Google Slap: A Rant by Somebody Who Should Know Better

The thing about Google is that they will abruptly remove your site from the Google index for apparently no reason.

All of a sudden your site is attracting more interest amongst visitors and maybe even some buyers. You invest your hard earned money into producing unique content and you may even syndicate that content on other websites to gain links on third party sites.

These third party sites could be article directories, press release archives, social networks, forum signatures or even guest blog entries including blog comments. So many ways to promote your website… ;)

You spend time creating all this unique content and you even run the risk of it getting ripped off by some miscreant only to have Google de-index your site. Then all the little parasites who have ripped your entire site or perhaps just repeately stolen little bits here and there start to grow into giants. Ranking number 1 and number 2 for your content. And monetizing your content with high profits (i.e. no expenses in developing the content)! Surely this can not be fair? You did not even do anything “sneaky”. Just the bad guys are the sneaky ones and they mix it up and pop-up with something new every month or two.

Google Slap

Even though you have played with SEO game cleanly without resorting to the sneaky stuff that the Google webmaster guidelines discourage… BAM! Some automated googlebot or maybe even a human reviewier from Google bans your website.

Say good-bye to traffic and farewell to even a meager return on your hard-earned “investment”. Maybe you scraped by eking out grocery money from you small-time website or maybe you are SEO savvy and made enough from your super site to live comfortably without having to work a full-time job for “the man”.

Either way, if your website depended on the all-powerful Google search engine for the majority of your traffic, then you, the neophyte SEO or the wildly successful online marketer, are back to where you started months or years ago… No traffic, and no income. :(

Ok enough whining! What to do about being banned by Google.

Play by the Rules

Just some ideas… The list is far from exhaustive… It is best to review the Google Webmaster Guidelines, but even that document is as clear as mud. So keeping with that tradition, the Freshbot.com list will be vague and meaningless too.

  • Submit a re-inclusion request to Google which is found somewhere in the webmaster tools section. But that options is untenable if you manage multiple websites for your portfolio or those of your customers.
  • Remove anything… um… (to use an overused Google word) “sneaky”. This would include paid links, pop-ups, pop-unders, aggressive advertising, subdomains, triangular linking. Pretty much anything that can be used to make a buck off your hard work. Sad but true… Who knows for sure?
  • Create a blog. Or redesign your site as a blog. Then make quality blog posts.
  • Create a Sitemap
  • Ping Google, Yahoo and MSN Live with your sitemap url
  • Avoid inter-linking your sites. Perhaps even if the sites you link to are related. Especially if they share many of the same template characteristics. Linking to a related niche, but using the same or similiar template, will probably get you zapped. But another idea is to create multiple sites around a particular niche. All with high value content (no duplicate content) and most definitely visually appealing and different templates. Mark these words. Templates are not fun to buy, create or tweak, but investing in a templating solution that allows you to change template quickly is poetry. Hmmm… That sure sounds familiar. Anyway that is why blogs are well recommended by Freshbot.com for Google SEO benefits.

Google Fight

Attention Google: Please stop reading this NOW… Because you are creating a whole class of savvy webmasters that may just start mucking with your business by fighting back. Imagine that many webmasters and marketers are as smart as some of your PhDs. What what if they start to fight back by adopting so called black hat techniques. Or in Google Talk, “sneaky stuff”. Principally by becoming moving targets. For example, some know that the reason why you, Google, became a domain registrar was so that you can use this information to gather more information about who owns what site. Which ultimately helps to discover and ban sites and/or networks of sites.

No doubt your crack team of human reviews gets all warm inside when they discover the 50 or 300 site strong network from some little online marketer and takes them all out of the index at once. with no way to contact you to find out why or how to get back in.

Perhaps this was the reason why Google was sued recently by a website owner who is said to have lost 80 percent of his traffic after such a ban. Typical David and Goliath story with the “G” crushing the little guy.

Back to our story…

So let’s say that you have had it with Google! Since you are now broke, but still have time before the next bills come due. You may be tempted to try some things like the following:

  • Transfer your domains to another owner. Either as an outright sale or as a way to get back into the index. Since Google is obviously monitoring domain registrations and would reasonably “reset” the Google index upon learning about an “ownership change”, it stands to reason that a disgruntled SEO webmaster would simply change up the domain name records and maybe even transfer the site to another host for good measure. While this is not recommended, a HostGator Reseller Account works wonders for something “sneakly” like this.

Diversify your traffic sources

If you do not want to resort to anything sneaky and you are actually not going to market using shady techniques, then the best advise we have is to try to adhere to the Google webmaster guidelines. But either way you seriously need to consider way in which to diversify your internet traffic sources.

Here are a few:

  • eMail marketing with something like aWeber or Constant Contact
  • Social Networking
  • Newsletters or something creative like the “un-newsletter” option provided by ChangeDetect
  • Pay Per Click advertising. Hey why not reward Google for de-indexing your website by paying Google lots of money to display your website advertisement! That will teach Google to never de-index your website! Sounds crazy, but that is what happens. It is like Google is the online mafia where you as the poor online shopkeeper has to pay the local boss, extortionist or even monopolist.
  • You can try paid inclusion with Yahoo or MSN Live. It is expensive, but Paid inclusion guarantees you a listing in their search engines. The only problem is that you have to have deep pockets (i.e. be a big, rich company) for this to really make sense.

Well that is all for now…

Attention Google: If you are reading this, please keep in mind that we told you not to read this. But we should not be surprised. We often write robots.txt rules that you routinely ignore. But at least you are not as bad as Yahoo in this respect.

By the way, not only are we big bad SEOs, we are not immune from getting Google Slapped. It can happen to anyone. It is really complicated explaining to SEO clients how their website was de-indexed from Google when all you were paid for was to make them a sitemap.

Customer to SEO (weeks 1 – 8): Hey we really like your services, these sitmaps have helped us get lots of traffic.
Customer to SEO (week 9): What’s going on?! Our sites are not int the Google index. Those sitemaps are really bad! Why did you recommend them. Let’s meet… blah blah

Another online revenue stream bites the dust.

Thank you Google! We don’t mind. Really…

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