If your Web site was banned by Google

If your Web site was banned by Google for reasons like hidden text, invisible links, client-sided instant redirects, doorway pages etc., chances are the ban is limited to 30 days or a few months only. When you search for your domain name and you get a result page stating “Google knows zilch about that shady site”, and you previously had some listings on Google’s SERPs, then:

Save all your server logs and extract each and every request by a Googlebot.

Shortly after banning a site Google usually will drastically reduce its crawling frequency. That is Googlebot starts to check for suspected stuff, and no longer crawls for indexing purposes.

Look at every page requested by Googlebot. Double-check it for hidden stuff and artificial linkage. Fix the on-page mistakes (polite description for over-optimization). Delete the page if it is part of a thin-page series (high amounts of pages carrying low amounts of repetitive but keyword optimized textual content, a.k.a. “doorway pages”). Delete all (thin) pages which do a client-sided redirect to the homepage or a profitable landing page. “Deletion” means physical removal, not redirection to a clean page. If your doorway pages don’t respond with a honest 404 when Googlebot revisits them, the ban will not be lifted. Consider canned site-search results, thin product pages with full navigation (e.g. only SKU, name and image), and stuff like that shady too. If you think those pages are helpful for visitors though, then make sure SE crawlers cannot fetch or even index it.

Hire a professional SEO for a last check and a second opinion as well. Removing questionable stuff is a good opportunity to implement effective optimization.

As soon as the crawling frequency goes back to the old cadence, and you’re sure your site is clean, file a reinclusion request. Write up honestly what you did to cheat Google, explain how you’ve fixed your stuff, and why it can’t happen again.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a second successful reinclusion request. That means if you cheat again, even unintentionally, your site is toast.

If your site was suspended for 30 days or so, it can reappear on the SERPs even without a reinclusion request. However, filing a reinclusion request should not hurt, and doing it before an estimated algorithmic reinstatement can speed up the process, if the initial penalty was a hand job, which seems to require a human review to lift the ban.

Best of luck!

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