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You’ve created a blog and grew a following that has become your base of regular and loyal customers. From there, you promoted yourself, got listed, and grew even more followers. Now, your little blog has outgrown its little blogging platform. You need something bigger, like a fully fleshed website, with ecommerce and brand pages.
You want to be able to get your content noticed and ranked on Google now that you’ve become trusted by a larger group of people. You’ve done your keyword research, but now what?
There are a lot of great website builders out there, but what is the best website builder for SEO?
You know that your business will stagnate or worse – deflate – if you can’t find the best DIY website builder for SEO and get your page built quickly. But the market place is full of them!
You’ve been warned that there are a lot of sites that claim to be the best SEO-friendly website builder but don’t actually have the advanced tools necessary to tag everything, especially for bloggers.
That’s where we come in to help. You can trust us to do the hard work for you. We have reviewed tons and tons of the best website platforms for SEO and brought you the real deals. We weeded out the fakers, and the basic tools marketed as great SEO to bring you a genuine review of the 3 best website builders for SEO. You’re sure to find one that fits your needs!
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Basic SEO Tips
A lot of platforms can perform SEO functions, but that doesn’t mean that users take advantage of these options. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to making the most out of SEO, then here are a few pointers to get you started. For even more information, check out Moz. They determine page authority and can tell you everything you need to know about SEO.
Take a look at the first page of a search engine and the third page. See how the URLs, titles, and meta descriptions are vastly different? Try to mimic the top results with your keywords. Make your alt text count, especially if you have a lot of images on your site. Tag and categorize your content.
Don’t cut corners. The way to the top is to be very detailed and exact. Do your keyword research and learn how to tell the search engines everything they need to know so they don’t have to guess your page content. Consistency is key.
Don’t neglect mobile integration. These days, nearly everyone is browsing from their phones instead of their laptops. Don’t make your site impossible to find and view from their phones, or they’ll give up before getting to your content. Google also gives search bonus to mobile-friendly websites in their rankings.
Use the golden character count. Think of your meta description as a carefully tailored tweet. For phones, 130 is the best possible character count for your meta description. Desktops can see around 160 characters. This means that thinking of it as a tweet is a great way to give it just enough information without getting too long or leaving out too much of the detail.
Google Analytics is any website’s best friend. They can offer you valuable information about your traffic. They’ll tell you where it comes from, who is engaging, how long they’re staying, which content is attracting people, and which one is going unseen. Use them to improve your website and target future posts based on what works and what doesn’t.
Now, let’s look at the top 3 website builders for SEO.
A lot of people are surprised to see Wix listed among the best website builders for SEO because of their history of simplicity. We were part of that skepticism until we dug in and saw what they had to offer.
They fell behind their competition thanks in part to a less remarkable advertising campaign but also largely due to their focus on simply neglecting important aspects of page ranking. In the last couple years they’ve been working hard to remedy those weaknesses, and it has worked!
Wix allows meta data (which tell search engines about the content of each page) for each page and individual post. You can even preview how the page will appear in search results once you’ve edited the meta data. You can also add a description and offer more details about your page and entice potential visitors to click.
They also permit custom URLs – you can make easy to follow and understand links instead of pre-assigned numbers and letters that make it difficult to remember and impossible to know what you’re about to view. On top of this, they have 301 redirects, so people who navigate to a page using an old URL that you’ve changed will be automatically sent to the new page.
Headings and subheadings are enabled with Wix, so people can easily navigate your content and find what they need in an organized structure. They aren’t quite as adept at site maps, which offer a complete list of pages on your site so people know the structure. You can include one, but it requires you to go to your Google Search Console and manage it yourself.
This platform also provides instructions for search engines and can allow them to tell engines not to index some pages. If you don’t want pages to be searchable, simply hide them. You can set canonical tags, too, so if you have several versions of the same page material, you can pick which one you want in search engines to prevent your site from competing against itself and lowering your rankings.
Wix even addresses one of the major ways Google fails: image relevance. They enable alt text on images; by clicking the image, opening settings, and filling in the section, you can describe what is depicted. This allows your images to show up in relevant image searches and even increase your page rankings.
Their sites are also mobile friendly and search engine friendly. They make it easy for bots to crawl (which basically means, interpret and understand) your site for indexing. The downside is that structured data is trickier with Wix. You will have to add it yourself, and that will require some proficiency and research or a skilled coder.
- In typical Wix fashion, their SEO is as easy to use as their platform. Everything is built right in to website building. They even have an SEO Wiz that walks you through your site’s SEO, offering improvements, giving you instructions, and setting long-term goals.
- No coding is required to optimize your website! Wix pages naturally rank pretty high in search engines thanks to their integrated tools.
- Wix is already integrated with Google, so you have Analytics and a Search Console right in your dashboard!
- Wix won’t let you edit different versions, so you can’t make changes to the tablet version of your mobile editor.
- If you want more advanced options, they aren’t quite as simple with Wix. You will need to learn how to code a bit to maximize their options. To help, Wix offers their own SEO guide that is useful no matter which platform you use.
Weebly also built a reputation on being easy to use. Perhaps less well known than Wix, they have nevertheless become one of the top products on the market and are easily one of the best website builders for SEO.
Weebly offers detailed SEO options in their Settings interface. You can create site descriptions, meta keywords, headers, footers, and 301 redirects. Doing this allows your information to remain streamlined and easily detectable in crawls. It also makes your site look clean and professional to new traffic.
The nice thing about Weebly is that it lets you control each page, too. Instead of being stuck with the top page only, you can customize data for each new listing. You can modify H1 tags, create descriptions for search results, encode meta keywords, and include third party analytical tools in the footers.
Weebly will also automatically size your images to increase your loading speed. Faster pages earn higher ranks in searches. They also allow you to edit images with their tool instead of having to do it elsewhere before importing, and images can include descriptions and tags.
Weebly includes an app specifically for SEO. This makes a ton of their tools available for use and allows seamless integration with your site.
Custom URLs allow you to make it easy for people to navigate your site and easy for search engines to clearly display your page content.
They automatically include a lot of SEO features, so you don’t have to think about sitemaps, formatting, meta descriptions, and pinging new content.
They include a comprehensive analytics tool that will give you information about page visits and traffic. You can also see the search terms that brought traffic to your site and discover link backs that help with page authority.
If you want search indexing, you have to pay for the feature. It is not included with their free plan.
You can’t change the alt tags on specific product images. Regular images include this, but if you want products to appear, you’re going to have to find a creative way to do so.
You don’t have as much control over your own site, so it becomes difficult to install advanced marketing tools unless you know enough coding to manually install apps and code to your backend footers. They do offer a lot of SEO centered apps and plug-ins to help.
While they’re easy to use overall, their CMS (content management system) isn’t quite as intuitive as that of competitors.
- Weebly includes an app specifically for SEO. This makes a ton of their tools available for use and allows seamless integration with your site.
- Custom URLs allow you to make it easy for people to navigate your site and easy for search engines to clearly display your page content.
- They automatically include a lot of SEO features, so you don’t have to think about sitemaps, formatting, meta descriptions, and pinging new content.
- They include a comprehensive analytics tool that will give you information about page visits and traffic. You can also see the search terms that brought traffic to your site and discover link backs that help with page authority.
- If you want search indexing, you have to pay for the feature. It is not included with their free plan.
- You can’t change the alt tags on specific product images. Regular images include this, but if you want products to appear, you’re going to have to find a creative way to do so.
- You don’t have as much control over your own site, so it becomes difficult to install advanced marketing tools unless you know enough coding to manually install apps and code to your backend footers. They do offer a lot of SEO centered apps and plug-ins to help.
- While they’re easy to use overall, their CMS (content management system) isn’t quite as intuitive as that of competitors.
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The underdog of the ranking race is Squarespace. While their user base is extremely dedicated, they don’t usually come up in casual conversation about SEO. This is because they are less intuitively integrated than other website builder platforms. However, if you know what you’re doing when it comes to SEO best practices, Squarespace is a fantastic option.
Squarespace allows site titles as long as you add them before you launch. They also allow you to use meta titles on every page to let search engines know what your site has to offer. Page configurations let you enter meta titles and descriptions.
You can also add yourself manually to the Google Index at launch. Simply make a request to Google and they will index all of your pages immediately rather than forcing you to wait for their crawler to find you later.
One of the really nice features Squarespace offers is that it doesn’t neglect other sites. Bing is growing rapidly in popularity and may take over Google’s place as the most used search engine eventually. As it stands, Bing is already the standard for more technologically proficient users who want to search without the SEO game pushing sales content their direction. Squarespace allows you to verify your site presence with Bing and Yahoo! when you launch to manage content.
Your file names will also be indexed if you use Squarespace. If you remember to name your images, this will double as alt text and they will get picked up in search engines. Don’t forget to use custom URLs to make yourself easier to navigate to and increase search relevance.
Squarespace deals with headings and subheadings in a different way than most sites. Instead of getting 6 options, you only get 3. This still lets you assign priorities to search engines, but it isn’t as in depth as other options.
Their sites are mobile friendly and search engines can understand them well. Every single Squarespace template comes with a mobile version ready to go. They also have sitemaps that automatically update when you add and remove pages.
While Squarespace lacks in plug-ins and SEO tools, they do allow you to access Google Analytics. If you check your Advanced settings for External Services, you can add your Google Analytics account information to turn the feature on for the site. The same goes for the Search Console. Set up the account through Google and follow their steps to connect to Analytics. Squarespace now has 1-click verification for this account service.
With Squarespace, search engine instructions are possible but they require you to inject your own code to do this. This goes for any of the tools not immediately obvious in your settings. You can have the function… as long as you know how to code it yourself.
Tagging isn’t as great with Squarespace either. They use canonical tags to tell search engines which version of the similar page to focus on, but you can’t choose this for yourself. Squarespace will automatically tag the page and won’t let you edit.
Squarespace is also indifferent with regards to structured data. This data tells search engines more information about your site. This data includes things like star ratings and other ranking data. Search engines will give pages a boost if they have this type of data because it makes it easy to see relevance. The issue is that Squarespace will automatically implement some of this data without letting you edit it. You can always add different data matrices or edit it, but again… only if you know how to code that for yourself.
- Squarespace allows you to have more control over your site than other website building platforms for SEO. This allows you to do more things – especially if you know a bit of coding. Because page ranking is such a thorough race with lots of competition, the added control can often mean the difference between the top spot and mid-page… or worse, the dreaded Page Two ranking.
- Social media integration is one of the best features of Squarespace. This allows you to increase your rankings quickly because search engines notice how many times a page is shared and how engaged traffic is with the pages.
- This is not the most beginner-friendly user interface. Squarespace definitely takes some getting used to and maximizing their SEO will require some finesse and proficiency. Squarespace can do anything you want to do, but it requires that you know how to do it.
- They don’t have an app specifically designed for SEO. You’re not able to integrate third party SEO tools to make it easier for you if you don’t know the coding yourself.
There are a lot of great platforms out there that can integrate SEO with web building, but these are the best.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is not the best site for beginners, but it lets you get the most out of your tools if you’re already proficient in some coding or have the budget to hire someone to inject the necessary SEO codes into your site.