Blacklisted: The Five Stages of Death by Google

Before I share my harrowing tale, I need to tell you that I love Google. I love that it “pushes” me qualified prospects who are looking to buy. I love that it rewards those that provide helpful and valuable content. And I love that the time and effort I spend mastering Google Adwords and search engine optimization gives me a competitive advantage.

My love affair with Google is so strong that I worked for months on getting a tour of its Meat-Packing District offices for me and my Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) colleagues, just so I could peak behind its curtain (and of course ride a Google scooter).

With that background, you can imagine my reaction when I recently received got a snide e-mail from an online marketing company that’s been courting my business. It said:  “Hey Matt, you’ve been doing too much SEO.  Look’s like Google has blacklisted you.” Needless to say, this was not the way I wanted to start my morning.

  1. Denial: Initially, I thought, “No way, this can’t be true!” I immediately ran various searches of phrases that I “owned” in the first or second organic position, and saw that my Web site was no where to be found! For the most part, I had no pages even indexed with Google.
  2. Anger: My initial reaction of denial changed to anger. “How could they do this to ME?” I thought. I don’t infringe on another’s content, and don’t engage in online trickery like duplicating content, hiding text, buying links or stuffing keywords. I had been stabbed in the back by my best friend, and it wasn’t even the Ides of March!
  3. Bargaining: My anger turned to a resolve to work this out. I’ll contact Google and make a deal. I submitted an e-mail to help@google.com and relatively quickly got the following response: “Due to a high volume of e-mail, we currently respond only to messages submitted through specific forms in these Help Centers.” Of course, Google doesn’t have a specific form for blacklisting or disappearing Web sites, so this response was unhelpful.
  4. Depression: With no one with which to bargain, I became depressed. How can my business survive without Google? I’m screwed! I  might as well just close up shop. I had sent out various pleas for assistance, but had lost all faith that their responses would help.
  5. Acceptance: I started coming out of my depression when I realized that being blacklisted by Google apparently doesn’t affect your pay-per-click campaign. That is, while you can be removed from Google’s organic search results for violating its terms of service, Google apparently will still take your money to promote the same Web site via pay-per-click. I’d just have to accept the idea that my Google presence would be limited to Adwords, the online version of crack (Adwords gets you high on the list, but you need to continually feed your habit to stay there). C’est la vie.

Finally, there was salvation! Like a passing storm, the sun came out and I no longer had to accept my fate. A search on Saturday morning revealed that I was back in Google’s good graces. Apparently, it was just a glitch in Google’s crawling system, and when its spiders re-crawled my Web site, my prior organic positions were restored.  My grieving was over.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Well, after just four days without it, my love for Google couldn’t be any stronger.  I ♥ Google.

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