I've been in this industry for over five years now, and when I say "this industry" I really mean many different industries at the same time. Our company, Grand Apps, started as an app development & design firm and transitioned into a full marketing agency. So I've been around the DEV & Agency side of things for over half a decade now.
During my time here I've heard a lot of back and forth on "what works for SEO" and "what doesn't". Our company is no expert in SEO, which is why we have great companies like Black Truck Media that we refer clients too, but we are dangerous enough to know how to help out clients the best we can before they're ready to spend bigger budgets with SEO firms.
When we started the company, I was no developer and had basic understanding on how websites worked. Our first website was built in WordPress by our founding partner Jacob Canfield but I was the one handling our marketing and brand while he handled development. My problem was I simply couldn't make changes fast enough and it would take me tons of time to learn WP. I needed a faster solution. So I searched high and low on the web to find a solution I liked that was easy to use and did what I needed it to do. I looked at just about every website builder until I settled with WIX.
Those builders are all basic & junk they said.
I heard a lot of negative feedback from other designers, developers, clients and industry "experts" about this builder or other builders. Pretty much people felt if it wasn't WP or custom, it sucks. Five years ago I had a bigger vision. My vision was small businesses don't need some fancy huge custom WP website they can't manage. I think the industry was scared because they were hand cuffing their clients, where my vision was always from day one build something great and hand the keys over to the client. Teach them to drive with you.
My vision was that all these small businesses will begin building their own websites if they didn't have a budget to hire awesome design companies, cough cough...Grand Apps, and that Google would help them out. Do you really think Google is going to say "Geez, look at all of these hundreds of millions of websites and people on them, let's just not rank them". No! Google wants to be the leader in search and other products, so they will go with what is logical and easy to use builders are logical, not hand cuffing clients making super custom websites.
Five years later, we rank...and rank #1.
So after five years we put a plan in place with a builder and have been ranking very high every since, beating out custom websites and WP sites. A recent success is our client, Floor It, who ranks #1 in searches locally for a few key terms we were trying for. See some screenshots below.
SEO is always changing and we wanted to show that you can use tools out there to reach your goals! You don't need million dollar budgets, just awesome companies like us ;)
*Key terms we were going for.