How to get un-blacklisted from Google
March 24, 2005 5:46 AM   Subscribe

I run a popular regional community site that I believe was banned by Google due to practices of the former owner of the domain name. Yahoo!, MSN and other search engines send users my site's way - but not Google since the Googlebot won't visit. It's as if my site doesn't exist as far as searchers on Google are concerned.

Google has real power. If you're being indexed by it - with quality content - it can send users your way that didn't know you existed before they searched. But if you're not indexed by Google - you don't exist. At least to a large portion of the web.

Philly Future isn't indexed by Google. The new (a year old!) version of the site isn't that is.

I've signed up for AdSense. Maybe that will help. But I need to wait until I'm approved and that can take a week. If they look at their blacklist, and if Philly Future is on it, it probably won't make a difference.

This is painful.

Steps taken:

Me and many others have linked to Philly Future for the past year. Many of these sites have great page ranks. The original Philly Future links to the new Philly Future - and it has a Page Rank of 4. Not bad for a site that hasn’t been maintained in a few years.

I have submitted the site to be indexed.

I have submitted my site to DMOZ. Never to get a reply.

I have submitted messages thru their support forms and have gotten automatic responses telling me if I follow their guidelines, everything is automatic, and I will be included in a few weeks. Just sit tight.

I have sent an email to help@google.com with the subject 'reinclusion request' and a summary of my problem. This resulted in an automated response telling me to use their support forms to contact them. See above.

I've done these things, in small flurries of activity, for around a year now.

There are quality links going to Philly Future. I hope it's providing a service to our community and the inbound links are possibly an indicator we're on the right track.

However, even with such a terrific community of writers and readers - we still need Google.

Please, if someone can tell me what we've done wrong - or if someone can unblacklist the site - it would be very appreciated.
posted by kmartino to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
 
Awww comon folks. Anybody?
posted by kmartino at 9:19 AM on March 24, 2005


You might try asking the Google forum folks/searching the forums for similar cases at Webmaster World for advice.

Also keep in mind that DMOZ is a completely separate entity from Google and is run by volunteer power. You might try an inquiry about your status here, but be sure to follow the stickied FAQS & forum guidelines.
posted by romakimmy at 10:19 AM on March 24, 2005


From mymommybiz.com:
If you have determined that Google banned you for shady SEO (search engine optimization) practices, you have a lot more work to do. So much, in fact, that many people just ditch the former domain name and start with something new. It is much easier to build a site from a PR3 or PR4 (which most new sites are given) rather than trying to dig a banned site from the depths of PR0.

But Google will consider reincluding sites if you send an email to webmaster@google.com with "reinclusion request" as the subject - AFTER you have cleaned the entire site up. Do not email before your site is completely clean of spam techniques - if they see your site still doing the things it was banned for, you might hurt your chances to get your site included into the index again once it is clean.

Google also publishes webmaster guidelines here.
Also, see:
- Discussion of Google bannings due to Traffic Power here.
- A possibly relevant thread at webmasterworld.
- A helpful page at pandia.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:27 AM on March 24, 2005


I want to take what you're saying here on faith, but I have to note that you appear to have been involved with the site since at least 2000, when there was a redirect of the domain to an EditThisPage site that you now control. Also, you also appear to have been author on the site in 2001. It does look like the domain changed hands a couple of times since then, but it still leaves open questions.

How is that this is only a recent problem?

Did the domain name change hands? If so, why?

Whether it's a human or computer making the decision to ban, how they could know for certain that the site and the people that run it are now on the straight and narrow?

Have you considered starting with a new domain name? Do a 301 domain redirect on the old domain to the new one, resubmit the new URL everywhere, wait three months, and hope for the best.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2005


Thanks for the replies folks.... but I guess I need more help.

Mo, I let the domain expire after my nephew died from SIDS. I asked others to take the site over, but no one offered - so I let it go.

A porn redirector took the domain name and I believe it is what caused the domain to get banned. When the porn site let the domain expire - I bought it right back.

It was in Google way back when I originally owned it. And the porn site got it banned... I think.

For the past year I have tried traditional ways to get the site indexed by Google. Most importantly - simply putting up good content that people link to.

I have already sent the reinclusion request email pmurray - only to get an automated reply to use their help forms - which in turn resulted in more automated replies to sit tight - if the site follows guidelines it will get indexed.

As far as anyone has been able to tell me - I've done all the right things. It follows guidelines. It has good content that people care about. It has links by plenty of folks with high page ranks.

I think we're screwed. I don't want to lose the domain name a second time.
posted by kmartino at 12:18 PM on March 24, 2005


You could invest $5 in a Google Answer and see what the experts say. Don't ask them how to game the system, just ask them how to get back on Google's good side after something like this happens to the domain name.
posted by pwb503 at 12:29 PM on March 24, 2005


Here's a kind of sneaky, back-door way, that shoud work if you control the web server.

1. Get a new domain address (something like the old one, but with a .net or .ws or something like that).

2. On your web server, add a second IP address for the web site. Point it to the same root directory as your old site.

3. Set up the DNS on your new domain address to look at your new address.

Then, when the bots come, it will not be able to identify it as a "banned" site, either by IP or address. It will go ahead and index it.

4. Deal with Google at their leisure, and prepare to demonstrate to them that the ownership of the site had changed. Eventually, they will relent and take you off their blacklist (they're good guys).

5. After the site has been white-listed, set up the new web address to simply point to the same IP as the orignal one.
posted by curtm at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2005


That's a clever idea curtm... but I think pwb might be onto something. I'll try that tonght infact :)
posted by kmartino at 1:53 PM on March 24, 2005


Whups. I wasn't supposed to mark that as a 'best answer' - after all - its not an answer - just a good idea to continue to investigate.
posted by kmartino at 2:04 PM on March 24, 2005


Update: someone added Philly Future to DMOZ (thank you!). Not sure if that's the entire answer however.

And Userland can't implement a 302 for me.

I will post a question to Google Answers tonight.
posted by kmartino at 2:14 PM on March 24, 2005


Y'know, I'd just start over with a new name. There's no telling when or whether Google will get around to deciding your site is de-blacklistable. I understand your attachment and devotion to the "brand" but trust me: what you are doing with the site is many times more important than the name itself. Seeing that as your purpose should make your path forward more clear.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on March 25, 2005


You're right Dan. I know you are. Giving up hurts though and I guess I'm giving it one last ditch effort right now - after a year of doing what you typically should - before moving on.

Google, in my experience, has never given me cause to complain. You post good content, you build a community, people link to you, you follow guidelines, don't try any evil tricks, and Google indexes you. Usually its that simple. It's one of the reasons why Google has been so terrific.

Getting a new domain, because a previous owner abused it - seems to me not only a partial loss of identity (partial I realize - it's our community that counts - just like here at Metafilter) - but an admission that Google is creaking, cracking and growing bureaucratic as it grows older. I'd like to think there is a solution that is less severe.
posted by kmartino at 4:52 AM on March 25, 2005


Update - Great news! - a software engineer from Google has contacted me and has told me my request to be re-included in Google has been accepted.

Thanks to everyone here who offered help and suggestions.
posted by kmartino at 10:42 AM on March 25, 2005


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