Day 26: Uh-Oh, I’ve Been De-Indexed!

Alright, in keeping with being completely open and honest with everyone (as I originally promised), I have some bad news. Google has de-indexed about 50 of my mini-niche sites! Uh-oh!

This is a sobering post, because I am not sure what this means exactly and where to go with my business in the future. Let me explain as much as I know up to this point.

With the completion of these 100 niche sites that I am almost complete with, I have approximately 250 adsense sites. I just went through all of them and noticed that 50 of them are not even indexed in Google! What the… ?!?

So, I logged into my Webmaster Tools to see if there was anything out of the ordinary with these sites, and sure enough I was greeted with this heart-wrenching message on each of those sites:

This site may be in violation of Google’s quality guidelines. More Details

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.

Submit a reconsideration request ” (See image):
So, I re-read the Webmaster Guidelines (which everyone should do); and have determined that these sites could be in violation for 1 or 2 reasons:
  1. Too many ads.  These ads could be deceiving because they are above the fold and appear to be part of the site.  This provides a poor user experience.
  2. There is not enough content on the sites.

All of my content is original, but Google may be looking for more of it.  I am hoping that this is not the case.  Because the content I have provided I believe IS of value to the searcher on the specific term they are looking for.  I have provided original articles that discuss significantly more detailed information than most shopping sites attempt to discuss.  So, my conclusion is that the first reason: Too many ads, is the real reason.

My sites have a large rectangle ad, directly underneath the title and have for a couple of years.  However, I have seen screenshots from Google that this is not acceptable because it appears deceiving.  I always interpreted this screenshot as an explanation that the Title itself should not ask or entice the reader to click on ads.  I have never tried to do this, but Google may simply view the proximity of the Title to the Ad (all above the fold) as providing a poor user experience.

So, I have changed the layout of a couple of my sites and submitted a reconsideration request to Google to be re-indexed.  I moved my large rectangle to below the article.  And I moved one sidebar banner below the navigation elements (pages, recent posts, etc) on the sidebar.

This really cleans up the site and shows very little ads above the fold (just one on the left sidebar).

So, I don’t know what to say from here.  According to Google, a reconsideration request can take up to several weeks.  So, I will just have to wait and see and let you all know as soon as I hear anything.

I am really hoping that this is the issue (ad placement), as this is an easy fix.
The reason I didnt notice these sites sooner is because all of them were de-indexed shortly after they were created and were not really earning any money anyway.  So, some of these sites may have been de-indexed a couple of months ago, and I just didn’t realize it because there was no money to speak of coming in from these.

Most of my sites are still up and running, and my earnings are only slightly lower than it typically has been.  So, my pocket book is not hurting yet, but I fear that it may be soon.
Also, quite a number of these are from the 100 sites just created this month, so I fear that my earnings will not be even close to what I was hoping for these 100 sites.

Going forward, I am going to hold off on creating these niche websites until I figure out what is going on.  I will complete my 100 sites first of course, as I have about 95 completed as of today already.  However, in the future, I am going to start building a large authority site on a particular niche (not IM related).

In fact over the weekend I just found a great niche that I have done a couple of mini-sites on that I know is a good niche.  I bought a domain name and will be creating a large authority site full of product reviews, analysis, and news.  So, I am excited about my next project; but I am concerned about these mini-sites as these are a real passion of mine.
So, the story is still developing on these, so I don’t want to tell you to stop building them; but I will say to only proceed with caution.

Its a huge upset indeed, but its too early for me to say if everyone should just building small niche websites all together.

I will share what I know as soon as I find out.  Post your thoughts below.  Thanks!

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26 Responses to “Day 26: Uh-Oh, I’ve Been De-Indexed!”

  1. Thanks for being honest and sharing what has happened. It will be interesting to see if what you have done will be enough to satisfy Google. Please keep us informed.

    Steve.

  2. Hey Dude,

    I just found your blog through the WSO and signup for your newsletter. I didn’t have the chance to run through all the adsense site update you have but I received your email about de-indexing.

    Anyway, it’s real sad that your adsense challenge has face such a big challenge by Google itself.

    Would like to know more about your website, you mention your website get de-index because it does not have enough content, but how many pages do you have for your website?

    Regards,
    Winson Yeung (Backlinks Zombie Master)

  3. Biggy Fat says:

    Damn man, I sure hate to hear that. I remember when the big G de-indexed my Adsense sites as well, very heartbreaking. They aren’t back on Google after a reconsideration request. So I’ll be taking time off from Adsense and focusing on something else.

  4. WOW – Sorry to hear about what google is doing – this is my biggest fear to wake up to one day as well. Heard last week that once you hit $100/day in earnings they really take a hard look at your sites – problem is they aren’t too clear on exactly what they allow and don’t allow.

    Anyway, best of luck moving forward.

    Chris

  5. Hi…I also just signed up today, I feel like a jinx! I appreciate your honesty and I hope you get it straightened out soon. I want to eventually do as you are doing, get up 100 (or more) sites for AdSense. And I have several sites up now, but I better be sure they are all indexed too.

    Good luck with your future.

    Rich

  6. Winson:
    My sites typically have 2 original articles about 400 words in length; plus an about us page, contact page, and privacy policy page. So about 5 in total.

  7. Damm dude, that must suck! I’ve also had one of my sites deindexed a while back by Google.

    Thanks for being honest, and keeping us in the loop. I’ve been following your progress since you advertised the challenge on warriorforum.

    Were the sites that you had de-indexed made during the adsense challenge or were these sites your already had before your started the challenge? Or a mix of both?

    Could it be because you created a lot of sites during such a short period that big G took notice and decided to look at your account?

    Thanks,

    Sam

  8. Someone could have reported you to google… Unfortunately, it could have someone reading this blog. It happen to me in the past, and I’ve seen that happen before with alot of other people. I see you placed adsense ads on this site. Hopefully your not using the same adsense code for your challenge because someone could easily find out all your sites and report it to google…

    All the best

  9. Sorry about your misfortune. I think once they get re-indexed and ranking, you should see how much you can get for a few of them at flippa.com…especially if you plan on changing your business model. I’d love to follow a blog on flipping sites. That way, you could still keep doing your passion of building micro sites.

  10. Ouch Spencer. That’s messed up. I hope the changes you made WILL pass Google’s quality standard and they re-index your sites.

    I appreciate your honesty about it like most have said.

    Do look at what PAUL said, maybe someone did that. That’d be really f’d up though.

    I wish you the best of luck with this and please do keep us in the loop about this.

    Del.

  11. I know having multiple accounts and using proxies is a p.i.t.a. but it may be worth it to prevent such a mass deindexing of your sites and to protect the ones that haven’t been yet.

  12. oops meant vps’s, not proxies

  13. Hello Spencer!

    I’m following your updates from WSO as well. I understand the pain, since I lost over 99% of income due to google’s “work” in September 2009 when my main affiliate site was deindexed, and later in December when my adwords account was banned. I ended up with several hundred bucks to eat, pay bills, everything! Turned to SEO to survive.

    I had a good affiliate site in a weight loss niche that I put my heart and soul into, since it was the first site I ever created, being absoluet newbie in internet marketing etc.. After 6 months of hard work, it dominated heavy terms like “weihgt loss pills” and many more with huge competition.

    I never used any black hat seo stuff on this site, and wrote all the content myself, providing really unique info to my visitors.

    I even saw many other affiliates coping my ideas on their sites. That site was submitted to google webmaster tools, and had google analytics installed on it. BIG mistake!

    Giving google a chance to track your sites and “judge” whether they live or die is a no brainer for google once you’ve given google bxxxxxx a chance to do so with webmaster tools and analytics. I also read many similar stories from people who had webmaster tools and analytics – they lost sites, esp. affiliate.

    Google reinclusion – for me, this is dead end. I’ve read these guidelines left and right, and made my site super google-friendly, folowing all the sxxx they require, to give it a chance of being reinexed.

    I tried reinclusion – wrote a big letter explaining everything about my site, asked them to at least notify me of ANY decision that they make – they NEVER even replied. If’s over 2 months since reinclusion and I still don’t know if they ever reconsidered it or not, the site is not indexed.

    Believe me, these jerks treat people really bad, especially those who are affiliates.

    1-2 pages of real content is definitely “thin” site. Now I also created several adsense sites, and I upload youtube vids on 2-tier pages, I also create resources page with links to different top sites about my topic, and I plan to add more content, probably auto-generated, just to appear as providing value.

    My guess – probably they have human staff reviewing sites that are submitted to webmaster tools, so sometimes people get kicked. Probably not, but anyway, we just can guess…

  14. To all: I really doubt that these sites got de-indexed due to Google seeing this blog, etc. Remember only a portion of my sites have been de-indexed. I believe that the de-indexing may have started before this blog was created, but I’m not sure. I was so focused on building new sites, I didn’t check some of my sites for a while. So, I don’t think this site had anything to do with it.

    Thanks everyone for feeling my pain! But I am already planning new things…no time to get down about it!

  15. What goes around comes around.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  16. Hi Spencer,

    I am really sorry to hear that this has happened. However, it sounds like you are already bouncing back with renewed plans. Like what successful people say, it’s not the bad things that happen which bring us down but how we are able to get up and try again.

    I wish you every success in building bigger type sites. That sounds like a great strategy. For one thing, if you put out a lot of quality content on one domain, I am sure that gives Google reason to consider your site good quality. And site visitors could also have more confidence when they visit your site.

    Best luck,

    Sandra

  17. Awwww, Spencer. That just really bites. I was so looking forward to seeing you raking in some bucks with this. I’m going to keep watching for updates too and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. Glad you’re already working on other things though. There’s too much opportunity out there to let one bad experience get you down. Good of you!
    Cheers!

  18. Hi Spencer,

    No wonder your site get indexed… you need at least 5 original content for each of your adsense site.

    Anyway, get your content up and send me an email after that. I can help you out by getting some 50+ social bookmark backlinks to each of every adsense site you have.

    That’s 50 X 100 site = 5000 social bookmark for you.

    So what’s the catch? Well, there’s no catch for me. Just doing this to help if it can get you out of the de-indexed faster.

    Regards,
    Winson Yeung

  19. Yiannis says:

    i never use google analytics after i had very bad experienced.

  20. having a look at some of your sites, I wouldnt be at all surprised if it was because of the adsense ads.
    you have 4 ads above the fold and nothing else.
    that site I am looking at has a lin ad at the top, 2 x 5 block ads on each site and a picture ad in the middle of your post.

    Google doesnt like this because you are not showing quality content to your customers.

    this is a sure way to get de-indexed and banned from adsense if it isnt fixed

  21. Hi Spencer, sad to know about your de-indexing issue. I’m wondering if you forget AdSense altogether and convert those niche sites to monetize from CPA, will it recover the “loss”? Afterall, you’ve done a good job in SEO.

  22. Hey Spencer,

    I just ran through all the various articles on your site (knowing about the de-indexing already) and I think the reason for the removal is the lack of content and perhaps too many ads as well.

    What I highly suggest is that you go for more content and then just focus on one or two Adsense units per page max (I seem to make more with less).

    That’s my 2 cents

  23. Any updates on your other sites Spencer? Did any more get deindexed?

    Two of my micro niche sites that have been around for years just got completely deindexed today, and they don’t even have adsense on them! Just a couple of affiliate links.

    So… this might not just be adsense related, but whatever it is sucks really bad

  24. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and adore mastering extra on this topic. If feasible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more facts? It is extremely useful for me.

  25. I got 3 mfa sites. One rose to PR2 and the other two got deindexed. :(

    oh boy….

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