Google Improves SEO Customer Service

It seems Google is now out to get websites that it has banned or dropped back into the search results index. This has been noted in several search engine forums as well as several Google employees’ blogs. Google’s direction to banned websites may provide small optimizing clues to all SEOs.

Now while this may seem like the best possible move Google could make to help rebuild lost relationships, it should be noted that this is a small test. It may be continued or it may not. Do not get too excited. Also, in case you are wondering who is and is not being contacted, I can tell you that websites with URL’s like www.viagra-remedy-cure-for-all-ailments-known-to-man.com are definitely not going to receive an e-mail from Google inviting them back into the fold.

Google apparently contacted 100 webmasters whose websites had been dropped from Google’s index regarding how Google would like to have them back in their index, granted the webmaster is willing to clean up the website to meet Google’s quality guidelines for webmasters found here:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

Below is a copy of the letter that Google is sending out to webmasters whose sites have been removed from G’s index of websites.


  Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.xlwidgets.com,

    While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your
    pages were using techniques that were outside our quality guidelines,
    which can be found here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html
    In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, we have
    temporarily removed some webpages from our search results. Currently
    pages from http://www.chefrevival.com.au/ are scheduled to be removed for at
    least 30 days.

    Specifically, we detected the following practices on your webpages:
    On http://www.xlwidgets.com, we noticed the following hidden text: “XL
    widgets are the best widgets available online in widget entertainment and
    widget retail sales which is the basis for blue green yellow widget sales
    and services to our retail widget wholesale widget clients and widget
    customers world wide services”

    We would prefer to have your pages in Google’s index. If you wish to be
    reincluded, please correct or remove all pages that are outside our
    quality guidelines. When you are ready, please submit a re inclusion
    request at http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py

    You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” and
    then “Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in
    ranking,” click Continue, and then make sure to type “Re inclusion
    Request” in the Subject: line of the resulting form.

    Sincerely,
    Google Search Quality Team


Google has decided to contact 100 webmasters whose sites were banned or dropped from the Google index for whatever reason. It has been reported that they tried to contact the webmasters directly by searching the whois records for the domains, and falling short of that have also sent e-mails to generic web address for websites (such as webmaster@www.xlwidgets,com and sales@xlwidgets.com).

Google has also copied the letter over to the website host provider, which has some people upset. Some fear that by notifying the hosting company, the host will shut the site down to prevent the whole server seen as a bad neighborhood.

Of course with just 100 websites receiving these letters and 8 billion pages indexed, I do not think this is an issue many webmasters should worry about. I would also say for those who ran scraper sites, and other hard core black hat SEO tactics, that you should not expect an e-mail inviting you back.

Google’s intention here is to build and foster friendship and partnership with white hat webmasters. It also seems to be built for the SMB type of business, who are perhaps not involved in an SEO campaign. They may have thought that using some junk software could improve their standings in the search engine results pages. Google sees these sites as legitimate small business who made a poor choice. These business owners will not be visiting an SEO forum or even turning to an SEO company for help, so Google is reaching out to those types of business in their initial test.

Matt Cutts, a Google employee who has shed some insight to the inner workings of Google’s algorithmic team, cited one of the websites in his blog. It is a small business (http://www.sewshop.com/acart) which apparently purchased software that made up gibberish pages, and it used a bad JavaScript redirect.

It is apparent that Google is out to help the smaller webmaster, who probably is less Internet-savvy than other website owners. These people may not have the economic means to hire a search engine optimization firm of good reputation to solve their coding issues which led to their sites being removed from the Google index.

So what do you do if you are not one of those 100 webmasters getting e-mail from Google inviting you back? Maybe you had one of the websites who pushed the boundaries of SEO and found their website removed from Google’s index, or maybe you stumbled upon some black-hat advice unwittingly. Regardless, there is something you can do.

There was once an email address I would write to in the past to try to have Google take a look at a websites for re-inclusion to their index. There is now a web form request that can be (and should be) filled out by anyone removed.

You can find the form at this location: http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py

So what exactly needs to go into the reinclusion report to have Google consider including your webpages? There is basically two issues that will need to be covered in the request.

1. You will need to cover the fact that the spam has been removed from your pages
2. You will not try using spam tactics again. You will want to cover the known or suspected spam tactics, what penalties you have received (or think you are under) and any forms of corrections you may have undertaken.

If you have hired an SEO firm,,, you will want to advise Google of such. You will also want to include information about the SEO company and actions they took. This shows Google a sign of good faith for your business as well.

SEO Firms, and those websites which have been designed mostly for affiliate revenue, will need to provide more proof of good faith evidence before a site will be re-included. These type of websites should already be well aware of Google’s webmaster guidelines and not have sites that were dropped from the Google index.

There are a few things not to do when writing Google. Don’t inform them that you are an Google Adwords advertiser or a Google Adsense publisher. The people at Google who would be involved in re-inclusion requests will not care if you are or what other business you have with Google.

Another point that needs to be covered is if you are a web developer who has had various websites that were dumped from Google’s index, it is thought it best to only seek a re-inclusion request for one web site at a time. It is always best to not try to draw too much attention to yourself at once, so that over time you can keep websites indexed.

After you have made the corrections and submitted your re-inclusion report, there will be some time needed for the pages to be indexed and then placed into the search results index.

This could take as little as two to three weeks for not-severe penalties, to six to eight weeks for more severe bans due to black hat tactics. Other issues that factor into the re-inclusion time are when someone gets around to reviewing the request, whether the request is approved, as well waiting for a spam filter to clear out of the system.

Google certainly is looking like they are trying to help optimizers. This comes after years of Google being perceived as out to hurt SEOs or destroy businesses that optimize to get ahead. Google’s stance is nothing I’d have expected from them.

While it is nice Google is reaching out to these webmasters, I am not too sure how it will turn out for Google. There may or may not be any real ROI; it would also be amusing (to say the least) if they could open local Google offices, which teach others how to market a business properly or how to develop search engine optimized pages.

I can safely assure you that by following Google guidelines for webmasters, you can definitely ease your workload by building quality websites for users. This will in turn give top level keyword ranking for both paid and free results listings.

By building quality sites or bringing clients sites to meet the guidelines set forth by Google, growth can be found by anyone who makes a concerted effort to enjoy success.

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