At first, I thought it had to be some ridiculous conspiracy that one of my client’s sites was totally thrown out of the Google index while I was talking with Christoph about Presell Pages. After all, a client’s site had done nothing outside the range of the others in the industry. In fact, I’ve watched others in the same industry continue blog comment spamming, link farming, and mini-site churning for endless months. Instead of partaking in the wasted efforts, I added useful original content, news syndication and contacted sites personally to have them link to the client. As a result the client had top 3 rankings (finally) for all of their major keyphrases. Then–POOF. gone.
So much for white hat strategy paying off in the end. This made for a wonderful thanksgiving, Matt. :’( The site did nothing egregious enough to warrant being dropped completely from the index. Or did it??
Let’s be completely honest: the site did use one tool which I’ve heard (since the site was dropped) could be a very serious red flag. The < "follow, noindex"> tag on the LinkMaps tool suggests it would be helpful to let the big G know about the sites that are linking to yours. However, I’ve since been convinced that even “noindex” links are an implicit endorsement of the sites that link to you, many of which can be low-quality. How can something be “noindex” and yet count as an “endorsement”, you ask? Doesn’t matter, I respond.
Alas, the LinkMaps files were taken off, and even snippets of content that could have been construed as duplicate have been cleaned up. I found out the client did subscribe to a few high-pr links (no kidding–he thought he was helping) and those have been taken down too. The wait-and-see game is a tough one to play once a site is kicked out of the index–especially when the rankings were so great.
What could have happened? Porn sites getting kicked off is understandable, but a legit site that did nothing wrong? As a result the client loses business during a critical part of the year. I’ll be updating this later with a status report…