Banned By Google?

by SMD 

A couple weeks ago, I was investigating a drop off in traffic on one of my niche sites and realized that it had been booted from the Google index. Nothing obvious came to mind about why this might be. I hadn’t knowingly broken any of Google’s guidelines for webmasters.

When I saw these posts on Matt Cutts’ blog [is it just me or does he desperately need a new WordPress template?], I thought I’d stop by and add my 2 cents to the call for feedback. If you’re going to ban a site, and possibly dramatically affect someone’s livelihood, how about shooting off an email with a list of things that are “breaking the rules”? Anyways, while reading through replies to the comments, this one in response to a similar post to mine, stuck out:

…First, you are linking to a site or sites which are banned. You need to either remove them entirely, or add the rel=”nofollow” tag, otherwise, you’re getting banned as well (by association). It sucks, I know, but you have to check all your outgoing links (and on a big site, that can be very, VERY tedious)…[Source]

Now I do a lot of link exchanges on that sites and no I don’t check to make sure all my partners are “clean”. That seems like a hell of a lot of work…so off I went to find something to help with the task. My theory is that I’m not a very original thinker so someone else has probably thought of, and created, everything I need; and in fact I was correct.

On the SEOChat forum, one of the moderators had written Is Banned By Google? which is a cool little free app that will validate all your link partners and tell you if any of them are banned from Google. Sure enough I found about 10 sites that I was linked to that had been banned, so I was able to easily give them the heave-ho and hopefully untarnish my reputation with the mighty Google. [Next step is to file an reinclusion request].

The devious part of me says something like this in response to this particular section of the Google algorithm….”so why don’t you, for your next niche, set up 2 sites, one is the good site with clean links from only loosely related sites. The other one is a throw away site and you set up link exchanges with all of your competitors in the niche. Then you go on a rampage and break every rule in the Google guidelines and get banned. Wait a week and all your competition will be banned by association. Now your ‘clean’ site is king of the niche!”

Mmmm, seem like a silly rule to me, but if your SEO hat is a little less than snowy white, it may be worth a go. Otherwise grab the checking tool and start polishing those links up a little.

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