I Have Disappeared From The Web

How do you talk with God? And, who is God anyway?

Is Google God? They pull a lot of weight and have become the gatekeeper of the Internet. Tonight, they removed me from their index. It is an amazingly weird story.

I’ve been writing about my traffic here on the blog recently. I mentioned some suspected reasons for the dropoff, especially traffic referred by Google.

To confirm some suspicions, I did a Google search on this site. It would instantly tell me which of my pages were most popular.

I was stunned.

The list was long and mainly consisted of pages I hadn’t entered! The pages were virtually 100% made of keywords and links. They were obviously computer generated without human intervention.

I clicked on one. The address bar in my browser read www.geofffox.com/MT/archives… I went to my web server and looked for the files that made up this page. They weren’t there.

My friend and ix-guru Bob said my webserver might have been hijacked. The bad files were now hidden from me. That’s as good a guess as any, but wrong.

Though the address bar said geofffox.com, if you manually typed the web address you’d get a 404 error – page not found! Something was very fishy.

The content really wasn’t on my site. Somehow, Google had been tricked and was sending people one place while saying it was another. I’m totally confused.

I went to the Google Webmaster Help forum and posted a note. Twenty minutes later, the bogus ad pages were gone from Google. So was nearly everything else in my site. A few hours later, the rest vanished.

As I write this, if you enter “site:geofffox.com” in Google, you get nothing! I am devastated.

I went to Google’s Webmaster Tools.

Pages on your site may not appear in Google search results pages due to violations of the Google webmaster guidelines. Please review our webmaster guidelines and modify your site so that it meets those guidelines. Once your site meets our guidelines, you can request reconsideration and we’ll evaluate your site.

Holy crap. Google has blacklisted me. As far as the Internet is concerned, I will cease to exist. No – I have ceased to exist!

I’ve already filled out a form, begging to be reconsidered, though I don’t know what I did wrong. Google won’t tell. They also won’t tell how long they’ll take to fix, or whether they’ll fix it at all.

Maybe Google isn’t God, but it sure acts like it. I’m just a little schlemiel with a simple website. What if my livelihood depended on this?

9 thoughts on “I Have Disappeared From The Web”

  1. I’ve been there too. For such a huge organization capable of launching expansive extravagant services, you would think it could plunk 1,000 customer service people down and have them look into situations where peoples’ livelihoods are ripped apart at the hands of Google search results, sometimes purely by Google’s own technical glitches.

  2. You’re not blacklisted. You just ended up a victim of lazy customer support. Instead of Google sorting through which of their indexed links were inaccurate, they deleted you off the database entirely, with the intention of re-indexing your site.

    To be safe, go back to google’s site registration and start the process over.

    In the meantime, bitch them out via “webmaster help”, and mention your long participation in the adsense program – you’re being off the grid is costing them money too, believe it or not. Also mention that you initially contacted them about bad links as a courtesy to THEM, and as a result, they’ve eliminated your revenue stream.

    As Google spiders other sites that link to yours, within the next 24 hours or so, you’ll probably get picked up via “site:geofffox.com”, but not your entire listing. you need to get them to prioritize a complete re-indexing of your site.

    Sorry to see this happen to such a nice guy.

  3. Last night, I posted a reconsideration form on Google’s site. I also compiled a new site map, which helps point them to my pages.

    I will keep my eye on what goes on and hope for the best.

  4. I’m glad to see some of the spammy comments are gone. Since you aren’t using rel=nofollow on comment links, make sure you identify every spammy comment, otherwise your reconsideration request may not go through. I’d also recommend thinking about switching to WordPress which is a cleaner platform than whatever you’re using.

    I wouldn’t worry. You weren’t intentionally doing anything wrong; after your reconsideration request gets processed, your blog will pop back in Google’s index.

  5. Gee, I hope it wasn’t my comment about Congressional hearings on Google’s Web rankings. Kind of an odd coincidence though…

  6. @Hank: I just checked using a site of mine that’s been banned for months. It doesn’t report any problems unless I add the domain to the tools; according to the tool you gave it’s still being crawled…but I can guarantee it won’t be indexed. So he definitely needs the reinclusion request.

  7. You are good on Yahoo – at least:

    YAHOO Results 1 – 100 of about 15,819 – 0 sec.

    Tip: Your “site:/domain:” query has been redirected to Site Explorer. You can continue to use normal web search for other queries.

    Pages (15,819) | Inlinks (165)

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