At SEO creative we believe in ethical SEO, by playing by the rules it takes longer to get results but the results have a bigger impact and last longer. Not all webmasters work like this and your site can be penalised by Google, this may be through a filter where only certain keywords don’t rank, or they may ban your website completely. Sometimes this can be a genuine mistake or perhaps you have been using black hat techniques and have been caught out.
Firstly it is important to find out if you have been penalised SEO can take time so people can get frustrated by the length of time and think a filter or penalty has been applied when it hasn’t.
Make sure that your site is accessible by Googlebots by making sure no pages are blocked by robots/noindex, or any Java script, also make sure your content is unique.
Once you’ve established no code is blocking the Google bots there are 2 simple tests to see if a penalalty has been applied;
- Type in site:www.domainname.com into the Google search box if no pages are coming up in the index you have aproblem and the site has been dropped
- Copy some of your sites content and do a Google search for it– If your content is unique you should always be number 1 for your content, if this is not the case you culd have been penalised or a filter may have been applied
So you’ve tried the two steps above and you are sure your site has been penalised – what do you do next?
Don’t worry this is a step back in your campaign but it isn’t the end of the world you can apply to Google to be reincluded but first you need to find out what why you were penalised in the first place and make sure your site is perfect and abides by all of Google webmaster guidelines before submitting your reinclusion request.
Some basic checks and changes you should make are;
- Hidden Text – Google doesn’t take kindly to people trying to decieve it and hidden content is a quick way to get penalised. Any content that is white on white, or hidden in Java script forms need to be removed. You can test this by disabling the CSS on your site.
- Content – Make sure all your content is unique and not copied from other sources, suppliers. Google likes sites to be unique and relevant so copying is a big no no!
- Spammy links – Check your inbound links if you have 100’s of links from irrelevant sites, or adult sites such as porn or gambling site they may have been blacklisted. There is some debate over the importance of this as you can’t control who links to you therefore a competitor could apply to a bad site for a link to you. What tends to happen is Google will strip these sites of their strength which will have a knock on effect on your site.
- Over optimised links – If you have been using aggressive link building techniques this looks suspiciously like paid links for your site. Indications Google looks out for is lots of keywords rich anchor text, a lot of links aquired in a short space of time etc, this can result in a ban. Use tools such as Google webmaster tools, Yahoo, Majestic SEO or linkscape to check your links.
Once you have checked through your site it is a good idea to get your SEO consultant to go through any subtle issues that may have caused the Google ban, once you and your SEO are happy you can file a reinclusion request to Google;Set up a Google Webmaster Tools account and verify the site by uploading the verification file to your server. By verifying the site you are proving you are the site owner which will authorise you to request re inclusion.
Whilst you are logged into your Webmaster Tools account go to Webmaster tools reinclusion page, here you can select the site you wish to submit a reinclusion request for, then follow the on screen instructions. When submitting the site for reinclusion you should also inform Google of the changes you have made to the site to warrant reinclusion.
Don’t request to be reincluded if you have not made the site changes as Google will see this as wasting their time and if you get the claim rejected you will have to make the changes and go through the process again. Google has a record of all reinclusion requests so don’t waste their time.