Why Wix Websites Were De-Indexed by Google
By Tim Brown
In early October 2015, customers who use Wix as their website builder and hosting platform began to lose online traffic as a result of Google de-indexing. De-indexing is when a Web page is not included in a search engine’s list of results for searches. A number of reasons can be behind a de-indexing. No matter the cause, the result can be crippling to an online business. To an e-commerce site, for example, showing up in search engine results is vital. Here’s an update on what happened and the current status of the issue:
Wix is known for being easy to use and affordable. All Wix sites are created with the same Web builder and are hosted on the same platform. The de-indexing problem appears to stem from the platform. Basically, something built into the platform is keeping Google from being able to rank the sites in its search engine results pages (SERP).
The root of the problem is with what is called the canonical tag. These tags are used by sites to communicate the originality of content to the search engines. In this case, Wix is using a specific tag in all of the impacted sites. The tag makes Google think it is duplicate content. The site is then penalized with lower rankings on SERPs—or, in this case, de-indexing altogether.
Who Is at Fault?
While there is a bit of a he-said, she-said game being played between the two sides, Google—without claiming responsibility—stated that they are working to resolve the issue. The search engine is in the stages of reprocessing the impacted Web pages in hopes to have the sites re-indexed soon. How long will it take? Good question. Google does not have a time table for completion. They are looking into how Wix uses tags on their platform in an effort to avoid something like this happening again.
Wix hasn’t exactly reassured its users that the issue lies entirely with Google. With more than two out of every three online searches being conducted by Google, Wix users are curious why the Web platform is not optimized for Google’s search spiders. Wix users are taking to the forums, looking for an explanation from the company. The builder is taking little responsibility and is instead asking for patience while Google completes the re-indexing. Customers are left wondering if Wix will offer any changes to fix the problems with its platform.
Many Wix users have business sites and are experiencing a loss in revenue that is coinciding with the decreased Web traffic and activity.
Until the issue has been resolved—which may take up to three months—Wix recommends that users submit their websites directly to search engines such as Google and Bing. By submitting the sites directly, the search engines (specifically Google) can ignore the tags, making the Web pages available to show up on SERPs.
To most Wix customers who were drawn to the user-friendliness of the builder, this seems to be a very tech-heavy problem. They just want their site to be indexed. One of the downsides to Wix’s simplicity is that it can lose flexibility and functionality. When something like this hits the entire platform, the system can’t find a workaround and all Wix sites are impacted. Hopefully, the two sides can get the tag situation worked out so that Wix users will see their sites listed on Google once again.