If you suddenly notice traffic dropping on your website from Google Search, you start assuming your website is banned or penalized by Google. There is lots of difference between getting banned and receiving a certain level of penalty from Google bots. With today’s special post, I’m aiming at helping those website owners and bloggers who are facing the similar kind of issues on their websites and really don’t know how to go about fixing them.
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How You will know if Your Website is Banned or Completely Deindexed by Google?
If your website is banned from Google, It is gone from Google database and it will not be seen for any kind of search query on Google even for longest tail keywords you try. Here are some commands you need to run in Google search to know whether your website is banned by Google or not.
- Run site:yourdomain.com query on Google and if you happen to see no data against your website, it means Google has no data stored for your website in its database. And if you happen to see some results, thank God you are not banned by Google. If you are seeing drop in traffic on your website, your website may become victim of any of Google Algorithmic updates or you have done something against Google Guidelines.
Image Credit SearchEngineLand.com
- Run link:yourdomain.com command on Google search and try to find number of backlinks Google is showing for your website. If earlier Google was showing some backlinks for your website and now seeing no backlinks, it’s a serious problem.
If you are seeing no result against both of above commands, your website is surely banned or completely Deindexed by Google. And this is the worst kick a website can get from Google bots. Its not going to be easy to get your website back in Google index or Google databases again. We will be discussing about the thing which will result in banning of your website on Google search and how to go about recovering from it.
How You will know Your Website is facing a Penalty from Google?
If you are seeing some results against the first command at least, it means your website is not banned in Google and if you happen to see major drop in your website traffic, its means its facing a penalty from Google. If you happen to see your website nowhere in top on Google for its domain name, its mean your website is facing a severe penalty from Google.
But if your website is ranking on top for its brand or domain related terms, but you are noticing your website rankings going down for some of targeted keywords, there is every chance your website is not going well with the latest algorithmic updates from Google.
Some Possible Reasons Why Your Website is Banned or Penalized in Google
If your website is banned from Google, its means you have somehow gone against their quality guidelines that are mentioned on this page. Here are some reasons which could result in complete deinxeding of your website from Google search:
1. Your Website is Hit by Google Algorithmic Updates
For some time, Google is making lots of algorithmic updates with the intension to show best results to its users. There is every chance your website is not matching with few of its updates, due to which you are noticing drop in traffic on your website.
Here are some recent algorithmic updates from Google:
Google Layout Update: It was implemented to lower down the rankings of those websites that shows too many ads above the fold.
Google Penguin Update: This update was carried out with the intention to lower down the rankings of those websites that were using black hat seo techniques to improve their rankings on Google.
Exact Match Domain (EMD): It was released to bring down the rankings of those exact match domains which were enjoying top rankings on Google just because of a keyword rich domain name.
Google Panda Update: With this update, Google is aiming at bringing down the rankings of low quality and thin websites from Google search.
DMCA Penalty: Google recently started taking DMCA complaints against a website very seriously. They are going to penalize those websites that receives several copyright violation requests made against.
Google Over Optimization Penalty: If you end up getting lots of links to your website using the same anchor text, you may face an over optimization penalty from Google.
2. You Lost Backlinks to Your Website
Majority of small scale websites depend heavily on few backlinks they gained over period of time to maintain their website page rank and rankings on Google. It’s quite possible, your website rankings on lots of targeted keyword are dropping because links for your website are dropped from there or the value of a link coming from such resources is reduced or gone completely in Google eyes. If you remember lots of traditional bulk link building practices like directory submissions, blogroll exchange and social bookmarking submissions are not working these days.
If you are living in a competitive industry, you need to keep on building quality backlinks to your website from different sources on regular basis. You should not think of stopping link building activities for your website. You should check my link building guide here that will keep your website safe especially from Panda and Penguin, two animals from Google.
3. Using Hidden Text
Using hidden text or links are the practices of past and if you are still using them, you are going against Google guidelines. Google bots are getting more intelligent with each update and they can easily find the hidden text section on your website even if you tried hiding it through certain CSS tricks. If you accidentally end up adding some hidden text on your website, remove it instantly.
4. Using Cloacking
Cloaking is the practice of serving different content to search engine bots and users. So there will be difference in the actual content you will be offering to Google bots and users of your website. If you are thinking of making a fool of search engine bots through such practices, stop doing them as Google bots will soon find you.
5. Doing Excessive Keyword Stuffing
There is no magic formula about how much keyword density you should maintain on your website pages. I think if you are keeping it one or two percent only, you will be able to keep yourself safe from any form of penalty or ban from Google. And if you think, your rankings on Google will improve as you increase the occurrence of targeted keywords in your content, you are making a mistake. You should use your keywords in a way they look natural to your readers and search engine bots.
If you are still using a keyword density in high ratio of 8 to 10%, a penalty from Google is not much away from you.
6. Doing Excessive Link Exchange or Buying Links
If you are doing excessive link exchange which may be coming in two way, three way exchange or any other way, you are violating Google Quality guidelines. To be on safer side you should stay away from link exchange type of practices and if you must do link exchange, do with very few and most trusted websites in your niche. Apart from excessive link exchange, you should stay from link buying. As Google automatic programs find you are involved in link buying or selling related activities, they will place a severe penalty or even a ban on your website.
7. Using Duplicate Content
If you are simply coping or just rewriting the content which is available on internet, you are soon going to be penalized or even banned by Google and other search engines. Google only wants to show high quality, well researched and original content to its users and not any type of copy paste work. Ideally you should be creating original and niche specific content only. Google latest algorithmic change which was Panda Update was aimed at lowering down the ranking of those websites that were not producing quality contents.
According to me, one cannot draft high quality content in 15-20 minutes time. Most of time, content which is created in this interval will be spunned or low quality content. You need to spend many hours in creating a single high quality content for your website. I know some famous bloggers in the blogging niche who used to spend 8-10 hours in writing their single post.
8. Thin Affiliate Website
Thin Affiliate sites are those that have no or very little original content. People who are running such websites have the intention of making money while selling different affiliate products from their websites. Most of time, they just copy and paste the content from websites they are affiliated with like Amazon, ClickBank, LinkShare, eBay etc. All search engines will soon detect your website content quality and then you will start facing penalties and bans from them.
Apart from this, sometime they use to copy content from Yahoo Answers and article publishing directory type of websites. If you really want to make lots of money from an affiliate website, you need to create lot of original content around your niche and it should be of such a high quality, people love linking to it naturally.
9. Malware or Suspicious Code on Your Website
Google looks to be taking every action to make sure their user’s browsing experience is very safe with them and thus they would not love sending people to those websites that contains malware, hacking, trojan or other type of suspicious code. Recently Google started notifying website owners about the possible malware attacks on their website through Google Webmaster Tools account. If you notice any malware warning from Google in your GWT account, it’s time to remove the problematic code from your website.
10. Too Many Broken Links
If your website pages contain too many broken links, you are sending a bad signal to search engine bots. You need to fix most of broken links that are available on your website. For standard website, you can use Xenu or W3C Link Checker to find cases of broken links. And for WordPress based blog, you can use broken link checker plugin which will not only help you find broken links on your website but at the same time help in fixing them.
11. Server Related Errors
If Google bots are finding problems in accessing your website or it’s taking too much time in responding, it could be problematic. If your website remains down for sometime only, that should not create much problem. But if your website remains down for many days without any proper server response code, you may notice drop in rankings for your website on Google.
12. Google Webmaster Tools Related Issues
If your website contains too many crawling or HTML related errors, that can create problems for you. You need to find and fix these errors from your GWT account. Crawling errors should be kept to minimum. Make sure each page on your website contains unique and sensible title and meta data.
We use to block certain type of files and folders from search engine access through robots.txt file. You need to closely look at this file and make sure your actions with this file are just blocking those URL’s you actually want to block. From GWT account, you can find the list of URL’s that are blocked through robots.txt file.
Filing the Reconsideration Request
Once you have cleaned up all the activities that were against Google Quality Guidelines, its time to file a reconsideration request to Google. When filing this request, you should mention the steps that you took and make sure, you will not be going against quality guidelines in future.
Lots of reconsideration requests are sent to Google on daily basis, so it may take several weeks for your request to process. This request is going to help only if your website was banned on Google and if your website was facing a certain level of penalty from Google, they will be automatically removed with time once you have taken the required actions. In the mean time, you should continue publishing high quality and comprehensive content on your website. You should also work towards building some quality backlinks for your website targeted pages using natural looking anchor text’s.
I hope from the above discussion, you will be able to justify whether your website is facing a penalty or ban from Google. Apart from this, now you will have many action elements to work on to get your website back in Google index and top rankings for its targeted terms. How are you going about checking your website performance in Google search and if it’s going down, how you will be going about to improve it.