The dreaded Google black list. The list that no one wants to be on, but it seems even more than we could estimate are showing up on this list. According to Forbes.com as of November 2013 there were a reported 10,000 suspicious websites per day being quarantined. The cause of the quarantine is supposedly because of sites infected by malware, but here are other ways of getting your site removed from Google. You may be thinking: “How would I know if I am on this black list?” or “What do I need to do to get off this list?” Well, lets run through how to know when you’re in trouble and how to avoid being on such a list in the first place.
The first place you would need to go is your Google Webmaster Tools account. This would be the message center that Google uses to display different aspects of your site as they see them. If Google has black listed you for malicious software on your site, this is where you’ll see it.
Over the last few years Google has rolled out several updates to help create a “better user experience”. In doing this Google has set stricter guidelines to measure websites so that visitors to the site receive the appropriate information they were looking for when they typed in a keyword or a question. Sometimes Google delivers a message to you in Google Webmaster Tools to let you know you are violating their guidelines. Another way to know that your site is suffering because of one of these updates is by seeing a significant drop in rankings and traffic. At this point, panic is an appropriate response.
Let’s look at a few other reasons why your site might not be showing up in Google:
- Article Marketing – Large scale article marketing, also known as “spinning,” involved taking one article and spinning it (making minor adjustments) hundreds of times. This led to hundreds of links to a website and, for a period of time, great rankings. However, Google got wind of such practices and shut them down pretty quick by penalizing you, either manually or algorithmically.
- Buying or Selling Links – A big Google no-no! It sounds pretty self explanatory, but let me give you a little bit of info. A third-party contacts you promising you what sounds like a great deal (either guaranteed rankings if they’re selling or money for simply including a link on your website if they’re buying). They hope you don’t even understand the consequences of such a proposal, and if you do raise questions, they will claim that Google would never find out, because the links are pointing to intermediary sites causing what some would consider a “Link Wheel” or a “Link Pyramid.”
- Keyword Stuffing – Keyword stuffing may come naturally to some but always reads unnaturally. Repeating the same keyword over and over again in hopes of truly getting the point across. Well, it doesn’t work and Google doesn’t like it. This makes for a horrible user experience and makes your content look spammy. Big red flags and Google is not afraid to take action on this one for sure.
- Un-natural Anchor Text – One of the things that I have seen lately is using the same anchor text over and over and over again trying to make a specific page show relevancy for that term. You need variety. Having relevant anchor text is great, but is not always needed. Try using more long tail phrases instead of the exact words you are trying to rank for and maybe sometimes no link at all. If you think Google can’t see or crawl your content, then you are sorely mistaken. They can and do crawl the content.
These are a few of the more common ways of getting black listed by Google. One suggestion for you when you are link building or looking for a company to link build for you is to make sure that the practices listed above are not being done. If companies make unrealistic promises to “get you indexed”, “get you X amount of links in a certain amount of time,” and my favorite “get you YOUR desired rankings”. These should be red flags. You should at this point turn and run the other direction. To save you a headache of trying to get off the naughty list of Google, choose a company that is going to be a great representation of your brand and isn’t afraid to explain how they will deliver what they promise when doing online marketing.