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Google temporarily de-indexes Wix sites

Wix site owners have enjoyed ease of use, but with Google de-indexing them, many are reconsidering their position on virtually renting versus owning their site and their destiny.

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Wix users get hit with the Google stick

If your business website was built with the online website builder tool, Wix, you may be noticing a recent dip in user activity. In fact, it’s likely that you are experiencing a major decline in activity due to a recent issue causing numerous sites powered by Wix to drop off the Google index.

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The appeal of Wix lies in its affordability and ease. Wix’s easy-to-use site building process eliminates the need to hire web development experts, making it an attractive option for start up businesses hoping to save money. Unfortunately, because all Wix sites use one main platform, individual webmasters experience much less flexibility and control than they would with a personalized platform. And, when one Wix site starts having problems, all Wix sites are likely to suffer a similar fate.

Forums have been flooded on this topic

Google Webmaster Help forums have been littered with discussions over the last two weeks about Wix sites that have disappeared from the index. The search engine has issued an apology for the hassle, and told Wix users that they’ve taken another thorough look at the set-up of Wix sites. There may be a delay, but Google is working to resolve the issue on their end by reprocessing all affected sites.

For any Wix users unsure if your site has been affected, now is the time to take a look at your site’s search data for anything fishy. Ask yourself: Is there decline in index counts in your Google Search Console? Is there a sudden decrease in traffic from Google Search? You might also try performing your own Google search to see if your website can be accessed.

Don’t lose valuable business

If your Wix site has indeed fallen off the Google index, you are losing valuable business each day. Even worse—there is nothing to do but wait for Google to start reindexing, which they are in the process of doing.

Building your own platform through web management tools like WordPress is a great alternative to sites like Wix that hinder individualization and give you limited control. Even as new brands, its invaluable to have a strong website that allows you to own your own content, and your own destiny.

#SadWix

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Hannah is currently a writer and student in Colorado Springs, pursuing her master's degree in Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Before becoming a Staff Writer for the American Genius, Hannah wrote website content and grant applications for a law office in central Minnesota.

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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Pingback: Google désindexe les sites WIX

  2. Jacobus Lavooij

    October 27, 2015 at 6:14 am

    I have no clue why business people use Wix. Yes, easy, but when you are doing business, keep to your core business and have someone else build your website. Anyway, Hannah, thanks for pointing it out. I hadn’t heard of the problem yet. Always good to know and another tool for the ones that sell websites to close the client to use something else (like WP).

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  4. James

    October 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Can you post some of the sources to this? I’m not finding much else aside from this article.

  5. Pingback: Google temporarily de-indexes Wix sites - The American Genius - TAO Inbound Marketing

  6. Phil Simon

    October 27, 2015 at 11:50 am

    In a word, wow. That type of thing could puncture Wix’s business model, certainly for new clients.

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  8. Andrew Anderson

    October 27, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    The truth is Free Website builders are never free. They in fact can cost you your whole business. Get yourself a hosted WordPress site and be done with it. Why put your financial future in someone else’s hands like that? If you have a real business then you need a real website.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Anderson
    ContinualCustomer.com

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  11. Andrew

    October 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Does anyone know specifically what caused the deindex, whether it was Wix’s actions or a fluke?

    Not arguing for them in any way, but the article does seem a little biased against them.

  12. Kansas City

    October 27, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Proof positive that you need to own your own asset as much as possible. WIX, Weebly, these could go belly up at any time (and Wix has, essentially). Only your own site can prevent these kinds of penalties (unless, of course, you use spammy SEO tactics)

  13. Bryan Rempel

    October 27, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Great article. I have been talking about this for months after learning WordPress, and still having about a dozen sites on a similar website builder to Wix. I have been with this unnamed company for over a dozen years (starting with Home and ending with Stead), and they have been punishing their customers with an upgrade over the last two weeks, making thousands of sites un-editable. If you are with such a company you cannot migrate your years of work and hundreds of hours of development to a new website service provider. You are a “renter” not an “owner” of your website. I have replaced about half my sites over the past year with WordPress sites that I can pack up and move to a different host whenever I want. I now “own” my work and can control it. These so-called free websites are like Hotel California, “You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.” I am now working on the rest of my sites to get them out of website purgatory.

  14. ryan

    October 28, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Ive always hated wix. It ruins businesses as people are cheap and always go for whats cheap and easy. But, like most things, you get what you pay for. Maybe our industry will get a bit busier now 😀

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  17. Alexis Kasperavicius

    October 28, 2015 at 7:38 am

    You kind of made the argument for using Wix: Google is paying attention, they will fix it. Do you think Google would fix a bug in their ranking code, much less respond to you if it was only affecting your site?

  18. arun

    October 28, 2015 at 9:49 am

    sometimes im fear because iahve one site in wix

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  21. Pingback: Google Temporarily De-Indexes WiX Websites

  22. Tyler

    October 28, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve transferred a few client sites from Wix to WordPress so I got a chance to see the backend of Wix. It is actually a decent platform for simple sites, but falls short when it comes to complex CMS, advanced services, and complete customization. One problem, as seen today, is all these sites are squeezed onto the same servers. I’d imagine it has to be quite a task to keep that server clean from spammy sites.

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  28. Larry Launstein Jr.

    November 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Not a fan of Wix at all. Too limited in design options and a SEO nightmare. Prefer WordPress and HTML-CSS better. Even with so many templates in each format, you can take them and call them your own, especially the premium templates.

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  34. David C. Brandon

    December 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Wow, thats a huge hit right there. Why would G specifically target these?
    Generally speaking and regardless to this ‘update’, Wix users are not thrilled with their online presence on search engines.

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  39. Pingback: Google De-Indexes Wix Sites on Search Results - Dilan Design

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  41. Pingback: Websites Created with Wix get the Google Ban Hammer - Geek News Central

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  43. John

    February 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Although it’s odd that Google would penalize Wix user sites as a whole, I can tell you from dealing with users of free website builder services like Wix, there has been a decline in user satisfaction as a whole.

  44. Pingback: Sites feitos com Wix são desindexados pelo Google | #LCBRblog

  45. Pingback: Build a website with WIX?No way!5 Reasons to not build a wix site

  46. Pingback: » Google de-indexes Wix sites!

  47. Michael

    June 1, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Where is the truth in this I have 20 wix sites and none have suffered any penalty.

    • Lani Rosales

      June 1, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      You’re right – it was a temporary de-indexing, and many felt no impact whatsoever.

  48. Pingback: Should I use a website building program? - The Web Idea Shop

  49. Pingback: Wix's new acquisition lets users create in more ways - The American Genius

  50. Pingback: Sites feitos com WIX são desindexados pelo Google - Rabisco Comunicação

  51. Pingback: Google De-Indexes Wix Sites! - ATI | Application Development, System Integration, IT Staffing

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Should social media continue to self-regulate, or should Uncle Sam step in?

(MEDIA) Should social media platforms be allowed to continue to regulate themselves or should governments continue to step in? Is it an urgency, or a slippery slope?

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Last week, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook suffered a massive outage around the world that lasted for most of the day. In typical Internet fashion, frustrated users took to Twitter to vent their feelings. A common thread throughout all of the dumpster fire gifs was the implication that these social media platforms were a necessary outlet for connecting people with information—as well as being an emotional outlet for whatever they felt like they needed to share.

It’s this dual nature of social media, both as a vessel for content that people consume, as well as a product that they share personal data with (for followers, but also knowing that the data is collected and analyzed by the companies) that confuses people as to what these things actually are. Is social media a form of innovative technology, or is it more about the content, is it media? Is it both?

Well, the answer depends on how you want to approach it.

Although users may say that content is what keeps them using the apps, the companies themselves purport that the apps are technology. We’ve discussed this distinction before, and how it means that the social media giants get to skirt around having more stringent regulation. 

But, as many point out, if the technology is dependent on content for its purpose (and the companies’ profit): where does the line between personal information and corporate data mining lie?

Should social media outlets known for their platform being used to perpetuate “fake news” and disinformation be held to higher standards in ensuring that the information they spread is accurate and non-threatening?

As it currently stands, social media companies don’t have any legislative oversight—they operate almost exclusively in a state of self-regulation.  This is because they are classified as technology companies rather than media outlets.

This past summer, Senator Mark Warner from Virginia suggested that social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, needed regulation in a widely circulated white paper. Highlighting the scandal by Cambridge Analytica which rocked the polls and has underscored the potential of social media to sway real-life policy by way of propaganda,

Warner suggested that lawmakers target three areas for regulation: fighting politically oriented misinformation, protecting user privacy, and promoting competition among Internet markets that will make long-term use of the data collected from users.

Warner isn’t the only person who thinks that social media’s current state of self-regulation unmoored existence is a bit of a problem, but the problem only comes from what would be considered a user-error: The people using social media have forgotten that they are the product, not the apps.

Technically, many users of social media have signed their privacy away by clicking “accept” on terms and conditions they haven’t fully read.* The issues of being able to determine whether or not a meme is Russian propaganda isn’t a glitch in code, it’s a way to exploit media illiteracy and confirmation bias.

So, how can you regulate human behavior? Is it on the tech companies to try and be better than the tendencies of the people who use them? Ideally they wouldn’t have to be told not to take advantage of people, but when people are willingly signing up to be taken advantage of, who do you target?

It’s a murky question, and it’s only going to get trickier to solve the more social media embeds itself into our culture.

*Yes, I’m on social media and I blindly clicked it too! He who is without sin, etc.

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Deepfakes can destroy any reputation, company, or country

(MEDIA) Deepfakes have been around for a few years now, but they’re being crafted for nefarious purposes beyond the original porn and humor uses.

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Deepfakes — a technology originally used by Reddit perverts who wanted to superimpose their favorite actresses’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars – have come a long way since the original Reddit group was banned.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) to create bogus videos by analyzing facial expressions to replace one person’s face and/or voice with another’s.

Using computer technology to synthesize videos isn’t exactly new.

Remember in Forrest Gump, how Tom Hanks kept popping up in the background of footage of important historical events, and got a laugh from President Kennedy? It wasn’t created using AI, but the end result is the same. In other cases, such technology has been used to complete a film when an actor dies during production.

The difference between these examples and that latest deepfake technology is a question of ease and access.

Historically, these altered videos have required a lot of money, patience, and skill. But as computer intelligence has advanced, so too has deepfake technology.

Now the computer does the work instead of the human, making it relatively fast and easy to create a deepfake video. In fact, Stanford created a technology using a standard PC and web cam, as I reported in 2016.

Nowadays, your average Joe can access open source deepfake apps for free. All you need is some images or video of your victim.

While the technology has mostly been used for fun – such as superimposing Nicolas Cage into classic films – deepfakes could and have been used for nefarious purposes.

There is growing concern that deepfakes could be used for political disruption, for example, to smear a politician’s reputation or influence elections.

Legislators in the House and Senate have requested that intelligence agencies report on the issue. The Department of Defense has already commissioned researchers to teach computers to detect deepfakes.

One promising technology developed at the University of Albany analyzes blinking to detect deep fakes, as subjects in the faked videos usually do not blink as often as real humans do. Ironically, in order to teach computers how to detect them, researchers must first create many deepfake videos. It seems that deepfake creators and detectors are locked in a sort of technological arms race.

The falsified videos have the potential to exacerbate the information wars, either by producing false videos, or by calling into question real ones. People are already all too eager to believe conspiracy theories and fake news as it is, and the insurgence of these faked videos could be created to back up these bogus theories.

Others worry that the existence of deepfake videos could cast doubt on actual, factual videos. Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University says that deepfakes could lead to “deep denials” – in other words, “the ability to dispute previously uncontested evidence.”

While there have not yet been any publicly documented cases of attempts to influence politics with deepfake videos, people have already been harmed by the faked videos.

Women have been specifically targeted. Celebrities and civilians alike have reported that their likeness has been used to create fake sex videos.

Deepfakes prove that just because you can achieve an impressive technological feat doesn’t always mean you should.

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Red flags to look for when hiring a social media pro

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social Media is a growing field with everyone and their moms trying to become social media managers. Here are a few experts’ tips on seeing and avoiding the red flags of social media professionals.

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If you’re thinking about hiring a social media professional – or are one yourself – take some tips from the experts.

We asked a number of entrepreneurs specializing in marketing and social media how they separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media managers, and they gave us some hints about how to spot whose social media game is all bark and no bite.

According to our experts, the first thing you should do if you’re hiring a social media professional is to check out their personal and/or professional social media pages.

Candidates with underwhelming, non-existent, out-of-date, or just plain bad social media pages should obviously get the chop.

“If they have no professional social presence themselves, that’s a big red flag,” says Chelle Honiker, CEO at Athenia Creative.

Another entrepreneur, Paul O’Brien of Media Tech Ventures, explains that “the only way to excel is to practice…. If you excel, why would you not be doing so on behalf of your personal brand?”

In other words, if someone can’t make their own social media appealing, how can they be expected to do so for a client?

These pros especially hated seeing outdated icons, infrequent posts, and automatic posts. Worse than outdated social media pages were bad social media pages. Marc Nathan of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson provided a laundry list of negative characteristics that he uses to rule out candidates, including “snarky,” “complaining, unprofessional” “too personal” “inauthentic,” and “argumentative.”

Besides eliminating candidates with poor social media presence, several of these pros also really hated gimmicky job titles such as “guru,” “whiz,” “ninja,” “superhero,” or “magician.”

They were especially turned off by candidates who called themselves “experts” without any proof of their success.

Jeff Fryer of ARM dislikes pros who call themselves experts because, he says “The top leaders in this field will be the first to tell you that they’re always learning– I know I am!” Steer clear of candidates who talk themselves up with ridiculous titles and who can’t provide solid evidence of their expertise.

According to our experts, some of them don’t even try. To candidates who say “’Social media can’t be measured,’” Fryer answer “yes it can[. L]earn how to be a marketer.”

Beth Carpenter, CEO of Violet Hour Social Marketing, complains that many candidates “Can’t talk about ROI (return on investment),” arguing that a good social media pro should be able to show “how social contributes to overall business success.” Good social media pros should show their value in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

While our experts wanted to see numerical evidence of social media success, they were also unimpressed with “vanity metrics” such as numbers of followers.

Many poo-pooed the use of followers alone as an indicator of success, with Tinu Abayomi-Paul of Leveraged Promotion joking that “a trained monkey or spambot” can gather 1,000 followers.

Claims of expertise or success should also be backed up by references and experience in relevant fields.

Several entrepreneurs said that they had come across social media managers without “any experience in critical fields: marketing, advertising, strategic planning and/or writing,” to quote Nancy Schirm of Austin Visuals. She explains that it’s not enough to know how to “handle the technology.” Real social media experts must cultivate “instinct borne from actual experience in persuasive communication.”

So, if you’re an aspiring social media manager, go clean up those pages, get some references, and figure out solid metrics for demonstrating your success.

And if you’re hiring a social media manager, watch out for these red flags to cull your candidate pool.

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