SEO keeps changing, but that is simply because Google keeps changing. And many of the important changes in 2018 can’t be taken advantage of with a Wix, Weebly, Web, or any other drag and drop build your own website builders. Now, more than ever, you need a web developer that is hooked into Google Best Practices.
5 Reasons Why DIY Website Builders Are No Good in 2018
There are quite literally hundreds, if not thousands of reasons not to use a “Build Your Own” Website Builder. The basic problem they all share is the back end coding that makes it so easy to “drag and drop” just doesn’t play all that well with the Google Bots that visit to index your site (unless you have an absolutely free site – then you get no visits for indexing).
But worse, Google keeps changing. Back a few short years ago when these DIY sites popped up by the dozens, Google was pretty straight forward — Paid Ads and Organic Search Returns — a long list of blue links.
Now you have Custom Snippets, Rich Snippets, Rich Returns, Answer Boxes, Knowledge Panels, Direct Answers, News Carousels and more, all falling under “Structured Data” that is not even remotely possible to do on a DIY site.
Insult to Injury– Now it helps to be a web developer, but there are “helper sites” that can instruct you on data markup, but…and it’s a big BUT, you can not edit the coding on any DIY builder.
And these markups on the coding work for most every type of business for things like;
- Local SEO (Service Areas)
- Events (Like training events for instance, or bands at your bar, or…)
- Recipes (Pretty sure you see these frequently in Google)
- And more
But alas, You have to code these for Google.
5 Reasons Why DIY Website Builders Are No Good in 2018
One reason you might want to ditch your “free” or “cheap” website on any DIY website builder is as simple as what shows beneath your link in the search returns. That is called a “snippet”. Again, back a few years ago, you had real estate under your link to your website of 155 characters. That has been increased for “most” search returns to up to 325 characters. If you don’t set the meta description for you main website in the coding, Google takes random text from your website. This just doesn’t work if you have to have your phone number there, or a special offer, or anything that will drive traffic to your website.
This is the first coding issue you run into with build your own sites. Your business should have control over what appears under your listing in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). And this is even MORE important with any content marketing efforts and those URL’s will appear with snippets as well and you’d definitely want to have control over that content.
Because at the end of the day, it comes down to control. For small business web pages, writing a good meta description snippet is like writing good ad copy — there’s real value in crafting that copy to drive interest and clicks to your website. There’s no guarantee Google will use that copy (based on the parameters of the search), and that fact can be frustrating at times, but the odds are still very much in your favor.
But alas, it’s another reason you just can’t market your business with a DIY Website Builder.
Rich Snippet/ Structured Data
As noted earlier, their are many enhanced snippets, one of which is called a Rich Snippet. They take different forms in the Google Search Returns. Here are a couple examples,
See the date of the event in the lower left of the snippet? And…clicking on the URL at the top takes you to an informational page. But if you click on “ESS Global Corporation” you go to the secure sign up page for the event. So in fact, there are two “Listings” for two separate pages in one search return. Thus can only be done by coding.
Here is another example of a rich snippet.
See the enormous text? The feature image? Again, this is in the back end schema structured data markup coding in the website.
BUT YOU CAN’T EDIT CODE ON A DIY WEBSITE BUILDER
And coding for rich snippets really pisses off your competitors.
Let’s talk for a minute about Google Best Practices. One area Google takes very seriously is page speed. Since 3/4 of searches are done on mobile, Google wants to see your website fully load over 3G (not 4G LTE) in just 2 seconds or less. Page load speed is measured by Google and is a factor in search listing order. Google also recommends building a website in HTML5/ CSS3, or even better AMP.
On the other hand, you have the build your own sites, whose back end code is oriented to building the site easily by drag and drop. It’s not a language easily understood by Google bots (which is why websites tend to disappear from the SERP for weeks or months at a time).
But more importantly, the coding and the servers for the website builders are painfully slow, compared to a “real website” with “real hosting”.
Even forgetting the fact that you are locked out of every SEO tool, rich snippets and more, Google expects your website to be blisteringly fast, rewards you with better placement in SERP, AND IT’S JUST NOT POSSIBLE ON A DIY WEBSITE BUILDER.
Image/ Video SEO
When you finish building your own website, it’s sure going to look so good, but those pictures and videos on your website are going to be missing the basic building blocks of SEO so Google can better understand what products and services you offer.
- Google looks at the “Alternate Text” for a description of the image – add 4-10 words here, but no more – include the keyword.
- Add a description to the image, but no more than a sentence.
- Add a Caption – This appears under the image as text and is a great way to boost keyword ratio to text.
- For multiple images on a single post, vary the filenames, Alt and desc., while continuing to embed the selected keyword or long-tail phrase for that post.
- Be sure to populate hidden tags in the HTML code of your video landing pages, specifically Schema.org’s microdata tags
- Twitter Card tags and Facebook tags are also a good idea.
- Add video transcriptions directly to the HTML text of each of the pages where your videos are hosted. Transcriptions give your viewers the option to “read” a video if they can’t watch and listen to it, while also providing the keyword richness a search engine needs.
Summary – on a real website, Google will know what you do based on the meta, tags, alt, description, categories….all in the coding. On a DIY site? Not so much.
Actually not at all.
Structured data markup — often referred to as “schema markup” should be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, services you offer and so on, as well as the areas you service.
Google has specific requirements and recommendations for local business Schema markup.
Less than 1/3 of all websites are using this markup — and most are only using the basics. In the small business world, less than 10% use structured data markup. You can make your local business stand out and possibly rank higher than your competitors, if you add structured data markup to your site where appropriate.
Google wants you to use structured data markup because it helps their spiders and bots better determine what your site content is about. Google even offers a Structured Data Testing Tool so you can check to see if your markup coding is properly implemented.
These 5 Reasons Why DIY Website Builders Are No Good in 2018 is just the tip of the iceberg. As a small business, if your Google “Footprint” is only worth a website you or your kids threw together on Wix, then so be it.
Google changes, the SERP algorithm changes nearly every day. But the bottom line is search returns are not what they once were. Additionally, more searches are not only requested by voice, the return is read by voice. And in that case, the snippet is what is read.
Doesn’t it make sense to have some control over that?
If you are serious about your business, give us a call.