If your website disappeared from Google or rankings dropped drastically, here is what you should do.
If you ever watched your websites’ rankings closely you were at least wondering why your website is changing it’s position in G search results and sometimes even disappear. I personally have experienced this myself, when one day website is slowly claiming up and next day it’s nowhere to be found.
Here is how to determine whether website was Deindexed, Penalized (Manually or by Algorithm) or is it just a Google Dance or Sandbox.
1. Google Dance
It is when rankings are changing drastically. Like you were on the 2nd page and then suddenly on 6th page. This is very common for new sites. This is a normal process and what is happening – is that G is adjusting it’s index so your site may come back stronger in next 1-3 days. This especially common when you are building links to new site.
Tip here: Do not suddenly stop doing what you were doing and keep building links at the same paste. This will show G that links are not artificial and you deserve being ranked higher.
2. Google Sandbox
This is again for new websites. You have to prove to G that your website is actually worth being in it’s index and especially anywhere near the first page.
First you need to check whether your website was even indexed by G in the first place.
Tip here: Add new good quality content on a regular basis, at least 1-2 times a week. If you build links – do it at a slow paste, regular basis and diversify. Eventually website will come out of Sandbox in about a month. Good quality, high PR backlinks can pull you out of Sandbox quicker. So if you can get good backlinks – go ahead and get them. This will be helpful.
To check whether website was deindexed, type in Google.com (without quotation marks): “site:website.com”
Do you see your website showing? If no – website is deindexed. Meaning it is not in G’s index anymore.
One of the reasons for website for being deindexed or penalized is that Google determined malicious software on your website.
4. Penalized – site can be penalized Manually or Algorithmically
Penalty is when website is ranking very low or not ranking at all (but still in index).
Manually – G employee looked and your website and penalized it (for some period of time).
Algorithmically – Googlebot determined that something wrong with your website and considered it a SPAM. To fix this you have to stop whatever you did wrong. If it’s on-page (above the fold ads, hidden text, keyword stuffing) – fix it. If it’s off-page (suspicious backlinking most of cases) – stop whatever you were doing.
In some cases when you did just too many things at once and there is no way to determine what backlinking harmed you, I suggest stopping everything. You still should add good quality content time to time though. And high PR backlinks are always good.
Eventually your website can come back to where it was. It may take very long time as 3-4 month. So I suggest you just start working on other sites and don’t rush to put down the penalized one. Especially if you put lot of work and money in it.
Official Google responce on when are penalties lifted:
Before you jump into any conclusions, go to the Google webmaster tools (this is if you added your website there, which you should) and check if you have any messages from Google regarding your site.
I hope this post cleared things out a bit. Please ask me any questions, I will be more than glad to answer. Or just say Hi in a comment area below. I really appreciate it!