We had been managing a customer’s website for months when we received a notification from Google stating that the site had been de-indexed. In other words, it would no longer show up on Google searches. The reason stated by Google was that their site was pure spam. This could mean a wide number reasons but Google never gets very specific.
Prior to this manual penalty by Google they had 100s of pages indexed and the site was ranking very high, for a wide variety of keywords. This included some high traffic keywords. Average visits to this website normally exceeded 1000 unique visitors each month. Understandably, a sudden decrease to practically zero would be devastating to the e-commerce portion of their business.
We had the site tracked in Google Analytics and had an active Google Webmaster’s tool account. This was was also linked to their Analytics data. We received the notification because of our active Webmaster’s account. Without one, you can get de-indexed and have no idea why.
With the Webmaster account, we were able to immediately see the reason for the de-listing by Google. Remember, Google marked the site as pure SPAM. Reasons for this can vary. They can include: thin content, scraping info and text from other websites, nonsense phrasings, etc. This particular site had over 900 products. Some of the products had descriptions, but most did not. The product names were technical, and for someone who did not understand the products, it could be thought they were gibberish.
Another important reason to have a Webmaster account is that it allows you to quickly file a “Reconsideration Request” with Google. We did this on the same day that we received the notice from Google. We assessed the situation and provided Google with the information that we believed was necessary to revoke this penalty action. Since we did not know the precise reason for the penalty, we addressed all possibilities. We explained the reason for the website, the long number of years it had been in existence (well over 10 years), the fact that there was a physical store as well as this e-commerce website, and technical information about the website itself. We made sure that the request was full of important and complete information. We showed professionalism, and were very polite.
Google said that it could take weeks to review the reconsideration request and even longer for them to take action. Well, within two days, the website was back in the search engines as before. Two days later, we received a notice from Google that they had reviewed our reconsideration request and had revoked the penalty. In other words, the site was indeed back and fully indexed within Google and the previous search rankings were upheld.
Bottom line, we as website owners are at the mercy of Google. They can de-index your site without warning, and often without much cause. A typical website owner may flail for weeks just trying to figure out how to work with Google on this, all the while their business is suffering.
However, with a professional SEO company, like Local MarketPlace, those weeks/months of working with Google, can often be resolved in days, and hence save weeks of worrying and lost business. We do our best to stay on top of the Google Webmaster Guidelines and ensure that all of our sites are in compliance, so these manual actions do not occur. But with any operation, we can’t always predict what the human element of Google will do. In this case, they quickly realized they had made an error and re-indexed the website.
For more information on SEO go to YourLMP.com or call Wayne at 985-796-1288