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Why Websites Get Banned From Search Engines

Aug 17, 2007
All of us in the internet marketing world have the same worst nightmare. We are all terrified that one day we will wake up to find that we have been banned from Google.

We have two lesser nightmares, and those are that we have been banned from Yahoo and MSN. No matter what we call it, be it blacklisting, banning, or even a less deadly sand-boxing, the result surely would cause a catastrophe.

In order to prevent this, we need to know the common methods and techniques that get people banned. For anyone that is using the techniques, they should undo them quickly! A boost in ranking for a few months is never worth a lifetime of zero traffic.

I've been working in the industry for quite some time, and have worked with hundreds of sites. I've consulted pretty large companies, as well as individuals. I've seen mistakes that many have made, mistakes that got people banned.

From my experience, the most common mistake that gets people banned from Google is using automatically generated pages. There are a few types of automatically generated pages that are really common.

The first type of automated pages is a directory created by scraper programs. The program scrapes a search engine's results for a particular keyword, and copies the content. You can add a list of thousands of keywords, and the program will make a page for each one. These directories have caused every site I've seen them on to get banned from Google. This happens because there isn't a single word of unique content on any of the pages.

The second type of automatically generated page I've seen is created with dynamic link directory scripts. You add the script onto a page of your site, and a link directory is created, adding hundreds of link pages to your site. The problem there is that your post-slash URLs are exactly the same as the other 3,000 or so people that use the script. Google catches on, and you can't even find your homepage in their index anymore.

If you are going to use any kind of generated page, here's some advice. Make sure that you can choose what you want to URL to be. If you can't, it won't match the URL theme for your site, and every one else that uses the program will have the same URLs. Secondly, you need to add plenty of unique content to every single page. You never want to have any pages that aren't unique.

Let's move on to another technique that will get you banned. I don't know how people think they can still get away with hidden text! You can't. One of my client thought they could get away with it because they did it with a style sheet. Guess what? His site got banned. Don't even think about trying hidden text. Along the same lines, never use pixel links. Obviously a human can't find a pixel link. Does anyone really think Google is dumb enough to not know that a pixel link is only to manipulate results?

The last and major way that sites get banned from Google can make you crazy, and it happens more often than you would think. I have on more than one occasion found my site on another domain. I'm not saying that I found a page that had been copied; I found that my entire site had been copied. In this case, you are in big trouble, and you need to take legal action quickly. I got the site deleted, and amazingly got my ranking back.

Here's a rule of thumb that you should always keep if you want to keep getting traffic from Google, Yahoo, and MSN: only add content to your site that your users will find useful. They won't use your link directory, doorway pages, hidden text, automated pages, and if you use them you will get banned.
About the Author
Courtney writes product reviews and publications such as this one on Link Popularity and you can use his knowledge to make money online.
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