Last week, I recieved the following email from Google:
Dear site owner or webmaster of allfinancialmatters.com,
While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your pages were using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which can be found here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html. This appears to be because your site has been modified by a third party. Typically, the offending party gains access to an insecure directory that has open permissions. Many times, they will upload files or modify existing ones, which then show up as spam in our index.
The following is some example hidden text we found at http://allfinancialmatters.com/2008/03/26/bear-markets-a-necessary-evil-from-larry-swedroe/:
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In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, we have temporarily removed some of your webpages from our search results. Currently pages from allfinancialmatters.com are scheduled to be removed for at least 30 days.
We would prefer to have your pages in Google’s index. If you wish to be reconsidered, please correct or remove all pages (may not be limited to the examples provided) that are outside our quality guidelines. One potential remedy is to contact your web host technical support for assistance. For more information about security for webmasters, see http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/09/quick-security-checklist-for-webmasters.html.
When you are ready, please visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reinclusion?hl=en to learn more and submit your site for reconsideration.
Google Search Quality Team
They were right, a hacker inserted a bunch of hidden urls on my blog*. I deleted them as soon as I found out about it but it was too late. Google had already removed me from their index. The result has been a significant drop in traffic:
Revenues are off too.
I followed all their directions and resubmitted my blog but their website says it could take WEEKS before my blog is back in their index. That stinks. It would have been nice if Google could have given me advance warning before they took such a drastic step. I understand that their system is probably fully automated but I hate the fact that they are so quick to take the action of deleting my blog and so slow to add it back.
Also, it would be cool for Word Press to require some sort of authorization when a template is changed.
Two good things have come out of this situation (remember, I’m trying to practice thanksliving):
1. I upgraded my blogging software. I normally don’t mess with stuff when it’s working. The downtime gave me an opportunity to try something new.
Finally, if any of you lovely readers have a contact at Google, PLEASE put in a good word for me!
*NOTE: I found the links at the bottom of my page template. You’ll know them when you see them as it will be a long list of links.
UPDATE: Somewhere around 12:00 PM on April 1, 2008, I started getting traffic from Google. This is GREAT news!