It’s a blogger’s worst nightmare. You’re making big bucks with your blog (say $100 per day), things are going great and then, BAM! Google removes you from their index. Overnight, your traffic drops to a trickle of what it was and your income falls off the cliff as well. What do you do now? Here’s a five step plan to get your site or blog back into Google if it’s been banned.
1 – Don’t Panic and Wait
If you think you haven’t done anything wrong, the best option is to simply wait it out. Google isn’t perfect and it’s indexing system does have glitches once in a while. I’ve known many webmasters who had their sites disappeared from Google only to show back up a week later.
If you haven’t done anything shady with your blog and find it missing from the Google index, chances are it’s just a glitch and it will return in a week or two. There’s no need to panic and no need to make any changes to the blog. If the blog doesn’t come back after a couple of weeks, then you can start worrying and proceed to step two.
2 – Correct What You Think You Did Wrong
If you think Google dumped you because you did something wrong, then the first thing you have to do in order to get back into the index is to correct the mistake. This is harder than it sounds because Google doesn’t tell you why they de-index a site.
To help webmasters stay on the right side of the tracks, Google created the Webmaster Guidelines. If you’ve been dumped, chances are you’ve violated one or many of those guidelines. It’s up to you to figure which rules you violated and then correct it.
3 – Send a Reconsideration Request
Once you bring your blog back into compliance with the Google Webmaster Guidelines, the next step is to submit a reconsideration request (used to be a reinclusion request). You do this at Google Webmaster Tools.
Fundamentally, Google wants to know two things:
- The pages that got your site banned are gone or fixed.
- That this is not going to happen again.
Additional tips from Matt Cutts:
I’d recommend giving a short explanation of what happened from your perspective: what actions may have led to any penalties and any corrective action that you’ve taken to prevent any spam in the future. If you employed an SEO company, it indicates good faith if you tell us specifics about the SEO firm and what they did–it assists us in evaluating reconsideration requests. Note that SEO and mostly-affiliate sites may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reconsider; such sites should be quite familiar with Google’s quality guidelines.
Don’t bother mentioning that you spend money on AdWords or you’re an AdSense publisher. The person who will look at your reconsideration request doesn’t care if you have a business relationship with Google. Remember, we need to know 1) that the spam has been corrected or removed and 2) that it isn’t going to happen again.
I would request reconsideration for one domain at a time. It looks bad if you had 20+ sites all thrown out at once, and you send a reconsideration request for 20 domains in one email.
It is my belief that the quality and detail of the reconsideration request is the deciding factor on whether Google lets you back in or keeps you out. Chances are a request that reads, “I’m Google compliance now. Please let me back in.” will fall on deaf ears. Here’s a video from Google’s webspam team with more tips on filing a reconsideration request.
4 – Hope And Pray
Once you’ve submitted your reconsideration request, there’s not much to do except hope and pray Google lets you back in. While Google has guidelines for webmasters, there doesn’t seem to be any guidelines on how they decides who gets back in and who stays out.
How long do you have to hope and pray? That depends on when Google reviews your request and on the type of penalty you have. Generally, you’ll be looking anywhere from two to six weeks, and sometimes longer, to have your site reviewed and reconsidered.
5 – Talk To The Man Himself
In the webmaster world, Matt Cutts is The Man. As the head of Google’s webspam team, he can front-line your reconsideration request and get you back into the Google index within a day. If you had no luck working with Google using the normal channels, then the next step would be to talk to the man himself. However, please make sure you corrected whatever got your banned and that your site is 100% Google compliant before trying to contact Matt.
Getting an audience with Matt is easier said than done. You can try to email him (a clever blogger will be able to find the email address) but it may never get to him because of the corporate filtering system. If you want to make sure Matt gets your email, the best way would be to have someone who is on Matt’s “Safe List” facilitate an introduction. That is what I did.
If you don’t know anyone who is on Matt’s contact list, you last chance is to corner him at a trade show. Matt is an extremely fair guy and if he tells you he will look into your case, he will. You just have to decide if it’s worth the expense of attending the show.