn’t use Wix to build their website:

Type of website Is Wix a great solution? Explanation
Personal website Yes Wix provides all you need for small websites.
Local business Yes Wix provides all you need to create a quick and easy local business website and rank in local search results.
Affiliate website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for affiliate marketing and SEO well. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Content website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for content used to show display ads. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Services website Maybe If you offer a service such as SaaS, banking, etc., then Wix may be a good choice depending on the specific features needed. You’ll have to do your own research.
E-commerce website Maybe There’s no perfect out-of-the-box CMS for this. The most common choices are Shopify or WooCommerce, but Wix is a solid option for e-commerce SMBs too. It can handle even some of the more complex e-commerce SEO stuff.

I personally would never build a website on Wix over WordPress for myself. That’s because WordPress has more features and customizability. And even though it comes with a much steeper learning curve, that is something I’ve overcome. (I’ve been building WordPress websites for over a decade.)

That said, I built my dad a website for his remodeling business using Wix. I did this because it’s much easier for him to go in and edit things himself than it is with WordPress. And he’s able to rank for local keywords just fine on the Wix platform. The website is fairly new, and I will come back in a few months to update this page with the progress of his rankings.

One last thing to keep in mind is that switching your content management system (CMS) can be a massive pain. So whichever tool you choose, be ready to stick to it for a long time.

Five tips to make your Wix website SEO-friendly

Deciding to stick with Wix? Here are five Wix-specific tips to help you make sure your website is search-optimized:

1. Complete the Wix SEO Setup Checklist

Wix has a really easy-to-use SEO Setup Checklist built in its platform. To use it, navigate to the Marketing & SEO page, then click Get Found on Google.

Wix SEO Setup Checklist

From there, you’ll be asked a few questions to get started, such as your business name and the top three to five keywords you want your website to rank for. If you’re not sure which keywords to target, I highly recommend reading our guide to keyword research.

Once you answer the questions, you’ll see a screen with steps you can take to optimize your website for search engines, starting with your homepage.

Wix's steps to optimize site for search engines

SEO Setup Checklist will guide you through the process of updating your pages’ meta tags, making your website mobile-friendly, and more.

Go through each of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a search-optimized website.

2. Set up Google Search Console and Analytics

You’ll notice one of the steps is to connect your site to Google Search Console (GSC). This is Google’s suite of tools designed for website owners like you to more easily monitor your search rankings and find issues preventing your pages from being indexed by Googlebot

Performance report, via GSC

You can set up GSC with the click of a button using the SEO Setup Checklist. If you want to learn more, check out our complete guide to Google Search Console.

Wix SEO Wiz connecting Google Search Console

Once GSC is set up, you can connect Google Analytics (GA) to your website to get more insights into where your traffic is coming from and which pages your visitors are going to.

To connect GA, navigate to the Marketing Integrations tab under Marketing & SEO. It’s the first box that appears—click Connect.

Wix marketing integration with Google Analytics

Wix will instruct you on how to create a Google Analytics Property ID and connect that ID with your Wix website. If you need more help, we also have a guide on Google Analytics 4.

Once it’s set up and your website starts getting traffic, you’ll be able to see traffic and webpage reports. This can help you identify which pages may need improvements or how many conversions you get from organic traffic.

Google Analytics traffic report

That’s it—you’re done with step #2.

3. Create search-optimized content

If your website just has the basic homepage, as well as “about” and “contact” pages, chances are you won’t be able to rank well for much (if anything).

A crucial step in SEO is creating content that can be crawled and indexed by Googlebot. That means creating service pages if you’re a local business and possibly also creating blog content targeting relevant keywords to your industry.

Rather than making this whole article about content, I will leave you with a resource. Go check out our guide to SEO content to learn more.

4. Add internal links

Backlinks—links from another website pointing to your website—are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. However, they can be difficult to obtain.

Internal links from one page on your site to another on your site are almost as important as backlinks. But they are much easier to add. You just highlight some text and add the link in.

If you have pages on your website that you want to rank better, simply add more internal links to that page and you’re already on the path to higher rankings. Obviously, just adding some internal links won’t suddenly make you rank #1 for a keyword. But it’s an important—and often overlooked—step on the road to better rankings. 

To add an internal link with Wix, simply highlight the text you want to add a link to, click the “chain link” icon, then choose the page you want the link to point to.

Wix internal link settings

Check out our internal linking guide to learn more about this important SEO task.

5. Schedule regular SEO audits

Once your Wix website is set up and optimized, it’s important to schedule regular SEO audits to keep tabs on your rankings and make sure nothing gets broken.

While you can do this manually, it is time consuming and easy to overlook something. 

For example, you may not realize one of your pages broke and is now a 404 page, or that a certain blog post isn’t showing up in your sitemap, or that you’re missing metadata on a certain page… the list goes on.

Instead, you can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to automatically run weekly or monthly audits of your website. This free tool will give you a health score from 0 to 100 on how “healthy” your website is from an SEO perspective.

Health Score overview, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can then see specific tasks you need to do in order to fix these issues on your site. Go to the All issues report and check the issues we found while crawling your website.

All issues report, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can click the error and see exactly what it means and how to fix it.

Issue details, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

From there, you can click “View affected URLs” and go to those pages to fix the issues. Easy peasy.

Final thoughts

Overall, Wix is a perfectly capable website builder for SEO. While it isn’t as advanced and capable as more complex CMSs like WordPress, it’s plenty good for people who just want to build a website and don’t have the time for or interest in a giant learning curve.

I still use Wix for certain client sites and to build sites for friends and family who want a website where they can still make small edits themselves. It’s my favorite website builder compared to other tools like Squarespace or WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, which I use all the time).

One more benefit to using a website builder like Wix is that it’s a complete solution and takes care of the hosting and security. In fact, John doesn’t recommend self-hosting your websites. 

That said, if you want more advanced features and to dive deeper in SEO, I suggest learning WordPress.

Ready to keep learning? Here are some other helpful guides:



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