It’s every webmasters worst nightmare. They check in to their Google webmaster dashboard to make sure their site is performing optimally only to find out that something has happened. Their site has plummeted from Google. Whether it’s an error with the site itself or a change to Google’s algorithm, seeing it happen live is traumatizing.
That recently happened to Restoration Eze and they came to us for help. They help people find water damage restoration services throughout the country, but on this day, their site had virtually vanished from Google.
As you can see from the dashboard screenshot above, on or around Sept. 15th something went terribly wrong. A quick review of the site revealed that during a new code release, a no-follow script was accidentally placed in the site code. That essentially tells Google’s search spiders to not index the site’s page, effectively wiping them out of the SERPs. Yikes!
Of their 800+ previously indexed pages, only about 300 were remaining.
Given the urgency of the issue, our team quickly formulated a plan to help get the site reindexed by Google. Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself dealing with a similar issue.
Step 1: Fix the site code, penalty or error causing the indexing issue
In this case it was a noindex, nofollow tag in the source code. The developer made a mistake and forgot to remove it when they, moved the site from demo to the live server after some site changes.
If you’ve done a deep dive and found an error within your code that has effected your site’s relationship with Google, you obviously want to fix the code immediately.
If you feel that you have been hit with a panda or penguin penalty, you need to go through the steps to clean up your site content, links and other issues that caused the penalty.
Here are some good resources for both:
Step 2. Submit your site to Google to be reindexed
The next thing you’ll want to do is request that Google reindex your web site. You can do that by:
Adding you url for inclusion to Google’s index (link http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url)
Submitting your Sitemap to Google (link http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools)
These steps at least put you back on the map with Google, but it doesn’t guarantee your site will be re-crawled quickly or completely. So here’s some additional steps that you can take…
Step 3: Fetch to Google and submit a crawl request
Within your webmaster tools, you have the ability to enter specific URLs that would like to have Google fetch as soon as possible. If you have specific landing pages that are most important to your business, you can submit up to 10 per week and ask Google to grab those pages and reindex them. Make sure that when it asks you whether or not you want it to index just the URL you are submitting or any links within that URL, you select the latter option. While it doesn’t guarantee any additional links on the page will be reindexed, it will result in some additional pages being indexed more quickly. Also strategically select pages that link to many other important pages, so Google can quickly find and crawl more than your 10 most important pages.
Step 3: Lean on your Social Media Accounts
Do you have business profiles/page/accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, and Google +? If not, you should! If you do, now is the time to start getting social! Find creative ways to push notifications across these platforms with links to pages within your site. If you can start a contest, or giveaway, anything you can think of that increases the likelihood of your notifications being shared or discussed, that is going to help tremendously.
Step 4: Blog, Blog, Blog!
Have you been bad about blogging? Maybe you have some ideas for blog posts but you just haven’t written them? Now is the time! Write as many blog posts as you can and make sure you embed some inbound links to your site. Again, focus on spreading the love in terms of these links. If you’ve focused on links through social media and Google fetch, choose some different links for your blog content!
You can even try moving up the post date of some older blog posts that were not time specific and generated decent traffic volume.
Step 4: Publish Articles, Blogs and PRs on 3rd Party websites
If you site has been around a while, the pages on your site are crawled on a schedule based around the page priority, how often you update that page and the pages age. Google will likely crawl and reindex your entire site within a week or two with no action, but who wants to wait that long when your business is suffering.
Therefore, you need to give Google a reason to come back and crawl you site again. To do this you need to publish content on other websites and link that content back to important pages on your site. Blogs, Articles and Press Release all get picked up rather quickly by Google and will help Google find and index your content quicker than just waiting.
We will post some updates on what happens with the site traffic and pages indexed in the coming days, so check back.
Let us know if you have any question about an similar issue or need help.