Recently a partner of mine had 3 of his content websites delisted from Google search results and he asked for my advice. As a result, I did an extensive study into the possible scenarios where Google will delist a website from its search.
Instead of keeping my findings in my memory, I think it’s better to pen them down in this article so that you and I can refer to it in the future.
Here are some of the ‘proven’ reasons why a website is delisted from Google:
1) Repeated spelling and syntactical errors
It has been confirmed by Google spokesman that a website can be delisted from its search engine due to repeated spelling and syntactical errors.
Here’s what Google spokesman, Artie Su, said “When our systems syntactically analyze the words on a page, it’s very easy to determine whether correct grammar is being followed. When it isn’t, particularly if the errors are consistently repeated over a period of time, the site gets downgraded. That’s because most spammers and creators of junk commercial sites don’t do any kind of quality control. Grammar check is an easy way to spot them.”
If your website repeatedly contains a particular misspelled word, or it’s primarily made up of junk content (such as those computer generated content), you are at a high risk of being delisted from Google search.
2) Adding a large number of external links in a short time
If you, for whatever reason, add a lot of external links to your website, you can be delisted from Google search.
One possible scenario is where your server is hacked and spammers add lots of links to your website without you knowing. Most of these links are hidden. You won’t see them unless you study the source code.
Another possible scenario is when you are too active in link exchange. Let’s take link directories for example, most link directories will have an option for you to link back to them. If you spend one whole day exchanging links with 200 link directories, your website is at risk. (Note that I’m talking about external links from your website to other websites, not incoming links from other websites to your website.)
3) Sitemap error
This is a rare problem but it can happen. Your server may block Google bot from crawling your site. If you realize that all your websites in the same server are delisted from Google, this may be the reason. To solve the problem, you’ll have to inform your server about it.
This is a technical problem. If you want for info, it’s better to read this article: http://beecherbowers.com/2009/02/03/google-sitemap-timeout-errors/
4) Hidden links
Hidden links can get your website delisted from Google.
A typical trick to hide your links by making the color of your link same color as the background, so that your visitor cannot see them but the search bot can.
Another common trick is by putting the links in an invisible <div> tag.
5) Doorway pages
The idea of a doorway page is to present one version of the page to the search engines while showing another version to the visitors. This is against Google’s principle, which is “Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users.”
I’ve just started to explore the issue of being delisted from Google. In the next few weeks (or even months), I’ll be doing several things to see if I can get the 3 websites listed in Google search again. As usual, I’ll keep you updated on any interesting discoveries.
Last but not least, I’ll end this article with 2 useful links from Google:
What to do if your site isn’t doing well in search
How to ask Google to reconsider your site