In Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace, I built a test website. I paid close attention to SEO features as I went through their website build options, and I documented the options each platform provided. I also obtained access to a live HubSpot COS site so that I could investigate the SEO options available on this platform.
Instead of writing lengthy posts about each software package, I thought I’d provide an overview table that you can scan and compare features in a quick and efficient manner.
So, without further ado, here are my website SEO rankings for WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and HubSpot COS.
WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, or HubSpot COS: Which is the best option for website SEO?
CMS Website SEO Feature Comparison
This table compares the most popular website builders and content management systems in terms of SEO features and support for solid search engine optimization.
Spoiler alert: I wasn’t surprised by the results, but it was still fun to validate my thoughts.
The WordPress column refers to self-hosted WordPress.org software with a few free plugins installed.
|SEO friendly URLs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Manual override for URLs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Content silo creation||Yes||Yes|
|Subheader control (H2, H3)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Set focused keyword||Yes||Yes|
|On-page optimization scoring||Yes||Yes|
|Meta titles by URL||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Meta descriptions by URL||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|No index, no follow at URL||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Image alt text||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Link anchor text||Yes||Yes|
|Featured image for social||Yes||Yes|
|Facebook Open Graph||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Twitter Open Graph||Yes||Yes|
|Social sharing buttons||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Blog post commenting||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Podcast support and embeds||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Video support and embeds||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Schema and structured data||Yes|
So, who truly won the battle for the most robust website SEO?
My table had 39 data points. When each yes response is converted to a binary 1, you can easily obtain a point score for each CMS package. With this approach, you’ll notice a clear distinction between website builders.
Total SEO scores by CMS platform:
- WordPress SEO = 39/39
- Squarespace SEO = 29/39
- Wix SEO = 23/39
- Weebly SEO = 21/39
- HubSpot COS = 37/39
While Squarespace had a lot of functionality, it lacked some key SEO features that I couldn’t live without.
Squarespace’s SEO gaps included:
- Content silos
- Focused keyword identification
- On-page SEO scoring
- Link anchor text
- Schema and structured data support
These are not critical items for new webmasters, but they are deal breakers for website owners who rely on search to bring in traffic, leads, and sales.
Wix and Weebly are missing out on all of those Squarespace SEO gaps, but these two website builders are also missing the following functionality:
- Canonical links
- Control over or proper usage of H1 headers
- XML sitemaps
- Robot.txt files
Worse, Wix does not even allow you to change design templates. To change the design style, you must literally create a new site. What are you talking about? Yes, this perplexes me as well.
Weebly lacked even a few more SEO options that the other three included. These were:
- Image alt text
- Subheader control
- Blog tags
- AMP support
- CDN option
While I understand the lack of AMP support, the lack of control over image alt text and the ability to add subheaders astounded me.
When I went back and added HubSpot COS to our data, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it does provide a plethora of SEO options. It does not support Schema and structured data, which I found surprising given the high cost of HubSpot COS.
WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and HubSpot COS All Fail to Compare
So I tried to break free from my WordPress snobbery and embrace the other CMS packages, but I just can’t do it. I am a serious SEO consultant, and I quote SEO consulting packages that include features such as content silos and structured data.
To compete in search, I require these advanced SEO features. And I’m not the only one.
If you ignore SEO, Weebly and Wix do allow you to create some decent-looking websites with minimal effort. That is ideal for microbusinesses that do not rely on SEO. Even I recognize that WordPress and its 50,000+ plugins can be daunting at times.
Weebly and Wix may be suitable options if you are a first-time website owner. However, if you need to compete in search and rely on SEO generated traffic, you should use Squarespace or WordPress.
If you are considering HubSpot options and believe this is a viable option, please, please, please consider the true cost of the HubSpot COS platform. It is very expensive, and when you consider that WordPress offers just as many options, it simply does not make sense.