Back again folks. I’ve been living it up large here in Thailand the past 5 months that I just haven’t gotten around to post anything new. Bad bad I know. As much as I’d like to say I’m living the life of the party every single day, my life is actually more spartan than a monk’s! All I’ve been doing is training training training to the tune of about 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, so I actually have a good excuse when I say I had no energy to post!
Ok Ok, enough excuses.
One of the biggest fears people have is having their site deindexed. If you have an entire network of sites deindexed, you can forget about getting every single one of those sites back. But what about a couple of the top money making sites? Or what if you have only a few big sites and they suffer a deindex. Is it possible to bring these sites back from the dead?
I suspect with a big of elbow grease and a lot of pleading with the google spam team, you can. I’ve actually brought a few brand new domains that had some deindex penalty associated with them I back into google’s good graces. So it’s completely possible to do, and I’m going to prove it from ground up with a real example with this case study.
Now I’m going to get on my soap box here and say this first: if you’ve had a site get deindexed, there’s probably a good reason for it. The google spam team does NOT go around deindexing quality sites that contribute value to readers. If you’ve got a site you’re quite active on, that the community finds useful, and is basically a clean site, and all your links don’t consist of spam, you won’t be bothered by google. If your site is ugly ass, your content is thin (ezine rewrites, dup content, or just basic content non-native speakers pumped out for a couple bucks and article, or fluff content that really says nothing new, and your navigation on the site sucks or tricks people into clicking on google ads, you’re going to have problems.
If your site looks even remotely like one of the following sites below, by the seven saints and their seven beards, you’d have to be a fucking idiot not to realize why your site was deindexed:
The Basic Process of Resurrecting a Deindexed Site :
1. Take off all monetization (affiliate links and adsense)
2. Ensure the theme/site design looks great, is user friendly, and looks like an authority site. This is critical if you want to bring a site back from the dead. I’ve had Google reject re-inclusion requests for a few of my sites with stellar content because the site layouts were not easy on the eyes.
3. Update site with at least two new posts (3-5 even better). You want to try and prove you actually care about the site.
4. Make sure you have at least 10 posts on the site. The most recent article should be huge: 1500 to 3000 words. You don’t want a bunch of articles about the same damn keyword topic over and over either.
5. Ensure post titles are not spammy or longtail phrases pulled straight out of the Google Keyword Tool
6. Include plenty of pictures and links to authority sites sprinkled throughout your posts. A few videos inserted into the post won’t hurt either. Do NOT link to spammy sites or thin sites. We are talking wikipedia/cnn style sites
7. Add your site to webmaster tools and submit it for reinclusion via Google Webmaster Tools’ re-inclusion request. Make sure you write a 2-3 huge paragraphs about how you didn’t know the site was violating quality guidlines and how you are creating the site to benefit the reader blah blah blah. Basically you need to convince whoever looks at your site that it’s a legit site and you won’t be doing anything questionable with it.
There are really two strategies you can try and employ here to “convince” whoever is looking at your site that you deserve a second chance.
Strategy 1: Admit Guilt and Swear You’ve Seen the Light
Complete bullshit, I know, but the goal here is to eat humble pie, tell google you fucked up bad, but you are now dedicated to creating a quality site that will serve the interests of the reader. It’s pretty key that your site has been completely revamped here and you’ve taken off ALL monetization. You won’t play a convincing part if your “reformed site” is full of affiliate links. This is the strategy I’ve taken a couple times.
This is sort of like when a cop pulls you over for going 25 mph over the speed limit. When they saunter up to the window and ask you if you knew you were speeding and you look them in the eye and say “Yes, there’s no excuse I can give you.” What happens is the cop is often quite shocked that you admit this upfront (they hear BS excuses all day long). Because of the honestly you actually might get a warning.
Strategy 2: Claim You Purchased the Website
You can also claim you recently purchased (or was given) the website and have no clue why it’s not indexed. It’s best to do this ONLY if you don’t have it added to webmaster tools (yet). Don’t bother with this if it’s verified with Webmaster Tools and you have Analytics on it (easy to tell you are full of bullshit).
If you’ve done steps 1-6 right, you should have a pretty good chance of getting your site back. I’ve had a few sites that have been rejected 2 or 3 times, but persistence paid off in the end and I was able to get it re-added (Google is extra picky about the quality of a site when you request a reinclusion. Make sure your site looks REALLY good on the eyes!)
Now I’d say Strategy 2 is the last ditch — i’ve been rejected from re-inclusion 5 times sort of attempt. Really though, I feel (and read part 2 of this article to see why), that you can pretty much recover ANY deindexed site if you put some work into it without resorting to a fake “I’m a new owner of this site ploy.”
If you opt for this strategy, you’ll need to follow steps 1-7 above in addition to doing the following:
1. Put your site on a different / new hosting server. Don’t throw it on any hosting that has your other sites and definitely not the same hosting it was on when it was deindexed or rejected from reinclusion if you made an attempt in the past.
2. Change Registars. If you bought it on godaddy, transfer it to some other registar. This is critical as it fits in with the whole “I bought this site from someone else”
3. Change the WHOIS information to something completely new. Change the phone number, email address, and owner name (you can fake this, but it’s not a good idea to put in fake owner information — you can lose a site in theory that way. Best if you have a business name or you put it in a family’s name or something).
4. It goes without saying that if you do use analytics (and you’ll need to connect the site to webmaster tools to do a reinclusion), you do it with a BRAND new google account that’s not connected to your old stuff. It’s best if you create a new google webmaster account /google account with a different IP. And don’t use the same contact info or email stuff! Whatever you do, don’t use google service connected with your old stuff!
5. You’ll need to do a complete site redesign. I have bought domains from other people only to find out they were deindexed. In one case, I submitted a reinclusion request and was STILL rejected because the new theme didn’t meet the quality guidelines. So the 1-7 guidelines at the beginning of the article still apply.
After you complete the above 1-5 steps, you then submit a new re-inclusion request (not before guys, not before).
Yes, strategy 2 is a lot more work than strategy 1, which is why I almost always employ strategy 1 unless I’ve bought a domain that’s been deindexed already for some reason (happened to me twice and in both times I have recovered gotten the domain reindexed).
My How to Restore a Deindexed Website Case Study
This post is going to be a bit of a case study on how to bring back to life a deindexed site using Strategy 1 from above. I had the google ban hammer come down one of my old sites about 9 or 10 months ago.
The site was about 3 years old, had 30 or so posts on it, and a few hundred backlinks. Before it was deindexed, it ranked #1 for a generic health term word and #1-5 for variations on that term. It was in a fairly competitive niche. It was getting over 2500 uniques a day. It was an exact domain for a long tail term (one with very good exact traffic for a 5+ word long tail — roughly 45k exacts per month), but ended up ranking for the short tail term.
I can’t say the site was a huge money maker — I was probably only pulling in 200-400 bucks a month from the site with affiliate sales and adsense. I didn’t optimize it for money as much as I could of as I was busy with a bunch of other projects. However, I probably could have sold the site for a nice 7-12k because of the niche it was in, the keyword it was ranking for, and the traffic it was getting. The site is worth trying to bring back from the dead — if I can manage it, I can try and sell it and will have turned something completely dead into something that could make me 10kish.
To be frank, the quality of the site in terms of content was fine, but there was no way it should have been ranking number one for that single word term with the layout it had. Generally, I’ve found that if you start ranking for “big” generic keywords, your site really has to “look” like you deserve that ranking, otherwise it gets kicked out by the google team. You really want lots of articles, the ability to support a community (f0rums or such), a custom (or at least a well designed layout) layout and such.
Unfortunately, the site was an affiliate site that I had been meaning to convert over to an authority style site. I did not do this soon enough however and as soon as it started ranking for that single word generic term, it shortly got a manual inspection followed by a deindex. It could be one of the competitors for that term reported the site.
So I will be following steps 1-6 exactly and I’ll report back to you guys with an update in a couple weeks. It usually takes about a week or two for google to process your reinclusion request.
Cheers from Thailand!