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Getting Kicked Off Google Hurts!

By JLP | March 31, 2008

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/:

NEWS: Canada credit card application Propecia Drug Deceased credit card debt Kiss Ringtones Ultracet Cheap Viagra Soft Tabs Annualcreditreport Buy Atarax Lamisil Why is your credit score is important Your credit reports Naprosyn Credit report sample Adalat Apply for a fleet low interest credit card application Advair Diskus Carisoprodol Soma Torn up credit card application! Buy Glucophage Dance Last Ringtones, Deltasone Cephalexin: All 3 credit scores Herbal Phentermine? Buy Augmentin Mosquito Ringtones! Propecia Buy Lotensin, Maxaquin 0 apr credit cards uk: Free access to credit reports Inderal? Cheap Zanaflex Renova Repair credit score Free Real Ringtones, Diazepam Online Low apr credit cards! Prevacid Nexium: Tramadol Synthroid Free instant credit report online Information on credit report. Adipex Diazepam Lower credit card debt Nortel VPN? Ways to improve credit score Amaryl Cheap Capoten Low fixed apr cards for low credit Buy Cephalexin Buy Evista Soma Stop credit card applications: High credit score Online Cialis? How to get free credit reports Copy of my credit report Bank credit card application Anonymous surfing, Adderall Free instant online credit report Buy Levitra Card credit debt forgiveness settlement Nextel Ringtones To credit reporting Buy Lexapro Butalbital Instant approval credit cards Credit report business: Instant approval credit cards Wachovia secured credit card Mortgage credit reports Nolvadex Propecia Uk National free credit report: Buy Zyrtec Score federal credit union Online Cialis Instant online approval credit cards fleet! Average credit scores Credit reporting bureau Fixed low apr credit cards Phentrimine Bactroban Singulair O apr credit cards Singulair Capital one low interest credit card application Capoten Free credit report online no membership Credit score questions Credit card application instant Credit card application instant approval number: Calan Shell credit card application Biaxin Xanax Credit card applications for Cialis Professional Credit card application instant approval Information credit report Fosamax Secured credit card application Credit card application for Card

[…]

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.

Sincerely,
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.

2. Trent told me about a sitemap plugin that is AWESOME! Thanks, Trent.

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!

Topics: Blogging | 10 Comments »


10 Responses to “Getting Kicked Off Google Hurts!”

  1. Will Says:
    March 31st, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Hi JLP,

    I really think that a large corporation such as Google should really have some form of lie customer service. I ran into an issue with them last year because of an Adsense check that I cashed instead of depositing it. Long story short, my bank got a flag saying that the check came from a closed account, and they in turn froze my account, threatening to report me to Chexsystems, and al that nice stuff.

    I fired email after email (never being rude, just annoyingly persistent) to every department that could possibly help me sort out the issue. To be honest, I received email responses within 2 hours, but I needed to talk to an actual PERSON to have this thing solved.

    Turns out that on the 3rd day, I received a call from a very nice Google employee and together we solved the problem within a day or two. I can’t give you her number (for obvious reasons, lol) but all I can tell you is that by no means should you seat idly, waiting for your website to be put back on the index. Write, be “annoyingly, but politely persistent” like I’ve been and odds are, one of their employees will call you.

    Now this hacking issue has me concerned. I also run a (new) personal finance blog and I’d hate that to happen to me. I’d say 95% of my traffic comes from Google! Can you elaborate on what solution you implemented?

  2. Wayne Elgin Says:
    March 31st, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Matt Cutts is probably the most notable contact at Google for search engine spam related things. He frequently talks about web keyword spam (including undectable spam). According to him, though, Google’s spiders have increased greatly in the last couple of years, so it’s very possible that your corrected site may show up sooner than they had stated.

    You may be able to use the Google Webmaster Central site to communicate securely with Google’s team about getting your site reindexed even sooner, though. While the process of finding sites is largely automated, from what Matt indicates, there is a large team of people dedicated to that function and they may be able to put you back on the map, sooner.

    Good luck.

  3. guinness416 Says:
    March 31st, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Hmm that explains why I just ended up at allfinancialmatters dot NET. I don’t have any advice for you sorry, just sympathy.

  4. Kristin Says:
    March 31st, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Losing Google would be devastating to my little blog’s reader numbers. Google is by far the #1 referral.

    Thanks for the heads up about hackers and what to look for.
    Wish you luck in getting your site re-indexed soon.

  5. Cindy Says:
    March 31st, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m really happy that I’ve subscribed to your feed, so I won’t miss a beat. :)

    I agree with Will, could you write an off-topic post describing how you think this happened, and what you’ve done to combat it? I worry about my niche-blog.

  6. Chad Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 11:28 am

    “They were right, a hacker inserted a bunch of hidden urls on my blog.”

    Just so we can all check our own blogs, what steps did you take to detect these “hidden” URLs?

    Tks…

  7. JLP Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Chad,

    Sure thing. I’ll add it to the post.

  8. Moneymonk Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    You have to give credit to google, they are up on their game. I’m sure they hire people just to look for stuff like that.

  9. The Money Post Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Man, that’s terrible. Hopefully it doesn’t have any lasting effect on your search rankings.

  10. Frugal Says:
    April 2nd, 2008 at 11:00 am

    JLP,

    Please let us know how you detect those hidden URL spams. My Adsense account has been already hacked by hackers 1.5 year ago. I really don’t want to be off from the Google Search.

    Many thanks.

    Frugal

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