Top Ten Ways To Get De-Listed By Google

Having been a pure developer long before I got-into the Domaining game I’m not unfamiliar with the pain and agony that comes with getting a domain/website de-listed by Google. As more and more Domainers start going-down the developer road it’s important to understand some of the common ways you could get de-listed from Google.

When your domain or group of domains are de-listed from Google you can literally watch your traffic disappear and with it, your revenue. So I thought it would be good to put-together a list of ways in which your domain or website can get de-listed from Google to help you avoid having to say, “Hey, where did all my traffic go?”

  1. Duplicate Content
  2. Duplicate Pages/Page Structure across many domains
  3. Hidden links or text
  4. Links to Spam sites or other de-listed sites (these links could be injected into a WordPress blog without you knowing!)
  5. Cloaked links and covert redirects
  6. Automatically querying Google
  7. Having pages/content that doesn’t make sense or uses gibberish words (Google looks to see if you’re just filling the space)
  8. Incoming links from known Spam sites (yes, other people can sabotage your site!)
  9. Too much SEO – everything in moderation – too much of a good thing can be bad
  10. Running malicious code or running a script on your site flagged as malicious

What most people forget is that sometimes you can be breaking the rules without even knowing it! For example – suppose you have built a nice mini-site using WordPress. A few weeks go by and you notice that your site has been dropped from Google. Little did you know someone hacked your WordPress install and placed spam-links in your header. It’s happened to me and it can happen to you!

So how can you avoid getting de-listed by Google? Follow my three steps below and you’ll be off to a good start.

  1. Put Google Webmaster Tools on all of your sites – it will show you exactly how Google sees your site and flag any abnormalities
  2. If you’re using a CMS make sure to update it frequently or find a script that will automatically update it for you
  3. Avoid duplicate content like the plague –  fresh unique content is the key to staying on Google’s good side

Have your own de-listing horror story to share? Have some advice to help keep your site safe? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Gary Taylor June 15, 2010, 12:57 pm

    A good post Morgan

    To add to what you’ve said, keeping you content and SEO as natural as possible is the best way to keep Google happy, this means no keyword stuff, writing content with thre correct grammer rather that trying to squeeze in keywords for the sake of it

    Being cautious with your link building too, building too many links from “low quality” sites over a short period of time can have negative affects on your ranking

    Above all, keep your content relevant to your end users

    Attempting to “trick” Google or any search engine for short term gain will usually end up with you losing out in the long term



  • Gary Taylor June 15, 2010, 12:59 pm

    Apologies for some of the spelling mistakes, sent the post from my blackberry! I have large thumbs ha ha!

  • Leonard Britt June 15, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Just curious what you think of services which offer social bookmarking, directory submissions, article submissions, etc?

  • Morgan June 15, 2010, 2:37 pm

    @Gary – excellent points – thanks for sharing. The link-building tip is a good one, any service offering you thousands of links should be avoided – the links they provide could easily do more harm than good.

    @Leonard – like I said above, I’d avoid these as the quality is low and you never really know what they are doing. I would still recommend you yourself write articles and send good anchor-text links back to your sites but try to focus on writing articles on blogs rather than the big article directories like EZineArticles.

  • Mojito Recipe June 15, 2010, 5:17 pm

    Duplicate content and page structure is a very, very, very gray area.

  • Morgan June 15, 2010, 5:20 pm

    @Mojito true, still – no fun to be on the fringe because you never know when your site could be de-listed!

  • Marcus June 16, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Can you elaborate on “6.Automatically querying Google” ?

  • John June 16, 2010, 10:33 pm

    Very good information like number 9. It is always good to pick up good tips like this.


  • IM Links June 16, 2010, 11:41 pm

    2 more techniques for getting delisted by Google:

    – Parking. This is not 100% effective though – I have plenty of domains which have been parked, reparked, and reparked again which are still listed.

    – Too many ads. I think every minisite I have built where eBay Partner Network is the focus has been delisted.

    Also, I think it’s worth clarifying that delisting is when your domain / site is actively blocked by Google, not unlisted or ranking poorly. You can check by searching for on Google’s main page – your site should show up 1st.

    I read somewhere that in extreme cases Google will block the registrant, not just the domain. That would be bad.

    @Morgan – Any tips on getting undelisted?

  • Bill June 23, 2010, 10:40 pm

    According to Google:
    “There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. ”

    That would seem to include sending spam links to your site. I have read elsewhere on Google’s webmaster central that the worst a link can do to you is simply be ignored.

    When you think about it, it would make no sense to hold your site responsible for incoming links. Otherwise, why waste time doing SEO? Why not just buy 100,000 spam links to your competitor’s site? It would certainly be easier.

  • cliff September 18, 2012, 3:34 pm

    I have a weird little issue…sometimes my site will show up somewhere beteween number 1-3 in google. The next day it is totally off the grid. Then bam,…right back to number 1-3. WEIRD stuff. When researching what could cause this, I actually found your article. Although it didn’t give me any answers pertaining to MY situation, I still found it interesting. 😉


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