What to Do When Your Website’s Been Banned
Google is, for all practical purposes, the only game in town when it comes to web marketing. That’s why catching a site ban from them is the Internet equivalent of a death sentence.
Affiliates who find themselves in this situation can’t be blamed for panicking. Fortunately, there are few steps that can be taken right away to help stop the bleeding and get back in Google’s good graces.
Confirm the Ban
While it’s natural to assume that major drops in organic traffic are due to a ban, that’s not always the case. Most SEO sources suggest taking the following steps as soon as you suspect that your sites fallen off of Google’s radar:
1. Make certain you’re still being indexed – You may be asking, “How do I check my site rankings when my site is no longer listed?” This is as simple as typing, “site:yourdomain.com” into a standard Google search. If your posts are still coming up, the problem probably isn’t a ban.
2. Take a look at Google Webmaster Tools – If there’s an error somewhere on your site that’s diverting traffic, this should ferret it out.
3. Check the Headlines – Bit drops in traffic are frequently the result of Google’s latest algorithm update. If the second coming of Penguin has just rolled out, you might not have been banned after all.
Figure Out Why You’ve Been Banned
There are two main reasons why you may have been banned and both are worth looking into.
- You Have Offended Google – Are you dabbling in a bit of black hat SEO? If you are, you may be in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and that’s always a sure path to a banned site. Once you’ve eliminated other, potential causes, you’ll want to spend some quality time with the fine print in the guidelines.
Getting Out of the Dog House
Getting of the Google dog house is going to take some time, patience and work, so don’t expect overnight results.
You’ll definitely want to start out by addressing any issues that came up from your work with GWT and the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Once you’ve fixed the problems, you can file for a reconsideration request.
Reconsideration requests are not an opportunity to air your grievances with Google. This is the time to fess up to your mistakes and clearly state what you’ve done to address them. (Think of how you might speak to a traffic cop who is still deciding whether or not to write you a ticket.)
Now comes the tough part, hurry up and wait. Because Google reviews these requests manually, you may be in for a bit of a wait. Sadly, this wait may be as long as several months.
Of course you can avoid this situation entirely by engaging in the kind of by-the-book SEO, Google recommends.