How to say “I’m sorry” to Google

I used to use my blog as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) playground. I’ve written successful post with review of expedia as flight booking website and optimized it to get high ranking. I kept working on optimization until the moment that I overdid it. I disappeared from Google ranking almost totally. You can read about my experiences in my previous post. In this post you can read about my come-back.

Disappearing from Google was really bad experience. I really felt the power of SEO this way… Suddenly – the traffic and interest in my blog dropped 80%. That was serious blow that was really demotivating. I almost stopped writing posts and running the blog.

I’ve tried also to find way to get back to high ranking on Google. This wasn’t easy thing. However mighty Google allows to do it even for the ones that has went the wrong way of overoptimizing. There is Google form  where you can say “I’m sorry”. You need to acknowledge that:

  • Your site has violated Google’s quality guidelines in the past.
  • Your site no longer violates Google’s quality guidelines.
  • You have read and agree to abide by Google’s quality guidelines.

Then you have big entry form for your confession – what actions have led you to any penalties, and what corrective actions have been taken. And you have really lots of entry place for your confessions…. And only the righteous people can be reindexed. (Remember Ezekiel 25:17 quote from Pulp Fiction?).

Of course – you need to also correct the pages to remove overoptimization. This can be somehow tricky as you need to sometimes guess what made Google consider you as spammer of their index. The experience with 80% drop of traffic humbled me a lot so I’ve tried to remove all changes done recently and revert to previous version of the pages.

Then you have to prove you are owner of the site. You can do it by uploading file to the server or updating metadata on your homepage. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it on my wordpress account – wordpress doesn’t allow you to play with metadata and of course you cannot upload strangely named files to the servers.

So I was stuck at this point. With not much motivation for new posts that few people would see anyway. The good thing is that Google – after some time has reindexed my page and listed me again. I haven’t spoted exact timing of this but it looked like it was about 2-3 months.

Now it’s almost back to normal and traffic from Google is flowing into my site. It seems slightly lower than before the whole accident but the difference is not that big.

PS Is it only me or does this story indeed sounds like one from recovered alcoholic? 😉

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