4 Reasons Why GoDaddy Site Builder Sites Wreak Havoc on Your SEO

By Sergio Aicardi on February 22, 2016

godaddy site builder bad for seo?For the vast majority of businesses, GoDaddy site builder sites are not a good idea to use if you’re looking to be successful with SEO. Despite the fact that GoDaddy manages over 60 million domain names, which makes them the largest domain registrar in the world, and has over 13 million paying customers, their website builder is still inferior to most. It seems like they should be the experts at building websites and it seems like they would have ironed all of the kinks by now, but as surprising as it may be, that’s still just simply not the case.

The sooner you can understand more about some of GoDaddy’s limitations, the more ready you will be to make a decision when it comes to your website. This is ultimately one of the most important decisions you can make for your business, so it’s best to be aware of the negatives as well as the overly publicized positives you’ve probably been reading.

4 Limitations and Reasons That Prove the GoDaddy Site Builder is a Bad Idea for SEO

Keep in mind that GoDaddy is a do-it-yourself website builder with a drag-and-drop functionality. What you see is what you get when you create your website, so it’s easy to use and it’s extremely quick to get started. Of course in similar fashion to the “you get what you pay for” mantra, the ease of GoDaddy means missing out on a lot of opportunity. Consider some of these limitations below:

You can’t change or customize your themes.

If you ever decide you want a new theme (or essentially a new design) you have to start all over. This means you lose all of your content. Other website builders like WordPress or SquareSpace allow you to change and customize your theme whenever you’d like without having to rebuild all of your pages, so this is probably the biggest downside to GoDaddy.

In addition to changing themes, which often changes the look and design of your website, you don’t have access to edit the HTML or CSS code. This means that even if you decide you don’t have to change your theme completely but you want to make a few changes, you can’t. You’re stuck with every little aspect of that theme. No A/B testing to see what earns you the most clicks or conversions, and no changing your style as your company grows.

Why It Matters for SEO:

If you do end up trying to change your theme or make changes and something goes wrong, losing all of your content is also going to force you to start over when it comes to SEO. Any improvements you saw in your rankings or SEO juice you built up in the past is wiped away when your content disappears, so if you ever want to make a change you have to start completely over in the SEO department as well. It takes a long time to really build up your SEO, so this is crucial.

On another note, if you are unable to redesign your theme, this means that you are unable to improve your navigation over time. This makes it incredibly hard to expand so your site won’t go anywhere in the way of SEO. Google likes to see navigation and traffic, and that’s hard to find if your theme is struggling to offer content engaging content because you’re trying to integrate third-party blogging platforms (more on this in the last section).

It’s not up to par for mobile.

mobile friendlyIf you’re not already aware, Google favors websites that are mobile friendly / responsive but many website owners continue to use out-dated websites that are not compatible with mobile devices.  In the past this might have been something you could overlook, but not anymore. According to Google, more searches are taking place on mobile now than desktop in 10 countries. This means your mobile presence needs to be on point and strong enough to keep readers on your page, and the GoDaddy website builder doesn’t offer that. While it will use a responsive theme automatically, you don’t have any flexibility when it comes to where you want content and images shown to mobile users. It’s really a control issue here, and it’s a pretty simple concept—you, the website owner, have very little.

Why It Matters for SEO:

As Google discusses in the link mentioned above, mobile is critical when it comes to SEO because that’s where so many people are now searching. This is where the majority of your traffic will probably come from, so you have to make sure that you have an optimized site for those screens. If you don’t, that would-have-been traffic will click away to a site that is mobile optimized. According to Radware article, almost half of mobile users expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40$ will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and the same goes if the site is tough to read.

There are very few e-commerce tools.

So obviously this will only affect your company if you plan to setup an e-commerce website, but it’s still something to keep in mind just in case you ever anticipate wanting to add an e-commerce option to your business. It may not be a part of your plan now, but many businesses find later on in the process that there is a need. In either case, just keep in mind that the website builder offers no e-commerce tools. This means no setting up payments, filters, searching for products, etc. You can setup your website with a PayPal store, but this can get messy and confusing for both you and readers. It’s best to keep everything hosted in one place.

Why It Matters for SEO:

This is a situation where navigation and website architecture is important. If you don’t make it easy for those visiting your e-commerce website to make a purchase, you won’t earn those natural links you need for good SEO and you will confuse the Google bots trying to index your website, which is a recipe for poor SEO.

You have to integrate a separate blog option.

This one is definitely hard to believe, but there is no blog option with these builders. If you want a blog, you have to integrate a separate blog such as WordPress. Of course being that content is one of the most important aspects of SEO, this is a huge disadvantage. Although GoDaddy may seem so “easy,” this is the perfect example of something that actually makes it much harder than if you were to just use a builder like WordPress in the first place.

Why This Matters for SEO: Content matters not only to keep people reading and interested in your website, but it’s the number one way to earn organic links that drive up your position on a SERP. It gives Google something to index and it gives readers something the link back to in their own writing, so the easier you can make content creation for your website the better.

So Why Would Anyone Consider GoDaddy Site Builder?

You can read about all of the positives here, but you’ll see one main theme—it’s easy. It’s easy to use because you can’t make any changes, any customizations, any mobile updates, and everything is set to go for you.

For the vast majority of companies this is not going to cut it if you want a website that is going to look and stay competitive. If all you’re looking to do is throw up a website without having to really “create” anything other than write content then this might be a good option, but in our opinion, that’s about the only situation where you’ll see success. The moral of the story is that while many of the options seem appealing, it’s what GoDaddy doesn’t mention that is actually the most important for your website success overall.

Extra: So What about the Yahoo Site Builder CMS?

Unfortunately, this is almost just as bad as GoDaddy when it comes to SEO. As a web design agency we get asked all the time about GoDaddy with Yahoo not far behind, and unfortunately the answer is typically the same. Really any do-it-yourself website builder is going to have the same problems—little customization, difficult redesigns, poor mobile options, etc.

Note: While it’s true that WordPress is a do-it-yourself CMS system, it’s customization and SEO abilities far surpass anything like GoDaddy or Yahoo so it is generally put into categories with other systems like Joomla or Drupal.

The Takeaway

In the end, it’s almost always worth it to invest in a website redesign before investing heavily into any type of online marketing that drives traffic to your website, especially SEO/SEM. This means that before you even think about SEO externally you need to think about how your website is built and structured. Always make sure that you’re building an optimized website so you’re ready to hit the ground running with your SEO.

Do you have experience using the GoDaddy site builder? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comment section below.

About The Author

Sergio Aicardi
Sergio Aicardi /

Search engine marketing is what I am passionate about and enjoy doing. I feed off of the knowledge and the fact that SEO is always and will always be changing. Remember, when it comes to SEO, always think like a search engine and you will succeed.