Website Builder graphic

Is WiX SEO Friendly? A 2017 Update

Wix LogoAlthough WordPress is my preferred platform, I’ll provide SEO and digital marketing consulting on any site built in any technology. I’ve looked at sites built in Adobe CQ, Magento, Joomla, as well as many sites built using an in house custom CMS (content management system).

I’ve also looked at many WiX sites. WiX is a popular website builder that enables the non geek to build very nice looking websites. You can see the attraction; point and click, drag and drop, and presto you have a website! But what about SEO?

This post has been extensively rewritten to bring it up to date – March 4, 2017

When I first wrote this post in 2015 (and even when I updated it in 2016) my answer to the question “Is WiX SEO friendly?” was a definite NO. WiX had significant problems when it came to SEO.

Today WiX has significantly improved and I’m no longer recommending against it.

However there are some few remaining SEO problems with WiX that you should be aware of. And just because the platform has improved doesn’t mean your site is SEO optimized, you have to make sure you use WiX’s SEO features wisely to have the best chance of ranking well.

Since this is a long post (over 3200 words – a record for me) I have divided it up into three sections. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, just click on the item below you are interested in.

  1. WiX’s journey to become a better website builder for SEO. How WiX became better for SEO. And why you need to look at the site speed of Javascript heavy sites.
  2. GUIDE: How to optimize your WiX site for SEO. A guide to the WiX features you need to use to make your WiX site SEO optimized.
  3. A couple of SEO problems to be aware of with WiX. Read this if you are an older WiX user and/or use a lot of images on your site.

We’ll start with what WiX has improved and where it might still have some challenges.

WiX’s journey to become a SEO friendly website builder

In the February 2016 version of this post I highlighted the following problems with WiX:

  1. Google not finding all the pages of a WiX site
  2. Use of deprecated AJAX technology that created “ugly” URLS
  3. Non descriptive image filenames
  4. Separate “lightbox” URLs

Now that we are in 2017 I can report that the first two problems are now resolved which is great news for WiX users since these issues were the most damaging.

Additionally I believe I have found a way to address Issue #3 (see the notes on the image gallery in the guide below). It’s only the lightbox URLs that are still an issue for SEO. See the last section of the post on current WiX SEO problems for more details on the lightbox URL problem.

When I look at a website I always check to see what Google has indexed of that site. You can use advanced search operators such as the site: command to get a peek at Google’s perspective of the site. If you have the site set up with Google Webmasters Tools, (now known as Google Search Console), you can get even more information.

Back in 2015 and 2016, I kept finding WiX site after WiX site that Google had only partially crawled and indexed. If a page is not in Google’s index then that page doesn’t come up in the search results. Which I think you would agree is a MAJOR problem.

WiX modernizes its infrastructure

In late summer of 2016 WiX took a major step forward and left behind the old AJAX crawling technology that Google had deprecated in October 2015. Calling it the “URL Update“, WiX announced an update to its infrastructure that now supported “clean” URLs.

Old WiX URL:!about/c1rt1
New WiX URL:

I was never a fan of AJAX crawling, it’s Ugly URLs didn’t work well as well known site Gawker found out.

And the Ugly URLs were a huge pain point for WiX’s customers. For one thing, they didn’t work with a variety of Google and third party tools (Universal Analytics, GSC’s Fetch as Google …). And if you are a small business promoting a local event that is published on your website, a URL like!mycoolevent/y732lx
looks just awful on a flyer.

So big kudos to WiX to listening to their customers and undertaking what must have been a major infrastructure upgrade to make their users happier.

Google gets better at crawling and understanding Javascript

Although WiX had updated its infrastructure, it still used Javascript/AJAX to dynamically generate web pages. For years Google typically had trouble reading Javascript, and this might have been the cause of the under-indexation (Issue #1 above) issue that I found to be such a SEO showstopper with WiX sites.

However over the past year, Google has gotten really good at reading these types of sites, that under-indexation is no longer a problem. For the WiX sites I have recently reviewed, Google has found and indexed all the site’s pages. In fact the pendulum has swung the other way and over-indexation can be a problem, but more on that later.

I’m sure WiX’s upgrade has helped too. As a search geek I also like that the code in the head tag is in HTML. To explain why this is a good thing, the head tag is where all your meta tags and the other important tagging (like the title tag) for SEO live. So no problem for search bots (even if they are not as advanced as Google in reading Javascript) to understand what the page is about as long as the page has been properly optimized.

A few things to keep in mind about Javascript/AJAX sites

Ajax with JsonSo what exactly is Javascript and AJAX? These are widely used technologies that allow web pages interact with users without having to go to the web server to fetch additional information.

If you have ever seen a web page change (for example seen a drop down list appear when you clicked on a down arrow), without it having to completely redraw itself (more obvious on slow internet connections), then you have seen Javascript in action. AJAX is Javascript on steroids (AJAX is “Asynchronous Javascript and XML”)

All that interactivity comes with a cost however. For one thing there are still people that still turn Javascript off (although it is a rapidly shrinking minority). And lots of Javascript can slow down the load of a page significantly. When the web server sends over the HTML, it also has to send over all the Javascript (as well as image and CSS files).

There are mitigating techniques to improve the speed of these pages that I’m sure WiX uses, but with the dynamic nature of WiX there is a LOT of files that come over on a page load. GTMetrix reported that 155 (!!) Javascript files were included with a particular WiX site’s home page. To put that into perspective WebEnso’s home page currently includes 38 external Javascript files which is far too many (due to having too many plugins installed – yes, improving page speed is on my todo list, but I seem to like writing and my SEO consulting more than working on my site …).

Page Speed is a SEO ranking factor

Google looks at over 200 signals to determine how to rank your web page, and the speed of your website is one of those signals. So if your site is especially slow, your rankings in Google search may not be as high as you would like.

Users don’t like slow sites either, multiple studies have shown that revenue decreases and user abandonment increases for every extra second it takes for a site to load.

It is simply not possible to have a Javascript heavy page be as fast as a simple HTML page (or for that matter, an AMP page, which is a stripped down technology Google is pushing to improve performance for mobile users). To WiX’s credit it appears they have done a good job of minimizing the size of their files. However I do see complaints about the slowness of their sites.

Fortunately it may be possible to improve the performance of your WiX site by optimizing your images, see the guide below for more details on this.

GUIDE: How to optimize your WiX site for SEO

Here’s my list of critical SEO optimizations you should do for your WiX site.

Set your meta tags for each page on your WiX site

Each page in your WiX site should have an unique title tag and meta description with keywords that are relevant to your business. These fields are not visible on the page itself but important for SEO as they are used to create the “snippet” that describes your page in the search engine results pages.

If you haven’t done any keyword research, spend a little time making sure that the words you are using in your tags (and in your page content) match what people search on which it comes to your product or service. Check out my list of 22 Keyword Research Tools to get started.

In the current WiX interface you can reach your SEO settings for that page by clicking on the circle with the dots. WiX also provides you a preview of what the snippet will look like.

WiX Pages SEO Settings

SEO Settings for your WiX web page

WiX also provides a way to “Hide page from search results” (see button in the above image). This will add a meta robots “noindex” tag to the page that Google crawls. When Google sees this it will drop the page from the index. You might want to do this if a page is still under construction. Just don’t forget to go back and uncheck the box when the page is complete.

Use keywords in your headers

Ideally keywords should be in your page’s content naturally, but it is especially important to have your keywords in your headers. Google and the other search engines give more weight to the headers on your page so make sure they are descriptive and use your keywords.

Develop your mobile site in tandem with your desktop site

In WiX there is a separate mobile editor you can use to customize the look of your site on a mobile device. As you develop your site’s look and feel, I would recommend also working in parallel in the mobile editor so that you are happy with both the desktop and mobile look of your site. WiX allows you to hide elements of your site so it might fit better on the small screen of a smartphone, which is a very nice feature, but it may not be as easy to adjust things to your liking in the mobile view if you have already finalized your desktop site.

You can turn off the mobile view of your site in WiX but I recommend against this, because it will then show your desktop site on a mobile device which will make it difficult for smart phone users to navigate it and will also not pass Google’s Mobile Friendly test. Remember: Mobile friendliness is a Google ranking factor on mobile devices.

Compress your images before uploading to WiX

On behalf of a client I reached out to WiX and asked them if they optimized image size for their user’s sites (since they had contacted me about updating this post), I never got an answer, but I did a simple test with two of the images I downloaded from my client’s site and found that I could significantly optimize the image sizes using TinyPNG.

TinyPNG optimization results

Regardless of whether WiX does any image optimization or not, I would compress all images before uploading them to a WiX site. Also make sure you use the right file format for your images. JPG for pictures, PNG for graphics.

Rename your images in the gallery before use

One of my complaints I mentioned in my earlier version of this post about WiX SEO, is that images ended up with non descriptive filenames which is not helpful for SEO. Instead of image filenames like “black-tv-cabinet.jpg”, which along with the alt tags help Google understand what the image is about, you end up with a filename like: c04b6d_0dcbc5ea4de340e9811c891fc70a0c00.jpg.

I found that you could rename your images in the image gallery. I wasn’t able to explore this too thoroughly, but assuming it works as expected (ie. renaming the image doesn’t break your site), this would address issue #3 that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Use “on click” image feature very carefully

WiX image click optionUnless you strongly feel that it is beneficial to the user to have the ability to see a close up of the image when they click on it, I would recommend you set all your images click options to “Nothing happens”. Otherwise you will get a proliferation of extra URLs which could harm your site’s SEO as I explain in the SEO Problems to be aware with WiX section below.

Add labels to your images

All images on your WiX should be tagged with alt tags, which WiX calls “labels”. Again these tags do not show up on the page, but they are important for Google (and the visually impaired) to understand what the image actually is a picture of. It’s tempting to go crazy and keyword stuff your alt tags, but it’s best to just describe the picture accurately, adding keywords to the labels if it makes sense.

SEO Problems to be aware with WiX

Although WiX is a lot better for SEO, there are a couple of problems to be aware of. We’ve already talked about the potential SEO problem of a slow loading site, here’s a two more issues.

  • A redirect problem that only affects users who have been migrated from the old Ugly URLs.
  • The “lightbox” URL is potentially more serious for SEO, but how much it impacts you depends on you set up your WiX site.

Old Ugly URLs not properly 301 redirecting

If you had a WiX site prior to the URL update, your old Ugly URLs were redirected to the new clean URLs. The way that redirects usually work is that the web server sends a code back to the browser that essentially says “The URL you requested has moved, here’s the new URL”. The requestor then knows to request the new URL. The code that is sent is a HTTP status code 301 and that’s what people mean by a 301 redirect.

Unfortunately that’s not how these redirects work. The browser (and Googlebot and friends) get a HTTP Status Code 200, not a 301, and the redirect happens on the server side so the requestor doesn’t know about the new URL.

So the good news is that the user does get to the new URL. The bad news? The search bots are NOT notified that the page has moved. So the old ugly URL stays in the search engine index and never gets updated. If you take WiX’s advice and submit a XML sitemap with your new clean URLs, then Google will index the new URLs, but that doesn’t address the old ugly URLs in the index which hang around.

On a WiX site that is one of their featured user stories, I could easily find old ugly URLs in the Google index via the site: command.

I’m not the only one that has noticed this,

WiX Old URL Issue

In the support thread, the WiX user quite reasonably points out the old ugly URL is not redirected with a 301 HTTP Status Code, which is what Google recommends for SEO. The response from WiX is that there is a problem with his checker (which there isn’t, see below), that his site looks fine, and that “We have a professional SEO team which made sure the new urls were an improvement in the long run ..” which doesn’t address the user’s point at all. Kind of a “we know better than you” type of response.

Any professional SEO worth his or her salt would have strongly recommended a 301 redirect, rather than the server forwards WiX is apparently using.

No redirect for Ugly WiX URLs

So how much of a problem is this?

Well, it could be a problem if you have backlinks pointing to that old ugly URL. Without the 301 redirect Google doesn’t know to attribute that incoming link juice to the new clean URL. The link juice that backlinks brings would be more impactful for an URL that is part of the current link graph.

And what happens if one day WiX decides enough time has passed and no longer supports the ugly URLs? And it now returns a 404? You can kiss that link juice goodbye unless you get the source site to update the link.

With these old Ugly URLs hanging around they add clutter and possibly duplicate content into what Google has indexed of your site (no MichaelS, there is no guarantee Google will remove the old URLs from the index). It’s like a front door with a gash in it. Not the end of the world, but would you want to sell your house without fixing it?

So how much this hurts your site will vary on your particular situation. Fortunately for new users of WiX post the URL update this is not an issue for them since their site will only use the clean URLs.

Over-indexation of “lightbox” URLs

This issue is more of a concern and relevant to all WiX users. In the optimization guide above, I recommended that you always use “Nothing happens” as the image click option unless you really want the user to be able to click on the image and get a popup showing a larger version of the image. What happens if you enable this functionality is that a separate URL is created for the image popup. If you have too many of these indexed, they can dilute the SEO authority of your primary pages.

The reason why this is detrimental to SEO is that an image only page that has no content on it isn’t a great user experience if that user happens to land on that URL first after clicking through the search results. Contrary to what some think, you don’t necessarily want all your site’s URLs in the Google index, just the URLs that deliver a rich and valuable experience to your site visitor. So these “lightbox” URLs shouldn’t be indexed.

If you have just a handful of these, it’s not really a big problem, however I have looked at a site that had 300 of these URLs of these URLs indexed which was 30% of his site!

The problem is once these URLs get out into the wild there is no way to get rid of them since WiX doesn’t give you a way to de-index them.

How much does this hurt SEO? Well let’s look at the site’s SEO performance. This site was ranking at position #15 for it’s main keyword, while a competitor site with very similar SEO authority was ranking at position #1. Not being on page 1 of the Google results for this keyword is definitely impacting the revenue of this business. Although I should point out the site also has site speed issues so it’s hard to say what’s more damaging until one or the other gets fixed.

Hopefully WiX will add a meta robots noindex tag to these URLs in the future which would solve this issue.

With a few caveats, WiX and SEO can work well together

Overall WiX has greatly improved its SEO friendliness. As long as you keep an eye on site speed, properly optimize your pages, and avoid having too many image popups, you shouldn’t have a problem with WiX and SEO.

As you probably can tell I have a real penchant for this technical SEO stuff. I spend quite a bit of time digging into websites and finding SEO problems. I’m at year 8 of doing this work and still loving it.

If you have read all the way down to the end of this post, you likely have a keen interest in SEO. If you would like to learn how to evaluate websites for SEO like I do, click on the graphic to get access to my course “How to do a SEO Site Audit”. As a thank you for reading WebEnso, enjoy a 75% discount off the regular price on me.

SEO Site Audit Course Deal

Ajax with Json image courtesy of

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a traffic and conversion expert specializing in SEO, Copywriting and Facebook Ad Campaigns. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

Download: 3 Simple SEO Checks

Are lurking SEO problems crippling your website? Find out in minutes when you learn how to do these 3 simple SEO Checks.

Leave a Comment:

Steve says April 11, 2015

there are actually web security experts that recommend turning off in-browser JavaScript. There have been articles published with their recommendations, so I’d expect some of the more security conscious and their disciples eschew JS in their browsers. As you suggest, that would spell big trouble for Wix sites.
Thanks for the Wix rundown. Clients do ask why they shouldn’t use it, because it’s so simple.

    Kathy Alice says April 24, 2015

    Yes, although it’s a small minority, there are definitely users that browse with Javascript turned off. So ideally you want to provide a reasonable experience for those users so they can still view the site.

Kathy Alice says May 4, 2015

Google recently announced that it will be dropping the AJAX crawling friendly guidelines see:

So this SHOULD mean that platforms like Wix don’t need to provide “shadow” escaped_fragment pages for crawlers… and indexation should be a lot less of a problem. So this may hopefully make Wix a better plaform, although there is still the problem of browsers with javascript disabled.

Kathy Alice says February 15, 2016

October 2015 – Wix Websites were temporarily de-indexed by Google:

Moran Frumer, a SEO at Wix, says those issues were fixed quickly by Google, in this G+ thread:

Piyush Pal says February 18, 2017


    Kathy Alice says March 5, 2017

    Hi Piyush, this post primarily focuses on “on page” SEO for WiX. I really didn’t touch on backlinks at all because a SEO discussion of backlinks is really independent of the technology you use to build your website. That being said, if you have backlinks pointing to the old Ugly URLs I would consider contacting the source site to get them updated to the clean URLs.

    To answer your question, one tool you can use to see your site’s backlinks is Moz’s

Cyrene Amanda Lowery says March 3, 2017

Good day! As an entrepreneur advocate and marketing professional, I’ve followed Wix’s growth and development since they were beta and while they’ve often fallen short, I kept my eye on them because they have always been so committed to regular improvements. I now have a number of very happy clients with Wix sites, so I would like to direct you and your readers to some updates that Wix has implemented to address a number of the concerns about their SEO-friendliness. The following article has updates from 2/8/16 and 12/12/16 that do a succinct job of pointing out some of what I had intended to write out myself:

Also, website developers need to use all the options available to maximize their SEO and since so many people are under-educated about it (as you well know) they fail to take advantage of important available features such as user proper H1, H2, H3… tags (available in Wix), correct ALT tag usage (available in Wix), anchor text optimization (available in Wix), Wix’s individual page SEO options that even offers a preview of how it would look in Google’s search results list, contextual SEO best practices, and a solid backlinking strategy. Also of great import is that one must toggle the website SEO status to ON in Wix to allow search engines to include the site in search results. Even though “content is king” has been become a cliche’ for internet marketers, business owners without more advanced marketing experience or education still underestimate the value of an optimized blog, another underused website feature.

With the recent developments Wix has released for SEO, they launched a new “Wix Wiz” that walks less experienced website developers through the SEO process to help them optimise their websites.

Additionally, I also blame lack of experience in a website developer for sites with too much Java. Un-knowledgeable people building websites have fun with all the bells and whistles, but if they would stick closer to the guidelines laid out in a given template, they’d end up with a much cleaner result. One could argue that it might be better for Wix to just not include some of those features, but users enjoy having the option so I think from a business standpoint they would suffer if they removed those capabilities.

With all that said, while Wix is not the best choice for all businesses depending on their website purpose and goals, it is a very good option for the majority of the clients that I serve: micropreneurs and solopreneurs.

And just as an aside… I didn’t provide my website in your form because while I educate and consult for clients on SEO and partner with a local SEO professional, I’ve never optimized my own site because I didn’t have the ability to take on any more work than what I already had; I literally did NOT want traffic to my website except the folk that I sent there! I have recently hired staff and so now I’m overhauling my website and will complete the SEO soon — and I’ll be using Wix. :0)

Thank you for your article and I look forward to reading more of your writing.

    Kathy Alice says March 5, 2017

    Thanks Cyrene for the thorough comment! Like I was also contacted by WiX’s marketing department to update my post to reflect the recent improvements WiX has made to it’s platform. I was hoping to get a response to the two issues (see updated post) from WiX, but with your comment I realized it was time to update the post for 2017. So I have!

Mary Dixon says March 6, 2017

I can’t thank you enough – am following your advice on my wix site – need to still do the lightbox thing and the tinypng compression – your help is enormously appreciated.

    Kathy Alice says March 6, 2017

    Glad this post was helpful to you Mary!

Carlo Crighton says March 22, 2017

Thank you for your great article.

    Kathy Alice says March 26, 2017

    You are welcome!

Edson Fernando Cordeaca says April 5, 2017

Hi Kathy
Very good your texts, I´ll always visit it.
I am on a quarell with clients and partners saying the obvious things about Wix, many internet providers are offering their services on creating the site for you in charge of hosting, offering email-services, chat and their principal argument is that their sites are created under wordpress which, according to them, as usual, is quite more indexable by search engines .
Alright that´s the same thing.
My question is the following: does Wix Blog features help boosting SEO really or it´s only a fashionable feature that most of sites include.
The thing is that I feel so much comfortable and familiar with wix graphic studio that it´s almost the feeling of an Illustrator or coreldraw´s desktop, that´s so easy and so versatile the preview, palletes, fonts and controls and I am being pressed by some clients that want me using wordpress technology, which is basically templates customization..because I do not know to code, my graduation is design, and in the eighties,.
This site ” cordeac7….” below was created under wix but the client wants it to be recreated under wordpress, and some suppliers are offering the service of re-building the created site in wix free platform under a wordpress or similar framework.
I mean using Wix design editor as a tool.
Their argument is that rebuilding the site, maintaining all the look, will boost it´s indexation more than if upgrading to premium, even with all those SEO´s configs Wix offer.
I am in the middle of the way and do not know what to choose.
Keep straight in Wix and learn the best of its SEO´s boostings or using external developpers using my wix created websites.

see this site in which this rebuilding is on the discussion:
It´s not tuned or SEO-“wizarded” yet, jsut created.

Thanks so far!

    Kathy Alice says April 27, 2017

    WiX no longer has a problem with indexation, so I wouldn’t move to WordPress based on that. When it comes to a blog, it’s really the content that helps SEO, not necessarily the underlying technology. However WiX is best for creating “brochure” sites, it makes very nice landing pages. If blogging is going to be more of the main feature of the site I would go with WordPress mostly due to the flexibility you get.

Add Your Reply