Google does actually penalize sites that are attempting to use SEO tricks or short-cuts, or don’t abide by their Terms and Conditions. I’m about to briefly discuss and recommend a blog I just read from a Google employee that noticed portions of his site began disappearing a few weeks ago. He did some investigation and found a simple reason why, plus goes about telling how to fix it.
Why is this important to small businesses? The tool he used to figure out what occurred was simply Google’s Webmaster Tools. It’s a free toolbox that Google provides ‘authorized’ webmasters to use on their sites. It’s one of the very first things I setup for my clients…and NONE of my clients, include Web Design Firms and Fortune 500 companies were previously authorized to view that information. (Yes, my head is shaking sadly.) It’s not really their fault (most of them anyway), as business owners can’t know every detail from tax laws to accounting to marketing to sales. BUT, this is becoming more and more important, so my recommendation is to hire a small business marketing professional in the same light as their accountant. Someone they can ask for a quick review and recommendation, some occasional help and periodic conversations on at least a bi-annual basis.
Back to our story… Jason Morrison has several sites hosted with his hosting company. His blog began disappearing from Google search pages and he investigated why. After using Google’s Webmaster Tools he found they had stopped crawling due to tons of crawl errors:
Simple answer to the problem? He had allocated a certain chunk of his overall monthly bandwidth to his blog…and his readership has grown beyond that limit, so the hosting company drops traffic…which INCLUDED Google’s index bot. Thus, Google thought he had shut down the site and began removing pages from their search results.
My first question? How long would it have taken you to realize YOUR site’s traffic had disappeared from Google’s index? Do you check enough of your site periodically against search engines? Do you check your webmaster tools accounts at least once a month?
Oh…Bing has a webmaster tool as well and if they keep gaining ground, you’ll need to set that up and check it too.