Post Mortem Banned Sites Forensics

Moderator Ken Jurina
Aaron Shear, Shopping.com
Michael Marshall, Internet Marketing Analysts
Michael Gray, Atlas Web Serivce

When you expect that Google has banned your websites

Michael Marshall – BANNED BY Google – How it happens and What to Do

Rude Awakening

  • You all of sudden discover that your site is missing from Google results
  • Or they gradually disappear

First rule out the following

  • Check robots.txt file (maybe changed through a hack)
  • NOINDEX Meta tag
  • Egregious Server downtime
  • Webmaster made changes to site on navigation

In the case of a gradual slipping of visibility do some competitive Intelligence before you panic before you conclude that you’ve been thrown into Google prison

The Usual Suspects

  • Victim of copied or hijacked website
  • Using hidden text or hidden links
  • Stuffing pages
  • Sending automated queries to Google
  • Creating doorway pages
  • Creating multiple pages, sub domains, or domains with substantially duplicated content
  • Employing cloaking or sneaky redirects

Getting out of Google Jail

  • Start Over
  • Fix what is wrong
  • Check webmaster guidelines
  • Submit a Reconsideration Request Google Webmasters

Google Bowling – When a competitor uses Black Hat on YOUR site. There are companies in China that charge $10,000 for this service to take out your competition

Aaron Shear – Post Mortem – Banned Site Forensics

How to know if you’re banned by Google

  • Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
  • Look in messages and it will tell you if you have been removed from the index for a violation of the terms of services
  • If there is an indication of being removed within the Webmaster Tools, this isn’t going to be fun

Confusing Being Banned with a Filter

  • Participating in a not so clean in bound linking scheme?
  • Typically when links like this are discovered, they simply have all of the credit that they were passing removed

Reasons for Filtration

  • Thus you will see a sudden drop in rankings, the drop maybe so significant you may confuse it with a Google Ban

If only a particular page or groups of pages drop

Change /product/to /prod or category to /cat/ etc

Be sure to 301 or cannonocal tag all – takes up to six weeks

If the traffic returns

  • It most likely will not stay as soon as their filter figures out that this is the same page
  • It will give you 2 -6 weeks to make changes

If you have been banned

  • Reconsideration Request with Google webmasters 95% chance they will not respond to you can take 6 months to a year
  • This is not advisable for a page type falling out

Tips for request

  • If you know what you did wrong, ie bad links, hidden text, or other stuff
  • Be honest, admit to the mistake and promise not to do it again
  • If you play stupid they will not help you

Be Persistent

  • This is not easy; it is very frustrating and will drive you crazy. Working with an SEO that has a history of clean work can help speed up the process
  • As someone who used to ban sites at Inktomi, when we saw repeated abuse they received life ban

You’re Banned, Now What?

  • Is this website worth saving?
  • Is the domain attached to your company name, well branded, or is it a vanity level keyword
  • Are the sins you are confession to worth more than a brand new name
  • If you were banned for aggressive you scale back on a new domain

Content Deciding What to Save

  • Only save content that is unique and high quality
  • Combine shorter articles into longer more complete articles
  • Rewrite or update outdated awkward and low quality articles

Links what to keep

  • Use software to do a link audit (xenu)
  • Check for links to malware, spyware, bad neighborhoods
  • Remove or no-follow paid or sponsored links

Paid Links – Do You Squeal?

  • Search engines prefer you give up as much information
  • Listen don’t debate, be willing to confess all you sins

Filing Request

  • Have a Google webmaster account
  • Have a detailed account what you fixed
  • Include the name of any SEO reps you spoke with
  • Use log files or tracking scripts
  • Allow time, don’t sit by the phone

Plan B

  • Moving all content and doing a global 301 to a new domain is not without risks, in some cases the penalty will transfer
  • Set up all pages with no index

Have you ever had a site banned by Google? If so what did you do?

Certified Master SEO Instructor by the Search Engine Academy and CEO and founder of SEO Training SW.
Roy Reyer
Roy Reyer
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10th November 2010 5 Comments

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