WIX SEO Case Study: Migrating from WordPress to Wix
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Most of you reading this post already know that I have never been in SEO to simply follow the crowd. Some of you may also feel that I have totally lost the plot by moving my own website over from WordPress to WIX.
After all, my website was ranking No.1 in the UK for ‘SEO Speaker' amongst other phrases. I must have been insane for even thinking about moving my site over to Wix.com, right? It’s not as though most of the SEO and digital marketing community are singing WIX’s praises!
I tried Wix.com in the past and it was trash
About three to four years ago, I built my daughter a website using the Wix.com platform. It was when the loom-band craze was around and my daughter wanted to sell animal figures she created out of loom bands. I just remember finding loom-bands all over the house for weeks!
The website never actually went live, as I remember thinking that the WIX SEO capabilities were shocking and very restrictive. In fact, I could change very little SEO-wise, so I never even considered the platform as a viable website solution from that day onwards and continued to use WordPress.
The forceful re-introduction to WIX
Over the past 12 months, I have been helping a group of companies to grow their new business via their website. During this time, with my help, they moved away from outsourcing all their web design and digital marketing activities from the industry's top agency who built all their website on WordPress and migrating it all in-house using the WIX platform.
I’m not going to lie, I was horrified by the thought of using WIX as a credible and viable business website solution… but the Head of Digital insisted that WIX is going to be used, even though I suggested otherwise. With this in mind, I was at least willing to explore the possibility instead of instantly dismissing the idea as he presented me with a viable reason.
As an SEO guy, I’m always researching and testing. If we never tested new ideas, we would just get stuck in a rut doing the same old same old and never standing above the crowd.
My negativity towards WIX SEO started to fade
When I first logged into the WIX website admin area, I soon realised that the WIX SEO features had massively come a long way since I last used the platform.
I could not only do simple things like edit page titles and meta descriptions but also add structured data and canonical tags amongst a variety of other things. In fact, when I made a direct SEO feature comparison list between WordPress and WIX, there was not actually that much missing.
Sure, I did not have access to edit the raw website code and the technical SEO functionality has a way to go so things like streamlining the code is not possible but through the new WIX Code feature, I could create custom databases and functionality. This means that I can now make Wix.com built sites work exactly how I want, without having to pay thousands to developers.
I even started to prefer using WIX over WordPress
I soon found that I could not only optimise the websites the way I wanted to but found the flexibility of the platform enabled me to create a far better desktop and mobile user experience. Considering all the chit-chat about Mobile-First, this was great news for me. In all fairness, you can make WordPress look and perform exactly how you want.
The results blew me away – even outranking major brand names
Outranking big brands is nothing new to me - I’ve been doing that for nearly two decades. However, I never expected in a million years that I’d outrank a major brand with a Wix.com website.
In fact, a massive 64% of the group’s websites (100+) now outrank major brands, securing the No.1 spot and every website is at least ranking on the first page with zero negativity during the site migrations from WordPress to WIX.
I have a complete presentation/case study on the facts and figures of the group migration. If you would like to contact me, I would be happy to share this with you.
(NOTE: Screenshot proof has been removed due to the businesses getting blasted with SEO sales calls and emails.)
My opinion of Wix.com had totally changed. I even moved my own site over from WordPress
My own website is like one of my kids; I am so protective over it. After all, my name is above the door, so to speak. If I thought for one second that moving my site from WordPress to WIX would result in any negativity, I would have never even contemplated the idea.
To monitor the impact of the move of my own site accurately, I decided that I would not change anything. All the content was the same, all the images were the same and I even copied the page titles and meta descriptions. The only difference was that my WordPress site defaulted to without the www's and my WIX site included them as default which could be seen as a negative signal if common SEO thoughts are to be believed.
Some might think that my old WordPress site was not SEO friendly so to give some context - My WordPress site was self-hosted on a good server, attached to Cloudflare (CDN) and had all the technical SEO stuff sorted with zero crawl errors so by rights as I did not have access to change any raw code on my WIX site, it should have decreased in rankings if common beliefs are to believed.
The moment of truth when I flicked the switch
I must admit, I was very nervous moving my domain nameservers over to WIX but I had made the decision and I had to stand by my beliefs based on real facts and results.
On the 22nd July 2018, I did all the SEO necessities as you would with any website migration, tweaked Google Search Console, flicked the switch (so to speak) then sat back and watched in anticipation.
Some people thought I had totally lost the plot
The first day that I moved my website over to Wix.com, I got a few messages from other SEO professionals basically asking me what the heck (a little stronger than that actually) I was doing. In fact, here are a couple of the less vocal messages:
“You have 3K lines of code for a homepage, which should be closer to 200-300. Also, AJAX is on use, which Google hates. Drop your bloody experiment ASAP.”
“You will never ever get me to move away from WordPress. Especially not WIX. You must be crazy.”
The truth is, Google do not have any issues with websites built with WIX.com. It is just another SEO myth.
“WIX websites work fine in search.”
Quote by - John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google
The results were in and WIX SEO was the winner
Within 24 hours of going live with my new website, not only did I retain my No.1 ranking for ‘SEO Speaker’ on a national scale but I also unexpectedly increased rankings on several keywords. I must admit, I only expected to retain my existing exposure and online impact. Never really expected to exceed it, if I'm honest.
Considering I don’t have a massive site and only a handful of blog posts (I don’t believe in giving all my knowledge away for free), this was fantastic news.
Not only that, my website visitor numbers tripled more or less overnight (due to increased rankings) and my true conversion rate (not because of increased traffic) on mobile saw a great boost. To give an accurate context, my desktop conversion rate did not really change that much but it did not decrease although.
My phone started to ring and my call-back-requests pinged into my inbox a lot more than they ever did whilst it was on WordPress. This was great news all-round.
Oh yes, according to Pingdom Speed Test Tool, my site also loads in 1.2 seconds which is 85% faster than all sites tested.
I also tested one of my inner pages and as you can see below my SEO Training page loads in 1.01 seconds.
Now, to be 100% transparent. On the 1st August (10 days after my site switched over to WIX), Google released a major update which resulted in an abundance of chit-chat within the SEO industry. By this time the results mentioned above had cushioned itself in so this then became a test to see if my new WIX site could withstand a major Google update.
Again, to give the full context. My site did not really have any positive or negative impact during this update whilst other SEO professionals were witnessing some big result changes, both positive and negative but my site stayed stagnant. I even tweeted (on the 2nd August) the same.
Some professional marketers are saying (as seen in the tweet thread below) that my positive impact during the website migration may be down to the Google update and not anything to do with WIX. They believe that I would have had the same positive impact if I had left my website on WordPress regardless as Google just rewarded me during the update.
I, however, think a little differently!
Let us base this on pure facts:
The positive impact on my website happened 24 hours (23rd July) after the website migration.
Google released their update on the 1st of August. A full ten days after I moved my website over to WIX.
My new rankings, traffic, and conversions had settled down before the update.
I actually received no impact (positive or negative) during this update.
Not sure how the update could be the cause of the positive impact as this happened before the update was released. Makes logical sense to me!
The purpose of this article
All I am trying to do with this article is explain that the common perception of WIX is mainly outdated. The SEO functionality it now provides has come a long way over the past 12 months.
The platform does still have a way to go to ensure the technical SEO aspects are up to scratch and I am NOT suggesting for one second that you should jump ship and move your own website over to the WIX.com platform.
If your site is doing well. Don't try and fix what isn't broken.
I have however proven that WIX built sites rank just as well as WordPress built sites. The facts don't lie.
If WIX is so bad, why is my website ranking better than before?
Now to be 100% clear, I am not able to edit any of the raw code on my WIX built site and if one was to perform an in-depth technical SEO audit on my site using top industry tools, there are issues BUT if this is the case and the technical SEO on my WordPress site was great, why is my new WIX site is not only still ranking at the top but increased rankings for many other phrases?
Not just a one-off
You might be saying that this has nothing to do with WIX being great and my site is ranking high because of my existing brand exposure. To dispel that thought, I took on a WordPress to WIX migration for a local attorney in California.
Can you explain it, because I'm struggling too?
Considering my own competition are top SEO professionals who use WordPress and most of their sites are technically perfect, this has shocked me just as much as you.
FAST FORWARD ONE YEAR
Today is the 16th August 2019 and my website is still on WIX and what an amazing year it has been.
Negative SEO attack
When I first published this article let's just say that the SEO community was less than impressed that someone respected within the SEO world would even dream of migrating their website from WordPress to WIX. I will tell you that some people was so strongly against this WIX SEO experiment that all the comments and abuse I received got very personal which led to some petty person launching a massive negative SEO attack on my website to try and destroy me by getting my site de-ranked.
As you will see that they built 1,000's of very bad backlinks using anchor text that should relate to some adult website.
To combat this, I simply added all these bad links into the Google Disavow Tool so Google ignored them when analysing my backlink profile to determine where to rank my website.
A failed website hack
They also tried to hack into my WIX built website to install a virus on my site. They were never going to get anywhere with this as I have never heard of one single case as yet where a WIX site has been hacked, unlike WordPress sites which get hacked on a daily basis.
Plus a failed DDOS attack
As they must have felt so frustrated by now, they tried one last thing and launched a massive DDOS attack on my website which essentially replicated millions of people visiting your website at once, known as 'packets'. Yet again, because the security of WIX websites is so strong, WIX have things in place to mitigate any DDOS attacks, meaning it did not do anything to my website.
The joke is on them
No matter what others try and do to pull my website and rankings down, the fact is, even one year on and even after a massive attack on my site, it is still ranking in the No.1 spot within the UK.
Keyword: SEO Speaker
I even had an interesting chat with John Mueller
In April 2019, I attended the BrightonSEO conference and had the chance to grab John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google who was the keynote speaker.
I asked him:
"Hi John, Are WIX websites SEO friendly?"
It was a very interesting conversation and very positive towards WIX. In a nutshell he stated:
"WIX used to be bad for SEO but they have changed things and now a well built WIX website containing quality content can rank just as well as any other platform. It's about the content, not the CMS."
There you have it, one year on and my WIX built website is still ranking in the No.1 spot, outranking the world's top SEO speakers and organically generating quality leads.
Sharing my story at conferences around the world
Since publishing this post, I've been asked to speak about my WIX SEO case study at conferences around the world including, SMXL in Milan and WixCon2019 in New Orleans.
SEO Advisor at WIX
Another great thing that happened after publishing my WIX SEO experiment is that I was approached by the head management team at WIX who asked me to help them document their SEO development roadmap.
WIX understand that they have work to do within their platform to become a major contender within the professional CMS space but with my help and advice, they are getting one step closer, month after month.
I will never move my own website back to WordPress
I can honestly say that I will personally never move my website back to WordPress as I have no reason to do that.
Let’s have a discussion
Please do provide your honest thoughts below. I’m hard-skinned, I can take it.
I know for sure that since moving my site over from WordPress to WIX, I have received a lot more leads through my website and it gives me the flexibility to do exactly what I need to without high development costs. It’s a lot more secure as well, giving me peace of mind.
"If all you do is follow the crowd - you will only ever be as good as the crowd at very most. Being ‘as good as’ is just not good enough."
I dare to be different. Now, let’s have a chat!
PLEASE NOTE: This article it is a case study based on an SEO experiment I performed. If you are thinking of moving your website over to WIX from WordPress, I would highly suggest that you create a demo site on the WIX platform first and do your own testing or contact a WIX expert.