There is a long-standing discussion about whether WordPress or Wix is better for SEO. Wix generally has the reputation of not being SEO-friendly, and WordPress seems to be considered a better option.
Even the creators of both systems took part in this discussion. Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, wrote:
So if we’re comparing website builders to abusive relationships, Wix is one that locks you in the basement and doesn’t let you leave. I’m surprised consumer protection agencies haven’t gone after them.source: Matt Mullenweg
Avishai Abrahami, the CEO of Wix, didn’t leave the issue unanswered and published an open letter to Matt Mullenweg, where he claims there are many half-truths in the WordPress founder’s post.
If you research Wix vs. WordPress, you’ll easily find many articles comparing these two Content Management Systems. They usually compare their prices, ease of use, available plugins, or the support they provide.
But we decided to go one step further. We gathered data and analyzed Index Coverage of both Wix and WordPress domains. This article sums up our analysis and explains what we can learn about these content management systems from our indexing data.
The first step in our analysis was creating a database of websites created using Wix and WordPress. To pick the domains, we used BuiltWith – a database of websites and the technologies they’re using.
Our dataset consisted of 1037 domains: 641 Wix domains and 396 WordPress domains. We organized them according to their sizes and divided them into four groups based on the number of pages on those domains:
- Micro: 0 – 10 pages,
- Small: 10 – 100 pages,
- Medium: 100 – 1,000 pages,
- Large: 1,000 – 10,000 pages.
The charts below present how many domains we investigated in each size range:
As you can see, our dataset doesn’t allow directly comparing these two content management systems because we weren’t able to find similar amounts of domains within the same groups. This is simply because a typical Wix website is small, and WordPress websites are larger in comparison.
After selecting the domains, we began to check their indexing data. We used ZipTie – our indexing intelligence platform, which allowed us to check the percentage of indexed URLs on each analyzed domain.
Then, we began to analyze all of the indexing data and performed additional research to shed more light on the Wix vs. WordPress discussion. Let’s dive into the results.
Indexing coverage results
Our data showed that on average:
- WordPress domains had 83% of indexable URLs indexed on Google, and
- Wix domains had 84% of indexable URLs indexed.
The domains on both WordPress and Wix were similarly indexed, with Wix winning by a very minor margin.
However, this data doesn’t show the whole truth.
As you can see on the charts in the Methodology chapter, our samples differed in the size of the domains. Most Wix domains were in the Micro or Small range, while most WordPress domains were large. This could potentially affect the average indexing levels and makes it difficult to compare them.
That’s why we also analyzed how the domains were indexed in each size range. Here’s a chart presenting how it looked for both CMS.
In the case of Wix, domains with fewer pages were indexed better than large websites. The percentage of indexed URLs in the Micro range reached over 90% and significantly decreased for bigger websites.
For WordPress domains, the situation looked different. The percentage of indexed URLs was approximately constant from the Micro to Medium range and oscillated around 80% and gradually increased for the domains in the Large range.
It’s important to note that the level of indexed URLs coincided with the distribution of domain sizes in our sample. In the case of Wix, most analyzed domains were small, and these were also the ones indexed better. In the case of WordPress, the trend was reversed – most analyzed domains were large, and these were the most indexed ones.
It’s easier to get a small website indexed than a large one. That’s why it’s possible that the significant number of Micro and Small domains for Wix could affect the average results and cause Wix to have better statistics.
Comparing the same page type
Websites vary in the types of pages they contain. One type of page (e.g., blog posts or product pages) might be harder to get indexed than the other, and this is important to note when analyzing Index Coverage of any domain. Google is typically eager to index content-rich pages, while pages with less content (like author pages) are less interesting from the perspective of a search engine.
That’s why, to avoid comparing apples to oranges, I decided to repeat the analysis after grouping the pages. To me, a natural benchmark was to compare indexing of blog posts. The reason is simple: it seems to be the most neutral category widely represented in both WordPress and Wix websites.
Here’s the table with our results:
WordPress is a clear winner here.
Of course, correlation is not causation, and many factors could contribute to these results.
One possible reason is the quality of content. Based on our data, we can’t say that the quality of the blog posts is equal on both Wix and WordPress domains. It’s possible that, on average, content on WordPress websites better adheres to Google’s quality guidelines, and Google was more eager to index it.
Or maybe it’s a vicious circle of indexing? Meaning: you have to be popular to get crawled & indexed? And you don’t get indexed because you’re not popular?
According to Ahrefs, only 0,06% of Wix domains bring 100+ organic visits a month. WordPress seems to have a significant advantage here, with 8,26% of the tested domains with over 100 visits per month.
Google can’t crawl and index the whole web because it would simply exceed its resources. Logically, Google might want to spend more time on popular websites. If that’s the case, it could explain the fact that WordPress domains, which have more organic traffic, also have more indexed blog posts.
Indexing of paginated pages
The next thing we analyze is the indexing of paginated pages. Any indexing issues with pagination can seriously impact the indexing of blog posts, product pages, or any other content type and negatively affect the whole website. That’s because paginated category pages are an important source of internal links for search engines.
Here are the results:
It seems like paginated pages on WordPress domains have 50% more chances of getting indexed than for Wix.
For now, it’s not clear if Google is just deciding not to index the paginated pages or some Wix-related technical factors are making it difficult for Google to reach those pages.
Implications of Wix beating WordPress at Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of web performance metrics. They measure loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. They are ranking factors, so providing a good CWV score out of the box can be a huge advantage for a CMS.
I’ve heard before that Wix websites have a reputation for being slow. That’s why it was particularly surprising to me when I stumbled upon a Search Engine Journal article comparing Core Web Vitals in different content management systems, and I noticed Wix was doing better than WordPress.
In my opinion, the surprising results could be explained by the following factors:
- In terms of web performance, Wix is continuously putting an effort to get better, and, thus, it’s made massive improvements in CWV.
- The hosting choice has a tremendous impact on CWV and can affect your web performance. Wix hosts all websites on its servers, which are known to be relatively fast. WordPress users can choose their own hosting, and if they choose a slow one, it can significantly affect their website speed and indexing.
- Paradoxically, it may be related to the fact that WordPress is more customizable. Installing too many unnecessary plugins contributes to slowing down the website. Also, WordPress page designers, such as Elementor or Divi, might slow down the website and affect CWV.
What does this mean in the Wix vs. WordPress discussion?
With CWV being a ranking factor, Wix definitely puts its domains at an advantage by continually improving its score.
Additionally, Wix being hosted on relatively fast servers may further affect how the domains are indexed because it lets Google crawl more content quicker.
Based on our data, we can’t say that WordPress is better than Wix or the other way around.
We should also keep in mind that the differences in sizes in our sample could affect the final results.
It seems like these two CMS are meant for different clients.
Most Wix websites are small, and the percentage of indexed URLs was very high in this group. A typical Wix client that comes to my mind is a person who wants to design and create their Wix websites on their own and doesn’t plan to build a complex, large website. Look at these examples of domains made with Wix – you will find websites of artists, personal trainers, jewelry designers. No huge websites on the list.
In the case of WordPress, large websites performed better in our analysis. And you can also see that more large websites are built with WordPress by going through the WordPress showcase.
On top of that, it’s impossible for us to evaluate how much time and effort each of the tested domains invested in SEO.
Considering that WordPress websites are usually larger, one could assume that they invest more in SEO, which can significantly affect the percentage of indexed pages.
What are your thoughts regarding the Wix vs. WordPress battle?