8 Things to Do When Your Site Is Removed From Google
Posted on 21st August, 2007
If you depend on Google for 90% of your website traffic, the consequences of losing that traffic when your site is removed from Google can be devastating.
It’s even more so if you are making a living working on the Internet. All the long hours you had put in seems meaningless. Watching your cash flow dries up can be a real blow to your motivation, I know, I’ve been there.
But before we go insane over the whole debacle, take a deep breath and calm down. There will always be an explanation as to why your pages disappear from Google.
The good news is, having your site removed from Google isn’t a death sentence because you can always request for re-inclusion. If you know why your pages disappear, you should be able make the necessary changes and have them re-indexed as soon as possible.
Here are the things you can do when you find your pages missing from Google index.
- Register With Google Webmaster Central
Actually you don’t have to wait until your sites removed from Google before registering with Webmaster Central. If you haven’t done it already, do yourself a big favour and register now.
Webmaster Central should be your first stop to help you understand what’s happening. It’s the only place where Google alerts site owners of penalties for their sites.
Google may explicitly confirm a penalty and offer you a re-inclusion request specifically for that site. Once you have your site verified, click on the tab label “Diagnostic” to find a section called “Indexing summary”. It might say
No pages from your site are currently included in Google’s index due to violations of the webmaster guidelines . Please review our webmaster guidelines and modify your site so that it meets those guidelines. Once your site meets our guidelines, you can request reinclusion and we’ll evaluate your site. [?] Submit a reinclusion request
Now that’s a lifesaver if you ask me.
- Create A Google Sitemap
Again, this is one of the things that you should have done by now. The sitemap will ensure you get back in as quickly as possible by notifying Google all your URLs at once. Learn how to create a sitemap for your blog here.
- Check Your Site If It Was Down
One of the common reasons why you pages are removed from Google is that your server was down during a Googlebot visit. As a result Googlebot will issue a network unreachable error or robots.txt unreachable error in the Webmaster Central control panel.
In most cases, you don’t have to worry about it because Googlebot is only postponing the crawl and will return to your site later when your server is reachable.
However if you are certain that your server hasn’t been down, something might be blocking Googlebot from visiting your site. This is what I had experience recently.
If you server is always down, it’s time to look for a new and more stable web host.
- Check Your robots.txt File
If you don’t know what robots.txt file is, chances are you probably do not have one on your site. That shouldn’t be a problem because this allows Googlebot to index everything if that’s what you wanted.
If you have a robots.txt file, you might have inadvertently included an instruction in the file that stopped Googlebot from crawling your site.
Again, the Webmaster Tools will help you analyse your robots.txt file whether it allows Googlebot crawling or not.
- Ensure That You Are Not Spamming
Before you put the blame on Google for removing your pages; it’s a good idea to check whether you are doing something that violates Google Webmaster Guidelines.
In particular, make sure that you don’t have the following on your pages:
Hidden text – often achieved by using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) as in this example or normal HTML such as using white text on a white background,
Other practice that you should avoid is cloaking, often done using server based scripts. The purpose is to serve different pages to search engine than your display to users.
If you are creating doorway pages containing many links that specifically made for the search and don’t benefit your users, your site may be removed from Google index.
Other practice to avoid is stuffing keywords into your pages. This is often done in combination with the hidden text practice. Keywords stuffing occurs when you attempt to include the same keywords repeatedly in an attempt to manipulate the page ranking.
Other thing you should check is to ensure you don’t serve substantial duplicate content on multiple pages, subdomains or domains if the motivation behind this is to manipulate the search engine ranking in an attempt to attract more traffic.
If you have restructured your site and have pages that are accessible via several URLs, eg:
Make sure to use 301 redirects (“RedirectPermanent”) in your .htaccess file to make sure that there is only one URL is associated with the bubble-hunter.html page.
Now if you are using WordPress, and you are changing your permalink structures, you can use the Permalink Redirect WordPress plugin to help you do this.
- Are you Doing Excessive Link Exchange?
As I’ve written previously, Google had recently updated their Webmaster guideline where they’ve added that excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I’ll link to you.") can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.
Avoid using any software that automates the link exchange effort which ignores the quality of the links.
The best type of links are the editorial ones given by choice by other site owners. You can also submit your site to relevant directories such as Yahoo! Or Open Directory Project.
In addition, if for some reason you lost some incoming links, it’s possible that it’s will affect your site ranking. This is often overlooked especially if you have a new site that hasn’t gathered substantial number of incoming links.
- Take Extra Care When Buying and Selling Links
I know selling text links from your site or blog can offer a good source of income. But make sure it’s done in the user’s best interest. Buying links to improve PageRank violates Google quality guidelines.
When you are selling links, avoid accepting sites unrelated to yours. Sure having those penis elongation or Viagra text links on you tech blog might put money in your pocket, but it would be done at the expense of having your blog removed from Google.
If all you are after is short term profits, this probably doesn’t concern you.
- Is It Google Problem?
It’s not always your fault for having your site removed from Google. With billion of pages to crawl every month, Googlebot may encounter its own technical problem during one of its own normal crawls.
Do a search on Google and see if anybody else was having problem the same problem during the same period.
If none of the above seven reasons applies to you and you are certain that it’s Google’s problem, send them a feedback. Ask them politely why your pages were removed. If it’s their fault, you can be sure your site will be included fairly easily. However be prepare to give them several days (or even weeks) to respond to your email.
How to Request for Reinclusion Into Google Index?
Just log into your Webmaster Central account and click on the “Submit a reconsideration request” link under Tools on the right sidebar.
Before you do that it’s important to make sure you have made all the necessary changes to your site so that it adheres to Google Webmaster Guidelines
You’ll be given the chance to admit your mistake, what you have done to correct it and you must agree not to repeat it again. It’s important that you provide some evidence of good faith before they can reconsidered your site.