Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: trying to figure out why the site was dropped ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: trying to figure out why the site was dropped
Category: Computers > Algorithms
Asked by: throck23-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 01 Jul 2004 12:22 PDT
Expires: 31 Jul 2004 12:22 PDT
Question ID: 368599
We have a dynamic e-commerce site called
We've worked very hard in growing the PR, relevency, and overall
natural listing of the website. We had it as high #15 and were making
steady progress by creating a links campaign, optimizing the metadata,
 beefing up the the text, adding alt tags to all images as well as
doing an ISAPI rewrite in order to optimize otherwise dynamic content.
All was going well until last week at which point, we are now no where
to be found in Google. Even putting in the actual URL in the search
bar pulls up nothing. I also did a and it
brought back nothing. I am perplexed as to what might have happened. I
did notice that some code had been jumbled on the index page and am
wondering if that would have been enough to have the site
completely knocked out, but I find it hard to believe, but perhaps I
am wrong? Does the site seem ok now and do I have to wait for Google
to re-index? Thank you!
Subject: Re: trying to figure out why the site was dropped
Answered By: serenata-ga on 06 Jul 2004 06:03 PDT
Hi Throck23 ~

Sometimes when a customer asks "What happened to my site?" or "Why is
my site no longer in Google", it is easy to pinpoint certain practices
the customer is (or has) engaged in which makes it highly like Google
had "penalized" the site for those practices.

Some of those practices are listed in Google's Quality Guidelines -
Basic Principles,

     "* Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't
        deceive your users, or present different content to
        search engines than you display to users.
      * Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine
      * Don't participate in link schemes designed to
        increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In
        particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad
        neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may
        be affected adversely by those links.
      * Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit
        pages, check rankings, etc. ...
   - ://

or specifically prohibited in its Quality Guidelines - Specific Recommendations,

     "* Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
      * Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
      * Don't send automated queries to Google.
      * Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
      * Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains
        with substantially duplicate content.
      * Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search
        engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such
        as affiliate programs with little or no original
   - ://

A careful investigation didn't reveal any of the above practices. So
if you were engaging in any of those practices, you are doing it well
enough that it isn't easily detectable.

There are other reasons your pages might have been dropped from the
index, which are listed on Google's information page, "My Web Pages
Are Not Currently Listed",

     "* Your site may not have been reachable when we tried
        to crawl it because of network or hosting problems...

      * A technical glitch on our side may have caused us to
        'miss' your site. In crawling more than 4 billion
        pages, our system experiences hiccups from time to
        time. Again, this is a transient problem, and your
        site will likely show up in the next index. Please
        be patient with us during this period, as we are not
        able to modify our index by hand to add sites missed
        in this way.
   - ://

Finally, there are a few other reasons listed in Google's Terms of
Service which could result in your site being removed, such as
automatic querying, or a claim of Digital Millennium Copyright Act
(DMCA) copyright infringement.
   - ://

In the case of the latter, Google states its procedures, which would
include notice to you under the DMCA,

     "It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged
      infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium
      Copyright Act (the text of which can be found at the
      U.S. Copyright Office Web Site,
      copyright/) and other applicable intellectual property
      laws, which may include removing or disabling access
      to material claimed to be the subject of infringing
      activity. If we remove or disable access to comply
      with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we will
      make a good-faith attempt to contact the owner or
      administrator of each affected site so that they may
      make a counter notification pursuant to sections
      512(g)(2) and (3) of that Act."
   - ://

Please understand that Google Answers Researchers are independent
contractors, and we are not privy to any insider information about
Google's algorithms or its practices with regard to individual sites.
Only Google knows, and they will not necessarily tell you,

     "... We will not comment on the individual reasons a
      page was removed and we do not offer an exhaustive
      list of practices that can cause removal ...  If you
      think your site may fall into this category, you might
      try 'cleaning up' the page and sending a re-inclusion
      request to We do not make any
      guarantees about if or when we will re-include your
   - ://

I believe one of the reasons this question wasn't immediately answered
is simply because there are no obvious reasons your site was removed
by Google. In fact, I have gotten the same differing refults regarding
your page and links to it at different times, which is explained by
Google as reaching different data centers on each successive search
under its "My web pages used to be listed and now they aren't.",

     "Multiple indices

      We update our index about every four weeks. If you
      happen to enter the same query repeatedly while we
      are in the process of posting the index at our
      various data centers around the country, it might
      seem like you are seeing inconsistent results from
      Google. What is actually happening is that you are
      seeing a result from an 'old' version of our index
      one time and a result from a 'new' version the next.
      Due to the size of our index, we can not simultan-
      eously post a new index at all of our data centers,
      which may result in this behavior for a short period
      of time."
   - ://

You'll notice Oseberg's comments below show different results, which
bear witness to the above explanation; but of more significance is the
fact he couldn't reach your site and got 404 errors to the effect that
your site is down for maintenance.

It might be worth it to check how many times your site has been down,
because it is entirely possible, in fact, highly probable that,
barring any of the other reasons stated above, your site was NOT able
to be indexed, and that it is highly likely that it will come back
soon, as soon as the index can reach across all the data centers.

So, the answer to your question - in this case - is an educated guess.
If you've employed tactics which Google will penalize you for, I
couldn't find them; however, that doesn't mean that Google, with more
sophisticated equipment and capabilities wouldn't.

I think, though, that there is a high probability that your site
wasn't available when the Googlebot visited your site, and if you can
wait a few weeks (hopefully it won't take that long), it will be back,
and you really don't have to do anything.

You can, however, resubmit your site via Google's "Add URL" page again
with no penalty. You can find that here,
   - ://

If you have employed practices which will get you penalized, this is
an excellent time to clean up your site and then email, explaining what you have done and asking for

Important Google Links For Your Reference

I am including important links from Google's site. This information
will help you understand Google's goals and responsibility to the web
searcher (and not the webmaster or site owner).

It is incumbent upon you, the webmaster or the website owner, to
ensure your site meets these basics if you want your site listed.
Webmasters who do follow the guidelines and avoid Google's "Thou shalt
nots" usually have no problem getting listed and showing up under the
search terms they desire.

   * Google Today (absolutely the best information you
     can read about the "how and why" of Google's results
     - ://

   * How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
     - ://

   * My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
     on how and why Google works so well)
     - ://

   * PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
     - ://

   * Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
     - ://

   * Google Facts & Fiction (can  you buy your way to a
     high ranking in Google?)
     - ://

   * Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
     for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
     - ://

   * Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
     definitely worth wading through)
     - ://

   * Remove Content from Google's Index (just in case you feel
     a burning need to start all over again)
     - ://

Search terms used ~

During the normal course of business it is necessary for me to use
resources and reliable information to help discover why a particular
website may have been removed from Google's index. I relied on that
knowledge and information to answer this question.

I hope this helps, and wish you the best of luck.


Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: trying to figure out why the site was dropped
From: oseberg-ga on 06 Jul 2004 02:38 PDT
What does this mean:
and this:

The first one says, "Results 1 - 7 of about 4,940 for" and the second one says, "Results 1 - 1 of
about 6,280 for"

Why wouldn't google display all the other results?
Subject: Re: trying to figure out why the site was dropped
From: oseberg-ga on 06 Jul 2004 02:43 PDT
Also, the site: says, "We're sorry but
our site is currently down for maintenance. The site will return
momentarily.  Thank you for your patience, AlbertsGifts"

I wonder if that has anything to do with the google results? Are all
those pages that were once in google returning a 404 (File not found)
Subject: Re: trying to figure out why the site was dropped
From: oseberg-ga on 06 Jul 2004 02:51 PDT
Ok, now it looks like the site's back up.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy