Until recently, I hadn’t thought much about website SEO and which website builder was best for supporting search engine optimization efforts and best practices. I’m a WordPress girl after all, and in my head, WordPress is the only option.

But recently, my private Facebook group has received a number of questions asking about SEO and how Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly compare against WordPress. While I provided some initial thoughts on each post that arrived, I knew I needed to dig in further and try each service out for myself. So I did. And then I went further again and added in HubSpot COS, because out group wanted this information as well.

I created a test website in Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace. As I moved through their website build options, I paid close attention to SEO features and I documented options each platform offered. I also obtained access to a live HubSpot COS site so I could dive into this platform’s options for SEO.

Instead of giving you long-winded posts on each software package, I thought I would provide an overview table that you can scan and see feature comparisons in a quick and efficient manner.

So without further ado, below are my results of the website SEO battle of WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and HubSpot COS.

CMS Comparison of Website SEO Features

This table compares the most popular website builders and content management systems for their SEO features and ability to support solid search engine optimization.

Spoiler alert: I wasn’t overly surprised with the results, but hey, it was fun to validate my thoughts.

  WordPress Squarespace Wix Weebly HubSpot COS
Custom Domain Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SEO friendly URLs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Manual override for URLs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Content silo creation Yes Yes
Canonical links Yes Yes Yes
Breadcrumbs Yes Yes
H1 headers Yes 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
Integrated blogging Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blog categories Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blog tags Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blog post commenting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
RSS feeds Yes Yes Yes Yes
Podcast support and embeds Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video support and embeds Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Online stores Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mailing lists Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Template Switching Yes Yes Yes Yes
Custom CSS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile responsive Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
XML sitemaps Yes Yes Yes
Robot.txt files Yes Yes Yes
301 redirects Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HTML5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Schema and structured data Yes
CDN Option Yes Yes Yes Yes
SSL Certficates Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
AMP Support Yes Yes Yes Yes

Note: The WordPress column is referring to WordPress.org self-hosted software with a few free plugins installed.

So Who Really Won the War for Most Robust Website SEO?

Before I dive into more data, I’d like to share some screen shots of the URL level SEO options for all four packages, I think these alone will show you there is a massive difference in both functionality and usability.

My table included 39 data points. When you convert each yes responses to a binary 1, you can easily obtain a point score per CMS package. With this approach, you’ll see a clear break out 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 did have a lot of functionality, it did lack some major SEO features that I can’t imagine living without.

Squarespace’s SEO gaps included:

  • Content silos
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Focused keyword identification
  • On-page SEO scoring
  • Link anchor text
  • Schema and structured data support

For the new webmasters, those are not critical items, but they are showstoppers for website owners who rely on search to bring in traffic, leads, 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

To make matters worse, Wix doesn’t even let you change design templates. You literally have to create a brand new site to modify the design style. Say what? Yep, this perplexes me too.

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 support for AMP, the lack of control on image alt text and ability to add subheaders truly surprised me.

When I went back and added HubSpot COS into our data, I was pleasantly surprised to see it does offer a lot of options for SEO. It doesn’t support Schema and structured data, which I did find surprising given the fact that HubSpot COS is very expensive.

WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and HubSpot COS Fail to Truly Compare

So I tried to bust out of my WordPress snob mode 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 require things like content silos and structured data.

I need these advanced SEO features to compete in search. And I’m not alone.

If you put SEO aside, Weebly and Wix did offer the ability to create some decent looking websites with minimal effort. That is great for the microbusiness who doesn’t rely on SEO. Even I know WordPress and its 50,000+ plugins can be overwhelming at times.

If you are a first-time website owner, Weebly and Wix might make suitable options. However, if you need to complete in search and you are going to rely on SEO generated traffic, you need to utilize Squarespace or WordPress.

If you are looking at the HubSpot options and thinking this might be viable, please oh please consider the true cost of the HubSpot COS platform. It is very pricey and when you see WordPress offers just as many option, it just doesn’t make sense.

Note: If you are interested in joining the Facebook group that started this entire discussion, just head on over to SEO Launchpad and request access.


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