SEO (search engine optimization) can be a risky endeavor. Ideally, you would like to enter into a relationship with an SEO firm with the best intentions. Unfortunately, if the company uses tactics that Google or other search engines frown upon, your rankings will pay the price. It doesn’t matter if the company uses these black hat tactics intentionally or not. If they’re used, your website might get banned in the process.
The tricky part is figuring out whether or not you have a banned website. Find out how to tell if Google has banned your website.
Is Your Site Indexed?
The first step to determine whether or not Google banned your website is by looking if your website still pops up in Google’s index. Simply check this by searching “site:www.(YOUR DOMAIN HERE).com”.
If Google indexes your website, every page indexed by Google will pop up in the search results. For example, if the search yields 200 results, this means your website has 200 pages indexed on Google. If you’re unsure how many pages your website has,this XML sitemap generator can show you.
On the other hand, if zero results show up or significantly less than your total number of pages, this is a sign you might have a banned website.
Google may have banned your website for a variety of reasons. Some of the usual red flags are:
- Keyword stuffing or hidden text on the site
- Heavy-handed SEO that borders on keyword spam
- Buying links from directories and other websites that exist purely to manipulate the search engines.
- Links from websites that Google regards as “shady”, such as porn websites, or link farms.
If your site seems fully indexed, that’s a good sign! However, there is more to look for.
Does Your Website Show Up For Anything?
Next, you should do a Google search for your domain name to see if your website shows up. Does your website show up on the first page? If not, Google is likely not penalizing your website. If Google indexes your website but it’s not ranking well or at all, it’s usually due to suspicious link building.
To potentially fix your website, start by cleaning any outbound links on your website that lead to questionable sources. If possible, also try to remove any inbound links to your website from websites you may have paid for a link on. After following these instructions,submit a reconsideration request through Google’s Webmaster Central.
If your domain name shows up when you search it, there are still a few more steps you need to check before you’re in the clear. One of these steps includes searching for unique phrases that appear in the title tags of your website’s pages.