Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

When it comes to SEO, you've heard that WordPress is THE best platform to build your website. The question is, is this true? Does this mean that you should be using WordPress over a drag and drop site builder in order to have your website rank higher?

In this article, we will go over important points that will help to answer this question. Spoiler alert: when it comes to SEO, there is no definitive answer for questions like this. WordPress is great for SEO, but depending on your skill level and needs, there are a significant number of factors that may actually make a drag and drop site builder the better choice for improving your website SEO.

SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization," which refers to strategies to get your website ranked higher on search engines like Google. Before proceeding, it is assumed that you already have a basic understanding of what SEO is. If you're not too familiar, feel free to check out this article for more information: Finding Your Site On Google

Alright, let's get down to it.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

Using WordPress will not automatically improve your SEO

Many users are often confused by the difference between "SEO friendly" and "SEO optimized." While they sound very similar, they are completely different concepts. WordPress "out of the box" is SEO friendly, but not SEO optimized.

"SEO friendly" implies that the platform allows for customizations and tweaks that can improve your search engine ranking. From the get-go, WordPress is "SEO friendly," but in order for your website to be "SEO optimized," it will require manual effort on your part.

This means that simply using WordPress alone will not improve your website's search engine ranking. WordPress does, however, allow for many customizations that can allow for better SEO.

A lesser known fact is that, these days, many site builders also allow for significant customizations that can improve your site's SEO. Take a look at this checklist of customizable SEO features, along with some platforms that include them:
  • Mobile Friendly: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…
  • Customizable Page Title: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…
  • Customizable Meta Descriptions: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…
  • Customizable Permalinks: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…
  • Page Level Heading Tags: WordPress, Wix (H1-H6), Weebly (H2) Squarespace (H1-H2), (H1-H6) and more…
  • Image ALT Attributes: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…
  • Connect to Google Analytics: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…
  • Connect to Google Search Console: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more…

Recap: while WordPress is SEO friendly in that it allows for many customizations, users may be unaware that many site builders also offer a significant number of SEO features.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

Google's most important ranking factors are content and backlinks

Great content and relevance will make the most impact on your website's SEO, rather than the type of builder that you used to create your website.

Consider this scenario: you have a website filled with hairstyling tips, tricks, and designs. A celebrity hairstylist, with thousands of followers, stumbles across your website and falls in love with it. They then link your website from their own website, shares articles from your website with their fans, etc.

Google will then see that this celebrity hairstylist's site (AKA an "authoritative site") has included a link to your website, and will start to give your website more authority as well.

Whether you've created your website with WordPress or with a site builder makes no difference in this situation. However, if by using a site builder, you were able to 1)create a beautiful, easy to navigate site, and 2)devote your time to creating relevant content instead of spending your efforts trying to figure out how to use WordPress, then it's clear that a site builder would be the best choice for you in terms of SEO.

Recap: Google will endorse your website based on what they think will be most helpful to its users. The quality of your site content and backlinks means much more than the platform that your site is built upon.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

Site loading speed is an important ranking factor in Google's algorithm

Here's where WordPress can take the cake over using a website builder for your website. Site loading speed can be improved by paying more for a faster hosting plan. This is possible when you use, as you can use it with any host. Most website builders include hosting, however, so there is less flexibility with choosing the speed of your web host. There are a few things to keep in mind, of course:
  • The host you are using with may not necessarily be faster than a site builder, you merely have the option to choose a faster plan.
  • Installing plugins and certain themes can slow your website down, so research is always required when using Wordpress.
  • There are ways to optimize site speed when using a site builder, such as optimizing your image and media file sizes.

Recap: site loading speed is an important ranking factor to Google. By using, you have the choice to pay for a faster hosting plan in order to increase your site's speed. If using a site builder, you can optimize images and media to improve the loading time.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

Wordpress allows installation of SEO plugins

One advantage of using WordPress for your website is that you have the option to install plugins to monitor and easily optimize your SEO. For example, a top-rated SEO plugin is "Yoast SEO." Using an SEO plugin can help to keep your SEO efforts aligned with Google's best practices. For example, using Yoast SEO will allow you to run a keyword analysis, easily choose a primary category for a post that fits in more than one, or tell Google not to index certain pages.

Of course, to effectively use a plugin has a bit of a learning curve, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, a plugin is definitely something to consider.

Recap: WordPress allows for SEO plugins which can improve your SEO game. However, effort is needed to learn and use the plugins effectively.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

Themes vs. Templates: Pros and Cons

One of the reasons for the popularity of WordPress is that there is a multitude of customizable, third-party website themes to choose from. On the other hand, website builders offer their own proprietary templates, which are designed to only work with their site builder.

While WordPress themes offer more variety and flexibility, certain WordPress themes can hurt your SEO. For example if they contain spammy links, are not upgraded for future WordPress releases, have security vulnerabilities, and/or do not follow Google's SEO best practices, these themes may be problematic. Be sure to check the theme demo to see if it is mobile friendly, coded well, and loads quickly.

WordPress has more customizable options to allow for better SEO, but the caveat is that it may require more knowledge to make your theme look the way you want. If using a site builder will allow you to have an easier-to-use and aesthetically superior site, that could ultimately be better for your SEO, as it can attract site visitors more frequently, and keep them on your website longer.

Recap: there are many pros and cons to using a WordPress theme versus a site builder template in terms of SEO.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

"On-Page SEO" vs. "Off-Page SEO"

The distinction between "on-page' and "off-page" SEO is worth taking note. "On-page SEO" refers to making your site itself search-engine optimized, while "off-page SEO" refers to things outside of your website. While the points above discuss "on-page SEO" tactics, there are many "off-page SEO" tactics that can make a significant difference. These include reaching out to other websites, getting authority websites to link to your website, blogging, building your online reputation on social networks, better reviews, and more.

Recap: regardless of the platform used to build your website, "off-page SEO" strategies are highly significant in increasing your search engine ranking.

Is WordPress or a site builder better for SEO?

The Bottomline:

So, is using WordPress to build your website the best choice when it comes SEO?

The answer is… yes and no.
  • Yes, Google recognizes WordPress as a powerful content management system.
  • Yes, WordPress offers many SEO features that can allow you to optimize your website for SEO.
  • No, using Wordpress alone will not automatically make your website superior in terms of SEO.
  • No, a website built with WordPress will not necessarily surpass the ranking of a website built with a drag and drop builder.

Effort is required to optimize your website. Furthermore, website builders also offer many customizations that can allow you to optimize your on-page SEO. Whether it be WordPress or a site builder, the platform that allows you to create a higher quality site, and ultimately, attract more visitors and quality backlinks, is the right choice for you.