There are thousands of ways to get your website dropped from Google, and you probably know them very well: Keyword-stuffing, doorways, spamming, selling links, etc. I wrote an earlier article on what not to do in SEO, as well as a sequel, in which I touched on things that might get you in trouble, so read those posts if you haven’t done so already.
More important is how you get your site back on Google – and that’s what this post will be about today.
Let’s say you see that traffic from Google has greatly declined, and that your website is nowhere near the top for your major keywords – though it was ranking pretty well before. What happened? Your website has been placed under a penalty filter from Google and will stay there until you (A) get rid of the reason for the penalty, and (B) let Google know you fixed the problem.
Here is what to do:
First, figure out what could have caused the drop. Since you are probably (if not, you should be) monitoring your online activities daily, especially your on-site works, the problem might be in recent changes you made to the website. The situation can be more complicated – even caused by wrongful complaints to Google by competitors – but eventually you can get things to work for, not against, you.
Google Webmaster Tools are a good aid in figuring out the problem. Explore the tools and see what problems are reported by them. (You are most likely a Google user and have an account with them if you use Gmail, Google analytics, Adwords, Adsense, etc. Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools with your Google ID at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/.) Also, study the Google Webmaster Guidelines and see if you are doing anything that contradicts them.
Once you figured out the problem, make sure you fix it. If after all this, it’s still hard to guess what particular thing got you removed from Google’s index, try to put things back the way they were before the problem with your ranking occurred.
When it’s all done, make a re-inclusion request. Once you are logged into Google Webmaster Tools, on the right panel you’ll see a link to request reconsideration. Click on this link and you’ll see a new page to make your request. Choose the site you are asking about, check the required acknowledgements, and then write your letter.
In the request state that you acknowledge the problem, describe it a bit, and let Google know you have fixed it. Also note that you are following the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Tell them about the importance of your website or blog for the online community and your purpose for it. At the end, ask again for your site or part of the site to be re-included on Google’s index. Give your full signature with full name, title within the company or site, and all contact details.
Once you have submitted your reconsideration request to Google, don’t expect them to write back to you. They won’t. However, they do look into every request. As they say, it will take several weeks for the re-evaluation process, so I suggest you check your rankings every week and see if the situation has changed. Worst-case scenario: If nothing changes after more than two months, you’ll have to re-think about whether you had identified the problem correctly, and then make a new reconsideration request – because it’s pretty much the only instrument you have to work with it.
Director, Online Marketing
Every problem comes with a solution