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Could my robots.txt file be to blame?
Here's a snippett of the robots.txt file. Is this ok or is it keeping Google out?
There's more, but that's essentially it for the Googlebot User-Agent line.
I may just need to ask G what the deal is. I know that they're "banning" my site to some degree. I can search for unique text strings on the front page of my site and none of them show up in the G serps.
However (again) I can do a site:domain.com search and I get a couple of thousand pages returned.
My PR is zero. Before 1995 it was 6.
I'm baffled. We're a nationwide services company, with many affiliates and we're kicking butt on the other SEs.
Google does not like directories. A site with "thousands of pages" sounds like a directory. It is therefore likely that nothing you can do will fix the problem.
In order to request reinclusion you now have to stipulate that you did something wrong and fixed it. This is hard to do if you don't know what you did wrong. It is even harder if you did not do anything wrong and were suppressed because Google doesn't like your site. Google does not solicit reinclusion requests from sites that they banned or suppressed for editorial reasons.
When I looked at their site way back when they also had a very bad www/non-www issue that also amounted to massive subdomain cross linking as well.
Ask EFV all about that little problem or you could ask me, been there, done that, don't care to repeat that.
If your "nationwide" business is a large business, you are probably in luck. Google pretty much does not ban or use site-unique bias on sites belonging to large businesses strictly for editorial or competitive reasons. (I am not aware of a single case.) There are huge multi-million page data base driven and highly duplicative sites (e.g. Amazon) out there that are heavily indexed in Google. (They will indeed ban a site that uses deceptive practices regardless of business size but will usually rapidly reinstate a large business that corrects the problem. Smaller businesses might have to wait a long time for a sandbox penalty to run out.)
I would recommend the following:
Submit the site for reinclusion. If you have inadvertently triggered a spam trap (seems unlikely), they might tell you and you can fix it and resubmit. If the site was suppressed for editorial reasons you will get no response. The people in the reinclusion dept. certainly don't have the authority to reinclude sites that violate Google's editorial policy, regardless of merit. The reinclusion procedure is clearly only for sites that have fixed a deceptive practice.
If that doesn't work try to contact Matt Cutts. Explain the nature of the business and why the material in the site is non-duplicative and helpful to customers. That has worked for some people. Matt has more discretion regarding merit of your case.
If that doesn't work have someone in your management try to call Google. Writing to Google is probably futile. They likely get 1,000 letters a day that go directly into a special dumpster.
If that doesn't work, you are probably "SOL".
[edited by: tedster at 5:07 pm (utc) on April 4, 2007]
To make a blanket 'Google does not like directories' statement is not entirely accurate. There are ways to get a large directory indexed and ranked, but you will need to follow the 'clear hierarchy' Google suggests to a T. Make sure you *do not* duplicate titles, descriptions, or headings (unless there is a good reason to), and find a way to make a 'clear' indication of where the most important page(s) are located.
I have been 'playing' with a directory for the last two years and after running multiple versions of the software I am using in different sections of the site to gauge search engine responses I have found the toughest time a SE has with a directory site is finding the 'key' page for a search term, and where all pages are 'weighted' evenly by whatever system you are running, *no* (or very few) pages will rank.
IOW If you have a 2000 page directory site, and try to weight 2000 pages evenly, you may end up having issues, but if you are running a 2000 page site and clearly define 200 'upper-level' pages, which allow visitors to easily locate all 2000 pages, you will probably have an easier time.