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Blog > Did your site disappear from Google on April 15th? Mine did.

Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Did your site disappear from Google on April 15th? Mine did.

April 23rd, 2012

Did your website traffic cease as of midnight April 15th? Mine did. And boy did I panic. I was still in the index, but even if you googled “aldebaran web design” you got no results. Panic. Panic. Panic.

So I assume I’m under some penalty. I go into Google Webmaster Tools, and fix every missing 404 page, make sure the sitemaps are all ok, I triple check everything, no warnings, nothing. I spent all day trying to understand what might have caused me to be in the horrid google penality.

Next I applied for reconsideration, because that’s what you are supposed to do. You confess your SEO crimes, and beg Google to let you back in. But I didn’t have any crimes to confess, so I simply told that what I had tried to fix, knowing they weren’t crimes. But it seemed folks were saying yes, you must be in a penalty.

Then I went into the famed Google Webmaster Forum, where while some of the folks were nice and tried to help, most were aggressive and assumed I was some low life spammer who deserved the penalty for something I did.

Then I waited. Next day, still not in Google. Visions of being forced into early retirement loomed before me. With no traffic and nothing to fix, what could I do?

So I emailed a friend of a friend of an ex – who worked at Google, explained everything. He said he would send it to the spam folks and to hold on.

The next day, he said my domain had been mislabeled as “parked” and to just hold on, they were working on it.

And sure enough, later that evening, my rankings came back.

But not all small business owners with a website know someone to actually contact at Google. Very scary experience. Google can totally kill a small businesses traffic with a single bug. Sleep well folks.

And I wasn’t the only one:

Search Engine Land’s Article

Search Engine Roundtable’s Article

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

4 Responses to “Did your site disappear from Google on April 15th? Mine did.”

  1. Reg-NBS-SEO Says:

    Scary feeling eh Jill?
    It is amazing the amount of influence rests on getting listed in Google.

    Many years ago, one of my associates was heavily into affiliate sales and had a network of over 80 domains, all interlinked.

    In her first year of affiliate sales she made $140,000 and invested in a new home with pool and a new car.

    Shortly after her first year, Google decided interlinking was a spam process and, one by one, her sites disappeared from Google.

    After several unsuccessful months of trying to rectify, disassociate, unlink, her income was down to $400 a month, the house gone and the car sold.

    The moral of the story is if you are going to depend on Google for income generating traffic, follow their rules closely.
    There is no need to push the limits of what they consider proper.


  2. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Yes, very scary indeed. But in this case, it was Google’s error, not mine. But no matter whose error, the results are equally devastating.

  3. Scott Says:

    While I have more than a few bones to pick with Google, the inability to actually contact someone is my biggest beef with a company so large, and wielding so much control. They may monitor their forums, but they generally seem to be ignored by Google staff.

  4. Jill Olkoski Says:

    I totally agree. If I hadn’t had the ability (due to sheer luck) of being able to contact someone who took me seriously – only god knows how long my website would have been labeled as “parked”. I found the forums quite full of folks who were willing to trash your website – and in this case – all of their criticism of my site was totally NOT the reason why I had lost my ranking.

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