On May 20th 2012 something very strange happened to this website. Yes this website – Your favourite blog at OnlineIncomeStartup.com. The site simply disappeared from Google search results. Every incidence of my website on google was gone. I only noticed it after a few days when I searched my url on google to see the status on Google. I was shocked to find that all the links to my website on Google search are gone. I couldn’t easily figure out why because I haven’t been doing much promotions on the website and I was simply planning the site. The most interesting thing was, it was around 10 months since I updated the blog with a new post. You can find it yourself from the dates in the image below.
Here is what I did. I logged in to my webmasters tool, as you need to be logged in and must have your website submitted to webmasters before submitting the request. I then went ahead and copied the Google quality guidelines from the link Google mentioned in their message inside webmasters tool – Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In the below image you can find the 8 specific quality guidelines mentioned by Google in the bulleted list.
After copy pasting the bulleted list, I put a hyphen besides every point and compared each guidelines with my website, clearly stating how my website is adhering each of the guidelines. Also I made whatever changes I can make on my website to make it as perfect as I possibly can. Here are just a few of things I did. Some of the changes were made after I submitted the reconsider request.
Positive Changes I Made To My Blog
- I was having an inner blog at onlineincomestartup.com/blog where I used to get content published by others, since this could be an open door for duplicate content, I went ahead and deleted the entire username through which the guest posts were made and ofcourse deleted the posts along with it. There were a couple of thousand posts which all went to the trash folder. But all for good, I always wanted the site to be exclusive to my posts, so there couldn’t be any better time than this.
- I was already drafting a new blog post just before my website disappeared from Google. I was actually planning all the growth strategies for my website, which was what held me from blogging regularly. So yes new content posted on my blog, letting them know that my site is not inactive or stagnant.
- Then I noticed that I was having blank pages in my blog, like the about me page, which I haven’t yet filled. So I double checked to make sure every page is complete and that I have a working contact page (which I didn’t have).
- Then I noticed weird links in my previous post links section, when I checked I found that my theme created a link on the sidebar everytime I saved a post draft. And these links when clicked led to a blank “page not found” page. So I went ahead and deleted all drafts.
So I went ahead and submitted the google reconsideration request, clearly stating my innocence and how my website is in fact adhering to all the quality guidelines. After submitting the request I got this message in my webmasters stating that they received my reconsideration request and that they’ll review the site and will reconsider indexing my site if my site is nolonger violating any of the terms. Also I was asked to wait several weeks and also it was clearly stated that I may not get a reply.
So I simply went ahead and started working on my site, making new posts, making videos on youtube, thenbuilding natural traffic other than from google, using sources like forums, facebook, twitter, blog comments etc.
Initially I checked each and everyday to see if my site is back on google, then the checking became more infrequent as days went by and I was thinking and ideating how I can build traffic other than via Google. But to my surprise on June 26th just after 25 days of submitting the reconsideration request, I found my website url’s in google. So I ran to Google webmasters to check if there are any messages, and there it was as expected. Here is the message I got stating that the webspam team of Google had revoked the manual block they implemented on my site.
Let’s recap all the dates and incidence that happened by viewing it from inside the Google webmasters.
From the above image, you can see that I got a reply to my google reconsideration request in 25 days and I believe it was because I wasn’t engaging in much link building activity for this website. Initially after the block was taken, not all my pages were indexed and the site wasn’t ranking as well, but within a couple of days I got a great surprise. My site started showing up on first page of Google for my main keyword, not only that, my picture was also showing up beside my website, letting me know that my Google authorship was accepted. Here is how the search looks now…
So doesn’t it look awesome ? So don’t worry if your site disappeared from Google, just submit the reconsideration request and make the needed changes, you sure will get a reward for all the frustration. Since Google has penalized thousands and thousands of sites using the panda and penguin, it’s time for sites built with people in mind, to excel to the top. It’s time to change your focus from search engines to people and Google will find you out. So have you been hit by a google penalty ? What all changes are you making after the Google updates ? Do let me know by writing a comment in the comment box below…