Why is my site not showing up on Google any more? Is Google Penalizing you?

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:

JasonMorrison.Net Google Crawl Stats

Jason's site's Crawl Statistics from Google Webmaster Tools

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.


15 thoughts on “Why is my site not showing up on Google any more? Is Google Penalizing you?

  1. HELP!!! I started having s similar issue recently.
    my blog http://www.nomorenoob.com used to rank well, then what appears to be almost overnight my backinks all vanish in google’s webmaster tool and no new pages look to be indexed. it’s gotten to the point to where i can’t even shove the EXACT web address into google and search to find it, i just get the message that the page cannot be found.

    Sadly i used to rank almost instantly for my keywords. what happened?

    • Hi Blackthought,

      I took a quick glance. Of course…I likely didn’t use the keywords you have been using to track your ranking results. So, I just tried a couple of terms and looked at one page on your site. Here’s my glance:

      Searched on “nomorenoob” and your site was the top link on the first page. Seems awesome, right? Also doesn’t reflect what you stated either about the url not even showing up. (Make sure you run your searches with Google’s Personalized search results turned off or use Chrome’s incognito mode and don’t log in.)

      Of course, ranking #1 on your own URL name isn’t what you want or need. If they know your name, they already know you.

      What is better, of course, is to rank high for more general search terms that should display your site. I also tried: “Best way to start with World of Warcraft” and “noob world of warcraft”. You didn’t show up for the first one, but I was hoping you might on the second one, but it didn’t.

      Two things to notice and understand: I didn’t use “WoW” as my search term…you are targeting newbies, right? They may not know “wow” is the shortname. So, my second search used Noob, just to see if it helped you show up. Wouldn’t matter either way, because few new gamers will call themselves noob…maybe newbie or new, wouldn’t you think?

      So, glanced at your site. I don’t think I saw ANY actual “World of Warcraft” phrase. You use warrior warcraft warrior, but that isn’t the same thing at all. You hardly have Wow, anywhere either. I had to spend several minutes and still am not 100% sure whether your site is dedicated to WoW or also is about any other game.

      Finally, you mention on “Our mission” that you had just done a major change. This is likely where your rank results disappeared. Your ‘old site’ likely had off site links from other sites pointing to pages/URLs on your site. When you rolled the new stuff, you may have not kept those pages/URLs the same and those links were then pointing at non-existent pages. Links matter a lot and if you lost all yours that way, it would explain a very rapid drop in rankings.

      Contact me if you want more detailed help.

  2. Hi and thank you for taking the time to dig a little on my site.
    While I am focused on “noobs” my primary focus is on wow warriors of all variety. The changes to the site were cosmetic, I made sure to reinstall all tracking codes and such, no changes were made to the architecture of the site (links, pages, etc, etc) beyond colorscheme and revamping my menu button.

    Oddly enough the pages I posted 2 days ago are now showing up #2-7 for their targeted search results.
    Warrior patch notes 4.0.6
    Arms 4.0.6 patch notes

    What still confuses me is the backlinks in google webmaster tool are still missing.

    The niche market here is world of Warcraft warriors, admittedly I need to start using “world of Warcraft” more and not just “wow”
    With WOW warrior I’m first on the second page and world of Warcraft warrior I’m in there somewhere but no where near were I want to be.

    I definitely have room to improve and plan on doing just that in the coming months/years.

    I will start using better keywords now that I can at least compete with some of the “big dogs” on niche keywords, now I need to rachet things up for the larger audience:)

    • Excellent. You’re way ahead of most folks.

      So, the easy approach is to consider the TV game show “Family Feud” versus “Jeopardy”. Jeopardy is all about knowing the exact right answer (though stated in a question form). Family Feud is all about guessing what 100 people at a mall THINKS the answer is.

      When selecting your keywords that you want to use on your page titles and H1 headers as well as the words for people to use on the links on their site pointing to you, should be more about what ‘most people’ would use to find something like your site.

      People would use “trash can” to search, not “waste container”. Many marketing people at a company wouldn’t want to use Trash Can, but should. Understand?

  3. Yeah I gotcha.
    I think what happened was when I first started doing this the keyword competition for wow vs world of Warcraft was such that I had NO chance in competing, now though, I think I might have a legitimate shot and placing well even when going up against some of the bigger sites. I think I’ve decide, after a failed attempt at covering ALL things world of Warcraft, to focus on one class and be the best at that It’s just so much easier.

    • Absolutely. Focus is what helps you rank high. Here’s a thought…once you are ranking high on the main warrior KWs, you could go into a less active mode while you do the same thing for another class using similar structure, but all focus on that class, maybe even register a class-name-related URL for that one and start linking between the two sites. If your existing site has been ranking well and you have decent periodic returning visitors, that will help your new class site to rank even faster. Rinse. Repeat. 🙂

  4. This is nice site for seo

    I have the same problem also my site was no 7 to 9 on first page on google by keyword i am chossing, now after one week they disepear, i dont know anymore my site is http://bluedogfood.info
    ofcourse as evryone know if you tiping your domain you will no one , but by keyword is the best targeting traffic , but need help for keyword, i know litle bit but how to stick on first page for long ?

    Thank you

    • Took a glance at your site. You’ve got a good start on content, but make sure your page titles are using the keywords, not your company or brand name so much. I was amazed at how many organic natural dog food sites there are, so you’re in a competitive industry and that means you have a lot of on-going monitoring and tweaking to move up. It states on your site that you only created this in Feb of this year? If so, you’re a bit premature to make drastic or harsh adjustments. Getting your ranking to move noticeably up takes months in most cases. Also, you should create and connect your Google Webmaster tools account for your site, as well as Google Places, Facebook Fan Page and add / authorize Google Analytics in order to really watch what is working and not working, traffic behavior wise.

      We can get you set up and trained in a month, so you’re not spending your time learning things you won’t have to do again (or at least very often). Send me an email if you want to pursue having this set up for you.

      Best regards,

  5. Hi there

    I am having this same problem. Our website http://www.hitchexperts.ca was ranked #1 in most categories, and just this month has completely disappeared. I haven’t been making any changes to it in the last couple months, and I even did some Adwords advertising last month. Could you please look into what might be the problem for me?

    Thanks for all the great information.

    • Hi Rebecca. I’m going to take a fast pass through and give you my immediate impressions without extensive research.

      First off, because I believe your business is very “location driven”, I went straight to Google Maps and keyed in Calgary. Upon being shown that city, I then selected “search nearby” and keyed in “Fifth wheel Hitches”. YOUR site was the A site, or #1 selection. You were above your other serious local competitors. So, first consider whether I’m right about your business being location driven. You’ve got great Google Places reviews and you’ve claimed your “place”. I would upload a picture of the more popular hitches and make sure to use the Alt Tag description and put the keywords there, “Curt Hitches”…that kind of thing.

      Ok. So I tried something a bit more generic and you’re right, you drop out of the Map listing. I used “Trailer Hitches” this time around. So…part of your answer lies in how you are using “Fifth wheel” keyword on your site, where others are likely focusing (whether they know it or not) on “trailer hitches”. I will point out…I think someone looking for “Fifth wheel hitch” is a better, closer to buying searcher than the more generic “trailer hitch” person.

      I tried just plain “Hitches” and you still don’t show up. HOWEVER, I try “Curt Hitch” and again…you have the #1 spot. AND I am pretty certain someone searching on Curt Hitch is closer to buying than someone searching on “hitch” or “trailer hitch”.

      So, I looked further. OK…you do NOT use the word “Hitch” on your menu selections, so I would consider changing “towing products” to “Hitch & Towing products”. ALSO, your menu select for Fifth Wheel HTich is spelled wrong! And…get those page titles focused with a different keyword on each. Maybe home page = “Hitch Experts for Fifth Wheel, Curt, XYZ Hitch & Towing” (Notice I put a space in your name…it might help.) I would try to have a major brand page with their brand name in title and a menu link that takes you there… “Page title = Curt Hitch, Curt Hitches, Latest Curt Towing Supplies” and all that page contains is Curt products. Do it again for Fifth Wheel. Copy. Repeat. Rinse. 🙂

      NOW. I turned to plain old Google. No location based searching. I also tried adding “Calgary” to some generic searches and you are right, you aren’t showing up. WELL…you kind of showed up at the very bottom…kind of. And this might be part of your problem. Google displayed a YellowPages.ca listing for you…but it has a HYPHEN in your domain. This may be a bit confusing or somewhat ‘dilutive’, but unclear without a good bit of testing & research. Bottom line, see if you can either get the YP gang to update your listing to actually go to your site. It’s almost as if they’re ‘stealing’ your traffic just a little to funnel through their site: http://www.yellowpages.ca/search/si/1/Hitch-Experts/Calgary?mrchnd=1

      We’ll be glad to really take a hard look, if you need help. I really only took about 15 minutes on this pass. Overall, you’re doing many of the right things. Now it’s focus and fine-tuning. GOOD LUCK!

  6. Thank-you so much for your advice. You are right about our site being very location driven. I have already made changes to the site that you’ve suggested. I appreciate the help and I will let you know if I need you to take a hard look.

    Great Advise! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s