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Getting Un-Blacklisted from Google Without Emailing Matt Cutts

This assumes you aren’t doing anything that violates their guidelines. I had a project website that had grown to generate several thousand visitors per month with most of the traffic coming from Google. The site had several top 10 listings across Google, Yahoo, and MSN, and even made a few hundred dollars per month through AdSense and Affiliate Links. Now keep in mind, when I say “project site”, that means it is a site that I built for the purpose of testing SEO strategies, not so much for making money (although the money is nice).

One day, I noticed my stats had tanked. After further research, I realized that the site had fallen out of the Google index. Please know this, when I test I do not use any black hat (or grey hat) techniques. So what happened? In most cases, you can’t really know for sure, but if you are truly following the rules, one possibility is a “bad neighborhood”. This is where you are somehow linked to the stuff Google doesn’t like – intentionally or not. This particular site’s web traffic was built exclusively through link building, and none of them were quality paid links such as Yahoo,, Best of the Web, etc. so there is a likelihood that it was connected to something that it should not have been.

Another cause of falling out of Google’s grace is being victim of a Google Dance, where google changes an algorithm and the rankings go awry.

So what to do in either case? Confirm that you are not violating any of Google’s Webmaster guideline and then go out and find more good, quality links. In this case, I wrote two articles and submitted them to two of the leading article submission sites. I also made comments on a few well-ranked blogs. Low and behold this was enough to do the trick, because when I checked the stats, I noticed that the Google traffic was back, and I confirmed that the site once again has several top ten listings. I guess I am glad I didn’t sell it when the Google traffic was gone (I did get an unsolicited offer for the site based on the traffic and database). Database? Why would I have a database for a project site? First, because in my book it’s an imperative, but secondly, it allows us to test nearly “EVERYTHING SEM” including viral marketing and email marketing. At 2,000 members and growing, as well as one unsolicited 4-figure offer, I’d say it’s a success in more ways than one.

And for those of you who don’t know who Matt Cutts is, he is an engineer with the Google Search team, who people frequently blame or run to whenever they have problems ranking on Google.

I hope that helps you get back on Google’s good side and enjoying rankings and traffic once again.

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6 Responses to “Getting Un-Blacklisted from Google Without Emailing Matt Cutts”

  • This happen to me once. And my traffic and postions are really drop.

    After read this, I hope I get my positions and traffic back.
    Thanks for posting this

  • EH:

    It seems as though Google is getting increasingly selective about what links are actually related to your site. When building links, it is import to remember to stick with sites or blogs that have related content to your own website. Usually doing this will help prevent your site from being blacklisted in the first place.

  • oldschool:

    @ Busby – Glad to be of help.

    @ EH – Agreed that good neighborhood can help keep you out of trouble with Google, but there are plenty of other factors such as “over optimizing”, black hat techniques such as hiding keywords or cloaking, and over submitting that could get you in trouble.

    Thanks to you both for stopping by.

  • I have a question about penalties. How to deal with those? My site just barely got to the 4th page of the organic Google search results for the keyword “cheapest airfare”, but suddenly the hosting that I used had network problems that took the server down for at least 5 to 6 hours. It was not my fault, neither I blame a hosting because servers do brake sometimes. The next day after the incident with the server, I searched for “cheapest airfare” and didn’t find my site listed in the search results. I checked 15 pages of the results. How do I get back? Thank you very much.

  • oldschool:

    @ Igor – You need to first determine whether or not it is a penalty or just a drop in rank. Most likely, it is a drop in rank. You are in a very competitive field, so I would focus on link building to strengthen your position. I hope that helps.

    UPDATE – Actually I looked at your site again. I don’t know if it has been penalized because I didn’t check. I would say that the text at the bottom could very likely be considered spam and get you banned down the road because the phrase “tickets to” is continually repeated.

  • Anthony,

    Thanks for sending me to this post. It probably is exactly my situation. I have trying to avoid bad neighborhoods, and I have written a few articles.

    However, I see a potential pitfall. It appears that some of the article sites are also “bad neighborhoods.” In fact, some of the ones with high page ranks look suspicious to me.


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