Filing a reinclusion request

Update November 4th, 2007: Hey everyone, the official Google documentation on how to file a reconsideration request is here: and we now refer to it as a “reconsideration request.” Why? Well, not every spam penalty results in removal from Google’s index, so “reconsideration” is more accurate than “reinclusion.” I’ll leave the rest of the post up because much of the info below is still useful.


Hmm. Everybody wants to hear about SEO-ish stuff instead of gadgets. I’ll still subject you to pure geekery now and then, but let’s tackle how to do a reinclusion request.

First off, what’s a reinclusion request and why would you want to do one? If you’ve been experimenting with SEO, or you employ as SEO company that might be doing things outside Google’s guidelines, and your site has taken a precipitous drop recently, you may have a spam penalty. A reinclusion request asks Google to remove any potential spam penalty.

The first step is to take a long, hard look at your website. Is there hidden text, hidden links, or cloaking on your site, especially on the front page? Are there doorway pages that do a JavaScript or some other redirect to a different page? Were you trying to use some automated program to get links or scrape Google? Whatever you find that you think may have been against Google’s guidelines, correct or remove those pages.

Now where should you send a reinclusion request? This has changed in the last few months from an email address to a web form. The best location to go is . You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” and then select “Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in ranking.” Click Continue, and on the page that shows up, make sure to type “Reinclusion Request” in the Subject: line of the resulting form. Upper- or lower-case doesn’t matter, but make sure you use the words “reinclusion request” in the subject line so it gets routed to the right place. (See the newer instructions at the top of this post.)

Now we come to the heart of things: what goes into a reinclusion request. Fundamentally, Google wants to know two things: 1) that any spam on the site is gone or fixed, and 2) that it’s not going to happen again. I’d recommend giving a short explanation of what happened from your perspective: what actions may have led to any penalties and any corrective action that you’ve taken to prevent any spam in the future. If you employed an SEO company, it indicates good faith if you tell us specifics about the SEO firm and what they did–it assists us in evaluating reinclusion requests. Note that SEO and mostly-affiliate sites may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reincluded; such sites should be quite familiar with Google’s quality guidelines.

Okay, so you found the hidden text that your webmaster put on your front page, you removed it, and you sent your reinclusion request off to Google. How long do you have to wait now? That depends on when Google reviews the request and on the type of spam penalty you have. In the days of monthly index updates it could take 6-8 weeks for a site to be reincluded after a site was approved, and the severest spam penalties can take that long to clear out after an approval. For less severe stuff like hidden text, it may only take 2-3 weeks, depending on when someone looks at the request and if the request is approved.

There’s an interesting thread started by stuntdubl here. I’d add the following things to that thread:

  • Don’t bother mentioning that you spend money on AdWords or you’re an AdSense publisher. The person who will look at your reinclusion request doesn’t care if you have a business relationship with Google. Remember, we need to know 1) that the spam has been corrected or removed and 2) that it isn’t going to happen again.
  • I would request reinclusion for one domain at a time. It looks bad if you had 20+ sites all thrown out at once, and you send a reinclusion request for 20 domains in one email.

That’s what I can think of right now. For the 1-2 people who have asked about their sites in comments–that’s the right procedure to follow. Hope that helps.

420 Responses to Filing a reinclusion request (Leave a comment)

  1. How can you tell *for sure* if your site has a spam penalty?

    What are the different types/severities of spam penalties?

  2. >>I would request reinclusion for one domain at a time. It looks bad if you had 20+ sites all thrown out at once, and you send a reinclusion request for 20 domains in one email.

    What no GoogleReinclusionMaps – where I can submit a xml file with all my misdeads?

    I think this is good stuff. Besides C Classes and Whois questions – this is probably the question I hear most often.

    I love gadgets – and don’t think you should stop posting on them. I just personally wasn’t interested in the three you made so far.

    If you could combine:

    with their SDK and Google’s API to do some cool stuff – people would read. You guys probably have the biggest concentration of Geeks per square ft in the US – we want to see some stuff other than converting addresses to GPS numbers. While that is cool – for some people – I am not going to bother signing up for an API key for that.

  3. What if you really don’t know what it is that you have done wrong? In my case I’ve got two sites which lost almost all their Google referrals since Bourbon. I’ve taken down anything I can imagine that might have been a problem (none of it done to spam Google). What will happen if I fill out a reinclusion request but there is still something on the site that Google doesn’t like? And will the penalty ever go away without filling out a reinclusion request?

  4. Matt

    Great much needed info which hundreds of webmasters shall be very pleased to read.

    For the first time I read such clear guidelines for submitting a reinclusion request.

    May I suggest adding such info to the webmaster guidelines on Google site.

    Keep those SEO posts coming 😉

  5. Uh, what happened to my comments? I’d love to know the answers to my questions.

  6. Are these procedures for only domain wide penalities or are there specific page (URL) or specific keyword penalities that can be addressed thru this method you lay out Matt?

  7. >Don’t bother mentioning that you spend money on AdWords or you’re an AdSense publisher. The person who will look at your reinclusion request doesn’t care if you have a business relationship with Google.

    Not once, but twice, different webmasters I know and trust well have told me their organic Google problems have been solved through their AdWords ad reps.

    Both times there was an obvious penalty on the site and the problems were corrected within a few days. These were high spending accounts though.

  8. Matt

    This is a great tip. We really needed some clarity on this (Particularly give the story in search by John Battelle about Please keep this kind of feedback coming.


  9. I get a lot of comment spam on my sites. Is there a way to report these link spammers to Google so they can be considered for a spam penalty?

  10. As someone who is currently waiting for the site to be re-included after a manual exclusion by google around 18 August, I’ve so far had mixed results following the above procedure. The sequence / speed (for those who have mentioned lack of response from google ) of response from google went as follows;

    22 Aug sent re-inclusion request by filling in form.

    2 Sept – Google confirms that our site has been indeed blocked. Advised to read google guidelines and respond after making suitable amendments.

    2 Sept. As we’d already started to review the html coding etc and cleaned up the site, we sent back an email informing google that we had corrected potential problem areas. We’d succumbed to adding a third party written script(not a link exchange scheme) to build links with related sites a few months back. This and all the links were deleted from the server. The html coding was also checked and cleaned up.

    2 Sept We received an email response thanking us for trying to meet the guidlines and that our site had been passed to the engineers for review. If its accepted then it would appear in the next few months.

    13 Sept.. For our own peace of mind sent another email asking whether the particular third party developed link script we’d used was indeed the problem.

    13 Sept ( few hours later) received emial saying that we just wait for review.

    18 Sept ……. still waiting for re-inclusion….

    It was rather interesting to learn about a penalty based upon the seriousness of the irregularity. But this does raise a question: are we ‘ being done’ for a minor road traffic offence or stealing the Queen’s jewels?



  11. So if my site has dropped out of the SERPs because I did a 301 redirect to a new domain name (rebranding) does that mean I need to file a reinclusion request? Or have I been assessed some other kind of penalty that a reinclusion request can’t fix?

  12. and what to do when you have a side where you do not know why it happend. where perhaps some small things happend in the past or something you have missed?

    if you have a site in the top positions in an competitive sector you have to do some little seo efforts in order to not lose positions. as everybody around you is doing it. they all buy links, they all exchange links. sometimes really heavy, with not so nice methods.

    in the past we had a problem with some automatic linktrade programs especially here in germany, everybody seemed to jump on the waggon. the site of my customer went down from 1 to 8. i refused to do it like all the others. my customer and i were not happy. my customer lost real money. it took several month until google reacted. this site was the one i made the smallest seo efforts from all in order to do not risk anything. i did it as there had been guestbook spamming in the past (before my time) etc and i did not want to accumulate to many bad points for this site.

    what happend, one week after switching to a new server and 2 days after insertion of adsense the index page went off. and later most of the other pages went out of the index. but not all. believe me, if i would know the reason i would have eliminated them. it’s not so simple. i can’t pull down the whole building and set it up once more in order to find the one point that ultimately killed it. there are many other possibilities like duplicate content ( + www and not www domains ), link bombing, url hijacking and perhaps mistakes made by myself which happened accidentally or mistakes or misinterpretation by the google software. i do not expect any reaction, but as you spoke about this topic i must complain a little bit . it bothered me for such a long time now. i have seen hundreds of sites using all tricks that seos can invent and in 99,9% of this cases i could tell you why this sites dropped from the index. but not in this special case. i would like to close with the famous words from Giovanni Trappatoni: “Ich habe fertig”.

  13. Hey Matt,

    It’s nice to see you communicating with the masses. I really appreciate the openess that you are trying to start. Even though, we always think you have hidden messages.

    I’ve met you a few times and I can testify that you are a straight-up kind of guy. Thanks.

  14. Hi Matt,

    One thing I’m curious about is how do you know if your site has a penalty?

    For example, I used to run Amazon Web Services affiliate script on one of my sites – I thought it would be useful for my visitors and potentially profitable (I only used the parts of amazon relating to my site).

    I think this may have resulted in a penalty on the site as a whole (the script produced hundreds of product pages – far more than the rest of the site’s content). However, I don’t know if this is true at all or if Google has some other reason why that site has dropped in rankings. I don’t use any SEO techniques so I can’t think what it could be.

    I can see that if your site has completely disappeared then you know that you have a penalty, but do you actually give penalties that just lower your rankings a bit (and if so how do you know what caused them?).

    Would the re-inclusion request link you mention be the way to find out about any penalties you think you may have?



  15. Hi Matt, what if I can still find my site in G index by queryin “”, but unable to see any page in serp? My site used to rank very high in some keywords but about one year ago, an idiot downloaded/cloned my whole website. The DMCA helped me out and my site ranked very well some months but it now goes no where. I do not use any trick mentioned in your article and some of my competitors use hidden text and they still rank very high:(

  16. Trisha, good question. If there’s an algorithmic reason why your site isn’t doing well, you can definitely still come back if you change the underlying cause. If a site has been manually reviewed and has been penalized, those penalties do time out eventually, but the time-out period can be very long. It doesn’t hurt your site to do a reinclusion request if you’re not sure what’s wrong or if you’ve checked carefully and can’t find anything wrong.

    lots0, the reinclusion request process can apply for any type of spam penalty.

    Michael Still, let me make that the subject of a future blog post. The short answer is to do a Google search for [report spam] and look for the Google web form for reporting spam.

    kirk, 301s from an old site to a new site shouldn’t cause any problem, so I wouldn’t use a reinclusion request for that.

    Gerald, we definitely want to find the ways that discourage site owners from doing things like hidden text, hidden links, and the sort of stuff you mention in your comment. We’re always working on ways to help straightforward, hard-working sites while keeping sites that violate our quality guidelines from showing up higher than they should. I think Google’s results are definitely less spammy than (say) 18 months ago, and that many spammers have to work harder to show up highly, but the job isn’t finished yet.

  17. Matt

    I appreciate stuff like this too.

    A while back ( 3 months) I used the form you referenced to request a little feedback. A site I’d worked with had tanked in May of this year and basically couldn’t rank for anything other than its sitename and 2 other keywords. Prior to this, it did resonably ok ( a few top tens, a few top 20’s etc) on most of its targets.

    The people at Google were kind enough to tell me that I didn’t have a penalty and that I should continue to get some more quality links.

    I was naturally baffled why I found that I couldn’t rank for jack, all of a sudden, and am still of the view that the domain must have some kind of penalty.

    My question is this. Would the engineers have access to penalty info that the ‘1st line support’ responders wouldn’t? Is it the case that one person could be saying that no penalty exists, when another might know otherwise.

    Cheers for any feedback you can provide.


  18. Thanks for providing such valuable feedback, Matt. It is really helpfull.


  19. Another suggestion,

    You have skyscraper adsense advert, it seems to be inside an iframe, sometimes it only displays 2 or 3, instead of the maximum 4 or 5 adverts. Why don’t you shrink the iframe to fit the adverts?

    i.e. why not create a new advert type: collapsible skyscraper, which is 160 pixels wide, but the height is only big enough to fit the adverts in it. If there’s no adverts, instead of public service ads, you collapse it to zero.

  20. matt, i must admire that google made a good job in fighting spam. much better than before, and much better than some competitors. but sometimes it lasts. have you ever considered to work together with SEOs in order to fight spam even faster and more effective? (i think so, but is it opportune) or does it happen already? if i were you i would go into this direction. i had several discussions with other SEOs, imho really good ones, and i and most of them had the opinion that they would include something like a SEO task force at google in order to prevent spam. may be this blog is part of such a strategy and the first step into this direction.

  21. My site at includes a blog, which is indexed by Google. But the main pages (including the index page) are not included. I’ve had tried to tell Google the main pages are more important using sitemaps, but this has not helped.

    I also wonder if Matt could share his thoughts on Sitemaps with us. Are they worth the effort?

  22. Matt,

    Thanks for providing some transparency here with regards to webmasters desire for inclusion in the Google results.

    Your first statement makes an assumption that Google only bans and penalizes webmasters who have “SEO’d” their sites, where I am finding that many bans I have encountered are a results of ignorance regarding redirection best practices.

    The problems I encounter involve simple domain redirects to the homepage of the client’s site. i CAN ASSURE

  23. Matt,

    Thanks for providing some transparency here with regards to webmasters desire for inclusion in the Google results.

    Your first statement makes an assumption that Google only bans and penalizes webmasters who have “SEO’d” their sites, where I am finding that many bans I have encountered are a results of ignorance regarding redirection best practices.

    The problems I encounter involve simple domain redirects to the homepage of the client’s site. i CAN ASSURE

  24. Glad ya liked the post. *cough* shameless rep request *cough*.

    Reinclusion is a great topic. I think most of us *do* like gadgets, we just like the other SEO information MUCH better.

  25. “Why should a Webmaster have to make a choice between Aesthetics and SERPs!”

    Erm, how about because the SERPs are provided by the search engines who don’t answer to webmasters. The very nature of the relationship between webmasters and a search engine is such that you have absolutely no place questioning the methods of a company providing you with free – and potentially very lucrative – marketing, when all you need to do in return is be bothered to meet a few paltry guidelines.

    Being listed by Google, or any other search engine, is a PREVELIGE, not a RIGHT.

  26. My reinclusion requests have been frustrating and maddening. I have decided to deny googlebot access to my banned site for at least several more months, these issues should be clearer then. Every page prominently bears the words “Not indexed on Google.”

    Until that time (and perhaps forevermore) I am promoting your competition.

  27. Is it true Google is going to expand the use of email’s to notify site owners when their site has been banned for shady practices?

  28. Oh, I might add (and you will find this if you search) for years I have been defending Google from its detractors. I built my site as an adjunct to search and feel very betrayed.

    I have become one of those detractors.

  29. Expired domains are banned from the index automatically.

    Any thoughts or suggestion about what to say to Google when making a reinclusion request for a domain that’s been banned because it was expired? Obviously you want to get the domain back in the index–but cannot remove anything spammy that was done by the previous owner–the site is owned by someone new.

  30. Matt,
    I followed the procedure that you listed. I received an automated response from Google right away listing links to Google’s webmaster guidelines. Do I need to reply to this email for my request to go any further? If I do not reply, will my request still be reviewed?

    We have been dead in the water with Google since Feb. 2nd, 2005. How long can penalties last?

    Thanks for the help.

  31. Matt Cutts wrote: “We’re always working on ways to help straightforward, hard-working sites while keeping sites that violate our quality guidelines from showing up higher than they should.”

    You will forgive me if I take that with a pinch of salt, won’t you. If you really had any desire to “help straightforward, hard-working sites”, you would answer people’s genuine concerns. For instance, it’s been pointed out more than once in this blog, including in this thread, that javascript redirects are perfectly valid, and even essential, in some circumstances, and you’ve been asked to confirm that Google won’t hit sites that make valid use of them, but you’ve failed to reply. That’s just one example where you’ve been asked to “help straightforward, hard-working sites”, but you are reluctant to do so. Why can’t you answer people’s genuine concers? I’m sorry, but I don’t believe for a moment that Google is interested in helping any site other than their own.

  32. Matt –

    This is *really* a great effort by you to clarify issues that come up at WMW and SE Watch and elsewhere. Super helpful stuff and very much appreciated.

    I am concerned though that there may be a difference between what you and the engineers see as “penalty” and what the support staff is told to call a “penalty” and that this is leading to a confusion for many sites.

    Based on WMW and our experience large, content rich sites can stop ranking yet support says “you have no penalty”. Clearly there is some form of penalty on sites that suddenly face big traffic drops and filters. I bet you’d be surprised at how many webmasters *really have no idea* why they’d been hit, rather they’ve been using the same code/ideas for years and suddenly are penalized in an effort to combat the spam.

    I’d suggest a paid review process through Google Answers where the results are *shared with the community* this way you can control what is said about the penalties/algo, those who can afford it will pay to be reviewed, and those that cannot afford it will benefit from the case studies.
    I think it’s easier to get white hat behavior in an information rich environment (like this blog) than an info poor environment (webmaster support system which is not very knowlegeable or responsive.)

  33. Hi Matt,
    I was reluctant to send a reinclusion request until your post. Thanks. However, When do you know you’ve been penalised? I mean, If I look real hard for my site, I finally find it, but I don’t know if it was penalised or it’s getting the position it deserves.

  34. [quote]You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” and then select “Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in ranking.” Click Continue, and on the page that shows up, make sure to type “Reinclusion Request” in the Subject: line of the resulting form. Upper- or lower-case doesn’t matter, but make sure you use the words “reinclusion request” in the subject line so it gets routed to the right place.[/quote]

    Doesn’t Google have any HCI guys who can make that process easier for people? Specifically, if the message requires “reinclusion request” in the subject line then why doesn’t the web app do it automatically?

  35. Gerald, that’s a good idea for a future post. 🙂

    Andi, I would try a reinclusion request if I were you. I think it would help.

    PhilC, I responded to your original comment over in the JavaScript post comments.

  36. I’m pleased to hear Google is experimenting with actually communicating with webmasters. One of the big problems I’ve seen in the search-optimization community is a huge amount of snake oil and a huge amount of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt being spread for commercial advantage by lots of people. And a lot of superstition. These things are natural in the absence of real information.

    Google clearly has some big legal issues; lots of sites consider their search engine ranking to be one of the most important business “properties”, and will resort to legal action if they think it can get them something. It will be an extremely delicate balancing act for Google to dance through, to communicate usefully without engendering even more suits. Good luck!

  37. Hello,

    This is not exactly about reinclusion but very close, so thank you for bearing with me.

    We launched a blog 2 weeks ago and all articles have been listed in Google’s blogsearch except for 2. The articles written before and after are all listed as well as the ones published in between. The strange thing is that the two articles in question have the same subject, a before and after appreciation of the ebook and Rich Jerk program. I am completely stumped as to why these articles are not listing and any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance and congratulations on the quality of this blog.

  38. >> PhilC, I responded to your original comment over in the JavaScript post comments.

    Thank you, Matt – almost a month after the concern was posted, but better late than never. Not responding to genuine concerns like that is unnecessary, imo, and can foster negativity. Anyway, to move on…

    It’s interesting for me that you should post about reinclusion requests, because I’m a bit stuck with one right now (the first time I’ve ever needed to even think about reinclusion), and I honestly don’t know the way forward.

    I have a site that predates Google, and has had many very good rankings in Google from the start. More than 2 months ago it was penalised. The penalty was such that the thousands of pages that were indexed steadily decreased until there were none in the normal index, and then many thousands showed in the Supplemental index.

    The site contained a few things that were very light grey, one comparitively small part that was dark grey or even black, and all but one of its pages auto-redirected to pull the framed site together with the correct page in the main frame. I have no idea which aspect it was that caused the penalty.

    I cleaned the site up totally, except for the necessary auto-redirections, and used the form to ask what the cause of the penalty was. I received an auto-response that didn’t help at all.

    So I submitted a Sitemap to see if I could get any pages indexed. After a month, all the Sitemapped URLs (only ~100) were spidered, but they never appeared in the index as far as I could tell, presumably because the site has a penalty. The thousands of pages in Supplemental weren’t decreasing even though spidering them had been disallowed in the robots.txt file a month earlier. I wanted rid of everything (clean slate), so a few days ago I requested their removal using another Google form. The pages were from one area (sub-directory) of the site, and had only been created to allow search engines to reach the tens of thousands of pages that they couldn’t otherwise reach, as they are all behind forms. The pages were all removed the following day. That will keep them out of the index for 6 months, but it doesn’t matter for the site.

    However, Google had already crawled and indexed a handful of pages by then, and the last time I checked they were in the normal index. But they are gone now, even though their removal wasn’t requested. I don’t know if my removal request will prevent those pages, and others, from being indexed.

    So I’m stuck. I still don’t know precisely what caused the penalty – it could have been the auto-redirects, which still exist and may still cause penalty problems for the site, or it could have been that small black area. I don’t think that anything else in the site would have caused such a heavy-handed penalty. Considering that I asked for the removal of an area of the site, is a reinclusion request likely to be any good at all?

  39. My site has been penalized since may 2005, and at that time google support sent me a message that the site was not penalized. The reality is that the site didin,t rank for anything anymore!

    So it clearly had a penalty going on…

    I just finished rewriting the whole site and asked google to remove the penalty, the only message I received is to please have a string look at the google guidelines. But since i’ve been working on correcting DUP issues since the last months, I must say the reply leaves a bad taste in my mouth! I need more detail! Which part of the guidelines still represents a problem for my site!

    I’m frustrated because they say google emails people with javascript redirect and even hidden text, and for my site which is an honest review site, I cannot have a clue about what’s the problem!!!

    I wish google rep told me clearly something like, check out this, and this and this.

    I’m getting desperate about ever getting back in google, because even with removing all the duplicate content problems, I only receive generic answers


  40. How do I get images and news related to my website included into the Google’s database so that they appear in the Image search and News search.

  41. Hi Matt

    I see much interest to this post, lets call it “The Father of All Matt´s Posts” 😉

    Following your advice, I filed a reinclusion request. Reason is that my site has lost a big deal of its Google´s referrals.

    Before filing the request, I went through my site to clean anything which might have triggered a “red flag”.

    I could find and have deleted a 4 years old page with “100% Frame” . Within the frame is a remotly hosted template for e-books search on ClickBank. I pay for that customized template. I regarded the page as “value-added content or service” to the visitors of my e-books library (a section on my site) because ClickBank has no search facility at all. However, as I said I have deleted that page just to be on the safe side.

    My question is; does Google mark any 100% Frame as offensive?

    And I have another question for you 😉

    Talking about “value-added content or service” in connection with online-affiliates who are somewhat equivalent to off-line resellers. I understand that you require more of them than whats required in real life of their fellow off-line resellers. And I´m not talking here about those affiliate sites which are simply just duplicates of other sites “Thin Affiliate”. I´m mostly interested about Google´s positions concerning hard working affiliates

    Therefore I wish to ask; how do you define “value-added content or service”? and is it a must to have a kind of prise-comparison on an affiliate site to be reagrded as “value-added content or service”. I.e wouldn´t you regard the presence of related articles, forums, carefully sellected outbond link pages as “value-added content or service”?

    I´m asking such question because I read on several webmaster related forums that people started talking about Google waging a ware against the Affiliate Marketing industry!!


  42. Matt, no disrespect intended here but there is a definite problem with 301 redirects, I myself have felt the sting of being banished from all results after a 301 redirect. I placed a 301 redirect on a high ranking site following the webmaster guidelines hoping for the best but fearing the worst. I have now been absent from the results for over 3 months wondering what I did wrong. I have sent 3 emails to the help address and have only gotten back canned responses that I have not been penalized and that I need to be patient, call me inpatient but doesn’t 3 months seem a little excessive? From what I have read elsewhere a 301 redirect is essentially starting over but that is not indicated in the webmaster guidelines in even the lightless way. For further details (if you are interested) check out “The 301 Club” over at WMW.

    BTW, I’m a major gadgeter as well, any plans to review or blog home theater pc’s?

  43. Dear,
    The problem in spain is that are some guys with lots of spam wich google doesn’t matter because it is in spanish or may be other reasons.
    Many seos have done and seen them sites out while they stand in the same best positions for the time of times.
    just make a search in “posicionamiento en buscadores” and look all webs in position 900 and under….

  44. I have a very similar problem. I have a new site, domain purchased 3/21/05, site has been up and running for 4 months. We’ve submitted sitemaps since the program inception, finally had significant visits from Googlebot in July, but still no inclusion in the SERPS. Not a single solitary page, not one.

    I’ve been over the site again and again and we aren’t doing any hidden text, hidden links, no javascript redirects, no doorway pages, no keyword spamming. Nothing. We’ve built a very clean site. If there is some obscure reason why we’re being excluded, I’d never know. How would we ever know if our site was banned or our domain expired before we even owned it?

  45. >>Matt Said,
    >>Andi, I would try a reinclusion request if I were you. I think it would help.

    No, I think I’ll wait until late November and see how this discussion develops. This will be costly perhaps in fame and fortune but my pride remains intact. Being unceremoniuosly dumped without a word after four years in the index is not something I take lightly. I will not beg. Gbot will remain disallowed from Andilinks for another month at least and Google searchers will be denied my work.

  46. Hi Matt,

    I would like to read more about the JavaScipt post but can’t find it. Could we please have a link to this post?

    RE: PhilC, I responded to your original comment over in the JavaScript post comments.

    And thank you for putting out the effort and time to help webmaster’s better understand Google’s intent in these maters. I’d imagine Google may think they’ve opened a can of worms by increasing dialog with webmasters and SEO specialists, but we do find it extremely helpful and very much appreciate getting answers to our many questions.

  47. And can we edit our comments here, please? Spelling/typing errors left uncorrected are embarrassing :-p

  48. Does this work for 302 hijacked sites? For those of you who are not aware, check this out:

  49. Thanks for the reply Matt! I sent in one reinclusion request yesterday – and have my fingers crossed that it will take care of the site’s problem!

  50. ModemMike wrote:
    >there is a definite problem with 301 redirects, I myself have felt the sting of being banished from all results after a 301 redirect.

    Same here. Yesterday I’ve 301’ed about a hundred pages to a new directory on the same domain and the whole (quite reputable) site has been banned in less than 4 hrs. I immediately put everything back where it was before; in total, the “misdoing” lasted for about 10 hrs. Guess I should send the “Reinclusion Request” anyway?

    ModemMike, thanks for the link to 301 club – a must read.

  51. Thank you Matt, you are a gentleman and the best thing out of Google since the very beginning. 🙂

  52. The Javascript thread was last month, Janine:-

    Another thought on this thread…

    It is easy to know when a site has been banned, and when a ‘Reinclusion Request’ might help. But knowing whether or not a site has been penalised (but not banned) isn’t always as clear, because a sudden and significant drop in rankings (an apparent penalty) may be attributable to a significant algo change. The Reinclusion Request method is straight forward, but is there a similar Subject line phrase that can be used to find out if a penalty exists, or to request removing a penalty after cleaning up?

  53. The reinclusion request system works infrequently, because:

    1. Most requests go unread.
    2. Of those few reinclusion requests which do get read, very few are responded to.
    3. Of those few reinclusion requests which are responded to, almost all are responded to with completely irrelevant form letters.

    My advice:

    If Google has penalized or banned your site for no explainable reason – register a new domain name and 301 the old domain to the new domain.

    It’s a whole lot faster and more certain than waiting for Google to find and fix their mistake.

  54. I strongly suspect my site was booted from Google, because I was using Rankingpower. I guess this would qualify as a doorway page program or scraper program. I was also employing rpower’s “cloaked_url” feature – shame on me! 🙁 I got rid of all those pages, did an extreme makeover of my homepage, added real original content and asked Google for reinclusion. I was completely honest about my wrongdoing and promised not to do it again. I last received a message from Google Aug 26 that my case has been referred to their engineering dept for further investigation.

  55. I m new to read all your post Matt, and I like it much just wondering to know one of google men come and here he is lol

    I had a experience (sorry my english) once my client’s site was duplicate in meta tags that happen in 2 years a go

    and the ironic is that site exist now on Google SERPS but the terrible think that my client’s site was banned from that time, what happen.

    I just wondering to know what happen actually here.

    ok guys thanks in advance for the change to drop my post here.

    I tired some how with all the SEO stuff and just started the blog in my hobbies , any body could join my blog here

  56. What should I say in the reinclusion request if I have no idea why my site was penalized? It’s still in the index but dropped from page #1 to around page #10 on all keywords. The url is and it was my real, proper, honest try at doing everything by the book. Ps. ticket #34400643

  57. We have taken a hard penalty in Google and remain that way since May. Our site publishes articles from many sources (some unique and some not) and are all submitted to us by webmaster, experts, publishers, and notable authors if they serve our visitors interests. Some articles we retain the rights to even though we may allow them to be re-published in certain cases us of course being the originating publisher. We always believed that by doing this we would receive a “page only” penalty on any re-published articles (not originating with us) and uniques would be treated as, well, unique. This seemed to always be the case for the last 5 years.

    We also have a directory of online shopping sites that also could consider our site as “scraperish”. The directory was and continues to be hand-built and all inclusions have to be submitted to us and screened. For the last 5 years we never really ranked or care to rank for that section of our site. It was mainly to satisfy the divide of ecommerce and information within our readers not to gain SE traffic.

    After a huge site cleanup of old 301 redirects in which Google was not handling them very well serving up “Google generated” dupes. After which we reported these 301 errors with examples and filed for reinclusion a couple of times. Not a word in response for either and crawls of our site has fixed many of these errors but still no improvement. Still nothing seems to stick.

    Our next step is to rewrite the complete site (dire need of it may I add) and browse through our database of some 8000+ articles, pages, sites looking for any reason for having a site-wide penalty (even looking for links to bad neighborhoods). This will take about 6 months to do. The only things we can think of (since we don’t use any black hat SEO) is:

    1.) We use titles and descriptions in our sub sections to introduce contents of our articles which is the same as the title and description on the top of our articles and related articles as well as the meta title and descritpion.

    2.) Site wide penalty for using articles that get submitted elsewhere (again you would think this would be a “page-only” penalty)

    3.) PHP database driven template – without query strings – hasn’t caused a problem the 2-3 years we have used it.

    4.) Crappy html code – will be corrected soon going to a CSS design.

    Other than that I have no CLUE. We have lost over 6 figures of income since then and we have been VERY patient holding off our redesign for 7 months now but it has now come down to having to do it anyway and micro-searching for any cause. I just would hate to spend countless of man hours picking through everything where time could be spent by our employees actually running our company. Granted if it is something that can be fixed.

    We would also hate to have to pull any re-published articles since that would GREATLY take away from our visitors. That is something at we would not want to do because we and also our visitors consider them to be of great value. It also is the foundation of what our company is and does. We also cannot “test” edit many articles that we have not retained rights to do so. Besides MSN, Yahoo, other search engines, sites, online and offline publications featuring us seem to have no trouble with us using them.

    So here we sit in a major bind when it comes to Google without as much as a clue to where the problem lies. I guess we will just have to sit in the dark trying to find a needle in the well known haystack with our eyes gouged out. But we do stick by our guns when it comes to hope, patience, professionalism, and faith in Google.

  58. Matt:

    Would Google ever consider having a web page were you can enter your domain name and have it analyized on the fly if there are any problems (spam) with it so that the webmaster can instantly know what to fix?

    Our site which used to rank very well on Google has disappeared and we have combed the site over and over again removing anything that could be even remotley as spam (which was a good thing) however since there was never any spam done intentonally, it would some of us sleep better at night if we knew that it’s a Google thing (page jacking etc) and not anything on-site that is casuing the problem.

  59. Wouldn’t that be an awesome tool. But it may hurt the medical industry by reducing stress related ulcers!

  60. If I am awaiting reinclusion to Google for a banned site, Is it probably not a good idea to try to get it accepted into My logic here is I figure getting accepted into dmoz might help speed up the reinclusion process if Google is taking their time.

  61. Matt,
    As Arubicus has posted above:

    “We use titles and descriptions in our sub sections to introduce contents of our articles which is the same as the title and description on the top of our articles and related articles as well as the meta title and descritpion.”

    I am monitoring many sites which use the same setup as above and seem to have a penalty or filter. Is this practice considered bad? Could this trigger a duplicate content penalty or filter? Would appreciate your comments.


  62. Hello Matt

    first of all thanks for providing some transparency here

    can anybody explain how it’s possible (or may be it’s G new algo), that page with original and unique article is ranked lower (searching “Artilce title”), than sites which use the ur RSS feed on their sites?

    so searching “Uniqal article title or any phrase” in google (with quotes) u can got N results.

    ur site is the last
    before u are sites, which use RSS feeds of ur site (where is this artilce short description) with link to ur site.

    is this side effects of new algo. or this is result of hijacking or G’s penalty?

    i don’t know what to do?

  63. Last Thursday 99% of our search results disappeared from Google — our site is no where to be found except one search term, our oldest and best by chance. However, all the rest of our terms/sites/results are gone. We have two domains with identical content for copyright purposes. I was avoiding 301’ing one to the other to avoid the problems. However, it appears Google simply removed the primary domain and let the secondary domain which is VERY poorly indexed. Our site traffic disappeared overnight. Ugh!. I’ve 301’d the secondary domain to the primary but now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have done the reverse.


  64. Correction to that last entry — I’ve just found my results in Google. Sorry for the last post — I didn’t think to look for pages which were formerly on the first page of Google results down at the #370th position. I have no idea why Google would rank me on the first page one day (and for the past many years) and then move me to positions 370+. This is weird and is killing my business.

    Matt, I’ve done what you said but this seems different than being banned. It would be great if someone could explain it. So far I’ve only received canned responses from Google and am waiting for a real person now.


  65. Matt –

    Good stuff and probably most appropriate for those who have severe stuff going on, got the manual ban, or maybe tripped over the line on the REALLY nasty black-hat SEO. However, I’ve run into quite a few that seem to have merely tripped over an update where something triggered something that didn’t get them in trouble before, or maybe fell over some “points against” thing. I saw quite a bit of this in May.

    For those sites, it seemed as though they might have been violating new spammy criteria (e.g. too many H tags and bolding every instance of keyword, etc), but nothing like intentionally creating doorways or other attempts to play games. In many cases, it was an over-zealous attempt to compete with the big dominant boys.

    In each case, the rankings dropped out of site, but the site was still indexed, though many had convereted to URL only links. Hence, I concluded that there was no outright ban, but probably an algo penalty. I would imagine that Google probably runs into thousands or more of these per day. The goal then was to trip the algo back the other way. I concluded that this was going to take some time no matter what was done and since it had not been an outright evil doing, maybe it was best to NOT contact Google, but just do what needed to be done and let the algo sort things out.

    I don’t know if Google keeps track of requests, comments, issues, etc according to domain name, essentially a file history of problems by domain. But I reasoned that if they did, making a reinclusion request could certainly get you put into that “bad-boy” list. Obviously it would get you noticed, and if something is amiss, getting noticed isn’t always a good thing. At least you had a chance of not being on a bad boy list if you just let the bots do a reassessment.

    In all cases, the sites suddenly came back a month after completing the changes, and none required contacting Google. The way I look at it, a domain just might have a certain number of chances with Google and if you do the reinclusion request, you are probably using up one of those chances. ???

  66. Google ignoring requests for certain domains?

    Please keep comments on topic, this is about reinclusion requests. We have requested for a reinclusion twice now, in 2 months. Kindly explaining (like already pointed out by Matt above) what 1) we believe that happened and 2) explaining we don’t want this kind of things to happen again (accidentally or not). Both times no response (except for the standard ‘go and read the guidelines’ response).

    It might be that Google is filtering requests on domain name, or maybe even IP-addresses? If this is the case it really would be pointless trying for a reinclusion again. As previously comments by a few, at some point, it feels like you have to beg for reinclusion. Some even block Googlebot. Actually, we are blocking Googlebot now for pages we feel are helpful for our visitors, but probably are — since we are banned — against the google guidelines. Maybe Google-engineers ignore your robots.txt-file, and just keeps you banned.

    If there are many people/organisations working on a website, and 1 screwes up (according to Google’s guidelines), everybody is screwed unfortunately. We were using feeds, yes, but my advice is to never use other peoples content, even if they reward you for it, one way or the other.

    We know many people are using google just to type in ‘your-brand’ and even ‘’, to find your website (instead of typing it in the address bar). We have been banned now for two months, so that’s really a loss for us, even if it’s only a handful of visitors.

  67. Thank you, thank you, thank you Matt for this article. After following your advice, my fledgeling new site The PC Guru has finally appeared in the Google index with a Page Rank of 1, after months of trying. No other pages are there yet, apart from a cached entry for the domain’s previous owners, but it’s a start.

    Thanks again. I would probably never have resolved this issue if I hadn’t seen your article.

  68. I have accidentally submitted the homepage of our (non www.) site for removal using the automated removal tool. The current status is showing as ‘complete’.

    Overnight, last night, the non-www homepage entry was removed from the Google index but also the www homepage was removed too (we did not want this one removed and did not request it’s removal).

    I have been reading on various forums that there may be a bug / feature of the url removal tool that if you request the non-www homepage to be removed, it also removes the www homepage at the same time.

    We’re not convinced the feature / bug exists as the www homepage returns a 200 status and thus the url removal tool should not have removed it, but would like some reassurance about it.

    We’ve just filed a re-inclusion request on this basis.

    How do we get our www homepage back?

  69. The worst things about being banned and having to ask for reinclusion are
    – that Google is not acting transparently about its criteria
    – doesn’t inform webmasters about a possible ban, e.g. via an automated mail or form, where you could get a hint, what actually is considered as spam on your site
    – isn’t really able to tell spam from useful info e.g. internally useful comments in the source, hidden text for navigational or informational purposes etc.
    – worst point last: affiliate programs being able to nearly spam the first 100 results of every search that relates to a sellable product or service

    I’m watching sites in a highly competetive market spamming with the simplest methods, gaining top rankings, even months after i reported about them. They may drop for one or two weeks, just to regain the same positions as before. This is hilarious.

    Another point i critizize is using DMOZ only as descriptions in search results, instead of additional information, so not only this description does show up, but part of what people are intended to get from the actual content or meta information. DMOZ is far too slow, if you change your site frequently.

    E.g.: A site i work for is listed in the wrong DMOZ category for years now. I therefore even suspect, that one of their competitors is the editor, as several requests to change the category appropriatly have been ignored. DMOZ therefore is not a reliable source anymore, since the word about its importance for SEO has been widely spread and SEOs are taking over categories.

    Trying to bring this different perspectives together:

    Google has to realize, that having achieved a near monopoly about search results, it has become a supplier of the basic material of the web (like air, water, energy, food, excuse my english), many people’s lives depend upon.

    Banning sites for practices that are considered at the edge of spamming, without even warning or asking webmasters about it, is a misuse of that monopoly, as Google is not using its spam policy consistently and transparently.

    If you have to ask for a reinclusion, and even have to guess, if you’ve been banned at all or what you might have done that could be considered as spam, is a misuse of that monopoly. Especially, if the top results for the relevant search terms are so obviously spammed as they are today.

  70. We operate an established web directory that has been fairly successful (up to 50,000 visitors per day). This year after six years of operation we were delisted by Google. We made some changes to make the site more search engine friendly such as intentionally delisting (via robots.txt or noindex tags) pages that had little persistent value (news, etc.) and implementing a sitemap. We also attempted to fix anything that might be perceived as “abuse” (such as removing keyword tags) and followed the reinclusion procedure. This resulted in the same form email (“we have passed your message on to our engineering team..”) that others have reported. A registered letter to Google management produced no response, not even a “thanks for your comment”, which is unusual behavior for a major company.

    If we are doing something wrong we would obviously appreciate any clue as to what that thing might be. Google says they are implementing a program to advise sites of their sins. How big a deal could it be to tell us?

    Obviously, it has occurred to us that Google might be blocking access to our directory merely because it is a directory or for some other “editorial” or “business” reason. Their web site clearly states that a site can be delisted for secret reasons and that they can decide that something is “abuse” even if they have never disclosed anywhere that they consider that particular practice to be “abuse”. However, if Google has an editorial policy shouldn’t they so state? Wouldn’t it be even better if they told us what it was?

    Has anyone else had experience with a long established site being suddenly delisted for unknown reasons? Does anyone have a clue as to how to resolve this problem? Any help appreciated.

  71. Yes Ted, we’re in the same boat you are. We haven’t been banned but moving thousands of our listings from the first page of Google to positions #350 and above has killed our business this month. So we’re not banned but we’re being punished without any idea why and no idea how to fix it. We haven’t spammed anything, haven’t hired any SEO companies, etc., etc. Google has not responded to any of our requests so right now we’re kinda screwed. It would be nice if Google gave us some form of hint as to what’s up but their silence is making fixing anything impossible.

  72. After having suffered a 54 day ban and then being reincluded without ever being informed as to whether I was at fault for any specific thing or whether anything I did during the ban helped or hurt I have to wonder whether Google has any clue at all how this is eroding good will among the people it will probably need in the future.

    Google does not appear to have peaked, but no company stays on top forever. I don’t think that five, ten or twenty years from now I will have forgotten the hell I that lived through during August and September 2005, or that may await in 2006, etc.

    I am a very forgiving person and I very much want to view Google as the wonderful and friendly company I’ve known all these years. Just a little
    more official communication would certainly go a long way toward keeping me (and all these others) on your side as I very much want to be.

    The blogs are a step in the right direction but I still feel there is an adversarial relationship where there once was a sense of common purpose: helping people find stuff.

    The silence leaves the impression that there may be chaos behind the green curtain, please disabuse me of this notion.

  73. Kelly and Andi — I agree. I am a fan of Google and even have some stock (a great investment so far). However, a healthy company does not blow off serious inquiries from suppliers and web site owners are basically suppliers for Google. There seem to be problems in Mountain View although anybody Microsoft hates can’t be all bad.

    I have also noticed that the quality of Google searches has been declining and there are ever more garbage sites popping up in high ranking results. Google seems to be gradually losing the spam war. I suspect they are putting most of their effort into diversifying into email, maps, video, etc.

    I also think Google, as industry leader, should be doing a lot more to cooperate with site owners to improve search. There is a title tag and a description tag but why aren’t there a whole bunch of tags (geographic location, category of site, etc.) to allow site owners to communicate more information to the search engine. If Google adopted such a tag it would be an industry standard the next day.

    My understanding is that Google admits to manually banning (delisting) individual sites but they claim that their ranking algorithm applies equally to everybody. This presumably means that the ranking algorithm does not have a place where it says “check if this site is on the bad sites list” or a place where it says “check if this site is on the good sites list” as it is computing rank.

  74. Received the following from Google today (finally):
    “Thank you for your reply. Your site is not currently penalized, and
    multiple pages are included in our search results.”

    Nice stock email. They obviously didn’t do more than ten seconds worth of research to determine that we weren’t banned. However, when your traffic from Google goes from 1,000 page views/day down to 50 (and those are from adwords PPC), something is very wrong over at Google and it’s too bad they’re not more forthcoming about it.

  75. Hello There

    2 Kelly
    >>>“Thank you for your reply. Your site is not currently penalized, and
    multiple pages are included in our search results.”

    hmm .. u got such email from G ?
    amazing …

    >>>So we’re not banned but we’re being punished without any idea why and no idea how to fix it. We haven’t spammed anything, haven’t hired any SEO companies, etc., etc. Google has not responded to any of our requests so right now we’re kinda screwed. It would be nice if Google gave us some form of hint as to what’s up but their silence is making fixing anything impossible.

    the same is here and no idea, what can be the reason of this 🙁

  76. Ted — I have to agree with you. Over the last year we’ve watched the quality of the search results in Google decline rapidly due to spammers. It seems every time I do a search the top results which come back are old domains which have been bought for spamming purposes. What’s sad is that in order to fix this, they’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Personally, I think it’s time everyone woke up and started using a different engine as Google has been resting on their (organic) laurels for a looooong time. Maybe a bit of bad press would sharpen their PR skills a bit — we can all see they need it.

  77. We’ve had a back and forth discussion with Google over the last few days and the upshot is they are insisting there is no way to re-set a url removal, even though they admit it is not clear that removing the non-www homepage also removes the www homepage.

    I’ve even read of a user at webmasterworld who managed to get their accidental removal reversed within a few days of asking so we know it’s possible.

    We’re at a loss what else to do as we know they must have a database somewhere with the www homepage url and a NOINDEX and the start date somewhere (as otherwise how will they know the 6 months are up and to put the page back in the results). Surely all they have to do is re-set this for our homepage and let Googlebot pick up and index the page organically.

    So, we end up with a homepage which is not indexed, coming up to the busiest time of our year, through no fault of our own. How fair or reasonable is that.


  78. John Rooke, I’ll try to do a post about that. Doing a reinclusion before six months involves going in and editing the url removal database, which we’re usually loathe to do. Is the domain that you’re talking about the site that you used in your comment?

  79. maybe gonna loose my job, but still trying. hi Matt. I just jumped in your post while searching for the solution to my big problem. I’m rewriting our website totally in css, but what’s really making me go mad is that we can’t figure out in google… has surely much to do with the content of your post, but even if we followed all procedures nothing changed. If I will not succeed not only to perfectly write our code in pure css but even to index the company website I will probably be home before christmas.. but what are we doing wrong?
    Putting into google :

    google finds the page but without related link and without cache copy… and it’s the true result.

    Puntting into google:

    google finds a cached copy (12th july) that takes to our homepage. for this research i can find even links, etc etc etc..

    What have I got to do to make google discover that the first result should lead to our domain with related links.. and that the second query should be removed from index??


  80. Matt

    Yes it is. Our requests seem to have got through to the right person at Google in the end as our www homepage is back in the index as of this morning. We’re absolutely delighted.

    I think we will be steering well away from the url removal tool in the future as we do not want to go through what we have gone through in the last week again.

    Thanks Google…all is now forgiven.


  81. Matt, I love your blog, and have learned so much from this Reinclusion thread – I followed it closely to submit a client site. I think I just got the final death notice. I have been anxiously awaiting the “big reply” from Google – the all-important 2nd reply – after sending in the Recinclusion Request, then replying to the “canned reply”. I had big, exciting hopes. Another blog posting about a succesful reinclusion from “blogpingreview” made me really confident. Well, I got the email early this morning. Here’s what it said:

    “Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, we are unable to send personal responses to all of the requests we receive to review individual website content. Websites can fall out of our index for many reasons, including penalization.

    Certain actions such as buying or selling links to increase a site’s PageRank value or cloaking – writing text in such a way that it can be seen by search engines but not by users – can result in penalization. Please review our quality guidelines at for more information. If you identify problems with your website and make the changes necessary to comply with these guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

    NOOOOOOO! Wait! Don’t go! What happened to the one where you say “we’re passing your problem on to our engineering department”. Are you eluding to something that might be a problem? Is this a hint for me to read between the lines and find something that still needs fixing? Is this just a canned reply? Are we through?

    Here’s the thing – I don’t think we actually did anything wrong on the site. Well – maybe one possible thing – so I pleaded total guilt to it and asked for reinclusion. We got dropped early this year. Totally – Googlebot comes – we aren’t indexed. It’s a very nice, old, family friendly retail business. The owner originally bought and used 3 URL’s for the store 6 years ago. Well you just can’t do that. It’s considered duplicate content. I slapped his hands this summer, and took the site over – again. The 2 old url’s (which hadn’t been used in 2 years) are redirecting to the correct one. Is the redirect perhaps incorrect?

    I wouldn’t know how to make something cloak if my life depended on it. I know what it is, but wouldn’t have a clue how to do it. We’ve never bought or sold any links for anything. We hardly have any on – at this point we’re afraid of most everybody’s links. The only really horrible thing that’s ever happened is back in 2002 we were duped by a company called Traffic Power. We were too dumb to know much about SEO companies back then. Once I saw what they were up to (everything in the manual of what not to do) – I was horrified and dumped them as quickly as I could. We lost plenty of money on that scam. I thought I cleaned up all of the nasty mess they made. Could something from that long ago still haunt us? I’m at a total loss here. We’re about ready to shut the company down and start over from scratch. Any advice? Any tools out there that I could use to check for problems I don’t know about? Is there a single thread of hope we’ll ever be in Google?

  82. John Rooke, I asked someone to go look into your question on the url removal database.

  83. Nancy, did your site have linkpool pages in the past?

  84. Matt

    Thanks very much. It’s very much appreciated that you took the time out to help us as we were beginning to despair.

    Is there a possibility of a few extra things being added to the url removal console in the future to help with this kind of situation. The kind of things I am thinking about are:

    1) When a site is showing as ‘pending’, have the ability to remove the site from the pending queue e.g. if you have submitted a page in error and then realised your mistake, you could stop the page being removed before it’s too late.

    2) Allow a site owner to stop the 6 month page removal i.e. reverse the removal. I can’t see any harm in allowing this and it would stop what must be quite a few email requests from webmasters to Google. This would negate the need for 1) above.

    3) Make it more obvious in the url removal console that removing nonwww also removes www as it does not say that anywhere I have looked.

    Having been though what we have in the last week, these suggestions would have been a lifeline for us and enabled us to solve the problem (which was of our own making) ourselves.


  85. Matt — it’s obvious that Google has implemented some new filter. For obvious reasons, Google may not want to openly discuss this filter. However, for many of us, we’ve obviously tripped something in the filter and are suffering greatly for it. The cost to our business in the last month alone is over $10,000 in lost revenue. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what is wrong so that we can fix it. I know that Google doesn’t owe any of us anything but being silently punished without any knowledge as to how to resolve the situation doesn’t make sense. Worse yet, the communications from Google state that we’ve neither been penalized nor blocked. Maybe this is an argument of semantics then and that somewhere inside Google moving a site from page one in thousands of results to positions 350+ is called something else. Is it “a flogging?”

    We’re honestly really baffled here. Our site has been in it’s present format without change (other than content) for years. About the only thing we’ve done is to add printable pages for travelers (as we’re in that industry). So I’m stuck fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out how to be un-penalized from a company which openly tells me they haven’t penalized me when they obviously have.

    Matt — how on earth do we resolve such situations?


  86. Good points, John. I’ll pass that feedback on. KJ, you didn’t give any specifics about your site, so it’s hard for me to know more. We do roll out changes continually though.

  87. Hi Matt:

    Two things:
    1. Because your site will be indexed by Google among other search engines — I can’t possibly reveal what our domain is. The loss of positioning in Google is bad enough but for our entire industry to know about it and openly discuss it would truly devestate our company. Yes, it really is that bad. I’ll gladly reveal anything you want via private email but since I don’t know your email address I would need you to email me first.

    2. I’ve run into something strange on Google. We created a new web design for a client (redesign). Generally our web designs perform very well in Google but something is wrong with this client site. I first noticed the problem when the site performed very poorly in Google. While diagnosing the problem, I did a backlink check and noticed Google only listed two of their own pages (home and another one) and one other site. Knowing this couldn’t be true, I did a search for just their domain as a phrase and found 147 sites which actually link back to them. I check and most of them are valid links (not scrapers grabbing their adwords links) from sites like their local chamber. However, this sites aren’t listed in the backlinks. I’ve emailed support about it and received the stock reply. Honestly, this one has me truly baffled.


  88. Matt, I’m pretty sure that’s what Traffic Power was doing back in 2002. A bunch of funky pages with nonsense writing, thousands of links to everywhere, etc. The first time I found one that came up during a search in Ask, I flipped out and pulled the plug on it immediately. (They wouldn’t refund our money – the smooth talking sales guy we had spent hours with on the phone before we signed up with them had left the company – all we could do was send a letter to the Attorney General in Nevada.) We were only involved with them for 3 months. They left a really bad taste for the SEO industry – there are probably some good companies out there, but I would never know who to trust. Hence the reason I am limping along on my own. Naive, honest, and failing.

    The site was getting indexed and had an okay page rank until early this year. At this point, I would be thrilled with a PR 1, and having our returns even on page 100 – anywhere in Google! Could those linkpool pages still be haunting us in 2005?

  89. Hold – the – train!! I should have started working this morning before seeking advice. I just pulled up our website and lo and behold! We have a beautiful, tiny green bar! It’s the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen. This is one of the happiest days in my life! Two whole pages from our site come up when I type in!!! It’s just a tiny start, but we’re back! Thank you Matt for your great article and advice. Good grief, I can’t believe I’m going to party down tonight because of a tiny green PR 2 Google bar. So, all of you out there complaining about a low Google PR, don’t forget – you could have a plain old gray bar. My glass is now more than half full. Green is beautiful…

  90. Matt.. desperate desperate desperate.. may someone of you guys (who certainly have more and deeper knowledge than me) give some advice for what to do with my domain over google.. who catched the wrong entry page? I’ve recently posted a request in comments but got (sob sob) ignored. while yahoo and msn seems to appreciate all i’ve been doing to clean code and do the best for indexing I get with google who gives strangely good page rankings within the domain in sub-category and category pages.. but still ignore (even after sitemaps) to clean the cache results for the domain…

    1 – if I put on google:

    google finds the page but without related links and without cache copy. and this IS the real homepage…

    2 – if I put on google:

    ..which is a variable….used for creating for users and spiders (so no tricks…) pages… google finds the page, and gives a cache copy back to 12th july… even links and so on…

    whom can I ask, who may give a little support to understand how to get out from this mess?

    best aLL


  91. Hi Matt,

    Before I submit a re-inclusion request, is there any way to find duplicate URLs that point to the same web address and cause a duplicate content penalty?

    A few years ago, my predecessors purchased numerous URLs and pointed them all at my company’s home page, but those employees have all left, and nobody knows what all the URLs are anymore.

    I have re-directed all the URLs (that I have uncovered) to a landing page in order to let Googlebot update its cache and remove all of the duplicate content, and this seems to be working (only two more URLs remain to be updated). I plan on submitting a re-inclusion request once I see that those remaining URLs are updated, but I am afraid that there may be even more URLs out there.

    Thanks in advance for your help and advice. Great blog!

    P.S. googlemap.xml has been a fantastic help in eliminating the internal duplicate content caused by some links in the site having CapitalLetters, while other links were in lowercase (the site is on a Windows server, so it didn’t matter to the site’s original programmers).

  92. Brian:

    I use for that purpose.

  93. For years I was the webmaster for a Brantford florist’s web site which enjoyed #1 ranking on the big 3. Early on I wanted to take the same website to other communities (cities), as the results achieved and the cost were far lower than methods used by the major city to city florist referrers. This year I put the plan into motion in August. Each site is the same except for prices, addresses, names, and telephone numbers.

    Didn’t even think to check for Google guidelines, as it was very obvious that the majors had nearly identical sites in different cities. Plus all my sites have been squeaky clean for years.

    In mid-August we sold our first site. Marketing then suggested we put up a few more sites so that potential out-of-town clients could see exactly what they woould be buying. All extra sites had dummy data for names, addresses, phone numbers etc.

    The starting off rankings in Google were much less than I am am used to. Research lead me to the aversion Gooogle has to duplicate content. As a means to make pages less similar, I created artifical names, address, and non-working telephone numbers. In a matter of days, all the sites except 2 diasappeared, and the remaining 2 went to 100+.

    NEVER include a phony address or telephone number on your website!!
    All home pages have unseen links to password protected areas where clients can add comments to their pages and change prices.

    As this is written, 3 sites have rankings betwee 41 and 48, 2 are way over 300, and 9 have been indexed, but cannot be found in Google even when viewing EVERY entry Google returns.

    My first question is how can I fix this mess? Secondly how can I persuade Google that similar content on websites for unique cities are not spam, as the content is no good to anyone outside that city. Lastly, the big guys in the flower delivery business are providing similar content in different cities. I am looking for a level plaing field for the smaller mom & pop flower shops.

    All comments are appreciated. Excel worksheets are available at

  94. After having received the “nothing is wrong with your listings” email from Google I sent them proof showing that our listings/site have been severely penalized. Today I received the following from Google.

    “Thank you for your reply. Please be assured that your site is not
    currently banned or penalized by Google.”

    — Deep within their own denial? Refusal to help people? What? It’s so frustrating knowing that something has gone seriously wrong even though we’ve done nothing malicious or underhanded.

    Matt — you stated the following:
    “Remember, we need to know 1) that the spam has been corrected or removed and 2) that it isn’t going to happen again.”

    Obviously we’re not talking about a site which has been actually removed from the index but the result is basically the same. So given your advice, how can we possibly admit to having done anything wrong when we don’t know what it is? Furthermore, how on earth can we correct it?

    This is like being spanked without being told what you’ve done wrong and when you ask, the parent tells you everything is fine and that you were never spanked. How weird is that and how on earth do we fix it?


  95. Thank you very much, Will Spencer, for that link to I have used that many times (I have been struggling with this problem for almost 4 months). Unfortunately, it never once found the duplicate URLs that pointed to the same place.

    Today, Google’s cache for two old URLs shows exact duplicates of our home page. Google also stopped updating the cache of our current home page (once again), and it has gone back to showing a description taken from the DMOZ instead of from the META description. If I didn’t know that these URLs existed, I would never be able to find them, so I still need a tool that will help locate duplicate URLs. Or, please tell me where I can sign up for webmaster notification when a problem is detected.

    Also, I am afraid to use Google’s URL removal tool on these URLs, because the cache for these is identical to the actual home page, and I do not want the real site to be removed for 6 months.

    If webmasters could create a googleremoval.xml file to remove old URLs, it would speed up the entire process and clean out the supplemental index as well. The same rules for googlemap.xml would apply (place it in the root directory, etc.).

    Matt? Help!

  96. hey Matt n everyone is there a place where banned sites are listed or where sandboxed sites are my site has been live 6 months, can be found in google but if you type but no cached pages or description any reasoning why??? thanks m8y

  97. Serves all you whiners right for trying to fool Google. G will become smarter, so why not focus on quality content instead of tricks to make G think the site is good.

  98. is a site that’s mostly affiliate links. G is cracking down on this! You have little original content, so you won’t rank.

  99. Please don’t believe all these fucking lies. They are excluding thousand of sites to make sure that you will buy adwords to be sure to have your site there. There are no sites without problems, all the sites have problems and all the idiot webmaster think they have been excluded for these problems… they want your money because when the sell their bonds every 50$dollars of adwords they earns 50.000$ by investors… Please, google, try to be a serious company!

  100. Sorry Jonny — I can’t agree with that assessment. We’ve been an adwords users since the beginning and love the program as do all our clients. Great system and great compliment to our organic listings. Or, our former organic listings.

    And Canboy, we didn’t try to fool Google. Our site is ten years old and the current design and content is four years old. Something tripped Google’s filters and wham, we’re at positions 350+. It’s the denials from Google that anything is actually wrong that’s bothersome.


  101. Thanks for this URL it’s really helps me for one of my friend’s website. Because his website PR suddenly has washed out. I will pass this URL to him.

  102. What is considered an automated link program?

    Wow, I just started visiting the “search engine forums” out there again and found a link to this blog by Matt, all I can say is excellent!!!

    I know you most likely will not have time to answer this but I am going to put it in here anyhow and even give the URI. I also am going to come out of the closet to find out what is right and wrong because I believe I have good, honest websites that are of value to indexes AND humans.

    Quick Story:

    I made a website for a neighbor who makes great gift baskets for dogs, which I will transfer to her once it succeeds.

    Site came alive on 9/4/2004 and was sandboxed for a year and now is about #150 for it’s needed search term (but just wont move any higher).

    The site has a blog (on a subdomain), and a directory (on a subdomain) that uses “free php directory script”, my idea was that eventually I can break away the “pet directory” and it can earn me some income (adsense) to support what I do for free. On occasion I do allow people who have related sites inclusion into this directory. Is this considered this considered an automatic link farm? Please help me out here! I feel that offering a focused (on topic) directory is a good alternative to “link trading” with lame Viagra sites that spam me every day.

    AND I am sorry for making fun of Matt in the “search engine” forums, but those geeky Halloween pics kick major ass dude!! HA!! It’s good to know you guys have a sense of humor and are real, real geeks! 😉

    Warning: As I have noticed with DMOZ, you can start off with good intentions (as they did with their inclusion “status check” forum) but if it is not done correct you will soon have an angry mob weilding pitch forks and axes at your door.


  103. With this last update Jagger1 on Oct 16th, my website lost all top 10 positions and is still listed with google, but mostly after 300 to 500 or more listings. i just submitted a re-inclusion report and i will report back here from time to time to document how this is going, but I can guarantee you that our website did not perform anything intentionally to spam Google.

    On another note, in the midst of this 80% loss in traffic, my recent revisions to the site have worked well and three days after having turned into a virtual ghost-site, I now have a PR6 for the home page….but with almost no Google traffic at this time.

    The good from this is that I did not realize how dependant i had been on Google for traffic and I have reinitiated my efforts to find as many alternative methods of traffic from other indexes and link exchanges. i have no plan to eliminate Google from my overall plan, but i think it’s dangerous that a single action by one company has the power to eliminate my capacity to run my online business. i think it would be prudent for everyone to embrace the google traffic, but find as much non-google traffic as possible as well…and not other traffic that itself is dependant upon google.

    I’ll be back.

  104. Well, my site disappeared from search results about a week ago and although it is still in the google cache and is still displayed its search positions have dramatically changed. I contacted google on confirmation of what happened to my site, but still nothing…

  105. Hi Matt,

    My website doesn’t use any hidden text, hidden links, or cloaking. However I lost my pagerank 6 six months ago. I can’t find it even if I seek my domain name ?

    I send reinclusion request at support/bin/ like you suggest but I have always pagerank 0.

    Can you just watch quickly my website and tell me if there is a problem for Google? Something I don’t see ?

    Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

  106. My url has been used by I suppose a competitor to spam blogs. I believe google just penalized me for it. is page rank 3 my index.php same page right is page rank 4. I have way way more backlinks to I have been receiving angry emails from blog owners claiming I left them a comment with link to I have not left a single comment link a.k.a. comment spam. Google I beleive is punishing me for it. Apparently you can ruin your competitors site rankings and page rank. Just spam there url to blogs. Any thoughts on this. Any help on how to get google to investigate.

  107. Dear Matt,
    I am from India and I have a problem simmilar to KJ. My site had more than 60 keywords ranking in the top 10 and suddenly we are left with almost nothing but the domain name keywords only at the top. We have made no significant changes in the web site only adding more travel pages and recently added adsense. I know i am not banned as no of pages in google remain same and some keywords are no. 1 still. Also the sites which are now ranked much higher than us, some of them are not even operational and some give totally irrelevant results. Show me a way out.

  108. This is thanks for great recent improvements. Many of the spam sites that were in the top search results above mine have now disappeared. My site is loaded with original, daily updated content. Recent changes at Google seem to be suceeding.

  109. Matt,

    I do not envy your position. Doing PR for a company trying to balance two mutually exclusive activities; relevant results & clicks on paid advertisements.

    You may find interest in this.

    One of my sites has some affiliate links but provides more quality information than most of the G listed competitors. It generates a thousand uniques per day, yet none from G natural. 16 months old, PR5, tens of thousands of G indexed pages, 20K GBot hits per mo.and not one keyword ranked. Not even exact unique strings.

    Now here is the good part. A search for the unique phrase URL alone gives us #1. Add any other relevant word to the URL and our page is eclipsed by the scrapers. 40,000 results with our unique name and we are not one of them. wow.

    But alas, I have lost all my animosity towards Google many, many months ago.

    My best wishes to you Matt. You are trying to make a difference, albeit with your hands tied.

  110. (I linked my personal blog in the URI to use as an example if you like)

    My website (WordPress blog with comment and other fields removed) on “rainwater harvesting” dropped from page #1 in google to page #3, it also has a directory that uses the “free php script” which makes me wonder about how safe it is to do focused directories that are on subdomains? AND yes I add people to this directory who have sites related to “environmental issues” if they are kind enough to link to me it can get a few visits in times of trouble like this. The only site I link out too from the index.php are mine and 2 friends, I have completely given up on the idea of “link trading” which has the word SPAM written all over it, besides it just feels wrong now.

    I also lost 80% of traffic from Google as well but the site is now a pr5 and most of the internal pages are pr5, I wonder what “PR” means, it seems to have hosed all my results. Is PR a bad thing? I have heard that constantly changes it’s pages to get fresh results, I would consider that spamming yes? In order for a site to stay fresh do you need to change the names of the pages and have high dominating PR, lame! Or is it just a time/age thing? Do good informational pages start with great results/then gain PR/then drop off/then rise or is all our hard work a waste of time? If it is about constantly feeding google I will run out of things to write about soon, the site then would be like an empty can of soda pop, pretty sad.

    Too many questions but my reason for posting here is to show Google what I do in hopes that they can better understand the results of their update. The only spam I have on my site (and excuse the expression) is Adsense but it is really cool because it is smart enough to put products related to what I write about and until this update it was paying me the couple dollars I need to continue. (Yes, I believe that you can offer good information to people and get paid for your work relying 100% on adsense, think how this could encourage “experts” to share the wealth of spam free knowledge!)

    It is understood that not everyone can be #1 but when you look above in the SERPS, you now say, “I work much harder then the old dusty information above me that clings to high PR .edu, and .gov websites like old lint”. I don’t have any affiliation to a college and am a craftsperson who sells my product from another site, does this make my writing of less value?

    Do you suggest we ALL put our sites up for review? You see, there is no way of knowing if a site is spamming, erroring out or is just plain “not up to par” and my dad says. OK, deep breath, feel much better now, got to get back to Sponge Bob. 🙂

    Thanks, -Aaron

  111. Hello Matt,
    The Search engine optimization world is a close world, where one can read about almost any topic, except the topics that really count.
    Given this context, I really appreciate your blog. In the jungle of SEO blogs, forums and tutorials, this is the only place where I feel I can trust every word I read.

    Go on!

  112. “I’m watching sites in a highly competetive market spamming with the simplest methods, gaining top rankings, even months after i reported about them. They may drop for one or two weeks, just to regain the same positions as before. This is hilarious.”

    Exactly. I see sites almost vanish from the SERPs for no apparent reason, sites which have been built “according to the book”, standards-compatible, accessible and whatnot, thus adopting Google’s motto “Do no evil” … and the sites on #1 blatantly performing gross violations of Google’s “webmaster guidelines”.

    Come on – banning and penalizing sites for minor issues like an invisible “skip navigation” link, but putting javascript redirect pages with no content but stuffed keywords on top of the SERPs …??

    I do not know how you decide on what is spam or not, but your procedure has serious faults. And I do not know what you are doing with SPAM complaints – do you auto-delete them?

    It becomes increasingly difficult to tell customers that I am not going to use black hat SEO techniques when these techniques work so well for their competitors. This is where we are right now: Clients *demanding* black hat SEO because all their competitors do it – succesfull, for months and months and months. Good work, Google!

    To sum it up:

    – correctly built pages are getting busted, with no way to find out why

    – gross violation of Google’s “webmaster guidelines” lead to a #1 listing

    – SPAM reports are obviously ignored

    So, Matt: What shall we tell our clients? What?


  113. Hello Matt

    it’s a reinclusion request page support/bin/

    now go to >>I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website >>Why my site disappeared from the search results or [b]dropped in ranking[/b] >>click “Continue” button and u will see

    “Keep in mind that we don’t personally review individual sites”

    what do u think about this?
    if u don’t review individual sites, why u include this in question “>Why my site dropped in ranking”

    we have a huge problems with our site starting march .. but still cann’t understand what’s our fault?
    -traffic from google drops x10-20
    -sites using our rss feeds rank well than our site
    -none of our keywords dont’ work

    etc etc

    the last think that i see .. is that G dropped our PR from 5-6 to 0 ! (3-4 days ago)

    during this 6 months, we change 5-6 webmasters , hire 2-3 seo guru-s, do a lot of changes on our site (SEF urls, modrewrite, sitemap, etc), 2 reinclusion requests, 2-3 emails to google … and as result we ge PR 0 (btw more than 3-4 months when toolbar PR was 5/10 in google dir our site have PR and was displayed on the bottom

    so ,,, my question is …
    ok, i can understand that review manually every site it’s imposible.
    but what do , if reading G’s Webmaster Guidelines and posting ur question in a lot of SEO forums(WMW, Seochat, digitalpoing, G’s groups) u cann’t find ur question?

    what to do?

    i understand , that G staff recieve more than 10K emails every day, with different questions (and may be 50% of answers are in Webmaster Guidelines ), but what to do if u cann’t find answer to ur question?

    pls agree, with me, that it will be right, when G drop, filter or penalty any site, he must know his fault.

    otherwise u can do a lot of changes, hear a lot of advices in different forums(very often stupid advices) and still don’t know .. what’s ur fault!

    pls understand me right …the worst thing when u don’t know .. what to do?
    buy a gun or close ur domain 🙁

    sorry, for my emotional tone

  114. It is officially 1 week since the Jagger1 update occurred and I am still short about 75% of previous traffic and waiting for a response from Google about my re-inclusion request and/or an explanation of why I have experienced such a dramatic shift in traffic.

    Although I am getting considerably less traffic, my overall sales volume has only dropped by 30%, which means that the Google traffic does provide income and sales potential, but the percentage that turns to sales is somewhat lower ( about half as much) as compared to other major search engines and indexes. This would deduce that Google provides traffic volume, but not traffic quality.

    Actually the biggest drop in sales i am experiencing is with adsense which is down by over 50%. This is the result of losing so much of the Google traffic that was just surfing and not creating any sales for my business, but the adsense links often provided them with a better direction to follow. In essence, my drop in Google related traffic has primarily affected their ability to sell clicks through my website. This is possibly the result of Google not realizing they might be biting the hands that are helping to feed them.

    I’ll be back.

  115. Hi Matt

    I am completely doing everything by the book and my site specialising in Animation Art is just bouncing all over google and never shows up in Yahoo, its ridiculous, I am doing nothing to get penalised and I am been.

    If you could shed any light on the matter that would be great. The site is

    Kindest regards

  116. Hi Matt,

    I found out that the latest jagger update to be totally crazy. Although we are the No.1 provider in asia-pacific and have not involved in any crazy hiddentext or anything our website – has totally dropped out of rankings (but still it is at 20+) whereas it used to #1 for lots of major keywords.

    I believe, the later patches take care.


  117. Just a quick observation from my end again sorry.

    75% loss of google traffic also but quality hits coming in from MSN and Yahoo? It makes me appreciate those two, almost forgot about them and appreciate that they are filling my tank while this Google update settles, will it settle?

    Cool password thinger in here, I want this for my blah blah blog, where do I get it, must….have……it! 😉

    -Aaron (No relation to that spammer Aaron Wall, kidding!)

  118. Matt,

    Thanks for the tips. They are extremely useful. But what if I have tried everything you mentioned. I mean, I have abided by the Webmaster Guidelines and sent Re-inclusion requests, but still have no response from Google since the past 7 months.

    The website in question is a manually-coded, content-oriented women’s community which used to rank top in Google for several keywords. Suddenly we were dropped in March.

    I have written 3 re-inclusion requests but never received anything except automated replies. I have scanned everything on my site. What else might be wrong? What else remains to be done? Any suggestions?

  119. Lata, I looked at your websites backlinks and immediatley found something in the google serps. I feel that you made the same mistake others have (including me) in the past. The mistake is listening to these so called “marketing experts” who tell you to go nuts with link exchange on a new site, which I believe sandboxes you to hell. Think about it, if it was as easy as launching a site and getting one million links pointed at it would that be a good thing for us all?

    Here is what I found in the Google serps:

    Hi Dan,

    I finally have a suitable website for exchanging links with you. Very Happy

    PR is 0 coz’ the site is brand new but I am expecting a PR of 4 to 5 at the next PR update. Look at the content and you will know why.

    Do you need just a title with a url or a link along with a description. LMK.
    Lata Tokhi
    Mom Tycoons – Online success secrets revealed for women webmasters

    My advice is to stop listening to those lamers and just build the best site you can, you will be rewarded some day I believe. If you want to exchange links make a few friend who do related stuff, or if you have another site link it from there, that is normal correct?

    Also, every link I click on your site has it’s own .index.html? What’s that?

    I am not an expert, this is just advice from one website owner to another who learned that hard way on one of my sites…

    Good luck,


  120. Matt,

    I am still waiting the reply from the google team with the : Re: [#36731093] Reinclusion Request

    all I need to know just a little explanation about the drop of my site, which part of the google guidelines I broke, that’s it since our site is the clean one (and I think this day all the webmasters wondering about)

    so we can sure for the next steps which one need to change.

    and the confusing here is if we never banned from google so why our ranking drop from the index, which need an effort for years to build that.

    we can say just wasting time for us to do for what never be known for the state is

    sorry my english


  121. Somewhere in the middle of the comments above someone mentions having had their site plagiarised (copied) to some degree and imply that this has had dire consequences. Can this happen?

    One of my clients has a Flash-only site and used doorway pages to represent the content of the Flash – only generating search results for phrases relevant to their service offering. I feel this is justified unless you’re naturally penalising or banning Flash sites.

    Until this weekend, this site had a PageRank of 6/10 (all good, relevant links) and was achieving excellently targeted search engine referrals through Google.

    Today the domain has PageRank 0/10 and NONE of the pages remain indexed.

    During our research into this issue we have noticed that another site has copied our doorway pages en-masse and virtually verbatim. Could this have been the cause of our being penalised?

    I’ve submitted the reinclusion request today – and I’ll let you all know how that goes.

    PS: Thanks, Matt, for being brave enough to do this blog!


  122. Hi Matt,

    Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on publishing this blog because it addresses the core issues that many website owners have had to face

    However, like so many of the above posts/comments, the main ingredient lacking is exact information when a site get itself “sandboxed” for some reason

    For instance our website has over the past 7 years enjoyed great rankings but suddenly we found ourselves fall foul of the dreaded Google policy guidelines

    Why and what we’re supposed to have done is something that we’re not entirely sure of ?

    We’ve poured over and dissected our home page in minute detail for anything possibly offensive but apart from one link that directed people to the wrong page there really is nothing that has been altered to cause such a penalty in our opinion unless of course we’re simply missing something fairly obvious.

    That said, we have written to Google on several occasions seeking a reolution but after an initial reply citing policy guidelines they have largely ignored all our pleas for help

    So can you/someone within Google just come out with it and simply say what we’ve done wrong so that we can fix it – after all, we’ve been online for 7 years (same as Google!) to not be considered a ‘spam’ outfit. We simply want to provide genuine content and a quality service as we have been doing

    Many thanks and look forward to hearing from you shortly.

    Kind regards,

  123. Martin,
    just a quick reply, also in case there are others here with a similar problem. Content-scraping is a serious problem, “especially” if it is coming from the outside. Try to get help from Google to clean it up (do a spam report for the other sites: + get some legaleze to the people running the other site, their providers, etc.

    But remember – you might also be causing the deindexing yourself by posting your own duplicate content within your own site or other sites using your same templates, or even on “accident”:


  124. Thank you, Matt, for your energetic and very useful blog!

    Our site has recently dropped dramatically in Google SERPs and I believe that sadly we became a part of collateral damage from your last update. We have a great website and used to come up on 1st and 2d pages of Google for our primary and highly competitive keywords. We were getting 30-40 highly relevant Google keyword queries every day. Not that many, but good enough for our small company, and all extremely relevant. Visitors that found us through Google love our website – we hear so many good words about it – many people read every page and comment on useful and original content of the site that we put together over the years page by page. I am a journalist and web designer, so web content writing is my specialty, and I was always pleased with Google’s quality feedback that we were experiencing with the growth of our traffic. We pride ourselves as developers of search-engine friendly websites, relying on high quality content, clean code and relevant linkage within Internet community. We never used any spamming techniques to our best knowledge, so being discounted by beloved Google is quite painful.

    We started noticing unusual decrease in our Google traffic a couple of weeks ago. I panicked and immediately went to Webmaster World and WebProNews. Other people have already started reporting similar behavior in their traffic, just a few days before we all learned about up-coming Google’s October update from you. My first thought was that Google model is changing towards making highly competitive keywords accessible only via Google advertising programs. But I revisited Google webmaster guidelines to see if there could be something that we had possibly done wrong on our side. And oh, boy, guilty we did use notorious Web Position Gold and we had a few of questionable quality links among our resources. We did fix that immediately, but I am very much concerned that we may also be penalized for duplicate content because Google has indexed all our pages as http and https versions and added “Supplemental Results” to https variations. One of our pages is indexed three times as http, https and a http with no-www version! Also other sites have been copying our homepage text and even testimonials from our clients! Can we potentially be penalized for that as well?

    I did find Google’s instructions on how to remove https section indexing at They recommend that “Each port must have its own robots.txt file. In particular, if you serve content via both http and https, you’ll need a separate robots.txt file for each of these protocols.” I contacted my hosting company to assist me with that. But our host does not setup a separate webspace for the https files as Google suggests and they say that it’s a pretty much industry standard to have “http and https all point to the same files, there is not a separate webspace that port 443 points to.”

    Do you know if https page copies (that are also marked as supplemental) are a problem? I can’t find a code on robots exclusion of https files for a situation like mine and I believe that many people may be in the same boat. I am terrified that if I put a full path in robots.txt and disallow: – I could exclude our entire site, because “there is not a separate webspace that port 443 points to”? Please advice. Can these kinds of questions be answered in Google Webmaster Guidelines? I’ve been working in the industry for quite a few years now, but I still have hard time to trust that most of consultants understand what they are talking about.

    Would you please respond with recommendations for us? Should we consider reinclusion request? I don’t feel comfortable giving our domain name here. Our PR has remained the same (5/10), we got more backward links counted, but we lost all our Google traffic in a matter of few days.

    I’ve been working in the industry for quite a few years now, but I still have hard time to trust that most of consultants understand what they are talking about. Things just keep changing too fast and direct information from major players like Google is very limited. So your blogging is much needed and greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks and good luck to all,


  125. Hey Aaron, That’s not the website in question! That is a brand new website and some good links are needed to kick start. And now that people know about Google Sandbox, everybody raises eyebrows about a PR 0. Hence, the PR explanation.

    The website in question is

    Any suggestions there?

  126. Aaron, I did’nt get what you said about the index.html. Is it .SHTML what you mean? That is a commonly used page extension used for server side includes.

  127. [quote]Aaron, I did’nt get what you said about the index.html. Is it .SHTML what you mean? That is a commonly used page extension used for server side includes.[/quote]

    Ok, thanks for clarifying sorry. ;0

    Someone called our dog birthday cake a poop in some forum. I found our image linked in when I was looking thru my sites “backlinks” for scrappers to report, which is funny yes? BUT it brings up something I would love for google to know and respond to (yeah right, you guys just sit back and have a laugh on us, mkay?) is stuck in between #120-150 for the phrase which desribes it and is only getting traffic from Google image search. You know how this makes me feel? I feel like I am being used for my images, people find them in Google Image Search and call them dog poops and stuff! I am serious, it’s the only traffic we currently get, nice eh?

    I am laughing and crying at the same time, insanity might be right around the corner…it’s been a long year with this damn site, I would love to say to my neighbor, “Merry Xmas it’s all yours”!

    A Sad Clown ;-(

  128. Hi Matt

    Nice Blog – Very interesting –

    Makes it all the more interesting when you are faced with similar problems.

    Even more so, when you have some form of a physical “pain-point”, identified as a Google pain point, relentlessly being bombarded, whenever you use the net.

    Cannot identify is genuinity, although they seem to be responding very, very positively – only to realize later – that it was an artificial one, caused either by ISP servers or other bigger players

    The result

    Boom – The user gets identified as a spammer and its adios amigo.

    If this is the case, is the “private internet” going to be one of the biggest jokes of the year.

    I say this, because they seem to have no actual touch with the end user, their major market being controlled by AdWords and other junkie players.

    Given the fact that it is so in major big corporations, why are they making a big hue and cry about this?

    Their IPO was another big faux pas

    Consequently, if I remember well, a few heads rolled;
    Now they are trying to gun for the No.1 slot – Do you reckon this is a publicity stunt.

    Sleeping over, I realized that their IPO and private Internet are directly linked. If the fist failed, the second has to succeed.

    But, I just don’t know, why they are making such a huge brouhaha about it – which of course will ensure that it goes like the way the IPO went.

    I am at a loss of words.

    Lastly, would appreciate if you could send me your direct e-mail contact address as I would like some advise as well as send you some more info

    Thanks and regards

    PS : Please ignore the previous submissions (if you received it) as I was constantly getting some error message, when I hit the submit button

  129. Matt strangely I just had 4 sites banned that do not link to each other and do not use any javascript, strange tactics, or anything. They had links to banned sites that I was unaware of but besides that they look cool. I dropped the links and now did a reinclusion request for each. These are affiliate sites with lots of original content and they all obtain links by hand. Some of them have links from the same sites because people want to link to both of them is that a problem? I really dont get any google traffic from these sites, but it reflects my sites negatively if I am completely ethical about everything and they are not listed in google. It will be hard to people to want to link to the articles I have written.

  130. Hello Matt, hello there

    Pls advice, what to do, if site is under G’s penalty (a wrote about it above) and u don’t know, what’s your fault?

    close 7-8 years domain, and start new site development?

    pls, understand me right, it’s very hard correct any error, if u don’t know what to do.
    thank you

  131. MyGoogle reinclusion request for was successful. The ban on finally lifted 2 weeks ago. It’s beginning to get hits from Google.

    Now my next challenge is getting my other site “unbanned” from both Yahoo and Google. I think I did a good clean up job. I sent them my reinclusion requests about 3 weeks ago, but nothing has happened yet. I’m wondering if my homepage design is the problem. This domain was banned for the same reason – Rankingpower.

  132. Thank, Mike.

    I’ve had one client who sells toys drop from the listing altogether and his home page is a PR0 but is interior pages are all PR3 and 4. Not sure what we did wrong, (possibly a link exhange with a bad neighborhood?) but I’ll try this and let you know the results. Thanks again.

  133. Strangely I do all of my site by hand and I still got banned. Its weird that after two years of working on my sites that all of a suddent they get banned from google it does not make sense. What is the estimated time from request to relisting in most cases 2 weeks?

  134. .. what a mess! — got the Reinclusion Request message 4 days ago ,, for some hidden text that was placed at the top of the page of our site,, a leading job portal with 40,000 members and growing.
    immediately we took it out — we got advised by a SEO team we hired to put it there — and submitted the reinclusion request. got the email from google, the standard one. at that time we where still in the index.
    today found out that all of the sudden we are not in the index ,, emailed google few times,, got nothing back. not even an acknowledgment of receipt of the email.
    I understand the importance of keeping the web clean of spammers — i understand that. but this whole experience discouraged me to be an investor in websites — have no confindence that tomorrow lets say yahoo, google or whoever will not come up and say: ” to be included in the index you need to do this and that.. ” — we are a their mercy and thats not something that creates confindence for an invenstor. And even if you change the site,, there is no process or visibility as to weather you are to be reincluded, or by when and how

    i still dont know when i will receive an email from the google team — on one hand i am waiting for it,, on the other maybe am saying to myself,, “had enough of this rollercoaster,, it is becoming impossible to make a descent leaving on the internet — close shop and move elsewhere”

  135. Hello Fred

    >This domain was banned for the same reason – Rankingpower.

    can u explain, what is it? it’s a seo company or soft?

    thank you

  136. It’s been two weeks since my website has been penalized. I placed a re-inclusion request a few days later, so I am hoping to hear something from Google soon. I can tell by many of the comments by people who are banned or penalized, that they are experiencing what can only be termed as “nit-picking’ . To ban a website because they linked to someplace that they might not even be aware was a problem, is beyond being reasonable. Bottom line, no site should be penalized or banned prior to being given notice that a problem is possible. I would guarantee that more than half the problems are innocent errors of ignorant choices and not efforts to spam Googles search engine.

    As a result of one of my websites having been severely penalized, after 5 years of constant growth, I realized that we have all created somewhat of a Google monster in that we gave this search engine the monopoly that is now biting us in the butt.

    I just threw together a new website with the aim of educating webmasters about the importance of creating a larger base of traffic so that Google does not play as pivotal a part as they currently do. Right now, with most websites receiving up to 80% of their traffic from Google, Google can destroy any business at will by simply dropping a listing….and they have no accountability. They are not required to list anyone, yet ii is us who made them so important and it is us that made their company possible. They should remember….even Rome fell.

    The new website is Traffic Without Google. is in the beginning stages, but I have set up much of the preliminary information. I welcome tips and advice for items I had not considered. The site isn’t anti-Google, it’s pro-alternate methods of traffic. We need to become less dependent on Google. We made them as strong as they are, so we can also shift our focus and help other search engines grow in strength instead because nobody should hold 80% of the online traffic.

    There is a domino effect as well. Being dumped by Google also means you were dumped by Alexa and AOL and hundreds of other major and minor search engines that are powered by Google. Nasty.

    Google isn’t going anywhere, but I believe it would be a better thing if they changed the way they treat reputable sites when they believe they have found an error. In addition, they need to provide an interface where a banned or penalized site can easily and quickly find the reason for the problem. The weeks it takes to find out what the problem is and then the weeks for Google to respond after the repair is made and then the weeks for your listings to move back into position can all easily be far too long a period and send many a hard-working business to close shop.

    I’ll be back.

  137. Thank you Matt for your instructions and your blog. Its really helpful.
    I have a site which got filtered deeply during Allegra. Since then it didn’t came back. I fixed a lot of things like some duplicate content issues, some canonical URL problems, added lots of content which I wrote myself (reviews, tests, analysis). There are lots of people who scrapes my content and created other sites, I try to ban them but its impossible to fight. Now they even above me in the serps.
    I’m still filtered deeply and don’t know the issue. I don’t participate in any linking schemes, don’t use any sneaky techniques. I cant find any more problems with the site and it doesn’t come back to the serps as it used to be.
    I know I’m asking a lot, but maybe you can look a bit into my site. maybe I’m missing something… Thanks a lot for your time…

  138. I am based in the uk and until recently I was ranking well within the SE’s for my respective subject. An on going concern was that I was not showing up with search results exclusively from the United Kingdom, so I had an ‘idea’ (now of course regretful …) of simply purchasing a domain then simply ‘forwarding’ it to the primary .net address.

    Since the last Google ‘update’ I have quickly noticed that the primary domain (.net) has been removed leaving only the (non-hosted domain.

    I have subsequently discovered that the problem is that Google have got rid of all associated with the .net site and probably due to my physical location left the basically useless domain.

    I have been trying for the last 2 weeks to contact the company with whom I registered the domain with only to have ALL email correspondence returned to me as essentially ‘gone away’.

    The idea is that should I cancel the current forwarding to the .net or indeed delete the all together Google may then index the hosted .net site.

    I sincerely hope this makes sense to you because reading back it makes little me, and I hope you can advise me as to how to address this frustrating issue.

    Regards, and best wishes.

  139. My web site was 4th for my major keyword at Google in the morning. In the evening it dropped down to 41. My PR is 4 and now I see a bunch of web sites with PR2 and PR0 listed above me. How could it happen? I also can’t understand why Google counts only 14 links to my web site while Yahoo count is 1570? Googlebot spiders my web site on a regular basis. Should I file a reinclusion request?

  140. Dear Matt

    I am curious to find out how the Google Pilot program is working out with the email notifications to Site Owners and Webmasters. Is it more than a pilot program now?

    I received a letter from Google. Subject: Removal from Google’s Index

    As most site owners would be, I am in a complete panic and stressed out of my mind. A letter like that is like a weather report warning that the eye of the hurricane is going to hit your business.

    Dear site owner or webmaster of ……., While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your pages were using techniques that were outside our quality guidelines, which can be found here: In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, we have temporarily removed some webpages from our search results. Currently pages from …….. are scheduled to be removed for at least 30 days. Specifically, we detected the following practices on your webpages: * The following hidden text on the subpages ……………………………We would prefer to have your pages in Google’s index. If you wish to be reincluded, please correct or remove all pages that are outside our quality guidelines. When you are ready, please submit a reinclusion request at You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” and then “Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in ranking,” click Continue, and then make sure to type “Reinclusion Request” in the Subject: line of the resulting form. Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

    My thoughts on the letter I received from Google is they like my site and the content but there is pages with hidden text which causes the spider to have some technical difficulty which effects the search results and needs to be fixed. This is totally understandable and will certainly help Google deliver higher quality results in the future. The object of this email program I guess

    In my case there was only 1 page out of hundreds of pages with hidden text on the site. A page which was done by a part time programmer in 2002 and probably thought the hidden keywords related to the page would not be a problem. Since that time and before the site has been rising in the SERPS with quality content being added and many natural links coming in. There was no intention to spam the SE.

    The letter from Google mentions the removal of SOME PAGES of the site, however the WHOLE SITE has been removed completely from the index for 30 or more days. I think the penalty of completely removing the site for 30 days or more is a little extreme, especially when it is obvious that the spam was not blatant and probably just an oversight. Why not just remove the page in question as the letter stated.

    We are a very small business and hire folks to handle business resulting from the Google index. Our ability to move forward as a business has been seriously effected. The site has been well positioned in the Google index almost since the inception of Google in 1997 and plans and investments have been made based on our approx 7 year relationship with Google. This is very damaging.

    I have since found and fixed the page in question, searched countless hours for anything else which might not meet the Google Quality Guidelines and sent in a reinclusion request.

    One can look at the positive and say atleast we received some communication from Google on the problem. We really appreciate it, because I am sure a lot of sites which are spamming will not receive a letter, thier sites will be completly removed.

    Any help or feed back on this program would be highly appreciated, thank you

  141. Hi Matt,
    I have struggled to build an Australian tourism site to create a job for myself and I don’t make much money out of it.

    I have always ranked well on Google so am able to be self employed. I have never been able to afford to pay for PPC.

    With this update my site has disappeared, it is still there but the other pages do not seem to be indexed.

    I am heading for big trouble where I might not be able to keep going as I have no google traffic anymore.

    I have always stayed within google guidlines and recentlyl created link pages and contacted relevant sites and swapped links with them. It is the only different thing I have recently done and I did this manually selecting who I approached to swap links with.

    Google says this is ok to have relevant sites linked.

    I am desperate to find out why my site has been dumped as I will soon be in dire straights.

    If only someone could tell me if I have done something wrong or what it is that I am being penalised for as I simply don’t know and can’t figure it out myself.

    Please help.

  142. Russell, the email program has been successful so far, and we’ve been sending emails to more site owners. If you’ve removed the hidden text, you can submit a reinclusion request without waiting the full 30 days.

  143. Matt,
    I know there is a process, but I honestly think there is no reason my sites got banned. I mean I have a few sites in different areas, but one has like 10 outgoing links? Two have no SEO link building, nothing. All my sites have 100% original content. I know its not your job to to handle reinclusion requests, but its hard for me to understand why my sites are gone. The only thing they have in common is the same host and some are on the same Class C. Other than that are you banning sites for reciprocal linking, only reason I could see some of my sites getting banned. Thanks for your time.

  144. hi Matt..

    I have emailed the Google help desk related to the reinclusion request 4-5 times now,, havenot received anything back,, not a word.

    we have removed the hidden text. what else do you think we can do to get back onto the index, or at least get a word from the help desk?


  145. So after you get the

    “passed your message on to our engineering team for further investigation.”

    email, if all is clean, how long is typical before you are back in?

    Should you start to worry if it has been over a month?
    Does the engineer send you an email if you don’t make the cut?
    Would they mention why?

    Thanks and fantastic blog Matt,
    Rich Hodge

  146. Hi Matt
    My website was 3/10 in start and after update in Jully is 1/10 and now didn’t change anything in last update..
    Is last PR update finished 100% ? Or still google work about it?
    My website is
    and have many links and backlinks too
    but google show only 41 backlinks …
    and 11500 webpages containt the term “”
    and I made sitemap for google too…
    so not understand what is problem
    Help with some suggestion please..

  147. Hi Matt,

    You mention that the email program is successful and that more site owners are being contacted.

    This sounds like a truly enlightened way to nurture a trusting relationship between Google and the site owner and ultimately it can only act to ensure that the quality of the search results within Google is maintained to a consistently high standard

    I for one certainly applaud this move and I’m sure that it will be met with total approval by all

    Is there a time scale for being contacted though? For instance as mentioned in an earlier post we’ve been “sand-boxed” for over 6 weeeks now and are no further forward to finding out why and what we need to do to correct this?

    Any help or suggestions will be most gratefully received – Many thanks!

  148. Joe I’ve sent a re-inclusion request, and I’ve gotten an Auto-Response – I hope this will be followed by some action to actually re-include my web site. The point is if you haven’t heard something… are you sure your request was received and that you supplied your email address correctly?

    Matt – How do you actually know that Google is penalising your site? I mean it just be a relative lack of relevance which has dumped your site into Google Obscuirty. Aren’t we likely to annoy some of colleagues by requesting reinclusion for sites that just need to be more relevant?

    For example my site ( is indexed by Googlebot every week or so (Great!) but my site doesn’t appear anywhere in the results. I’ve tried copying and pasting text directly from my site and searched for it on Google and still I cannot find my site. This leads to me think that something I did in the past has gotten my site penalised.

    Why would Google re-index my site so regularly if it had been penalised? But if it hasn’t been penalised how come I find it so hard to find any of my content in Google’s index?

    OK I guess many of these questions can’t be answered directly as they would give clues to Google’s algorithms. I guess the simplest Question to ask would be: Does Google ‘penalise’ offending sites (i.e. drop them down the rankings) or does Google simply ‘ban’ them out right?

    Any feedback much appreciated.

  149. Hi All,

    I need some help – bigtime! I have a site that was ranked in the top 10 for multiple keywords on google for over 3 years (and pagerank 6). then in september 2004 – poof – it totally dropped out.

    since then i have contacted google multiple times, and only got auto responses at first. then i email back and they say the will pass it to the engineers – and that is it.

    i have no idea why the site even dropped as google wont tell me, and i have spent hours going over every page of the site to make sure they are in compliance. most of the pages were created before google even listed their guidlines.

    is there any suggestions anyome has to get reincluded? if i knew what was wrong i would fix it!

    please help as the site is in compliance and should be listed.

  150. Hello Matt, I don’t mean to add to an old comment, but I have tried some different techniques and have been dropped in ranking trying to learn SEO about 6 month ago.. I have keyword pages that are appropiate to my site but might act as doorway pages. Any help would be appreciated.

  151. hi David,,

    from my studying the reasons why Google may still index you but not have you rank well .. found these:
    a) repeated content
    b) linking with bad neighbours
    c) over optimization

    btw, to this date have not heard back from Google .. our site has thens of thousands of pages , 50,000 members, and because of a hidden text placed by a SEO we hired we are none existing on Google.
    The PAIN IS ENERMOUS.. as someone said : ” we are in the house of pain”

    hope this helps David,

  152. Hello from Italy Matt,
    I have a question:
    if i don’t ask a reinclusion or the staff of google don’t review my site, It will be autodepenalized if I have correct all the “problems”?

    The site is a Dmoz based directory, with a PR6, dropped (without lost your PR) two days ago from 1° to 900° pages with all my keywords (for each all my 35700 pages)

    Sorry for my bad english, and thanks for your blog

  153. Matt,

    Thanks for posting the reinclusion instructions. After filling the request, we got an automated response to some google FAQs.

    Our site is a non-profit organization like Project Gutenberg (we format thousands of books in Project Gutenberg for teachers and students).

    We’ve got thousands of quality, authority incoming links from libraries and colleges. Plus we get publicity in the media all the time (BBC and NYTimes recently).

    However, all of a sudden our site vanished for all our keywords overnight a few days ago.

    While we’ve filed the request using your guidelines, we’re literally clueless as to why our site was removed.

    Matt, we’d be very grateful for a personal response.

    PS. All our 100+ volunteers support Google Print’s ambitious goals.

    Warm regards,

  154. Hi Matt,

    I think your article makes alot of sense and it looks like folks appreciate the information you’ve provided. I certainly found it helpful myself.

    I would like to point out that with “power comes responsibility” and I feel that Google has achieved a superpower status which concerns me and lot of people. There are so many people and businesses that rely on Google that I wonder if Page/Brin and company realize this? Or maybe the top folks do but the little folks at Google don’t?

    One observation, in reading through the threads of emails, I noticed that your responses were very light and a lot of folks are asking some very valid questions. Passers by would love to peruse through your answers, isn’t it what the Blog is for?

    Additionally, I think it’s an important step to maintain the quality of Google’s SERPs as Google has done but I think when you put a process in place you should think it through, end-to-end. For example, receiving an email from Google that your site is going to be taken out of the index temporarily is a great start but I think it’s important to let the site owner resolve the problem first then allow it to be reviewed. If the site still poses a problem then and only then remove it. I believe this will resolve much of the woes and bring you closer to your target audience. I also believe this is the right approach, give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Finally remember, Yahoo and MSN are not too close behind and Google should remember that it’s greatest asset is not its search engine or the various conctions such Google Maps, etc but the sites it crawls and the people that use it.


  155. Hi,

    The site has got good rankings recently from google and it has been updated based on Jagger 3 Update I think;

    thanks matt for the info.

  156. Thanks for your comments Joe

    You mentioned Linking with bad neighbours as a possible cause of problems. How do you find out which sites are considered ‘bad neighbours’ and how do you find out which are linking to you.

    The Google BackLinks Utility doesn’t reveal every site linking to you does it?

  157. It’s outgoing links that matter isn’t it?

    I guess it’s all just a matter of wait and see. Personally I stopped using G as the only search for products/ services some time ago as it tends to be rather poor at this. Possibly not a bad thing as it is unlikely that a single SE can or should be the be all and end all.

    I reckon G could successfully offer an alternative product or search routine, a radio button on the main page- which ignores all of the present algo rules and just delivers everything, allowing the searcher to decide for themselves what’s spam and what’s good, and also more importantly- to not continue with a solitary system which in effect amounts to playing net censor.

    Nice blog btw.

  158. My best wishes to you Matt, this blog has great information.

    My situation is a bit strange to me. I have 2 websites working with similar content (but however many differences). One of them 2 years old (site A) another one 1.5 (site B)

    Adding features in time to both of them, I’m testing in production first for site B (since is less indexed and less PR’s) -> less traffic.
    But, i added by my mistake too many keywords (stupid step, BUT theoretically even a site hacker can do suck thinks to competitors in some circumstances) only for first page. I tested in site B like 3 days (G has been index ONLY the first page [daily, looking to my traffic] [i also checked by searching in G]).

    After apply the same “mistake” to site A, after FIRST G. crawler over first page ONLY (i saw exactly looking to logs) i got banned. In about 1/2 h.
    ALL pages (around 22k) disappear from G index, no ranking from 5 and even from Google directory the site is gone (that one based on DMOZ).

    Bad luck for me. Of course the traffic of the site from visitors has dramatically stopped. After few hours, i totally reverse all changes on site A. The was no other googlebot visits since that singular one.

    Now, there are few questions here.
    1. Will G. give me a second chance to verify if the site is still with problems ? (like i said this can be even a hack) [the ban was in 10 Nov, until now still not googlebot in logs]
    2. I had few sites pointing to me, should i announce them about this ban? (to not get them banned as well, i have read such thinks in some places)
    3. In case the response from 1. is NOT, how long will G keep the site banned considering problems solved from site purpose ? (i have read something about 6 mo., but depending by gravity should be i guess) [also the same question like: Lorenzo]
    4. In case i will try a reinclusion request and will be successfully (let’s say), will G. show all 22k pages again and with old ranking?
    (I also read one blog where someone got back all his site)

    Many thanks Matt, i also think many other peoples will find interesting such questions.

  159. Thanks for this topic, Matt. I sent in my reinclusion request 8 days ago. Got no automated reply like other have mentioned. Have heard nothing from G yet. Wondering if I should submit again. Any thoughts on how long to wait since I’ve gotten nothing yet?

    The only thing I could figure out that MIGHT be a problem on my site is inter-linking between my two sites. I’ve never seen that as an issue in G’s guidelines, so I don’t know if that’s something that would get a site banned or not. I have removed all linking between the two sites, but I sure don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to do that on my own sites.



  160. Chuck.. very well said. i personally share your view.
    a) google’s idea about penalizing spammer is a good one
    b) the was that has been done.. not sure .. maybe because technical constraints there is no other way.. not sure,, had wished it was managed better

    David — i will write in mode detail about the bad neighbours.. high level though
    a) when linking to a site, see if they are a legit business,, related to your sites content..
    b) dont link with vitamins, sex, or sites with quentionable content
    c) check not only their PR,, but are they indexed.. and ranked well for the main keywords?
    d) are they using link farms — or any other questionable methods for achieving high PR,, and high rankings?
    e) are they spamming using messageboards, etc
    .. you get the idea

    but i will send you some articles on the topic, that will make a better job in explaining this

  161. Hi Matt

    We had our sites hacked and our competitor had uploaded a robots.txt with a disallow request. We had discovered this only when our site had disappeared from google. At first we thought it had been banned but on analysing the http logs we had found that there had been request for robots.txt with 200 status code, a proof that a robot.txt was present. Also there were requests by google-urlconsole, after which the person ahd deleted the robots.txt once tehr emoval was complete.

    One of our sites was even noticed with a disallow reuqest in its robots.txt

    I have submitted my site after this incident, however please help us reincluding our site as we have been loosing business since then.

    I would be really grateful, if you could also provide some information regarding the removal request email id done for this site.

  162. Since being de-listed in Jagger3, we have become familiar with google’s guideleines. We manage several sites of different brands for a similar product. Some sites are intended for completely different customer groups and were ‘seperate’ in our minds… but apparently not to Googlebot! Since these sites all live on the same server, were concerned about the C-Block issue, but have focused on items that pertain to Google’s Spirit of The Web User experience.

    We found duplicated content across these sites and have taken action to make them individually distinct. In a couple of cases we installed robots.txt to disallow / remove the duplicate sites.

    Will report back on our experience.

  163. Hi,

    I’m really dissapointed with the big G lately. I built (by hand) a pretty amazing little niche site back in Sept. It is, by far, the best in it’s niche. About 80% of top 20 sites for this niche’s search terms are, for lack of a better word, fairly “ghetto”: our site is years beyond them in content and features (and very soon incoming links).

    Yahoo even gave it a free inclusion in their directory (a first for me!). I hired people to create all sorts of custom content for this market, added maps, screen savers, everything. Was fully indexed for about 30 days–then..thhwwwwapppp…gone. deindexed. No PR, just vanished.

    There was no funny business at all, except for link trading. Hmmm….

    If nothing else, after this experience, I’m not hesitant to get a ‘second opinion’ from MSN when I search for anything to buy these days. If Google nukes one totally legit site, there are surely others. Google still has the best search results (or so it appears), but I do shop around now. Really bad Google, you are losing fans.


  164. Hi Matt, How are you?
    Since my site removal, a page has appeared high in the Google Serps for keywords the page on my site had when indexed. I am not sure what it is other than a major site did an article on the content on my page. I would prefer to keep the URL private but I am sure your will get the idea from this: go.lo…….com/4.. How does this site benifit from this? are they stealing something from my site?

    I filed my reinclusion request about 22 days ago and would not like the above to create problems because it seems serious to me. Is there anyone a Google, I can email directly.

    Thank you so much

  165. Hi Matt,

    I am writing a new Reinclusion Request Re: [#39260093] from the google team but all my previous requests had no response.

    Can you explain me why my website lose its pagerank and why only few people find it thanks Goole each day ???

  166. I thought this was about filing reinclusion requests?

    Almost everyone seems to be whining that their search positions have dropped. That’s very different than being blacklisted.

    Can Google blacklist you for how other web sites link to you??? I was under the impression that external links never could do damage???

  167. Dear Matt
    How are you? As advised we received a letter from Google regarding techniques on our site which did not meet the guidelines. We fixed the page in question and filed a reinclusion request. Today, the site is live just as Google said it would be if you are a legitimate site/business and have fixed your site to meet the Guidelines.

    I would suggest to folks like me who have a OCD problem or people in general to relax if they get one of these letters. Google is sincere, clean up your site and keep working on productive stuff. Your site will be back up sooner than you think and you have just helped Google deliver better quality results.

    Peace be with you

  168. Dear Matt,

    I’m wondering how long a reinclusion request can take? It is a little confusing because after sending a reinclusion request (I’ve sent one on 31 Oct, and later on 11 Nov) I got a standard e-mail. On the second e-mail I’ve responded.

    Since 2001 my website is online and was in Google all that time. Friday the 28th, all was gone. I used to work with subdomains, not to spam, but to give my visitors easy acces from different points of view to our daytrip tips in Holland. These subdomains linked to each other (say from a tips-in-a-city subdomain page to sort-of-trips (e.g. zoo or gardens) subdomain page. Now I see that was not a smart way to organize my website, so all the subdomains are gone now, and replaced by subpages. But how can I know this was the cause? I’ve checked with an local search machine in the netherlands, and they have approved the website.

    It seems thumb, very thumb now, but I had a subdomain for my contact page… I never thougt about the fact Google see subdomains as different websites… For me it were all pages of one website.

    My webpage is (was…) a leading page for daytrip trips in The Netherlands, and sure, the only of his kind with an own editor team.

    It was going well and recently I got my first employee… a journalist…. to make more own content… and than… the site was banned from google. Panic, you understand.

    I can understand I’ve to wait to be reincluded. But I’m very unsure: What was the cause, how long should it be banned, or shall I be banned always? What can I do about it? Is what I’ve done enough? I never intended to use spam techniques.

    My question: Can you look at it?
    And in general: Can Google give access to the reasons of being banned, to assure hardworking fairly (in their mind at least…) working webmasters can avoid such a heavy period of uncertainty.


  169. HI All,

    When I really on the blacklist of google and have to do a reinclusion request?
    My page would be totally out of the google index incl. PR0?

    Is it possible that I’m out of the google index and still have a PR2 or PR3?

    I got a new domain and I have already PR3. But still if I look for my keywords my page is not to find. (For sure my page is normal keyword optimized without spam etc.)

    Thanks Harz

  170. My site at has also been banned recently. I’m still waiting for the 30 days to be up.
    I’ve removed the offending ‘hidden div’ which was loaded with keywords appropriate to the site, and submitted a reinclusion request.

    But I’m still in the dark about whether my site will be added back into the index after the 30 days.
    It would be really useful if Google had a site where you could check the status of your domain, which listed
    – The reasons for the ban
    – the start date of the ban
    – whether a reinclusion request has been received
    – whether a reinclusion request is getting any attention
    – the expected end date of the ban / date of reinclusion

    Does anyone have any experience of ‘surviving’ a Google ban? Were there any useful emails from Google to say “We have now re-included your site”?


  171. “”
    I use this site sometimes, but Google answer long time.

  172. An update on my last post – our main domain has made it back into Google after a 30 days ban (and two reinclusion requests at 1 day and at 30 days, plus some help from our Adwords representative)
    However, the specific subdomain (where we had a hidden div layer full of appropriate keywords) is still missing – hopefully it’s not a permanent ban, but I have no idea either way.

  173. I just discovered this page and the information it contains. I wish I had found it 3 months ago. At that time my domain dropped out of Google for it’s most active keywords. Since then it has still appeared for searches like “free Java chat” but with the google index description. I found out after the dissapearence that my server manager (having seen numerous hits for pages that people had directly linked to but no longer existed) had modified the 401 page or perhaps the apache.conf (not sure which) to automatically redirect to the home page.
    I assume this resulted in a duplicate content penalty and stated that in my Reinclusion Request.
    Can anyone confirm that doing the above could indeed have resulted in what happened to my site, or am I barking up the wrong tree?
    If this wasn’t the reason I’m stumped as to any other reason it could have happned to a 4+ year old site with pr5 that had no hidden text or anything else (that I’m aware of) that could have resulted in penalties.

  174. UPDATE: I just now recieved an automated email referring me to a couple of pages, basically saying this is how you can check if you’re include (which technically I guess I am) and another stating that sites position for keywords fluctuate regularly and that doesn’t mean you are being singled out.
    Well flucuating is one thing but my site had half a dozen high profile keywords such as “free chat” and “free chat rooms” in the top 5 one day and they totally vanished the next, that certainly seems like either a ban or penalty of some sort. In addition for the first couple of weeks a &filter=0 request showed my site in the position it had originaly.
    The email stated that if this wasn’t sufficient Finallythe email stated “if you’ve exhausted our online help content, and you’re still
    having trouble finding an answer to your question, please feel free to
    reply to this email” So does this mean no one will manually view this email and I should reply to it?

  175. Well, I just saw it. Congratulations! You’re lucky.
    It makes me wondering much more what the reasons are for my ban. I shall post another reinclusion request. I don’t want to “overpost” them, but what else can I do? My last request was 11.11.2005, more than 30 days ago, so I do it another time. I just have no idea why the ban keeps on.

  176. I just saw the reinclusion form is extended with the question: “Do you have additional sites?” I have never noticed it before. Interesting.

  177. Sigh.

    I’m a retire Hollywood sound engineer, and I’ve been a full time web designer for the past 7 years. I have two sites, with a huge Google ranking anomoly between them. Each has a Google PR of 5 and about 1000 or more backlinks.

    They’re complex framed sites with Flash. So I built two different but technically similar SEO splash pages with brief but carefully crafted content.

    The dynamite site ranking stays at about pp 1 to 3, while the tnt site fell about 12 months ago from pp 1 to infinity. On MSN and yahoo, it’s still up at pp 1, but not on Google. At times the tnt site could only be found when searching with a unique, quoted phrase. Now it hovers around pp 25 to pp 75, at best, while the other site stays dutifully at pp 1 to 3. I changed the SEO phrasing on the tnt site and SEO cleaned it dilligently, and low and behold, it came to pp 1 again, one position above the dynamite site, where it technically should have been. Then after about a month it began to fall, and fall, back to pp 50 to infinity. Or so.

    Ok, more than a year ago, I had a single hidden link to a site map on the tnt site trying to get the engines to see my deeply nested framed and iframed HTML pages and my Flash pages as the site viewers do. My bad, my naieve. Alright already. I REPENT! Jeeze, do I repent.

    I’ve cleaned that tnt site over and over again according to Google’s webmaster guidelines and all the SEO forum help and suggestions I could find. As far as I can tell, for nearly a year it’s been clean as a whistle. Both sites are hosted with the same company, but I’m sure on different servers. That’s the only tech difference I can find to possible explain the discrepency.

    In the past year it’s cost my about $20,000 in organic SEO losses. I’ve read the forums, read the Google guidelines. I’ve cleaned up both sites with $20,000 worth of humble pie. In about Sept, I filled out a reinclusion appeal as instructed at the beginning of this thread. I changed my key phrasing on the tnt site and waited patiently. So far, nothing. No word from Google, and the tnt site sits down there with the new phrasing at about pp 50 or nowhere at all. It still only comes to the top of a search with a unique quoted phrase from the HTML page title. Sigh.

    So I remain one repentant but bitterly frustrated person here with respect to Google.

  178. I haven’t seen anything come from Google with respect to responding to a re-inclusion request. I filed one shortly after the Jagger1 update smote my website, that had grown nicely, professionally and honestly for over 5 years. i filed another one 30 days later. It is now 60 days and i still have not heard a word from Google.

    The issue i may be having is that i am not banned, but have been severely penalized in some way. I can still find pages for my website if i really dig for them, but almost no traffic is coming from Google at this time. Where Google once accounted for nearly 80% of my traffic, they now account for about 1%.

    Initially, i was very upset and thought my website business would be destroyed, but I have worked hard to gain other forms of traffic and have re-initiated more link exchanges…not for search engine PR, but for direct traffic. Overall, I am still down by over 50% on revenue, but it’s not Google’s fault that i was relying on them. Any company that would make such a major change right before the holidays may as well jump up and down and say “I can’t be trusted!” I never should have trusted them.

    Needless to say, where I used to budget 30% of my advertising money on AdWords, I no longer give Google that money. I place it where it is appreciated. I also put together a little website to help the tens of thousands of others who were placed in this same position in October.

    Bottom line, get listed in Google and make use of the traffic, but DO NOT RELY UPON THEM. You cannot depend upon them to do things that will help you, so help yourself . While you pursue or enjoy your Google traffic, keep burning the midnight oil in pursuit of any and all other traffic sources as possible.

    There is life after Google

  179. Thank you, thank you, thank you Matt for this article. After following your advice, my fledgeling new site The PC Guru has finally appeared in the Google index with a Page Rank of 1, after months of trying. No other pages are there yet, apart from a cached entry for the domain’s previous owners, but it’s a start.

    Thanks again. I would probably never have resolved this issue if I hadn’t seen your article.

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  181. I have helped several web sites in helping them understand Google, Yahoo and MSN. That if you have good site content you will receive good traffic but I must admit, I myself am starting to move away from Google as my #1 search engine. I feel, that Googles attempt to wipe out real spammers has had more of an effect on innocent people. I am finding better results in my own searches through Yahoo, a search engine I moved away from nearly 3 years ago but now ts slowly getting me back.

  182. I’ve received two postcards from Google (one before Christmas, and one after), and a box with gadgets for a happy new year 2006. I can imagine better new years gifts, such as a reinclusion ;-). But as we say in Holland: “Je mag een gegeven paard niet in de bek kijken.”.

    I found the english version of this proverb on

    Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth unless it’s made of wood and given to you by a man named Gus Papadapolis.

  183. UPDATE: Was reincluded in google today. A couple days late for Christmas but I’m not complaining. Took about 2 weeks from the date of the request.
    Hope you get some good news as well soon Nandoe.

  184. I suppose the silver lining in the whole thing is that during the 3 months that google hated me I worked on yahoo and msn position (something I had completely ignore before) and have decent position on them as well.

  185. Hello Matt.

    I believe that I bought a banned domain and now Google does not index it. What can I do?

  186. I had an issue with some hidden text on my site that I didnt even realize I had. I found this blog post and the intructions it gave and they worked great thanks for the help.

  187. I had a site that have been indexed in the first 10-30 positions with a few words, after a hard working I finally did it, but then I added a DIV tag with the articles description, totally visible for the visitor, thinking of getting a better design, with no hidden properties.

    Then all the indexed pages vanished, from one day to another the only results was with the index page, I guess the sitemap had something to do with it, and googlebot had tought I was trying to positioning some words, or at least it seems.

    I already clean the code and filled the reinclusion form hoping that it could resolve the problem but I’m so dissapointed because wasn’t my intention to make a penalty, now I have to wait, who knows how many time to be reincluding and with the doubt if this will ever happen.

  188. Thanks for this post Matt. I really appreciate what your trying to do here. Google can be very hard to understand for me. One of my sites recently got flushed and I honestly have no clue. I know Google owes nothing to us web masters but sometimes I do wonder whether Googles finnicky penalties and filters just drive more people into trying seo techniques.

    I’m fairly certain if nothing else that it has earned alot of SEOs good money. It’s getting to the point where the little guy just can’t get any traffic from Google. I know myself that lately I’ve begun paying more attention to some of the other SE’s. If Google would settle down a bit and stop writhing like a giant beheaded snake thing it would probably still be my favorite.

  189. I have found something that arrange the problem, in my case I think it was the sitemaps you define in google, I have defined 2 sitemaps, one with the specifications google gives you, and another one with feed atom, the problem resides when google try to read the feed atom, then something occurs and all the positioned results are vanished, then a few hours later google read the sitemap with the specifications correct and everything is back to normal.

    I discover this yesterday and procede to delete the atom map in order to make the things easier to google, today all my positioned results are back, I hope this information could help anyone else who might have the same problems.

    Thanks to Matt for all the most value information of reinclusion.

  190. Myles said:
    “I suppose the silver lining in the whole thing is that during the 3 months that google hated me I worked on yahoo and msn position (something I had completely ignore before) and have decent position on them as well.”
    First at all congratulations.

    Since I was banned by Google, I have changed things and I am back in a local search machine, Yahoo removed a penalty, and MSN was/is good also.

    This was all after removing my subdomains, so I still hope I’ll be back in Google.

    It is now 2 months, maybe another month to wait. In the mean time, if anyone sees something what is not right on my site, don’t hesitate to say it. At the moment we are translating the site into English (it is a Dutch site), just click on the UK-flag.

    Google’s Christmas gift: I’ve used the USB light to look into my computer, when the harddrive was making some noise. Really handy 🙂

  191. Myles said: “I suppose the silver lining in the whole thing is that during the 3 months that google hated me I worked on yahoo and msn position (something I had completely ignore before) and have decent position on them as well.”
    First at al congratulations.

    I worked on that positions too, and it worked out well now. Only Google doesn’t show me in the result pages. There is a googlebot spidering the site, but what it means, I don’t know.

    Christmas gift: I’ve used the USB light which I got from Google, it was a handy thing. At least I can tell I’ve got something too from Google this Christmas… 🙂

  192. Very interesting read and thanks for your replies, Matt. It seems there are still a lot more questions than answers but it’s a fine line between helping webmasters “fix” their sites and providing tips to spammers.

    What I do find amusing is how many “innocent” webmasters are posting comments about how they’ve done nothing wrong, etc. etc. yet they use the chance to post on this forum as a cheap way to leech PR for their site! 😉

  193. Well Matt,

    I have sent the request form for one of my old website few months ago and still no sign of life and reply to my emails.

  194. kevsh Said: “What I do find amusing is how many “innocent” webmasters are posting comments about how they’ve done nothing wrong, etc. etc. yet they use the chance to post on this forum as a cheap way to leech PR for their site!”

    Have you seen the “rel=’external nofollow'” attribute in the tag and do you understand the function of that?

  195. thank you Matt for link, I will try to reinclude one of my websites there

  196. Does anyone know of site that has been banned by Google or is it a myth?

  197. Hi,

    Great blog, with very useful information.

    I seem to be having a very real problem getting any sort of Google PR. My site has been live for about five months, and we are building good links, and adding content, but still no PR.

    Do i need to constantly submit to Google, do I need to submit each page?

  198. UPDATE: was reincluded in Google today. From 28 Oct until now I was not in Google. ‘related’ doesn’t work yet, link: gives 2 results only yet.

    I’ve 6 times or more looked at my web site, changing big things (one thing I did few weeks ago: removing negative numbers in style sheets for my tabs, now I use a positive number solution. I don’t think that was important, but… you never know. Another big thing I changed: see my earlier posts.).

    I don’t know precisely what was the cause of the ban, but I’m reincluded again, after being patient and writing polite reinclusion reinquest where I explained what I’ve done, as clearly as I could, and made apologies (which I ment).

    It was a nightmare. But at the end I’m satisfied the way Google was responding to me (in my own language).

  199. Great article – I have been trying to figure out how to get in contact with google for a while …

    I have a product “X” review site – with quite some reviews and I think usefull information – I used to rank between 1-10 on kw ” X review” ect ect

    BUT – my blog host, decided to move my blog to a new domain – but they did not delete the original one – so now there are two completely identical sites – so I fear my rankings have dropped because of this – the site is still reported a PR4 …

    The reason I havent deleted the first site is because my host wont do a 301 redirect from all the old pages to the new domain .. I couldnt believe it when they told me this – It will ofcourse mean a lot of loast traffic..from all my backlinks..

    So i consider – just doing a 301 – redirect manually on my site ..that would mean that all pages in the domain, would be redirected to my new domain/index.php – would that be ok ??

    Hmm – what was i asking – well id love any tips hints ..


  200. Hello Matt,

    I own a site called , we have an active community of volunteers who help newbies with questions related to spyware, viruses, computers and electronics at

    Back in July my site lost all of it’s rankings in Google. I did a reinclusion request and was told the site was not penalized.

    A few updates ago the was completely removed from google. It no longer comes up for site: or for a search of the URL. I filed two reinclusion requests and waited months in-between and I am no longer receiving any responses other then the automated one from Google. I could think of reasons why the site might be in trouble, duplicate content,, too many new pages when we switched forums and starting writing custom product reviews but nothing really jumps out at me. If you let me know I will surely correct it.

    Worse yet other sites I host on the same hosting account seem like they are also being banned one by one. For example

    I am willing to make whatever changes Google requests to get my sites back into Google. If you could send me an email I would really appreciate it.

  201. Amazing, this post is 4 months old and still getiing comments.

    Craig, Google takes a long time to update toolbar PageRank. Some extremely popular, well-linked sites are still showing PR 0, just because they’re so new.

    Give it a little time. Shouldn’t be long now.

  202. Hello to all,
    I would like to ask, if anybody here has any experiences with reinclusion the banned website back to google. If banned site was added to google database automatically after some time, or when you write to the google support, how long (or if any) that took ?

    I am asking, becouse I have 2 friends, that has been penalised in google, first probably becouse of very fast linkbuilding and the second becouse some stupid webmaster put the hidden keywords list to site.
    What are yours experiences ?

  203. Matt

    I first started to create this site back in april 2005, at the time i had never heard of google robots and the fact that the site was being graded whilst effectively it was still under construction horrified me when i found out.
    (my fault i know)

    When the site was completed in september and i did start to learn about google robots i discovered we must have been penalised in some way as we have never been listed in any search.

    We had been penalised before we even started without realising.

    There have never been any hidden seo tricks in this site or illegal linking and i have removed any duplicate content that probably caused the problem in the first place.

    My question is how long must we wait to get some results in google and what can i do to help it along its way.

    Do you think novices like myself should be informed upon registration of a domain name that you will be shot down before you even know it unless you take some good advice before you start.

    Thanks in advance.

  204. How long does a receinclusion request response normally take when submitting to Google.

    I had great ranking with various local competitive terms and was ranking in the top 3 for many. For about 4-5 months The week it has dissappeared I had found various other sites that had copied my homepage content verbatimn.

    I contacted them to have it removed. Since then, due to a harddrive crash I used a homepage file backup from 4 months sooner. A few days after uploading the dated homepage file to my server for slight changes, my site was janked of the SERP’s.

    I am no where to be seen on the Google charts and seems that Google must have just hated my website.

    I do agree that I played with the Digital Network Banner exchange but it had been removed a couple of months before Google unforgiven hard core filter activated.

    Any suggestions?

  205. What a great post. I just wish I had read this a few months ago when I foolishly as a new webmaster submitted my website to a FFA list, which resulted on my web page vanishing from Google and being down ever since.

    I just now submitted a reinclusion request, and hope to get back in business in the near future. SEO been studied already, of course.

  206. It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been banned — still waiting to get back on myself after following the directions above.

    My story’s here, if anybody’s interested:

    But basically, I had a paid doorway/link page on a subdomain on my main domain, Google didn’t like that, they told me, I removed it, went through to make sure I wasn’t doing anything else wrong, and requested reinclusion.

    And now we wait … I miss my PageRank 7 🙁

    But there’s great information here, so thanks for that just the same!

  207. So theoretically, a person could totally wipe out a competitors site on google by copying all the pages and putting it under another url?

  208. Someone commented that an expired domain that is repurchased by someone is automatically banned?

    That seems crazy to me. Thousands of domains each day are abandoned by people and recycled to new owners. Banning them will slowly kill off the internet.

    It’s like banning people with used cars from driving on motorways.

    Wouldn’t it be better to delete everything from those domains from your index then mark the domain for reindexing when the new content appears?

    And requiring uppercase for the letter in your security code for posting to this site is a bit weird. Do you think everyone surfs the Internet with their capslock key on? :^)

    Also, could you please cover whether a site banning causes all sites hosted at the IP # to get the same treatment, or get downgraded because of it?


  209. 2) – JavaScript Redirects are SOMETIMES VALID…

    a)- New Domains – but the older Domain is still getting traffic.

    b)- Aesthetics and User Interface – some JavaScipt and DHTML INTROs – actually Flash color Transitions then Redirect -others use Country or other Information about the Visitor to Redirect.

    c)- Doorway Pages – For the same reasons some people use Hidden Text – Some may choose Doorway Pages.

    This suck you need redirection for so many things

  210. What if i wish to do a redirect NOT for search engines but for browser or the resolution.

    There should be a tag for this like :


    What do you think ?


  211. Jake, here’s what I posted on your site at
    regarding the fellow who paid for links and rented subdomains from you:

    “Jake, I’m checking into a reinclusion request. I have personally overseen reinclusions from two other people that did the same thing with this person. So I’d take the claim that “he was flabbergasted, too, as he’d never had a problem with them” with a grain of salt; I’m not sure the person who rented subdomains from you is being completely forthright with you.

    Best wishes,

    Looks like you might have comment moderation on over there though.

  212. Am I to receive communications from Google regarding my reinclusion request? I completed the form, got an auto-response, but that was last the I heard from them and it has been nearly two weeks. I check daily, but nothing yet.

    I have read all the guidelines, followed examples posted here, so now I believe my site is “100% Google friendly.” However, as a non-tech person I may be over-looking something. Anyone who sees some flags, please let me know.


  213. Yes, I do have comment moderation on some older posts (anything over 10 days) to cut down on comment spam. I’ve moderated your post and sent you an e-mail. Thanks, Matt!

  214. Hi Matt,

    Can you address what issues Google may have with a newly revised homepage? What factors to consider? And why the homepage would be dropped not just for key terms but for the brand name as well?


  215. Between this post (and the comments) and the “BMW incident” I think I figured out why my little site was suddenly banned. (or whatever they call being dropped from the Google index)

    When I moved the pages from my company site to their own domain, I just dropped the redirect at the beginning of each existing page to point to the new location. (I used a Coldfusion redirect to state that this was a 301 – permanent redirect) I figured no one would see beyond the redirect.

    But now I think that the Googlebot saw the entire page and thought I was trying to fool people. (Instead of just being lazy or stupid – or both.) I was getting 35 to 50 visitors a day from Google and they just stopped. The old pages and the new pages disappeared completly from Google. Three months later the new domain still gets no result from Google. Even though others (albiet very few) have links into it. I still get about the same amount of visitors from Yahoo and MSN as before. They now report the new site in their results.

    The “reinclusion request” was pretty much useless. It stated: “Please be
    assured that your site is not currently banned or penalized by Google.” But reality was obviously different — I have placeholder pages (no links, no text) that ranked better.

  216. I’m wondering what long-term penalties might exist for previously blacklisted, then reincluded domains. If the domain was unbanned, should there be no google penalties, other than the usual “sandbox”?

  217. I have looked at your comments on with intrest.
    the first page is a text description of the page shown to the client. What is wrong with that?

    To remove bmw from your listings smacks of breathless arrogance. With the power to harm comes the responsability to exercise your duties with care.


  218. Great stuff Matt,

    Keep up the great detective work and keep bustin’ the cloakers. Maybe the “blacklist” penalties are not harsh enough. How about a one year penalty with no reinclusion for at least 12 months?

  219. My question is after sending in the reicnclusion request are we to expect an answer as to if it is approved or declined? I submited my request over a week ago and have heard nothing from google since, nor have i seen my site back in the index. This leads to me ask if i should attempt another reinclusion request, or simply assume it is approved and wait 2 more weeks? In other words how do I know if my request was recieved and responded to whether favorably or not? Thanks Matt!

  220. Just curious, how long is it taking on average to get back in the serps???

    Anyone actually got back in? Or is it just BMW 🙂 🙂


  221. My question regarding the status of a reinclusion request is lost… I simply want to know once i’ve submitted the request how do I know if it was recieved and responded to? How do I know if it was declined?..approved? If i recieve no response after 2 weeks should i send another reinclusion request? I think my question is relevant, as I want to make sure i’ve identified and correct any and all problems on my site and to know that it has been handled versues being confused and continually submitting new reinclusion requests each week. I just want to do things in the proper order, whatever you may suggest that to be. As of now i have recieved no response (almsot 2 weeks) and do not know how to interpret this….

  222. It’s been 10 weeks since I’ve been banned or whatever happened, I’m still not sure. I’ve done everything posted here, done 3 major reconstructions on the site keywords and managed to spot and kill all pages with void content or content that might be “spam classified”.

    Already done 3 inclusion requests, one after each reconstruction.

    The site is almost 4 years old, and it simply went through a 301 redirect on christmas. HUGE BAD CALL i see now. The site disappeared from search, although the main page maintained the page rank. A few days ago the links started to pop back on google, but it went from a natural top 10 results, to 350/400 or more, on the common searches.

    So, we did all that we could think of filled all the possible holes, but it’s impossible to determine what went wrong for sure, since we received no feedback yet from google.

    Thanks Matt for all the info on this subject, but we’re still flying in the dark here. You guys have been great providing the clues but how can we be sure its all fixed and the proper reindexation underway?

    Another thing i noticed is that the main page pagerank dropped by 1, from 6 to 5, and all the inner pages lost the page rank, some add like 3 or 4.

    If anyone can provide further clues I would be much obliged.

  223. This site was ranking very well for a long time then suddenly dropped like a lead brick. Although I share webmaster duites with a team, I want to know what we did wrong so we can rectify this problem. We in no way wish to spam or do any black hat methods of inflating our rankings. What should we do?

  224. Well, thanks to the information from a google employee in the Google Sitemaps newsgroup, I have followed the process for doing a reinclusion request. My site is and I have recently found out from a number of people in newsgroups and forums that the previous owner violated a number of Google’s guidelines (I bought the URL in Q4 of 2005). I feel I am now not being indexed because of penalities from the previous owner. I feel this way because before I did 404 redirects on the other domains I own (such as I was getting high Google rankings on those sites but not even indexed on the .com site.

    We will see what happens as I submitted the request today.


    Brent D. Payne
    Lyric Vault

  225. hi matt,

    our site has dropped out of the google index completely about one year ago. we removed all spam techniques (at least i think so) and filled out a reinclusion request several times, but no reaction. we only get the automated answer that google received the request.
    what should we do? is there any way of contacting the google spam team directly (like bmw did, i think)?

    thanks for your help

  226. I have a question for you Matt … I’m about to file a request due to some bad tactics employed in the past (I won’t get into it). Anyways, the site is clean, but there is one thing we do and I’m not sure how it will go over.

    We have a flash based web navigation (tech team versus the marketing team on this one) as it’s part of the header and look we were going for, to make the site better crawlable in general, I look for the users operating system … if I see Windows or Mac I show the flash based navigation. If it isn’t, and I mean “All Else” I server the exact same looking navigation but in plain HTML.

    Sure this is cloaking … but would this be seen as “bad tactic”?

  227. I have a site that was banned because of faulty anticrawl script that affected Googlebot.

    I filled for reinclusion the next day right after I knew the site is no where to be found in Google’s SERPs.

    Now Googlebot is crawling my site deeply with more than just 10 to 20 hits and more or less 3 or 4 times a day.

    My question is: Could this be that my site has been reincluded but why is it still not showing up in SERPs?

    I really need your help and knowledge because I am very clueless of what is happening and for the reason that the site was banned because of a script and not intentionally to affect or anoy googlebot. The script has been removed before we filed a reinclusion request.

  228. Hi Brent,

    I did a on Google and your site appears… good for you…

    my site has been banned too and no returns on doing neither from

    I really hope Google would re-include my site soon… :(((

  229. Hi Matt,

    Over the last few months clients asked me to verify if their website was inline with the current Google guidelines. Reason was that some websites were not indexed anymore. We ‘cleaned’ these websites and they are ready for re-indexation. You explained the re-inclusion process but I would appreciate if Google offered a re-inclusion request form like it is offering a spam reporting form. That would make the process much easier. I followed your guidelines but I am waiting already 3 months to get the websites re-indexed. I do understand that I am not the only person in the world asking for a re-inclusion, but I have the feeling that if the website was on the level of BMW Germany I would receive a priority. I sincerely hope that Google will consider every re-inclusion request in order to prevent the feeling: “Once a thief, always a thief”. I appreciate your assistance. Thanks Matt!

  230. I personally find it dismaying that Google is attempting to hijack the web. “Write your site like this or suffer the consequences”. Search engines should adapt to the web, not the other way around. Hidden text? Javascript? Um, wasn’t Google touting Ajax recently? Might there be other reasons aside from fooling a spider to do those sorts of things? Developing and running websites in today’s mix of half-ass browsers on various operating systems in a handful of languages across twice as many frameworks is well more than half witchcraft as is. Now the witchcraft and chicken shaking has to be done within strict guidelines because today’s largest search engine layed off one too many Python guys and doesn’t want to write a better bot. Google got to be where it is by constantly revamping how it looked at the web, adapting its techniques to match what it found in the wild. Now, apparently things have changed and Google would rather see a parking lot where the web used to be. Everything flat and lined up neatly to be carefully categorized. Snap out of it. It ain’t gonna happen.

    Broken rules are the rails of progress. Google certainly is steeped in its own hubris (and perhaps deservedly so), but dictating to web developers how to do their jobs isn’t going to end with the world falling in line. Something may indeed fall, but I suspect it’s name starts with a “G”.

  231. Well, I just filed my request … let’s see how it goes … I’ll be sure to report back my findings.

  232. Hello Matt,

    I have a site that is banned by Google before I bought the domain. Probably previous owner of the domain used some spam techniques. My site is based on your webmasters quality guidelines. I have sent a reinclusion request and the got a canned response. I replyed to that email and after few days I got a response:

    Thank you for your note. Your page has been blocked from our index because
    it does not meet the quality standards necessary to assign accurate
    PageRank. We cannot comment on the individual reasons your page was
    removed. However, certain actions such as cloaking, writing text in such a
    way that it can be seen by search engines but not by users, or setting up
    pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling search engines may result in
    permanent removal from our index. Please read our Webmaster Guidelines at for more information.

    Then I replyed again stating that my website is based on that webmaster quality quidelines. Then on 24/Feb/2006 I got a reply saying:

    Thank you for your reply. We understand your concern and have passed your
    message on to our engineering team for further investigation.

    We appreciate your patience.

    I was wondering is this a good going reinclusion request and how long it usually takes for Google engineers to review and reinculd my website.

    Thank You Matt,
    Karlo Sarin

  233. Using the Auto-removal tool to get rid of my site was the biggest mistake I made, the site was on a different server than the , but that made no difference, Google removed both domains (Dec 2005)

    I tried to get this reversed by asking politely, but Google refuses to re-add my site back. I find it hard to believe the site cannot be reincluded, even though I feel the removal tool removed my site and did not explain that it would remove both.

    After reading Matts articles and listening to him on the web radio, I submitted a re-inclusion request, but Google came back and said it was impossible to manually add back my site. This I find very strange and I am sure if this was a large company, say BBC that the records would be changed.

    here is googles reply 🙁
    Thank you for your reply. We apologize for our delayed response. It is currently our policy that pages removed using our automatic URL removal system are excluded from our index for at least 6 months regardless of whether they become available to our crawler during that time. Please keep in mind that we’re unable to manually add pages to our search results, even those that have been removed through this automatic removal system.
    Any suggestions would be useful.

    kind regards


  234. A word of warning – filing for re-inclusion can damage your listings even further.

    I filed for re-inclusion for my website (#43428129) after reading this thread as it had suffered some kind of penalty whereby all results I would normally see dropped by approximately 30 places in all cases.

    I diligently went through my site to see if I could figure out what was wrong and made some fairly drastic changes all of which I put in the re-inclusion request to show how serious I was in attempting to fix any potential problems together with the reasons why these pages were there originally to demonstrate that I was not intentionally going out of my way to spam the index.

    I got the email “We understand your concern and have passed your message on to our engineering team for further investigation” but still no changes in the results.

    After 30 days I followed this up and replied to the email to ask if there was anything I could do to which they replied “We strongly encourage you to review our Webmaster Guidelines” to which I replied that I have done this until I am blue in face and that I am at a complete loss as to what might be causing the problems.

    Google then replied “We have passed your message on to our engineers for review. Please note that we are unable to provide updates for individual sites. If a change is made to the way your site is indexed, you will see this change reflected in Google after some time. We are sorry we cannot be of further assistance in this matter.”

    Two days later my site is now completely banned. Not a single page of the site in Google. So what started out as a small penalty has escalated into a total ban. It could be purely a coincidence this happened 2 days after I replied to the re-inclusion request but inline with Google’s policy of not commenting that is something I guess I will never know.

  235. I have also done reinlusion requests and you would think it would be easy for Google to find out if the offending code/text is still on the page sine I guess it is flagged somehow when there is a violation and when the flag is gone it could be included automatically again.
    Not sure I like Google anymore 🙁 and my question is (with the risk of getting all my sites banned because of this!) that is Google for us or are we for Google? If it wasn’t for our sites then there would be no Google!!
    I jokingly posted somewhere a couple of weeks back that Google should give us templates for free that we could use and that was Google friendly and all we had to do was to fill it with some content. That way we’d all fit into Googles guidelines. Now I have found out that Google launched where you can have your site for free (closed right now because they probably couldn’t handle all the people wanting to have a free Google site) so I guess my idea wasn’t too far off…. Google could go even further and all we have to do is to select a category and Google would generate the sites for you automatically and we all be indexed and life would be good and Google wouldn’t have to bother about us violating their guidelines and not giving any feedback at all but standard email templates 🙁
    I think I am going to sell all my Google stock 🙁

  236. Valentine and George thank you for your input.
    I received the same emails from Google over the last 3 months as Valentine did. No reinclusion results. One of the websites which we cleaned had scripts which were nothing compared to the scripts used by BMW Germany. Why do we have to wait so long for a reinclusion and receive only automated messages? It seems like BMW Germany has a priority for Google?

  237. Re-inclusion requests is a joke. The only thing that bothers me with it is why the auto responder takes so long to show up in my inbox!
    If Google can flag a violating site then they should be able to send out an email long before the site has been banned. If we use sitemaps then google have an email address they can send the warning to as soon as a site has been flagged so we can fix whatever Google think is wrong.
    Reporting spam sites and other violators? I am not sure that this is the right way to go. I have reported sites but I have stopped for several reasons. The main reason for not reporting sites is that nothing happens! Reported sites still show up months after a report. The second reason, and this one has become more and more important for me after considering it for a while, is that it is not our problem if Google has spam sites in their index and to me it sounds like East Germany and their secret police that have informers telling on people, informers who falsely reported people just to have them deported and/or in jail. It also reminds me of other countries where people are not safe and if they don’t conform to the politics in the country (read guidelines!) then they are put in jail without a trial for a long time, and this is what Google does when they remove sites from their index. We are punished for something we don’t know (most of the time!) and we are put in jail for a long time without a trial where you can defend ourselves…… Does this ring some bells somewhere? George Orwell? Is Big Daddy just another name for Big Brother?
    “In his classic novel, 1984, George Orwell described a totalitarian society in which the government, referred to as the Party, had almost total control over the people. The supreme ruler of the Party was Big Brother. Posters announced that “Big Brother is Watching You”. “

  238. Hi Matt,
    Great blog, very informative.

    Plus if makes me feel good to know that I’m not alone in my problems with Google.

    But I have a unique problem which I haven’t yet seen mentioned.
    My site was delisted on January 31, and Google’s human responses informed me that:

    “We understand your concern about your site
    appearing in our search results. Please be advised that it appears your
    site was manually removed from our search results through our automatic
    URL removal system.”

    Yet no one at my site manually removed it from Google. They insist that no one could do it without access to our robots file, so then we started examining that and a couple weeks before we disabled Google from crawling our forums to ward off all the spammers signing up. We think they misinterpreted this as an order to disallow them from our entire site. Is this possible? And would a simple ‘putting things back as they once were in the robots txt’ solve our problem?

    Google has since ignored my emails and I just sent a reinclusion request a couple hours ago, insisting that we’ve cleaned our pages to make sure there is no hidden text or spam or anything naughty like that. We couldn’t find any but checked to be sure.

    Just interested in others’ take on this. Any advice would be muchly appreciated.

    Best wishes,

  239. Thanks for the input Matt. In the interests of building a productive network is it not possible that Google could contact webmasters with a caution and even a description of the offending practice. This would give webmasters an opportunity to respond without predudice and the description would add to the webmasters own body of best practice knowledge. This arbitary forced removal of websites smacks of big bully in the playground without concern for consequences.

  240. Hi matt. thanks for your valuable information on how to… as my web site was a bit lagging in ranking, now its picking up after your suggestion.

  241. But now I think that the Googlebot saw the entire page and thought I was trying to fool people. (Instead of just being lazy or stupid – or both.) I was getting 35 to 50 visitors a day from Google and they just stopped. The old pages and the new pages disappeared completly from Google. Three months later the new domain still gets no result from Google. Even though others (albiet very few) have links into it. I still get about the same amount of visitors from Yahoo and MSN as before. They now report the new site in their results.

  242. Hi Matt,

    Your blog is very imformative and I learnt a lot about SEO & Google.

    I need your advice on my website I sincerely believe that you are the only one can help me on this issue.
    I have sent reinclusion request 2 months ago after I found that my site was penalized. So I study guideline in and work hard on this issue.

    I have removed all the possibilities that might cause my website to be penalized.
    – Remove article from my website that I have submitted to article directory.
    – Some Rss directory publish full content for each post of my website. I have asked them to remove my website. I have changed my rss so that only part of content put in rss
    – Rewrite whole website articles to ensure no duplicate content found.
    – Remove “top search term for this post” (wordpress plugin which can auto detect and record search term from several major engnies), Google might think they are keyword spamming.

    I asked for apologize and I am sure this won’t happend again.

    Google support team replied me this on Feb 22
    “We understand your concern and have passed your message on to our engineering team for further investigation.”

    But after awhile, my website seem like get banned by Google instead of penalized. I can’ find my site via (not sure if it is a good sign?)

    So I need your advice on my website. I never buy links, put hidden text or doorway page. I use 301 Redirect from to my webiste which I do not think is a problem. I totally out of idea what I did wrong.You are the only one can advice me on this issue. I am ready to fix and remove anything that cause my website get penalized. Or should I keep waiting? I appreciate if you can give any advice to me.

    Thanks and have a nice day.

    Best Regards,
    Alfred Ang

  243. Couldnt google refusing to take websites without giving us a reason be open for a lawsuit? I know that companies can get sued for not hiring a certain race by the laws we have today. Wouldnt google not giving us a reason for not accepting our websites be just cause?

  244. Thanks for such an informative blog. but this is not good that google bans the sites without warning…:(

  245. My page (linked here) has appeared in the top 5 results and couple of days later it completelly dissapeared from Google Index. Looks like it is banned. It is interesting that my site hasn’t dissapeared. I’ve sent Reinclusion Request to Google with the complete explanation and waiting for the answer.

    Thank you for your advice!

  246. Yet no one at my site manually removed it from Google. They insist that no one could do it without access to our robots file, so then we started examining that and a couple weeks before we disabled Google from crawling our forums to ward off all the spammers signing up. We think they misinterpreted this as an order to disallow them from our entire site. Is this possible? And would a simple ‘putting things back as they once were in the robots txt’ solve our problem?

  247. Hello,

    I had 3 sites that were in the top 10 of Google for a number of keywords. Suddenly all this week they have dropped to 10th page or lower! They are still indexed. My Stats show that Googlebot still visits the sites daily. But the Google Cache has not been updated for any of the pages since.

    I do not understand what is going on and it is very frustrating as it has hurt my businesses severely in terms of new traffic. They all just dropped off the face of Google in the matter of a week. I can not figure out the cause at all.

    Does anyone have an idea what is going on? Is it me or just Google changing something around in a major way?


  248. Hi Matt
    I am Olen Cesari owner of Olen Art ltd
    My company is a record label and we take care also of website
    I ordered the making of a site
    And it was putted under this url
    And has been like a week from now that is not anymore on google
    After searching a little I found out that the site was banned from google

    My point of this mail is what was the problem and what should I do to
    Change webmaster ? Change the site or hope that the problem is going to be
    fixed by it self ?

    I’d like to let you guys know that the site is an affiliate site
    And I am ready to take any action and suggestion you have for me

    Thanks in advance
    Olen Cesari

    this is the answer i got

    We are sorry that we cannot provide individual assistance at this time.

    The Google Team

    any sugestion?? please ??
    i am not in tuch anymore with the webmaster how construct the site for me and i dont have any nolege on this kind of stuff
    anyone can help ??’

  249. Ok I have owned the website for quite a few years now and launched it a couple times. I left the website dormant for around 2 years and currently setup a new forum that talked about fraud in the wholesale community. Shortly there after my site was removed from google and I cannot find any issues within the site. I have submitted reinclussions talked thru online help at adwords with no luck and even called their corperate office and left messages. Can any answer the questions why and should they be responsible for letting the admins know if their site are removed? For now I use the little adsence that comes in and am going to use the monies to pay for my inlusion to their competiter, the yahoo directory.
    The truth is out there

  250. OK. So I took some bad advise about SEOing my website. I’m not a professional web site builder/developer, I’m just someone in business trying to get ahead and like I said I took some bad advise.
    My story isn’t different from a lot of others:
    Out of the blue my site disappears from Google overnight and with out warning. Would it have been too much trouble for Google to warn me that my site was violating their rules? BTW, I’m not entirely sure about what I did that was so bad and further, I’m not 100% sure that what I did to fix it has satisfied them.
    It really seems that their practise of exclusion and reinclusion is quite arbitrary. If they want to punish violators wouldn’t it at least be fair to tell them how long the punishement will last?
    There’s a saying- Power corrupts.

  251. Hi Matt,
    Our site was penalized in late 2004 by following the instructions of a prominent SEO firm based outside of Boston. Once we learned of our offenses, we fired the firm, corrected the offenses and then waited for our site to reappear. Well, a year later I learned about reinclusion. The first week of March ’06, we did a complete reinclusion request (per your instructions) that included my contact info.

    Nothing has happened since then. No autoresponder. No contact from any human. No rankings change. (side note: Our site is, and has always been, crawled every couple of days.)

    Do you think the request didn’t go through? Should I re-request? Hate to be a pest, I’m just trying to set my expectations correctly.


  252. Hi Matt,

    I purchased (expired domain name). It’s been nearly two months since I’m building the site. It’s a CMS so I’m adding fresh 100% genuine content almost on daily basis. But this site isn’t indexed at all!

    I’m wondering whether this domain name was previously banned by Google. If so how do I know it and what shall I do?

    Also I’m using 301 redirect t from my other old site. I killed my old site for no reason and my new site is suicide 🙁


  253. Hara-Kiri DIY SEO

    Dear Matt

    Great site & great gadgets! Thanks for putting this page together. Kind of you.

    Google’s re-inclusion procedure isn’t going to tell us whether we’re penalised/banned/sandboxed or just naturally lost alot of Page Rank as a result of normal Google calculations. It’s perfectly correct in refusing to look at individual websites manually & then point us back to their web masters guidelines. Google is right to do this, however much frustrating & imprecise it is. The web master’s guidelines are the first port of call for SEO. Going back to these guidelines is …..very, very, very important. They have no obligation to include us in their SERPs.

    Google’s guidelines clearly states not to use rank checking programmes.

    However if you’ve got to check 60 or more pages deep on five or six different keywords to check if you’ve be banned or “just penalised” or “just penalised on certain keywords” ( i.e. Do I or don’t I write off my old site & start a new one? which is often Do I or don’t I risk writing off my business? i.e. in a state of high panic), you begin to see the attraction of these rank checking programmes.

    If there wasn’t a need for these types of inventions, they wouldn’t have been developed & commercialised, despite being forbidden by the web’s no.1 search engine.

    Google is right to protect the resources of it’s mainframes. Unlimited use of these automated progammes would suck the brains out of any system, even one as mighty a Google.

    But couldn’t Google could up with something better & more user friendly than this uncompromising interdiction?

    What about creating a function like ( rank: – keywords )

    The results could just give a figure something like 24 th out of xxxxxxx .

    If this were incorporated in SiteMaps, then the search function could be restricted to only that site, thus preserving Google’s resources ( Google buys one more mainframe?). It would have the advantage of keeping Google users happy & guarding their own resources too ( it takes a lot of time to manually rank check). Google could even limit the quantity of rank checks per month allowed if they wanted too. I know up untill now SiteMaps is beta & free of charge, so if Google needed to charge of this, I’m sure there’s enough panic stricken webmasters who’d pay for a moderate user charge for it.

    Also, if Google were feeling the urge to become a little less secret about their penalties, they could also include something like:

    ( penalty : – keywords )
    ( ban : )

    Though this probably wouldn’t be wise because devious & unrepenting harcore SEO spammers would find a way of abusing it. Google is currently the best we’ve got & I for one, wouldn’t like a search engine run on spam.

    Technology is here to help us, & in an ideal world, that would include small site webmasters, who don’t have the resources of a giant such as BMW . When you’re teaching yourself, you make mistakes. When are you’re self-employed, you just don’t have alot of money to back you up, so you have to rely on DIY SEO … & suffer the consequences. Hara-Kiri, in my case.

    Keep those gadgets coming – they’re FAB!

  254. Dear Matt,

    I have always respected Google the way it works. As it helps me finding lots of stuff useful to my work.
    I work as a web developer and was wondering as to why our website is not indexed or cached even though it is being spidered with MSN and Yahoo.

    The site is more than 3 months old, featuring Apartments and Apart hotels. We have submitted google sitemap as well.

    Could you please see what is wrong and let me know if i can do anything to make it better for Google and our customers.

    Kind Regards

  255. I was wondering why hidden text is considered less serious? And whether automated link generation if its in the same domain would be considered a reason to be banned. By that, I mean machine generated pages with also the identical header and footer on hundreds to thousands of pages. Or hundreds of empty pages with just site links on them. Would those fall into the spammy category and be penalized? I’ve seen sites that employ this technique and they seem to do quite well. Or is this a gray area (at least for now)? As always, your blog is an interesting read.

  256. 2 Srinivas Waghmare

    first of all: WAIT
    i check 2200 links to ur site in yahoo, but may be this isn’t enought “Good” links for G.

    sometimes G is too slow (IMHO).
    i had sites, which appear after 5-10 months being online.

    Note: this is only my opinion and experience !

  257. Hello Matt,

    I have been pursuing your blog for some time now and using the techniques you have described made re-inclusion requests to google for my sites. First I will expand a bit on what my site are and what has happened over the last year to them.

    In 2001 we began with the first site. Over the next 3 years we expanded to include what is atm 11 sites and was basically affiliate information.

    When we looked at results our simple but effective seo techniques were getting the results we were looking for. The pages were getting good hits both on the affiliate content and the other related unique content.

    In about 2004 we saw the problems of using copied information coming. We set about creating what is now 95% per page unique content. This task has been expensive and time consuming. We have not completed all of the network but the teams is working flat out to make our sites unique.

    We files several re inclusion requests individually for our 11, soon to be 12 sites. We got nothing but auto responses. Then … last month … we filed a request that got a response that looked like someone had added something to the auto response we usually got.

    It said that the person would send it on to technical. After another month or so one of our sites returned into your serps. Now I have tried again to get some of the completed sites re included yet they are telling me now that this is totally automated and there is no way they can re include / remove penalties manually.

    I hate to point out the obvious but … how then did the site that got sent of to technical get put back in the serps where all others are failing under penalty? Is there anything I can do to help the process along. I know somewhere someone at your end did something and helped … what can I do now to help google realise that the majority of my sites and information is unique and of good quality?

    I hope you can help.

  258. Matt,

    Mid 2005 our site was penalized. At least we think it was penalized, because when it happened there was no feedback from Google at all.

    Many, many, many attempts to come in touch with Google to get an answer lead to nothing. No sign of life, no response at all.

    After reviewing our site and fixing things that maybe could have lead to penalizing (it sure complies the Google GuideLines) we emailed a Reinclusion request to Google. It was written in the way you described above.

    The only thing that happened was that they replied that they passed the request to their engineering team for further investigation.

    Up till now … No reply.

    It looks like Google does not investigate our Reinclusion Requests at all.
    And what is worse they do not answer to correctly and polite asked requests for receipt confirmation or feedback.

    A company like Google should take care of their customers, don’t you think?

    What else can be done?
    Do you or other members of this community have any advice for us?

  259. Hi Matt and Hello everyone,

    Our site was banned on April 25th 2006 and we immeditaly cleaned the site and sent a polite re-inclusion request to google. I did not beleive that our site just came back online today on May 9th 2006. So guys it works and if your site is banned make sure you follow Matts steps in this posting.


  260. Matt, and what about expired domain penaly?

    I bought a domain 5-6 monts ago. Unafortunally stills seems Pr0 and no page listed. Its banned.

    This domain was bought when expired because just is a great name in my market (meaning Madrid Restaurants and my market is a Madrid Restaurant Guide), I mean it was bought because the trademark posibility, not because backliks or old PR (I even think this domain never had content before, but not sure at all).

    Do you think this reinclusion request will work for this cases? If so please note seems I have to ask for reinclusion same way spammers do it. Is really hard to understand it for me. 🙁 because I´m not an spammer and probably most of those spam sites solve their situation a lot faster than looks I will (5-6 months waiting)



  261. Thanx for the great info Matt. But frankly, sometimes you dont know the actual reason why the site has been penalised 🙁

  262. Hello

    is anybody have succesful result in reinclusion procedure ?

    yesterday i submit my reguest to google using Matt’s guideline…..waiting for google response.

  263. Hello and thank you very much for your howto 😉

    My request was succesful.

    If you want you can read my story at my blogg (in german language):


    Heiko 🙂

  264. I just found out that my whole website indexed page were all gone. My daily visitor have drop awefully. I am not sure whether i have done anything wrong, and since i am doing website for the first time. Hopefully by following Mattcutt guide, my website will be back to normal.

    I am not sure why is my website all index page in Google page were vanished and i really hope that it wasn’t because of spam like most of the people mentioned, as i’m not sure how to start spam with.

    I’ve submit to request to google following mattcutt guide, and hopefully it will work.

  265. I used “link vault” excuse, and they actually removed my ban in couple of days. Thanks for sharing this tip! 🙂

  266. Dear matt,

    I really appriciate your blog and you are giving us a very useful information about SEO , I will workout on it and i will get success.

    thanks Matt.

  267. No point in asking really it is all sent off into the blue and forgot about. One can hope for a reply / answer but … never any gaurentees.

  268. Thanks, I’ve actually gotten a few sites reindexed by follow your advice.

    Thanks Matt

  269. I came to this page because the Google traffic to my site tanked around 2 weeks ago. I found the info I need and submitted a reinclusion request – thanks.
    Anyway the point of my comment is:

    This is the longest web page I have ever seen!


  270. Thanks for the info matt. It has been a great help. After 5 reinclusion requests I found useing the other button ment rather than an auto reply I got somethign that was an auto reply with a few words changed. Thjis gave me much comfort and now I am waiting with baited breath to see if my site accally does get included without penalties.

    Thanks mate you are a wonder

  271. Strangely I do all of my site by hand and I still got banned. Its weird that after two years of working on my sites that all of a suddent they get banned from google it does not make sense. What is the estimated time from request to relisting in most cases 2 weeks?

  272. Hi Matt, How are you?
    Since my site removal, a page has appeared high in the Google Serps for keywords the page on my site had when indexed. I am not sure what it is other than a major site did an article on the content on my page. I would prefer to keep the URL private but I am sure your will get the idea from this: go.lo…….com/4.. How does this site benifit from this? are they stealing something from my site?

    I filed my reinclusion request about 22 days ago and would not like the above to create problems because it seems serious to me. Is there anyone a Google, I can email directly.

    Thank you so much

  273. 2 WEEKS? You have got to be joking. e inclusion requests are very rarely replied to. If they are actually read in any way by a human I would be surprised.

  274. Hi Matt,

    Google has changed the way to do reinclusions. The URL listed in this post is no longer useful .. it’s done from ‘My sites’ now.

    I just wrote a post about it here:


  275. It looks like this process Matt’s describing may be outdated…

    Visiting this link shows no option for “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” any longer.

    However, logging in to Google Sitemaps now shows a direct link at the bottom of your main account page to “Submit a reinclusuion request” which takes you here –

    From there you get to check boxes that let you admit guilt, acknowledge modification, agree not to do it again, and even a box to explain yourself.

    Following Matts other suggestions from this post, I just had a successful reinclusion in under 10 days…not too shabby Google

    Thanks Matt – keep bringin’ the info…

  276. Thanks for this post Matt. I really appreciate what your trying to do here. Google can be very hard to understand for me. One of my sites recently got flushed and I honestly have no clue. I know Google owes nothing to us web masters but sometimes I do wonder whether Googles finnicky penalties and filters just drive more people into trying seo techniques.

    I’m fairly certain if nothing else that it has earned alot of SEOs good money. It’s getting to the point where the little guy just can’t get any traffic from Google. I know myself that lately I’ve begun paying more attention to some of the other SE’s. If Google would settle down a bit and stop writhing like a giant beheaded snake thing it would probably still be my favorite.

  277. Scott Hendison,

    I did a reinclusion request for my site via Sitemaps.
    Did you get an email from Google when your site was to be reincluded?
    Or did you find that out for yourself?

  278. I tried to access the link for a reinclusion request, but that doesn’t seem to be an option any longer. any suggestions? my site went from multiple number #1 rankings and literally thousands of keyword returns per month, to virtually none starting July 27. I have never used hidden text or any other spammy tricks. i need serious help. this has cut my revenue by two thirds.

  279. Thanks for this topic, Matt. I sent in my reinclusion request 8 days ago. Got no automated reply like other have mentioned. Have heard nothing from G yet. Wondering if I should submit again. Any thoughts on how long to wait since I’ve gotten nothing yet?

    The only thing I could figure out that MIGHT be a problem on my site is inter-linking between my two sites. I’ve never seen that as an issue in G’s guidelines, so I don’t know if that’s something that would get a site banned or not. I have removed all linking between the two sites, but I sure don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to do that on my own sites.



  280. Has the reinclusion request url moved?

  281. Yes , its moved, now you can file a reinclusion through Google sitemap

  282. Can’t find anyplace in the Google Sitemap area that actually allows you to file for reinclusion. Can you give the URL?



  283. Say please if I will do on the site of will site map be he the indexed is better? and what is it useful for a site?

  284. Rich, you have to click on “Tools” which is the top-right hand side of the screen. It’s not particularly easy to spot.

  285. Hi Matt,

    It’s impossible ton find the link for a reinclusion request, even throught the SiteMap console !
    I’m sure plenty of webmasters regret it 🙁

  286. As much as I try to get my site back up I can’t understand why it stay on the same spot. I will fix what ever needs to be fixed but I just can’t find it. What do I do?

    P.S I was in SES Sun Jose and wanted to ask you in the engiers room but the Microsoft guy… well was more important )-:

  287. I’ve been trying to submit a reinclusion request for a while now, it keeps saying “This service is unavailable. Please check back later.” I hope this process is still available for us site owners that are trying to make amends with Google (my host did an Alias for me instead of a 301 redirect and I think that’s why my site has disappeared after years of ranking in top 3). Is the reinclusion process still ok, is there another way to do it other than from sitemaps? Thanks!!

  288. Hi Matt,

    Question: What does Google consider as spam? As you can see with my website, I don’t spam my title tags, descriptions or even my footers. Nor do I use hidden text, hidden links or cloaking.

    As for backdoor pages, could you please explain this a little more in detail.


  289. Hello

    I do understand about spam penalities of google but how some1 can really guess that it is spam penality.

    I have a web site and it had 1300+ pages indexed in 6 weeks, but since last 2 days, i can see some transitional changes. some times it shows 636+ pages, sometimes 1200+ pages indexed.

    I was really worried but i am not sure it is normal or it is something like spam penality. I didnt use any spammy trick.

    Any help please

  290. Hi Matt,

    We have a problem with a site that has been duplicate it. Now we removed and have one unique content. This site has pages with PR 6 and main index with PR 3 but still it is not even on top 500 even for easy less competitive keywords, will it be a problem of reindexing, or anything else ?
    Can you contact me so I can afford you more details.
    Thanks again Matt.

  291. After you submit your site’s re-inclusion request to Google, there’s nothing much you can do except fix your errors and wait patiently for a response from them. Try to include as much detail as possible about how it might have happened and what steps you’re going to take to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  292. I have emailed the Google help desk related to the reinclusion request 4-5 times now,, havenot received anything back,, not a word.

    we have removed the hidden text. what else do you think we can do to get back onto the index, or at least get a word from the help desk?

  293. I’ve sent a reinclusion request for one of my sites (it sudddenly dissapeared from index) and actually my site has been added to index in around 10 days.

  294. Well took awhile, tons of phone calls to the adsense department reinclusion emails but I did get and back into google. Not sure what finally did it maybe persistance or just plain luck but all I can say is keep on trying.

  295. After you submit your site’s re-inclusion request to Google, there’s nothing much you can do except fix your errors and wait patiently for a response from them. Try to include as much detail as possible about how it might have happened and what steps you’re going to take to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  296. What goes into a reinclusion request. if i dont find a error, speam or illegal method?

  297. hello matt,
    I have a little problem with one of my sites. Google has flagged my site as unsafe due to some explicit photos.
    I want my site back into the safe ones, so i have removed all the explicit content.
    Can you please tell me if I should ask now for a re-inclusion ?
    many many thanks,

  298. Matt,

    I have what I believe to be a unique situation. Last night while googlebot was spidering my site my server crashed. I have been installing a new linking structure for my site and the .htaccess file which controls much of the dynamic content failed to sync to my failover server. The result being that googlebot indexed my failover server, this wouldnt be a problem if the site was mirrored correctly hoever the htaccess file acted as a duplicate content safeguard.

    The changes in my linking structure were basically eliminating many subdomains and making them internal pages. The failover server was kicking out duplicate content because it hadnet yet turned off the subdomains – so the internal pages were identicle to the subdomains and I think i racked up a couple thousand duplicate penalty spam flags.

    It was sheer dumb luck that my server failed on the day that google was apparently doing a major update because now my search results come up and i can see they are all cached dec 5th with the mixed content.

    I explained this in more detail in my reinclusion request, but I am just wondering what your thoughts are on this. My pages have not been removed, just penalized, and I see that googlebot is today indexing the proper pages today. Do you think the algorithm will automatically see that the errors are fixed and it may fix itself? Will someone have to review and approve the penalty?

  299. I have been unable to find an answer to this situation and perhaps you can shed light:

    The situation: A large quantity of pages on a domain get accidentally blocked by a careless robots.txt rule.

    Is there an official method of requesting reinclusion for non-abusive sites? The site wasn’t penalized, so I can’t fill out a reinclusion request, but I don’t feel comfortable just sitting and waiting for Google to re-crawl.

    If I were to add these pages (about 3,000) to a sitemap, would they be recrawled and reinstated to their prior position? If I do nothing (aside from removing the offending robots.txt rule), will Googlebot come back on its own and check these pages? Is there a longer period of time between visits for pages that have been blocked by robots.txt?

  300. oh, its so great to be a google idealist to avoid spam from google …
    spam from chinas authority … spam from russian opposits …

    the chinese authority may have a look at the google guidelines,
    so the chinese prisoners should be blocked because that !

    It’s a silly talk, only to disguise the facts: dominate – dominate – dominate …

    Lets go for a real (free – an non profit) search engine …

  301. Hello Matt.

    I’ve got a huge problem. In July 2006 put blockade on my webpage.

    Since then my webpage have lost 30 position for each key word.
    After few months they took off this blockade. Unfortunately after another 19 days Google did exatcly the same thing with my page. What should I do ??

  302. How can i know if my site isn’t listed in google ?

    i mean it might have a bad rank that doesn’t make it show in the first pages of the results

  303. We have gotten re-included in Google after hiring an SEO expert to perform the specific task. However, now the painstaking task of keyword identification, analysis and research and of course seo optimization will begin. Any tips?

  304. Let me get this straight, despite the fact that I provided you with detailed agendas last week and you sent no one to greet me you expect me to drive around aimlessly during the coldest days of winter–Right? This entire thing makes no sense to me! You send countless people to alert me that you are watching, and while some may spout some gibberish to let me know they are with you, they neither approach me, nor engage in conversation or deliver anything to me—indeed, all they do is watch and leave.

    Then, you expect me to engage these “watchers” in some kind of trust building exercise despite the fact that this medium has been significantly untrustworthy—indeed, your own “watchers” have said that I should not pay attention to this medium as it is “gibberish”!! Their own words, and not mine!

    So what is this average Joe to do? I think nothing. Unless I get a personal visit, a letter or a phone call describing something meaningful, what I intend to do is get on with my life as I have taken a significant hiatus from it of late. I intend to ignore the emails and the “watchers,” and treat this entire matter as nothing but some unauthorized or unlawful game or worse a perverted spook game! If you continue to be otherwise interested, file a “formal” re-inclusion or some other request.

  305. Hi Matt. Hi the other 1.7 Million SEOs that read this blog.

    *** This message contains a warning to you SEOs ***

    We had a high ranking travel portal.

    We have 10,000 Hoteliers registered with us.

    We sent a monthly newsletter out as usual.

    In this newsletter we told our members about how Google works and told them we could make more business for them if they linked our site using targetted keywords and pages.

    We completely understimated the response. We got upwards of 250 links on the site within about a month.

    What happened? Well – you guessed it – we got a penalty. We are now position 950 in the Google SERPs.

    Google states in its webmaster guidelines you can improve your ranking by getting relevant sites to link to you.

    That is what we have done. B&B owners and small Hotels linking our site.

    And now its all over. Traffic is down 90%.

    Please Matt – consider our reinclusion request.


  306. . . .three applications for reinclusion filed today. . .so whoever you are, and wherever you may be–you have mail!. . .I will be waiting for your formal invitation. . .BTW leap states okay, but why would I ever want and or need a G21?

  307. . . .three applications for reinclusion filed today. . .so whoever you are, and wherever you may be–you have mail!. . .I will be eagerly waiting your formal invitation(s). . .outsourcing sounds like a smart route to take. . I am all for it. . .BTW leap states okay, but why would I ever want and or need a G21?

  308. . . .standing by. . . .waiting for further instructions. . .

  309. tick. . .tock. . .well?. . . . . .

  310. mail = gobledegook. . .confusion abounds. . .have u retracted offer?. . . tax troubles on way?. . .additional color would be helpful. . .

  311. re-inclusion is available in the FL arm. . . .I get it. . .

  312. My site disappear from Google. Three days ago I sibmit a request to reinclude. Dont know if my site will be appear again or not?

  313. NEED TICKETS. . . .looking to attend the upcoming collaborative debugging conference. . . .does anyone have any additional information for me?

  314. I have a group of sites that have been banned from google.

    The sites primarily friend networking sites that target a specific region or interest.

    I believe I was banned because I added about 10 new sites. These sites have no external links (I have not had time to promote them yet). These sites aggressively linked to my other sites (that have many quality external links). I believe that all these 0 PR sites aggressively inter-linking got me banned. I have read the webmaster guidelines over and over and can think of no other reason.

    Before I submit my reinclusion request I plan to remove all interlinking between these sites. However, when I ask myself the question “If search engines did not exist would I still interlink these sites?” .. the answer is yes. The sites are all friend networking sites … a person who is interested in china may also be interested in korea etc…

    Anyway, my question is: before I submit the reinclusion request should I remove all the links, or would it be enough to add a nofollow attribute to all the links?



  315. Hi Matt,
    what do you do with those reinclusion requests? Is there a special reinclusion team or do you handle them casually? I’m asking because I sent five requests during the last two months and there wasn’t any reaction! I also posted three questions in the Google Webmaster Help group but there wasn’t any helpful or even “official” answer.
    My site was imposed the minus 30 penalty on two months ago. I’m no black hat spammer but I had an inaccurate server configuration that led to a bunch of empty pages in Google’s index and also some pages that violated Google’s quality guidelines. I fixed everything and as this doesn’t help I removed all pages other than the home page, contact page and the newsletter subscription page!
    But for all that my site still isn’t showing up in Google’s SERPs even if I search for the domain name! My domain is the one of my email address.


    P.S.: I also tried to remove the other (no longer existing) pages from the index via the URL console, but they’re still in the index!?

  316. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  317. Well,

    I actually feel like being subjected to a powerful monarch (google): Everybody tries to push up one’s pagerank, but after all, it is rather frustrating to read all your experience with google and with penalties. I currently have a PR3 on my website, and my competitors have less / lower backlinks but have a higher pagerank nevertheless.

    I have also made some efforts to get some high-quality backlinks. That was a piece of work. And now? Did I get a penalty for that? I will also try this reinclusion thing, but do I have to remove all my backlinks first? Backlinks in general are not a thing google critizises, is it?

    I have read in a forum that google disapproves of simple link exchanges (especially when the topics are not related). Does anyone have any experience with that and can confirm that?

    Thx, and keep seoing…

  318. Hi Matt,

    I recently submitted reinclusion request via google webmaster tools a month ago, and did not recieve any response yet.

    As of now there hasnt been a noticable improvement in the rankings.
    Can i expect a reply from Google. Or any other way to know the progress.


  319. Thanks for this great information, I don’t use any spam techniques to get higher rankings on search engine and I will never use them but this is really great information for me to know much more about that. Once again THANKS

  320. Stephen McLure

    no one has been around within the last few weeks. . . do you guys not love me any more. . .here is my reinclusion request

  321. Hello,

    Our web site is a media and newspaper columnists portal. There are more than 500 columnists in 10 newspapers we list in our site. We have developed a bot which updates these columnists web page links every day. These links change everyday and our bot visits 10 newspaper sites and updates these link every morning. Because of this our web pages’ addresses were changing every day. And it was impossible for search engine spiders to index these pages. At least we thought like that.

    As a result, about 10-15 days ago, we have changed our web pages addresses to this static format:
    and we think this caused the penalty. these addresses looked like they were .htm files but actually there were no .htm files. these addresses were redirecting pages to .aspx addresses. We learned that this is called sneaky redirects. We did not do this on purpose. And finally we have changed our system to the previous state. And we have canceled our other addresses. Now our links look like:

    We have made a reinclusion request for this problem about 1 month ago but there isn’t any change about the penalty. What should we do? Should i wait for a time or make another request?

  322. That page no longer allows the option for webmasters to contact you. Now what?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  323. im trying to figure out why, i got my clean, well formated, wouldnt know spam if it fell in it, site got de indexed today,,,

    a site that actually followed “GOOGLE GUIDELINES”..?
    I am an SEO and a bloody good one,, do you seriously think i would ruin that for a higher place, it was in No1 anyway, i cant get much higher huh,,

    Any idea matt.? a site i use to feed my family, a site i have spent months building up, GONE,,,

    could someone have “wrongly” used googles own reporting tools to destroy an honest site? nothing had changed on it apart from the title and that was only to get it to the right character length

    its all gone,, and so has any respect i had for google.

    Kindest Regards

  324. Stephen McLure

    I am very much interested in your offer. I have filed numerous re-inclusions requests in an effort to get together. We have both wanted to get together but have not had any success to date. In an effort to try to change this, I asked my attorney to try somethiing different and by now you know what it is. She recently made contact, and hopefully, the proposed get together shall end in mutual success! I am looking forward to finally sitting down with you and closing the proposed deal.

  325. Thanks for this info! I know that this thread has been going for nearly 2 years, but it’s been really helpful.

    I used the process and got my site, that someone else messed up back on the se’s 😀

    I have a different site that I am working on, to try and get fixed up for a friend – but I wanted to know. You mentioned that it could take a long time, if you dont send them this email – roughly how long? Are we talking months? years?


  326. Stephen McLure

    Although I have filed several reinclusion requests I have seen no one. While I receive email comunicastions daily–there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them–they seems like gibrish. What’s up?

  327. Well, my site disappeared from search results about a week ago and although it is still in the google cache and is still displayed its search positions have dramatically changed. I contacted google on confirmation of what happened to my site, but still nothing…

  328. Stephen McLure

    I want to be re-included!

    My numerous re-inclusion requests reflect my commitment to you, and my desire to be re-included. Recently, you appeared to have been pleased with Ellen’s recent communication. More recently though, you have left me with the impression that you are displeased with me or that you no longer seek to re-include me.
    If my assumptions are correct, please tell me what I need to do to remedy this. If I am incorrect, please be more clear.

    I am looking forward to continuing the re-inclusion dialog and taking any requisite action.

  329. Stephen McLure

    My book is your book.

  330. Great article Matt. It seems that a lot of sites get penalized by Google for any variety of reasons even when the webmaster seemingly hasn’t done anything wrong. Even building quality backlinks to quickly can get you penalized as I’ve experienced.

  331. Stephen McLure

    If the doorway is open, I am ready to come in.

  332. Hi Matt,

    i have a one simple question.

    if my site is penalised. how can i know the reason?

    for example:
    some javascripts redirects coming towards my site
    how i came to know that google has penalised my site for that specific (javascript redirection) reason so that i can make the possible remedies for that

  333. Hi,

    About 3-4 months ago something caused a penalty. We have changed many things in our site which might have caused the penalty. And we made a reinclusion request about 2 months ago. Nearly 2 months past till that time but nothing changed on the search engine result pages. The penalization is still active.

    We don’t think that our site is violating Google’s quality guidelines at this moment.

    We really did not make any illegal action on purpose. We are sorry about this problem and going to be more careful in the future. Please help…

  334. Hi
    if my site is penalize by the google then from this request my site will come back on the google or not plz give me guideline.

  335. Stephen McLure

    Looking to be reincluded. Have kept eyes wide open, but my eyes may have been wide shut. No one seems to be around!

  336. How can you tell *for sure* if your site has a spam penalty?

    What are the different types/severities of spam penalties?


  337. Hello ,
    I am in a bit of a mess with my site and while i am willing to correct them ..i don’t know what to correct 🙁 exactly . …maybe it is to early to say because just 7 days have passed since Google announced me in Google-webmaster that my site has been removed until i correct the guide lines .

    The site doesn’t have hidden text or hidden links had duplicated pages because different dynamic files did the same thing and i suppose that filling Google with duplicate content it is not a nice thing …i feel the same when user enter spam comment in my db …and that was corrected by removing them and redirecting old link to 404 not found pages . I have corrected bgcolor problem because it seems Google doesn’t parse my css files ..when css it is applied every text it is visible if it is not applied the text seems like being invisible .

    Now the site has just pictures of cars and news … was intended to have more once some users entered the site but now i think that it is kind of risky to invest a lot of time and not know when you will be hit by a ban . I just wanted to know
    a few things about the problem so that i shell correct it but ..i am in a bit of a “guess what is the problem? ” situation …

    don’t know what to think … and what to correct … that is mine main problem , and without a feedback from Google part it is very possible that i never will 🙁


  338. i’ve just filled out the form

    hope this will help my website. this is the project with $N000 investments and it will be sad to loose it due to a few mistakes ;(

  339. Now it happened again. Google assumes “hidden text” on our site (, but this text is not hidden. It can be made visible by clicking on a link in the page footer.

    Can somebody please help us… for the SECOND time google mistakenly assumes a breach of its guidelines…

    (I am the same Thomas who said “Thank you” three times above).

    (PS: Strangely, the webmaster tools do not reflect the contents of that “Removal of Google’s index”-email which I got a few minutes ago yet – I can’t even file a reinclusing request yet…)


  340. Dear Matt
    I have been looking for while about what happen in my index status for my website which seems like Google exclude it from the index at 24/4/07

    I have talked to my webmaster and we found the violations issue and correct it,What i would like to know is how can i be sure that even i followed alll google quality guidelines , i have cleaned all the isssues that cause violation ?
    Thanks a lot

  341. Matt,

    We have been internally focusing on content development // SEO relevancy for our site for more than a year now, and have seen some great ranking results accordingly… until today. We noticed that our rankings for many terms for which we have seen 1st page success have now substantially dropped to 5th, 6th page, etc., including the term that directly relates to our URL (which now no longer appears until page 3).

    Because our site is still being indexed, as per your Webmaster tools, I’m perplexed. Are we being penalized in any way, and if so, how would we find out more information?

    Best regards,

  342. [The best location to go is . You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website”]

    Matt, that feedback form no longer shows that option. I know about using the Webmaster console, so perhaps the post needs to be edited to point there?


  343. I think you should revisit the issue with reinclusion requests and write about it again Matt. There are more questions than answers about this issue right now. Many websites being penalized with webmasters having no idea what they did wrong. Reinclusion requests appear to be rather ineffective since you don’t know if your request is rejected or not. Having penalization filters is all good, but websites and whole business are going under because of how it currently works. Make one mistake, even without knowing it, and you can be penalized for months, some people claim years even.

    For over a month I’ve had penalized websites now, and I had no idea what the problem was initially but I learned that it might be caused by unrelated links that were present on both sites. That was corrected a couple of weeks ago but there has been no change, and it’s impossible for me to know if there is something else wrong with the websites, or if my reinclusion requests are even being looked at. It all comes down to a very stressfull situation, especially when you depend on your websites to pay rent etc.

  344. Groogle drop as spam a simple error. For example if a webmaster do not remember put text of link. The final of the link is considered as spam.

    hello spam report

    Not all of Groogle is mathematics, I see a big hand.

  345. Is it stupid to send more than one reinclusion request? It has been about 6 weeks since I was penalized. Should I send another one? I have removed my excessive reciprocal links which I believe is what I was penalized for.

  346. Hi Matt
    I enjoy your blog.
    When I Googled “reinclusion request google,” your name came up.
    However, the information listed in the Post is no longer accurate and I am still searching for a solution.
    There is no more “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” option for the Support page. How do I submit a request now?

  347. The gall of this cutts guy/google.

    I’d recommend giving a short explanation of what happened from your perspective: what actions may have led to any penalties and any corrective action that you’ve taken to prevent any spam in the future.

    So, they won’t even say whether they’ve taken your site out or not, nor what procedure of review they have employed, they won’t notify you, and they will proceed without making sure you’re actually represented.

    However, people are expected to come and confess what “they might have done” ? That “might have resulted” ? Who the fuck do they think they are, the Inquisition ?

    Fuck you cutts. Your shitty “search engine” is already serving mostly spam crap, and we’ll be more than happy to take it to where Altavista used to be.

    Your airs help.

  348. Hello Mr. Matt.

    I to would like to know what Garry Egan asked. Where is the reinclusion tool? My blog is currently not indexed by Google, and I have no idea why. So I would very much like to know if this domain is banned or something, it had a previous owner between 01-04 apparantly when viewing the waybackmachine.



  349. I had one site, included in search results – after adding 3 sitemaps. A couple of months back the site has been de-indexed. Last crawl was Apr 27, 07.

    Being a web-developer, I dont understand what could possibly have gone wrong – other than the fact that I’ve used mod_rewrite to create friendly urls and contextual advertising.

  350. If someone didn’t get indexed try to get it by putting your site on some forum that is big and that is crawled frequently and you will get indexed asap. If someone have site that is de-indexed look into webmaster tools and check what is wrong with it and they contact google involving that problem. They helped my once. 😉

  351. Hi Matt, I advertised Google Pack by using a drop down menu and a Youtube video. I was unaware that this was not allowed until I got an email saying that the ads to my website were blocked because I violated the TOS. After reading the TOS I understand now that dropdown menus are not allowed, but does this also go for a Youtube video in which I tell what a great programs you get with the Google Pack and that you should download it? That video tripled the downloads so I hate to loose it. Also to get Google to show ads on my site again should I send a reinclusion request? All the pages of the site are indexed, but the ads just arent showing.

  352. I have been building an info site for some 5 years. It didn’t make top rankings overnight, it took years of adding information to get there. It is a very large site and never did much SEO other than what google guidelines recommend. It fell short only of accumulating links, we just let it happen naturally, never took part in link exchanges.

    We always figured to keep it simple, name and tag the pages after their content and let google sort under what keywords they appeared. It worked well for us, we got visitors who found exactly what they were looking for and everyone was happy.

    The suddenly everything dropped down by 50 to 70 positions. PR dropped by one point. Traffic dropped by over 90%.

    No communications from google, I submitted several times. I found a lot of spam with our site name in it, blog spam. We did not spam any blogs. Why would we spam silly, nonsensical stuff when we were doing fine?

    People tell me this is the 50+ penalty, but no one can tell me what for. Maybe it’s that blog spam, which I assume was put there by a competitor to accomplish this?

  353. How can I be sure that my site is banned?
    I had few problems with a site – first a broken link, I fixed it. After that I noticed that the webmaster blocked the home page with meta robots – he wrote . I corrected and submitted the sitemap to Google again. I fixed everything wrong, I added original content and one more page.
    All the other pages are indexed – including the new one, except the home page. More, in the Google Webmaster tools it is no problem reported, the robots.txt file allows all the pages to be indexed (I checked). Despite this Googlebot accessed the site successfully on Jan 18, 2007 and strange the site stats show that today it had 4 hits.
    Is my site banned or not? I’ve never heard of such a problem and I do not have idea if I should fill a reinclusion request or not.
    Thanks for help.

  354. I cant find the links you describe it seams like the page has changed since you wrote about it, is there a new way to file a Reinclusion Request?

  355. Quote: “it may only take 2-3 weeks”
    “Only”? 3 weeks can be a long time if you depend on it because of the monopoly Google has. This could be your death.

    Why do “normal people” have to wait for reinclusion several weeks to more than a month, but prominent sites like BMW went back just 2 days after removal?
    Thats quite unfair.

  356. I used this about 5 months ago. Matt you are a pimp.

  357. I gotta tell you – it’s more and more confusing how to keep Google happy. I find an interesting rss feed that i want to bring through to my site and I don’t know if that’s considered relevent or I’m gonna be penalised for it. I swing over to your blog and there is the rss feed for me to use so i figure ok – must be alright if it’s available on Matts blog. Then I read some of the stuff in this article that will get me hammered. I’ve built my site from PR0 to PR5 and back to PR0 and now up to PR2 – never really knowing why the pr changed.

    Anyway thanks for the opportunity to vent.


    Grow your income through a home based business using the internet

  358. I got the Quality Team email yesterday, saying some pages failing the guidelines (hidden text a former outsourcer put in there) would be removed from the index for at least 30 days.

    We corrected them all and submitted the reconsideration form. Today the whole domain was dropped from de index! not some pages as the email said, ouch!

    Hope this gets resolved soon as our business gets the most visits from Google.

  359. Matt,

    please, please help me.

    I cant find the links you describe it seams like the page has changed since you wrote about it, is there a new way to file a Reinclusion Request?

    I dont find this in the webmastertools and i have veryfied my site.

    I have buy a site and this was parking at a parkingservice and it was in the Google Index, a few days later, all the sites of the Domain are out of Google.

    Please help me. Where can i do a reinclusion request?

  360. Is there anything I can do to reduce comment spam on my blog, especially from those adult websites? It’s really annoying…

  361. Hello Mr. Matt:

    I’ve read this post and all comments. I’m realizing that I don’t know so much about Google or SEO. I don’t have a year as webmistress, but I always try to do the right things. My site was in first place for its keywords. Every month my visits were increasing. I was always alert to avoid any illegal action.

    Last month (on Sept 26) I was penalized, and I lost all my Google visits. I found out that It was for selling text link (thanks to David Airey). I didn’t know It was a bad action. In Latin America everybody talks about selling links. And there are not too much truthful info about Google doesn’t like text links. Innocently, I was selling links without any idea that Google could penalize my site.

    Now, I see with sadness that all the sites that copy my content are in first places of search results. It’s not fair. I made a mistake, and I’m so sorry. I deleted the text link from my site. I’ve sent a reinclusion request in English and Spanish. I promise, It won’t happen again. I care about Google. It represents 75% of my visits. Please, Mr. Matt, help me.

    Happy weekend

  362. Hi Matt,

    Maybe you should update this page or put a link to a page explaining how to request reinclusion as of today.

    A friend of mine was using hidden text on his index page, at
    (quite ingenually as he doesn’t really know what SEO. He had been told to do it that way, back in the time – and had successfully been doing it for more than 5 years before he got busted). I explained him what was wrong with his webpage and helped him clean it accordingly to webmaster guidelines, but got a bit puzzled by this post on your blog.
    the aforementioned technique doesn’t work anymore and one has to log on to the webmaster console, validate the website, and then file the reinclusion request. Here’s a pic of how it should look once you’re logged in :

    I hope my friend’s reinclusion won’t take too long, and hope the best to those who are coming here to look for a way to get back in.

    Have a nice day

  363. Matt,

    I picked up a new client over a year ago that had some previous experience with some black-hat SEO techniques done by other vendors. I think I have everything cleaned up, yet the rankings are still non-existent which doesn’t seem to make sense based on link popularity and our position on the other engines. I submitted two re-inclusion requests and never received any response. The last one was on 10/15, and the text of that request is below…
    Any idea how long these requests usually take to get through the queue? Will you always get some response?


    My name is Jeff Schroeffel and I am with Pittsburgh Internet Consulting, a regional SEO firm in Pennsylvania. I started working with Neil Rosen and in January 2006. At the time, they were working with Justia ( for their SEO work and site development. The reason they reached out to me is because they had been “banned” by Google.

    Quickly after reviewing the site I found a couple of major problems with their site. First, Justia had put up 100s of spammy links within their network of sites and directories. This was the most egregious violation that I found. Next, their site had H1s and H2s in strange places and other nefarious on page optimization techniques. Finally, they had a few duplicate domains (subdomains) pointing to identical content.

    During the last year we have eliminated these problems. We have had the site re-developed with a new vendor, We also had all the domains changed to 301 redirects so that now you can only access our content from Finally, we have instructed to remove all links from sites within their network and I believe they have complied.

    Please let us know if there is any penalties on this domain and if there are any other steps we can take to clean up our standing with Google. My company is a white-hat shop and I will gladly help them to adhere to your guidelines.

  364. How is it possible that I see a certain site, that had a penalty because of hidden text, is reincluded while the hidden text is still there? The site has dozens of keywords hidden in an I-frame, hasn’t changed in months, was banned from the index for a few weeks but is back again for the third time. And, still with these hidden keywords.

    I reported the site a few times but it’s still there, quite annoying, and it might make other people try the same trick..

  365. I think I’ve got a high keyword density penalty on some of my pages… I changed a good ranking pages content around a bit… over doing the keyword 🙁

  366. got a nice email from Google about the 30 day ban,
    I had 1 hidden sentense on my website which totally relevant to my business, my site is flash it I thought it would be better for the search engine.

    2 days later my website is gone from Google index, filed reinclusion request, now I am wating.

    Wondering what will happen.

  367. Dear Matt,

    Thanks for your update posted on Nov 4, 2007. It has cleared up some questions I had on whether my site was penalized or not.

    While my site Design Sojourn was not removed from the Google Index, it’s page rank dropped from 5 to 3. So I assumed this was due to a penalization of my site.

    After some extensive research, I now know better.

    I have since removed the text link ads and added some “no follows” on my main page. I have also filed a reconsideration request as well.

    Once again thanks for trying to make this process as clear cut as possible.

    Brian (aka DT)

  368. “How long do you have to wait now? ”

    Hello Matt, I don’t really expect you to take the time to respond to questions about individual sites, so I will try to make the question general.

    Not being what would be considered a webmaster, but doing a lot of work in an effort to move my website up in the rankings, I may have made the critical mistake of excessive reciprocal linking, because I was moved from a relatively high position(24) to like position 500 or something.

    As a realtor, I actually thought that reciprocal linking was a must, as opposed to something that is frowned upon by google and other search engines. I am not at all certain whether or not I was penalized for excessive reciprocal linking, but I couldn’t figure anything else that was wrong, so I removed the pages that may have been in question, and then I submitted a reconsideration request. I cant remember the exact date that I made the request, but it was a long time ago.

    I am wondering… how much time does it really take after a reconsideration request is made for excessive reciprocal linking? It doesn’t take 2 to 3 weeks or even 6 to 8 weeks, at least not by what I have observed with my own site. Any helpful responses from knowledgeable readers would also be greatly appreciated.

  369. Hey Matt,

    A client of mine had a meta refresh/redirect in place (which was redirected to their home page). As we were the first SEO firm that they employed and we built their website from scratch, I know that we have abided by the Guidelines to the letter. The only thing that I can think of is that they had another domain which had a meta refresh/redirect pointing to their home page and that this has somehow affected them.

    Interior pages are doing fine. The home page is sucking wind. They are an authority site. They have – naturally – 600 .edu websites linking to them. There’s “something” up here. I was going to request reinclusion (?) but this option doesn’t appear in their Webmaster account.

  370. Mark,

    You should find the reinclusion request on the right side of the main account under tools. That is where it is located for me. So when you log into Google’s webmaster central you should see that link there.

    Sorry to hear about the issues you have had with your clients. One thing I could propose is that if all 600 of those .edu links came in all at once that wouldn’t look natural at all to Google or any other search engine. So that could be the reason.

    If they are indexed there is no reason to reinclude them. Hope that helps some.

    To Matt Cutts – Thank you for providing that awesome information above. I found it very useful!

  371. It says on the page below to: “Under Tools, click Request reconsideration and follow the steps.”

    It’s not there anymore. Any suggestions?

  372. We had a link from bad neighborhood included in (and sub-domains). We learnt it was a bad link only after our PR dropped 🙁

    Immediately we have taken corrective action and submitted sitemaps for reinclusion but we don’t see any change. Infact we are having trouble in being indexed as most of it seems to be in supplemental index and not the main index (few says there is no such thing as supplemental index but all we can say is that our URLs are not in the main index)

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  373. Hey Matt,

    My friends’s site was hacked. The hacker upload robots.txt(user-agent:* disallow:/) and google*****.html, so he verified at webmastertools and ask a delete whole site request.

    Now, we deleted the robots.txt. how can I ask a reinclude request to Google?

  374. Hi Matt.

    I’ve previously asked questions on your blog and received no answer, and am not overly bothered, but here’s a very pressing issue and I’m very interested in a reply.

    There are clear ways to request reinclusion of a site in Google’s index, after Google has thrown a site completely out of the index, but are there any ways to request reconsideration after partial penalisations? I mean, how does an ex-spammer revive a penalised domain that’s in Google’s index but heavily penalised in rankings? Is there no option but to wait for the penalisation to decay with time? Will the penalisation decay with time?

    Looking forward to some kind of reply. Lots of people ask me for advice about this and I’d love to be able to answer.

  375. Can including too many mis-spellings in a website trigger a spam filter? I’ve had next to no google traffic for a 1 year old site, though all pages are indexed. The site clearly has some kind of penalty. I’ve tried to remove all the mis-spellings and poor grammar – should I submit a re-inclusion request, or do these things pan out over time naturally?

    Matt you’ll make my year if you can answer these qu’s!

  376. Matt

    I have a website that has a -50 penalty. I’ve made changes and the site complies with all guidelines as far as I’m aware. I’ve sent 9 re-inclusion requests to google pleading for a clue as to why the site is still penalised but I never get any replies over a 4 month period. The site performs a function, especially in the Uk, isn’t spammy and all adverts have a no follow against them. If google doesn’t tell me what is wrong, how do I know where to go next. I will obviously keep trying but a reply from google would really help.

    Kind Regards


  377. Hello Matt,
    I have the same problem like above.
    I’ve sent reinclusion request in the october 2007 ! and the message still no one read in the WMT…
    Our site was penalized, because some spammer added our url into the spam robot message. And our site is in the many phpbb forums with his spam links.

    I don’t know how other way to contact googe. WMT is not working 🙁

    Thank you,

  378. Google will not search the flash files Properly.I want to search the flash files with Google and prepare a index file for that flash files.
    Please upgrade your technology,what i have to follow to search the contents in flash file.

  379. Hello Matt,

    First thanks for everything on this page… Your post, 300+ more comments and your encouraging replies to them.

    To start with I have a blog which had PR4 in Dec 2007. Then it dropped to PR3 just when I was expecting it to gain, as I got quality backlinks from nice sites and people from open-source all over the world. Not to mention separately none of the link/review till this date is purchased.

    Actually I have no money to purchase anything to be frank! 🙂

    As usual when something goes wrong like other people I have googled and found text-link ads can harm a blog. I had 2-3 text-links on my blog which I immediately removed. Next I made everything sure about all guidelines and filled a reconsideration request.

    Forget about reconsideration I haven’t yet received any response after 4 weeks.

    Actually I still get good traffic from google so I am not completely thrown out. My only worry is – drop in page rank just when I was expecting it to rise. Also not considerable rise in traffic which I guess is a consequence of PR drop.

    After filing reinclusion request I removed many wordpress plugin trying to over optimize my site (which is a wordpress blog). They reduced webcrawl error from 1000’s to 100’s. Does this have something to do with pagerank or penalty?

    Am I supposed to file a new request mentioning all moves I made since last request?

    Act I do not want to overload support people at Google Webmaster, so I am refraining myself from doing that.

    On personal note, it would have been great if we can get information about penalties and their period at Webmasters dashboard. This will remove considerable load from guys behind Webmaster and at the same time will automate thus speed up the things for all of us. Yes I do believe Google is here for all of us.

    Thanking you Sir,

    @To all people who think Google is interested in their own site…
    Guys don’t you think its mean to say that about a services like Google which you like and used for years. Google is not any magic. So take the best out of it and forget the rest! 🙂

  380. once Google close my site, I wrote a letter in support and all returned after a while…

  381. The reconsideration (reinclusion) link is no longer in my webmaster tools.

    Has google removed this, or is this just affecting a few people such as myself?

    Here is what I have under tools:

    Analyze robots.txt
    Manage site verification
    Set crawl rate
    Set geographic target
    Set preferred domain
    Enable enhanced image search
    Remove URLs

    …And yes, my site is still verified

  382. Hey,
    Just started a new site for my business. I’ve been doing the necessary steps to get listed. I am curious if having 1 mirror site will get you negative google points. Even if im not listing them both or submitting them to the same directories and so on. Any comments are appreciated. thanks.

  383. I had my web site penalized… I think it was and I did a request… but I do not know if it was or not reincluded… there are any place to check out if my request was readed and answered?

  384. What if you think you are getting penalized, but have done nothing wrong? I know it sounds bad, but I have a simple site that use to rank first for a long tail term, now is no where to be seen. The business still ranks first in the local listing since the term includes the town name.

    I submitted a re-inclusion request stating what I thought of what the issue was. I have quite a few web sites that have “Site Designed by…” on them. These aren’t paid links, but it’s the only thing I can think of that may be causing the problem.

    Is there anyone to turn to?

  385. Just writing an article about google filters in russian and want to ask: Matt, why google don’t work out a solution not to apply some filters to sites, which removed all spam or black seo methods from their pages in an automatic way.
    Not loge ago our sites were hacked and they added some code to our pages. So google filtered us and put a link in serp near our sites. (The site contain some harmful code… or something like that).
    Only after we asked for check they were “discharged”. I still can’t understand why Google can’t do it in an automatic way…

  386. Hi Matt…

    I was searching the big “G” when i stumpled on this Blog. Somewhere i read that when a major change to a website happened it can trigger Googles Algorithm to exlude most of the pages on a site for the Google index. I hope someone can tell me more about it.

    Why i want to know the answer ?

    Well…. Last April (2008) we completely revamped our site ( lookup dot nl ) from old school programming to 100 percent xhtml 1.0 strict. U would say that is a good thing not ? Quess not… Our site dropped immediately after this from the Google rankings and still the site has not recovered from this. We almost at a 5 years low.

    After putting the rel=”nofollow” tag on the very few commercial outbound links we had and make all title tags very short but most descriptive i dont think there is nothing more we can do to follow Google Webmasters Guidelines.

    After submitting a “reconsideration” 😛 request to Google Netherlands they dont respond.

    Somewhere in your Blog i saw u mentioning Googles efforts to communicate with webmasters. It was on one of your 2005-2006 blogs i think. Still…. its half way 2008 and the only thing i notice is no communication at all :/

    Ofcourse.. i think its a great thing that google try to improve the index everytime and their effort to “catch” all Bad websites that keep stuffing Google with keywords. The better for us webmasters that working hard everyday on our sites.

    However… it is hard to swollow for me that i am running my website since 2000, working almost full-time on it and was probably the first one in my country that supported Google by putting its “old school” search bar on our site (lol…), when Google was still a “dwarf” in searchengine country. Now Google acts if myself and my website dont excist at all.

    imagine how i, but particular, all those other webmasters like me, MUST FEEL ??? Confused for sure.

    Sorry for my bad english and maybe the offtopic post.
    Still hoping on any comment on this post as i will check it on a regular base.


  387. As SergeyK said: why do not you apply techniques for SERP-penalties to be automatically removed after SE-spam has been removed and violation issues have been resolved ? Instead, one has to write a reconsideration request, which takes a while to be reviewed. And that is understandable since there are billions of pages in Google index, but your staff is limited.

    As example, the most popular search engine in Russia and former Soviet Union – Yandex (market share about 60%) already applies such techniques. I experienced it in my case: on one of my sites I made a spammy and terrible looking “links” garbage page with about 1000 of text backlinks and banners to directories (as an exchange for a link). As a result my site was immediately penalized by Yandex and dropped down in SERP-s (but not banned from index). Just a couple of days after removing the spam “links” page, site returned to normal positions and I didn’t have to write a reconsideration request or anything.

  388. Hi Matt,
    Last month my site went from #2 to #400 for my main search phrase “brantford web designer. At first I thought that the penalty was because I had provided 4 examples where I had placed 4 clients on the first page of Google SERPs. I removed these examples, and sent in a reinclusion request.

    Since then I have had some second thoughts about that as a penalty cause. Since I use ONLY white hat SEO techniques, my ‘bragging’ would be a shining example of what is possible by staying within the guidelines to others who might feel the need to go over to the dark side. So as of this minute, I doubt very much that bragging about what can be achieved with White Hat techniques has caused my problem.

    It has also occurred to me that since I saw the video about you and “paying for links” that I may be penalized for paying for links; although it is over 3 years since I have paid for any link, and then only for inclusion in well known directories.

    However the facts of the matter are that although Google can detect a link from a pay-for-link site, and can also can detect the site that this link points to, there is no way that Google can detect who is paying for the link. In short, I strongly suspect that a competitor has paid for a link pointing to my site. Since the payor of the transaction is invisible, this could be a wide-spread practice amongst the Blacked Hatted SEOs who will stoop to almost any means to maintain their ranking.

    I reaffirm that I use only White Hat techniques, and follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines to the best of my ability.

    One further comment. I realize that you as an individual do not have time to comment on all postings, but I firmly believe that as a Company, Google can surely afford to do much more to explain their penalties and banning. In view of the Billions of Google profits, surely a couple of million can be spent on Public Relations !!


  389. Since my last post on September 14th, many events have taken place. On September 18th, my site returned to its usual place on the first page for its prime search phrase. Then, on September 25th, my site was again relegated to its penalized position in the 400’s. It’s been there since that date.

    Since then I’ve come across information that Google is now detecting purchased links algorithmically. Now I know that I don’t buy or sell links, but what if it had happened that it algorithmically appeared that I really was?

    Time to analyze and check out all my old reciprocal links which had not been loojed at since 2006. Turns out that most were not linking to me any longer. Removed those. But a few of the old non-linking sites had expired and been purchased by others. This could well appear to Googlebot that I was in fact selling links.

    I will be reviewing the old reciprocal links on a more regular basis. I have not been doing reciprocal links at all since early in 2006.

    One interesting thing. Since my last post, I have received 3 offers to buy links on my site. Hmmm????

    I hope this information helps others. Have enjoyed you videos on youtube.


  390. “301s from an old site to a new site shouldn’t cause any problem, so I wouldn’t use a reinclusion request for that.”

    301s from my old site to my new site have worked fine for google ‘web’ results, but have caused huge problems with Google ‘Image Search’ traffic which accounted for just over 50% of my total traffic.

    (I reckon I’ll lose over $1000 in Adsense income at this rate).

    I know this is not the perfect place to post this question, but I have tried everywhere else, and Adsense support no longer respond to emails it seems…

    Do I just have to wait 3 or 4 months for my images to be re-included in the image search results or is there *anything* I can do to speed this up?


  391. I get a lot of comment spam on my sites. Is there a way to report these link spammers to Google so they can be considered for a spam penalty?

  392. We’re in the midst of a reconsideration request.

    What’s pro forma after receiving of an inclusion request… any acknowledgement by Google of the request? if so, within a xx weeks?

    How would someone know for certain that the reinclusion request has been received?

    Any suggestions for protocol without being overbearing, but appropriately concerned?


  393. I know the reasons behind not alerting via webmaster tools that a site is under penalty, and they make perfect sense, however do you think there is value to be had in (slightly) more tailored responses to the reinclusion form? The reason I mention this is simply there’s no way of telling for sure whether you had a penalty and whether what you did fixed it. This can leave webmasters living in fear of making the slightest change and being penalised for it. Even a simple response would help – something like: a) Yes, you were penalised and now you’re not, b) You were penalised and you still are, or c) You’re not penalised, don’t worry.

    Also, does anyone know how long after reinclusion the site will be back at its original ranking?


  394. Can Google not create a tool that at least checks the system to determine whether your site/domain has receieved some sort of penatly? At first I thought it might have just been an algorithm change, however I’m certain that wouldn’t change my ranking from 3 to 400!

    Guilty until proven innocent I guess. 🙁

  395. Hi Matt

    I agree with Simon. It would be great if Google could provide such a tool which helps identify if a site has been penalised. My web directory site was penalised over a year ago. Rankings went from page 1 to page 7 and Pagerank from 4 to 0.

    I have since tried everything I could to remove anything which may have caused the penalty and have filed many reinclusion requests.

    Recently, my site recovered some of it’s PR but site rankings still remain low. I still continue to look through my site and always on the look out for advice which will help me remove any issues. Now a days advice comes at a cost. No one wants to provide such advice without being given some $$$ 🙁

    It’s really difficult knowing whether a site has been penalised so it would be helpful if Google could point webmasters in the right direction.

    I hope Google will provide such tool in the near future.

    By the way, i think you’re doing a great job with providing Webmasters with useful info.

    Thanks and all the best

  396. In your posts, you mention that google needs to know 1) that the spam has been corrected or removed and 2) that it isn’t going to happen again.

    However, what if I bought the domain from someone else and had no idea of what happened in the past?

  397. Its tricky i prefer to start with a new domain everytime as you never know what its been used for in the past. Ive used 301’s in the past and they have worked well

  398. Fuck you and your reinclusion request !!

  399. KRISTINA: “In your posts, you mention that google needs to know 1) that the spam has been corrected or removed and 2) that it isn’t going to happen again.

    However, what if I bought the domain from someone else and had no idea of what happened in the past?”

    When you file a request for reconsideration, you can include that in your comments which will let Google know that your site is under new ownership and that your current site meets Google’s guidelines. Best of luck!

  400. A current bug in the system is that dropped domain names still retain their their removal from Google’s index. If you freshly register a domain, you shouldn’t have to file a reconsideration request. The logic behind penalizing such a domain is baffling. Why should an unexpecting new owner have to deal with this at all?

  401. Is it really so bad for a website owner who sells widgets wanting to rank well for widgets? Why penalize site owners for exchanging links when they link with relevant text to their product/service – it’s not misleading anyone. There was a time when spam meant spam such as porn sites misleading searchers into landing on their pages, now spam just seems to mean anything that get results.
    It is patently unrealistic for google to demand ALL site owners become a subject authority and thereby get natural inbound links – some business owners sell products they are not necessarily subject authorities. As a web designer what use is it for me to blog about web design technicalities when all it does is drive unwanted traffic in the form of other designers seeking information?
    The cynical would argue that google’s algos lend themselves to small businesses being forced to purchase google’s pcc.

  402. It doesn’t make sense that a site can be penalized for inbound links – if all I had to do was pay $100 to get a competitor a few hundred bad links……

  403. I am doing a site right know that uses javascript to fade in everything that will show up in the first page. That means that there is hidden text (with css opacity) that shows up right after the onload event happened. What does google consider this to be? This is something similar to what google is doing on it’s first page where the onmousemove event shows additional links that don’t show up at first. I would also like to use this first page to advise users that don’t have javascript activated on there browser to use the noJavascript version of the site. Do you see anything wrong with my aproach?

  404. …i have even seeked advice from the help forums and everyone there seems as confused as i am about the situation! I just don’t get it. Google is playing with my life, my livelihood like a cat plays with a mouse. I feel like i’m being bullied.

    yes i did wrong, am i sorry, of course. Is that enough? No! have i shown i’m sorry?? Well, i have deleted hundreds of links, even natural ones, i have fired seo agencies, i have fired copywriters, i have moved servers, i have improved the usability of the site, i am working on improving the content, i have been patient, i have been honest. So why 9 weeks into this penalty am i on my 4th re-inclsion with no sign of this letting up?

    Why is google tarnishing everyone with the same brush?
    Why is google not helping me understand what else i can do other than delete all the pages except my homepage?

    As you can tell, i’m frustrated. When a child does or says something naughty, the child’s mother doesn’t just lock him out and close the door on him. They help them understand any wrongdoing and then get back up, shake it off and move on without going down the same road again! Why is that not the case with Google, when they are going to assume such a powerful role in peoples lives i think there is a certain responsibility to listen to people and help them understand the error of their ways. In my case i have seen what i did wrong without google pointing it out to me, i knew it was risky but there was people doing it much more aggressively than me so perhaps i’m just unlucky! I undid everything within days and sent it all to Google but nothing seems to be good enough!

    Come on Matt, the system seems flawed, i know you get 1000’s RR’s a day and i know some of them are from people who are consicoulsy playing the system knowing the inevitable is going to happen. But what about that small percentage who took some bad advice, a wrong turn if you will? I feel like i keep going in circles with these points as i’ve raised them plenty of times here….

    i’d love to hear if someone can help me come up with something as i’m now very much clutching at straws, it was suggested i get a specialist in to help me figure this out. Do such people exist!?

    Any help/advice is welcome.

    A very deflated webmaster.

  405. Hi Matt, as many out there my site got penalized. I asked for help in google forums and submited a reconsideration request. I agree that the penalizing system should exist but i think that the communication on reconsideration requests should be improved. I guess that one of the most recurrent doubts is that after a site is processed, to know if your reconsideration was approved and when the penalty would be lifted. It would be great to know this kind of information in the email that googole sends after processing the reconsideration. That would avoid webmasters to send other reconsiderations even if it was approved for example. I sent a reconsideration request for my site but i don’t know how much should i wait to know if it was successful.


  406. A few weeks ago, we had some real issues with getting some of our sites re-indexed by Google. They simply dropped off with no explanation. It was the simplest thing in the markup that needed to be changed, and then they started to work again. There was quite a few! Some were:

    Thankfully it’s fixed now. Has similar issues with Bing too..

  407. Hi Matt, I know that you guys at google are doing many things to improve google webmasters services, but one thing you should really give attention to is the reconsideration requests system. I saw that you already told in another places that google couldnt give more specifics regarding to reconsideration requests, as spammers would learn how to trick google. But a simple reply that the reconsideration was accepted or denied, and if it was accepted, that you should wait for x days to see improvements iin rankings would be enough, instead of the standard reply that the site had been processed in reconsideration. Another suggestion i give is : in the same way penalties are given automatically by a google filter, why not apply the same concept for the opposite, so that serp penalties could be automatically removed after the violations in google guidelines had been corrected? The reconsideration request should still exist but this would sure speed up the process .Im currently facing this devastating situation, as my website got penalized. As advised i started a thread in google webmasters forum at , so that others could look and suggest additional corrections that could be implemented. I fixed everything, read google guidelines many times and sent a RR, but with no luck. It just seems a dead end. I know that you Matt got a thousand of those reconsideration letters everyday, but if you could just take a look at the thread i mentioned it would be awesome.

    Thanks for your patience, Valter

  408. why isn’t there a tool available to check your site against to see if it is against policies of google or not ?

  409. Hi Matt,
    I have an interesting problem solving riddle for you!

    I have a Google penalty problem that no webmaster seems to have even heard of before. This sounds like something that MANY webmasters would be very interested in.

    Here’s the issue: All the websites that I own (about 30) have been penalized simultaneously with a ‘Google -50 penalty.’ These are quality, popular websites that have been around for years.

    Suddenly, I can’t make a living for my family and I’ve been scratching my head as to what I did wrong to deserve this Google penalty.

    Matt, I know that you are a SUPER busy and important guy: on the off chance that you can help me at least hear from someone at Google I am posting the link to Google Webmaster Forums where the conversation is going on:

    I must have done something wrong, in which case I will immediately rectify the situation. Maybe the websites were accidentally caught in a spam filter or mistakenly labeled as a ‘bad neighborhood’ I just need Google to communicate with me and I will do my best to fix any problem Google sees with the websites.

    Thanks, Matt. Just for reading this message, I really appreciate it. This obviously means a lot to me right now.


  410. A tool would be pretty handy.

  411. Yes, a tool would be very handy. I 2nd this motion…

  412. Hi Matt,

    I truly believe I have been penalized by Google. I’m writing here because I really don’t know what to do next.

    I have submitted a reconsideration request on March 19th explaining everything I did over the last three years, and I have opened a google webmaster forum thread here.

    I think I did’t get a good reply on that thread on what to do next, but at least you can see steps I’ve taken there while trying to fix the issue.

    It seems Panda/Farmer actually helped our site, as we started to rank on Feb 24th and then out of the sudden we were nowhere to be found since Mar 18th.

    It’s true I have invested a large amount of time, money and effort in that site over the last 3 years, but I don’t care about that. The thing that’s killing me is that I would do whatever it takes to get the rankings back, even if it means flying to the moon and back, but I’m left in the dark without knowing what it is all about, what did I do wrong and what steps I need to take to fix it.

    I don’t know how do penalties work, but the thing is my family’s future depends on it, and if I could get some kind of sign, that would be enough, even if it means working for 3 more years on it to get it back. The thing that scares me is not knowing will it the penalty be ever lifted no matter what I do to fix the site.

    I know you’re superbusy and you probably won’t get the time to look at it, but I hope you understand me thinking it’s worth a shot, especially when my, my wife’s and my son’s future depends on it.

    If you could at least get somebody to look at my reconsideration request, or post some guidelines on my webmaster forum thread, that would be great.

    The site in question is included in this post with my name, and I truly believe it’s a legit site, and I know users find it useful from their feedback.

  413. Hi Matt,
    I met you a little while ago at SMX West in San Jose and we spoke and I asked you about my site not ranking properly. I wrote down the whole situation in your notebook for you to take has to do with my site ranking improperly…we used to rank in the top 5 of serps for Bedroom Furniture and now due to some microsites we put up a few years ago (prior to anything in the webmaster tools about this being against Googles Terms of Service and which we never did any seo work on), we started getting penalized. We got rid of all of those microsites and some keywords came back but some did not and our big one for bedroom furniture now links to our Dining Room Furniture Page. I have put is so many reconsideration requests for this to be fixed but it is not fixed. And may of our keywords like Dining Room Furniture, Dining Room Sets, etc are not coming back and its been a very long time. Can you please help. Thanks so much Matt and sorry to use this forum but I have no idea how I could follow up with you ;). Thanks Matt. We have learned our lesson and now read through all the TOS every month to keep ourselves updated. Thanks.

  414. hi Matt,

    Will the link posting done in LinkedIn, Facebook like social networks, which are fetching the site’s title, description metatags arise any duplication or penalty issue. consider have done many link postings in linkedin groups. Seems i have got a penalty for a site and have done a re inclusion request showing whatever changes i made. Still not sure about the reason of penalty and seems only the homepage got deindexed from Google index.

  415. Hi Matt,

    Is it possible that my site be penalized because I used amazon links in my post without the no-follow tag? I hope you can answer my question, Thanks

  416. Hi Matt,

    No one is responding to my query in webmaster forum.

    Can you please have a look.

  417. Matt,

    What are the chances big players in the SERPs have Google employees working for them?

    I know making that statement about your employees looks maybe paranoiac but that is the only conclusion that makes sense considering what kind of sites I have. I am not saying they are perfect but they certainly are not against your terms. As a matter of fact for the keywords I used to rank, the SERPs are ful of thin affiliate sites with misleading/incorrect/inaccurate/thin information. There are even some autoblogs above me now, the kind that use WPRobot to post from amazon and ebay data feeds.

    On 19 February I got 3 websites penalized by a -50 positions drop for ALL keywords. For what I used to rank #1 I went to #50 and currently I am around #70. Sites were 100% whitehat, highly useful sites with top quality content. I have not done any SEO on them in the past 2-3 years, they just grew naturally after I raised them to good positions for some keywords. Only focused on adding content. I filed 3 reconsideration requests for every site (9 requests) and all got rejected. Did no link spam blasts (as I have said, I did no SEO whatsoever on the sites in past 2-3 years) and looking in MajesticSEO I see no spikes in link discovery. So I doubt somebody blasted low quality links to my sites and got me penalized. Sites were initially interlinked from the footer.

    Along with them were interlinked from footer 2 other sites that did not get penalized though were in a way lower quality (with less content and not as high on my list of priorities). I also had a couple of links from footer to link exchange partners that gave me links from blogroll. Both partners were high quality sites and are not penalized. Even though first step I did before filing for reconsideration was to remove those links, it was to no help.

    Also, I posted on Google Webmasters Forum asking for help but had no helpful suggestions. They basically recommended me to remove all affiliate links and parts of the ads (not that many) which would have resulted in a drop in revenue. One one of the sites I didn’t even had AdSense or PPC ads, just affiliate links to amazon from product review pages.

    Only slight problem I may think of is that content overlaps to a certain degree. One site is about plasma TVs, one about HDTVs (plasma & LCD) and one about LCD TVs. So some product reviews appear both on the plasma or LCD site as well as on the HDTVs site. However the content is unique, rewritten.

    Continues on next comment…

  418. Now Google animals penalized sites.

  419. This is really interesting to look at this thread 9 years on! Since 2013 I have been involved with a lot of Google Penguin manual spam penalty removals, so I am no stranger to reconsideration requests! The worst site I dealt with was actually one of my own, not one about anything dodgy, but one a site about motorhome rental! I really didn’t know what I was doing at all in those days. My question was just to ask Matt if there still remains a possibility to file a reconsideration request if there has been no manual action against a site?