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Why has my site disappeared from Google?



Why has my site disappeared from Google?

This is a very common question and it happens to the very best of websites. If you're sure your website was previously listed in Google and had some value, then has suddenly disappeared, you'll need to start investigating the reasons why and how you can resolve the problem.

We'll take a step by step approach and be methodical about this as it's the only way to truly determine the blame and hopefully resolve the problem.

Step 1 - How do I check if my website is listed with Google?

First of all, visit www.google.com and type your website address into the search box, then press search. If you get a result, you're in Google. Move on to Step 3. If not, then chances are you've either mispelled your domain name, so check carefully, otherwise, you're banned. In this case, move on to Step 2.

Step 2 - Help, my site has been banned from Google

The very first thing you have to do is clean up your website. If you have any of the following issues, remove or deal with them immediately.

>> Was your website down during Googlebots visit? If so, consider another hosting provider.

>> Duplicate websites are also dismissed. Check for your content on other peoples websites. Google may have favoured them over you.

>> Check and remove any hidden tricks or spam. White text on white background is common. This is likely to be the main reason for being banned or dropped. Check for hidden elements, doorway pages, client sniffers sending different content to different users etc.

>> Although you can't ulmimately control your inbound links, avoid bad neighbourhoods such as massive link farms, spammy directories full of adverts etc when seeking links.

Once you're sure your website is clean, write an email to Google explaining your circumstances. Tell them your website is now tidy and full of important information, there are no hidden tricks employed and that you have learnt your lesson. Also provide full contact information. If you have relied on a search engine optimisation company to promote your website, it is recommended to provide Google with their information too and it helps them get a better understanding of the tricks employed and how to provide a better service.

If done correctly, Google should respond and start to include your website within a few weeks, however, be prepared to wait.

Step 3 - Why has my Google rank be dropped?

First of all, is your site new? If so, you could be trapped in the highly controversial and theoretical "Google sandbox". Whether this really exists or not is unimportant as the symptoms most certainly do. The sandbox is like a probationary period for new sites. It can take months to climb out but if your site is under 6 months old then use this time to publish content rich information, articles and the like as well as getting some quality links from other relevant sources and directories. Be patient and keep watching results.

If your site is well established, been around a while and suddenly disappeared, then you'll need to check your inbound links. You do this by running a character check and entering "+www.yourdomain.com" into Google, then noting the results. This isn't the number of links Google associates with your PageRank, but the actual number of website pages that has your domain listed either by hyperlink or plain text. Write down the number of results.

Next run a link check. Enter link:www.yourdomain.com into Google and write down the results. This lists the number of sites offering value to your site that Google knows of so is very important to get as many as possible.

Analyse the results

Now, analyse the numbers. If you have no character check results, you must start getting inbound links to your website. Read up on my SEO article on how to start a marketing campaign.

If you have character check results but no link check results, then the links you are getting are the wrong ones.

Download the Google Toolbar and monitor PR of the pages your links appear. There are many ways of linking to websites and those that link to you must do so properly.

Rule: Your link must be a proper hyperlink and not a redirect through an ID. No JavaScript, Flash or other such links either. Proper hyperlink or nothing at all.

Another thing to note is make sure you see the location of where the link will be placed. It must have a PageRank value. Remember the Google Toolbar. Quality and quantity equals results.

If you have character check results and link check results then basically you need more of them. Remember, quality and quantity.

OK, so you have tons of links, both character check and link check. It's not your marketing that's the problem, it's the SEO side of the coin. Search engine optimisation consists of document structure and correct keyphrase placement.

I'll refer you back to my SEO article to get started there. Google, as do many other search engines, constantly shift the posts as to what they deem a relevant website which is why results and positions constantly move about.

This makes things extremely difficult to keep up with but it's important to stick to certain rules to be as consistent as possible.

Google will take time to display the changes you have made so be patient. It could well be that the competition have simply squeezed you out which does happen, however you'll know if you've suddenly taken a hit in the listings as it can be very immediate.

Ultimately, follow the steps laid out above, be methodical and be patient.

 


About the Author

Edward Clarke. Author of Optimising Your Website, and an IT Consultant for local UK Government and various European Union initiatives, Edward Clarke specialises in website accessibility, css, web standards and search engine optimisation. Visit Edward's consultancy website and his blog for more information.

 


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