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Client banned from Google - now what?

 6:27 pm on Sep 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a client that is a large organization - an important association with many people actively searching for them on the Internet. However, their site was redesigned by a design company who thought they were being smart by hiding text where it was grey on grey. This is obvious spam. The site has a pr5 and now shows no indexed pages and no cached pages. I told them to remove the hidden text immediately which they have done.
Now question is how do I get them back into Google. I wrote to webmaster@google.com but received an automated message directing me to Google's help center but there was no options for index problems.

Anyone have any ideas what I can do to help this client.


[edited by: tedster at 8:13 pm (utc) on Sep. 29, 2007]
[edit reason] remove specifics [/edit]



 8:12 pm on Sep 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

The procedure Google suggests is to establish a Google Webmaster Tools account and thereby verify the site ownership and/or responsibility with Google. Reconsideration requests should be made through the GWT account.

Be warned, once dropped from Google the site usually needs to be squeaky clean to be reincluded - the standard goes way up. Also, the communication is often still just one way - you writing to Google without getting feedback from them, although such feedback can happen. The information in a GWT account can also help fix other errors that might be making the site difficult to crawl and index.


 9:36 am on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

What he said in spades!

Remember that a reinclusion request involves human beings, and so is an expensive procedure from a Google POV ... if the site is NOT squeaky clean, any further requests later will probably not be viewed very sympathetically.

So if there's ANYTHING that the client has 'got away with' for years, or has simply not been realized (eg poor link choices), then now is the time to do a really thorough spring clean.

Also, do not assume that the 'problem' you found is the culprit ... there may be something else, maybe 'off site' (eg a link farm), that they don't know about ... or forgot to tell you about. Only Google knows for sure what got them banned.


 10:28 am on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd have my doubts hidden text per se would get a site de-indexed, could be due to the re-design or as Q suggests other irons in the fire....

Robert Charlton

 5:23 pm on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

What else did the design company do when they redesigned the site? Did they change the urls or the navigation structure? Did they add any whistles and bells, like Flash or javascript navigation, or even default Flash that prevents pages from being spidered if scripts aren't executed (spiders don't execute scripts).

What about things like page titles and content? How much did they change?


 6:26 pm on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Actually the redesign happened 2 years ago and thats when the hidden text was added. I was brought into the scene because I have helped other clients get out of similar troubles. The fun thing was it was the design company that made the mistake the hired me. I asked them very thoroughly about everything they had done and if there was any SEO company involved. Their response was that other than the hidden text the site was very basic straight html and no other outside involve with its code. I was surprised that it took two years before Google banned the site. It would have expected Google to have picked up the spam tactic quicker because it was very obvious.
I went through the site myself and it seems clean now so I going the Google Webmaster Tools as recommended. I hope it gets sorted soon.


 10:42 pm on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

What about links?

A Google ban is MUCH more likely to be a link problem.

Have any major 'link partners' (dread term!) gone bad?


 11:48 pm on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

links are all fine...though they link to their our associate partners on every page...these other associates are all .org's


 8:50 am on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

" links are all fine...though they link to their our associate partners on every page.."

Those that take a stricter interpretation of what can constitute a links scheme may not agree with that statement, either way those partner sites may also need some examination....


 11:11 am on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

associate partners on every page


Every page?


How many?

btw. I too have my doubts about hidden text.
Except if the color codes were matching.
I see hidden text all the time.


Which is silly by the way, for keyword density doesn't count for anything anymore ... words only found in the content area and not in the title/inbound anchors have little effect... and words that are out of place, irrelevant, too competitive will sooner have a site penalized than rank at the top... Google doesn't seem to care anymore either, so...

I don't get what's the point in adding any.

Hidden text LINKS... now that's something completely different.


This last remark was more like a question. *hint*


 2:41 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

links are all fine...though they link to their our associate partners on every page...these other associates are all .org's

And I'm sure they'll say nice things about you too - but this is too important to make assumptions.

You may have a little link farm of your own. The fact your partners are all orgs is nothing to Google; if you are all mutually linking to 'help' each other, you could be in big, big, big trouble.

Google's advice on linking applies to you as to every other site; kepp it relevant, avoid inappropriate reciprocals - and check that ALL your partners are 'clean'.

If you've been innocently pooling links with a site whose designers have been even sillier than your own, then you need to drop them. Fast.


 2:57 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

A couple years ago I rescued a client's site from a 22 month ban, because an SEO company had put them into a link farm. There were only a few links left on my client's site, but there were a gazillion of them out there in the world linking to my client that were obviously irrelevant and spammy. So check your incoming links as well as your outgoing ones. We got back in by cleaning up all the links on the client site, and filing three re-inclusion requests where we expressed contrition, explained exactly what had happened, and what we did to fix it, before we were finally let back in. Obviously, we couldn't remove the links out there on other sites, but we did what we could. Once in, we were back up and ranking on the first page within 3 months.


 5:13 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Actually, these links should be fine. For example one is a link to Adobe. All the sites are important resources for the educational associate not a link farm by any stretch of the imagination. Though I actually felt they shouldn't link out so much from every page to same sites more because of pr drain. These sites for the most part don't link back.


 7:19 am on Oct 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is rarely ever a reason to sitewide link out to any .org website, so I would start there by asking them to remove those if possible.

If not, simply add nofollow to all of the links on the rest of site leaving the site. This allows all the benefits for the user, but removes one more control property from your list of possibilities.

I would check the entire website by hand for any hidden links as has been aluded to eearlier.

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