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Top SEO-Friendly Website Builders

by | On-Page, SEO, Wordpress

Website builders are powerful tools for individuals or small businesses looking to establish an online presence without hiring expensive web developers.

There are many website building platforms available and choosing the best option for your needs may seem difficult given all the information out there.

They all provide most of the essential features you’ll need to build out a professional website. Most of them also claim to provide the best SEO optimization features you’ll need to rank your pages in search engines.

Some of the platforms are decent for SEO if you know how to use them properly but, unfortunately, most of these tools fall very short at truly optimizing your pages for the SERPs and you’ll probably end up disappointed at just how poorly you’re ranking (if you rank at all).

But just because some of these platforms aren’t the best at providing SEO doesn’t mean they should be disregarded. They are still effective tools that offer solid functionality and customization for building websites, and their usefulness depends on your specific goals (personal or business) and dedication.

Your pages won’t rank high in the SERPs simply because you used a website builder, since there are many important components which these tools don’t optimize or provide.

However, if you need an efficient way to build and manage a website while implementing useful SEO functionality then this article has a few worthy recommendations.

WordPress

Wordpress is another social bookmark website.

WordPress is the most widely used website building platform in the world. The self-hosted version of WordPress is recommended for its customizable features, plethora of plugins, SEO-friendly features, scalability, and complete user control.

Because of this, I personally use WordPress on 99% of the sites I build or work on.

There are also many web hosting companies that are optimized to improve page speed for WordPress sites, or have other bits of added functionality.

You can build out a blog, portfolio, business website, e-commerce store, community forum, directory or almost any complex (or basic) website you can imagine because WordPress excels at customizability and user control.

There are thousands of design themes to choose from and an excellent drag-and-drop interface for beginners. For example, Divi is a highly popular visual page builder and design framework that allows you to customize every aspect of your site from the ground up.

Examples of different themes on WordPress.

 WordPress gives you access to thousands of plugin apps to build, customize, and enhance your webpages and overall website (many that are SEO-friendly). These plugins are what makes WordPress standout from the rest of the website builders.

You can really customize your site in WordPress with plugins.

 They allow users to add an incredible range of functionality and additional features depending on the site’s purpose. Need Google Analytics, social media tools, shopping carts, or a photo gallery? There are plugins for those.

WordPress plugins also provide users with good customizable SEO functions. The All in One SEO Pack or Yoast plugins start out by providing average users with basic SEO features like a keyword explorer and site audit to start ranking pages (among other things).

There are other additional plugins for specific functions too. Keep in mind that your website won’t be magically optimized once you begin using WordPress. Nothing can substitute for publishing unique high quality content, even after installing and learning the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress… but they sure can help.

Having said that, WordPress is still my favorite option for business owners, bloggers, and publishers looking for a versatile website builder and content management system.

HTML

Banner for building websites in HTML for SEO.

HTML isn’t technically a builder, but developing websites in HTML allows one to dig deep into the code, make quick adjustments, and truly optimize web pages and improve on-page ranking factors in almost every way possible.

To use an analogy, website building tools are like buying prepared meals. You can choose the general flavor and ingredients, but you don’t cook the meal exactly how you want from scratch.

Using HTML is like cooking your meals from scratch. It’s harder and more time consuming, but only you (or your web developer) are to blame for not achieving the desired results.

This is what building a site in HTML looks like.

 Applying this technology is highly effective at improving website usability, page loading times, and SERP rankings (assuming you’re willing to learn HTML or hire a good developer).

You can perform simple optimization by modifying tags, metadata, URL descriptions, anchor text, and internal links on the fly with HTML (and pretty much anything else).

The most robust optimization techniques can be done through writing HTML code.

Keep in mind that it’s relatively costly to hire a good developer to build and optimize SEO-friendly sites in HTML.

It will also take more time to learn HTML to build a simple site compared to using a website building platform. However, the benefit of HTML is the ability to build sites with extreme functionality.

Shopify

Shopify's logo.

Shopify is an excellent website builder for e-commerce sites with the ability to improve search engine rankings for your products, although it’s more limited than WordPress in terms of functionality and content options.

You can utilize basic SEO features, like adding keywords and meta descriptions, for specific product pages or your entire site. Shopify also helps you optimize site structure for search engines and submit sitemaps.

Some advantages over other website builders are Shopify’s focus on improving search results for products and providing powerful analytics.

Shopify has plugins for more advanced SEO options, especially for onpage optimization, that you’ll likely need to improve your rankings. Other than that, Shopify offers a built-in blogging engine, basic SEO functions and URL redirects.

Rankable Builders for Non-Competitive SERPs

There are most certainly some options that you can use if you want to rank a brand SERP or maybe just get a SERP for your name.

Though they aren’t the best options for tackling big keywords, the following options can be good for low competition SERPs.

Again, you probably won’t be using any of these platforms for ranking on most competitive SERPs, but if you’re just getting started and want to brand yourself, then these services are a good option.

Web 2.0s

Web 2.0 technologies provide newcomers with websites and applications for easily creating and sharing content that can rank in noncompetitive SERPs.

These platforms are all about giving the publisher an efficient way to share, collaborate, and communicate with specific people or wide audiences about relevant content.

They don’t require any specialized skills to use and anyone can publish or share their work on the web.

Some examples include Medium.com, Behance.com, LiveJournal.com, and many more.

Wikis

A collaborative, open source encyclopedia that serves as the most popular general reference on the internet featuring millions of articles.

Wikis can be about a specific topic or general subject area. Volunteers within the community create and edit these articles.

An example would be everyone’s favorite… Wikipedia.org.

Social Network Platforms

Social networks, like Facebook or Reddit, allow users to create a profile to share with other users having similar interests.

Profiles can be public or private and users can share various forms of content with each other such as text, photos, and links.

Content Sharing Sites and Hosting Services

Content sharing sites allow users to upload content, usually photos and videos, they’ve created or curated for others to view. Youtube, Flickr, and Instagram are some of the most popular photo and video sharing services on the web.

Paid Services That We WOULDN’T Use

The following are platforms that we see recommended elsewhere that we personally would not choose to use for various reasons.

You can still rank using these platforms, but their drawbacks make them far less appealing.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy's logo.

GoDaddy is a web hosting service with an integrated website builder. It’s just a basic website builder without any remarkable features to separate it from the rest.

However, GoDaddy attempts to draw users by offering premium SEO services for much cheaper than any competent SEO professional would realistically charge.

That’s because GoDaddy doesn’t truly offer any specialized services. Some of their advertised features like keyword generation and on-page SEO checklists are things that anyone can research online.

Moreover, many of the basic SEO services they advertise are already built-in to most other website builders for free.

Wix

Wix's logo.

Wix is a popular website builder because it has a simple drag and drop interface that allows beginners to create professional-looking sites.

Wix doesn’t have the advanced SEO plugins like WordPress but it does come with a built-in SEO tool called Wix SEO Wiz that creates a personalized SEO plan for users and provides access to basic functions and page customization (although users have reported critical flaws with the SEO).

Wix claims its SEO Wiz will rank your site higher on Google, but like most website builders, this is often a false promise and Wix falls short of successfully ranking your pages.

Squarespace

Squarespace's logo.

Squarespace is another easy-to-use website builder with a drag and drop interface.

Even though Squarespace has improved their integrated SEO to include many core functionalities, these built-in features are not free and may not actually improve your SEO.

Moreover, what you see is what you get because Squarespace doesn’t offer customization plugins like WordPress or additional features to further enhance your SEO.

Without a free version or additional plugins, there are just too many limitations to consider Squarespace as a viable option when you expect your site to rank high in the SERPs.

Unfortunately, these paid services simply don’t live up to their promises and you should be weary of using them if you’re serious about ranking high in the SERPs.

Best Website Builders for SEO Wrap-Up

WordPress is hands down the best overall website builder for SEO available on the internet, free or otherwise.

Even if you have programming skills (or knowledge of HTML and CSS), using WordPress is by far the most efficient way to build an SEO-friendly site above anything else.

There may be more than one website building option that is suitable for your goals so developing a strategy is the most important first step.

However, if you strongly consider SEO as an important component of your strategy then WordPress is definitely recommended for its design simplicity, SEO plugins, and under-the-hood complexity.

Contributing Author: Brian Kihneman

Nicholas Altimore

Nicholas Altimore

Founder/Director

Nicholas Altimore is the Founder and Director of SirLinksalot.co. He has an extensive SEO resume that spans agency building, affiliate and e-commerce development, and of course linkbuilding.  He looks forward to bringing SEO's informative resources on how to rank websites world wide.

Nicholas Altimore

Nicholas Altimore

Founder/Director

Nicholas Altimore is the Founder and Director of SirLinksalot.co. He has an extensive SEO resume that spans agency building, affiliate and e-commerce development, and of course linkbuilding.  He looks forward to bringing SEO's informative resources on how to rank websites world wide.

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