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Here is what I did:
I used to have interlinked domains, with much crosslinking.
I had them for over 3 years (I came up with the idea before Google was even born). I have always tried to stay away from the SEO dark side, i.e. I did what the SEs wanted. So in the last year, when Google started penalizing my sites (PR 0's and then recently getting dropped from the database), I got off my lazy rear and started removing the crosslinking.
These sites are not spam at all. Each group consists of about 6 sites in the same field, but each site is about a different colour of widget. The sites are very information heavy, and with original and fresh content.
I recently sent in a reinclusion request, following the instructions from GoogleGuy at [webmasterworld.com...]
I told then what I had been doing, and what I did to remedy the situation (removing the crosslinks), included a list of all my sites, and asked them to look into the penalties I have. I included my WebmasterWorld name, and GoogleGuys.
I got an autoresponse saying to visit [google.com...]
NO KIDDING! Where do you think I got the info to revamp the sites in the first place!
Has anyone else gotten such a miserable response from the Google reinclusion requests?
Does anyone have any advice about what I should do next? Or should I just scrap the whole list of sites?
One very dissapointed Dude :(
If your site was removed for cause, you may as well scrap it. Permanently redirect the urls for your visitors' and link partners' sake, but start fresh.
Within a month or so, you may be back in the game.
The shortest route is to immediately scrap your spam-ridden domains as soon as you notice that they were caught. That way you're back in the game in about a month, instead of wasting time trying to contact Google, not hearing back, calling, waiting, calling, etc., then waiting the final two months for reinclusion.
If your domain is a recognized brand, you'll just have to wait - buy PPC ads in the meantime.
Hmm...now THAT sounds scary. :( With Google being so dominant in the search market, this does result in webmasters living in a constant state of Googlenoia. Always filled with fear and dread that out of the blue Google will somehow squish your site like a cockroach. I had assumed that it was just bizarre algo shifts, or just bugs in the Google system, that were the worry. I wasn't aware the Google Death Penalty was handed out to innocent sites for no good reasons.
Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.
Eventually you may hear that they have reconsidered (they'll never admit an error), and that your site will be restored within 2 months - yes, even then you have to wait two more months.
Perhaps the reason that Google never admits to making mistakes is that they are not totally confident that the law is full square behind them with respect to constitutional rights to express an opinion.
It therefore follows that any reinclusion request should be accompanied by an admission of wrongdoing as well as an apology. We live in strange times!
Permanently redirect the urls for your visitors' and link partners' sake, but start fresh.
I'd even be skeptical of redirecting a poisoned URI. I too was once in a similar situation. After a year I decided to just start over. It is not worth the stress nor do you want to have that lifelong disability. Certain penalties never go away. ;)
A permanent redirect of a poisoned URI is guilt by association. I wouldn't want to take the chance of redirecting any of that guilt to the new URI.
Would it matter? Google crawl PR0 or gray / grey sites how often?
So why not redirect? Get the directories and other SE's to change your listing (resubmit to SE's, advise directories), then remove redirect? I don't see how Google would know, or even mind. If they really minded, then webmasters with banned domains would point them to their competitors! Or is that the deal?! If so, scary!
...and it's possible, that they will *boot your sites* for *never* doing a *single thing wrong*
I agree with you Jeremy G. I've seen some sites get penalized for doing absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, I've got a couple that were not crosslinked, did not do anything spammy (not even affiliate links), and it got dropped fromn the index. I've been petitioning to get it back in since (3 months ago).
It has since gotten it's PR back, but it still isn't in the index. I expect it's garbage now.
!This is a site that did nothing wrong... NOTHING!
Redirect, but add a Disallow * in your robots.txt of the banned site.
Yeah, that is what I have been doing. Seems to be the only solution to PR0's and gray bars:
Rebuild from scratch.
One thing I haven't tested is just recopying the site on another domain (once the original is out of the index).
Has anybody tried this?
Did you just have your sites poiniing to each other in the footer. That is not a penalty. Never has been. There are too many sites that have not been penalized for that.
And there are many that have. Me included. Is there a "safe" limit? 5 links? 10 links on each index page of every site? Risk it by all means.. some get away with it for months, years or just days...
It may be a caned response but I have a feeling that this response is only sent when they can still find a violation on your sites. If I were you I would study carefully each guideline at [google.com...] and then scan the sites in question with a fine comb looking whether something was left there.
My advice, dump the domains start again, sleep well at night :)
I too have never had a proper recovery for any site which attracted a PR0 penalty.
Even worse, I've bought domains only to subsequently discover that they had a PR0 penalty in a past life, so this thing transcends domain expiry and re-allocation.
Not fair? No it isn't... but it's fact. You have little choice but to curse and start again.
Especially in the light of the "niche-is-nice" approach that we increasingly see in many areas, supported by the SE's algos - I can't see penalties for a healthy cross linkage. Question remains, what's healthy then?
Maybe GoogleGuy can fill in a blank here?
It means they just don't have the time to answer emails or investigate such things...
One client who complained about Dominic SERPS to google got a formula response telling them it was all automatic and to check the guidelines, and then when Dominic & Esme settled, their site shot back up to the top again.
They just seem a little busy right now!
i didn't have to email google to figure that it was some sort of a dupe content penalty, or something similar. i fixed the titles (all of the pages had different content already, and the site was pr5 with pr4 sub-pages prior to the penalty).
in april the site showed back up in the index, but as a pr3 with white bar on all sub-pages. it's been like that since.
i'm glad that i don't rely too heavily on google. ranking on other se's is through the roof, and generates enough traffic to sustain a relatively high level of income. if i did rely on google, i would have been EXTREMELY pissed. there was nothing wrong with the site then. there's nothing wrong with the site now, but i don't think that there is a quick way to rebound from a penalty. it's crap.
i believe that odp has said it best: humans do it better. although, crooked humans, and a lack of volunteers, can make it seem like that's not the case...but i believe it is. dmoz>google
"although, crooked humans, and a lack of volunteers"
Oh, don't get me started. When I get started, I can not stop. I have as much regard for Google's decision to more closely / importantly use ODP's "data" as I have my next door neighbour's car alarm.
Sooner or later the smell will begin to bother them and they will just put you back in if it is spam-free :)
I know I would do it if I was ever kicked out :)