Why Did Google Remove Your Pages From Its Index?
Being seen by Google is an incredibly important aspect of SEO: some might say it is the most important aspect of it. Because of this, countless brands focus on improving their SEO as it pertains to Google’s algorithms. While other search engines exist and may have different algorithmic preferences, most focus on what Google prefers and then try to maximize those criteria for the better.
Because of this, it can be very distressing when one or more of your pages either never are indexed by Google or – arguably even worse – are suddenly removed from its index. Getting to the bottom of this is crucial as it can potentially make a huge difference in how visible your website, its pages and content are to others.
As such, let’s look at some of the most common reasons why Google may have suddenly removed one or more of your pages from its index.
Keywords are essential indicators of content relevance for search engines, along with a variety of other metrics within their algorithms. However, there is such a thing as too many keywords. Commonly known as keyword stuffing, the practice of over-using keywords (whether it be repetitive use of the same phrase or ample use of multiple, different phrases) is a big no-no for websites that want to be visible.
Brands that are pinging servers and pages with excessive instances of keywords can suddenly find their pages – one or even all of them – being removed from Google’s index and losing most (if not all) visibility as a brand in search results.
Google does not like to be redundant. Duplicate content appearing in Google’s search results lowers the quality of the experience for its users, which is why duplicate content can provide a fast-pass to invisibility for the affected pages.
While there are plenty of valid examples where duplicate content can be used or is even required, it is important to make sure the content in question isn’t indexed by Google in the first place. Instances of copying the same content across multiple pages or even ripping off other brands’ content directly can cause Google to remove the affected examples from its index once detected.
Malware and Other Security Issues
If you suddenly experience a mass de-indexing, then the problem may be more severe. Security issues can cause a major problem with visibility in Google results. If malware or other problematic issues are detected, Google will do its best to quarantine users from being able to find those pages.
Anything that attempts to covertly gain access to user data, track visitor device activity or take control of their browsers will send red flags to Google.
Last but not least, never forget that bad link building practices can land you in a world of hurt with Google. Whether it be pinging servers with questionable links to other websites or those websites are doing the same toward yours, Google will see these behaviors and penalize you accordingly.
Common examples include building links on directories designed to manipulate its algorithms, links pointing to/from a website that has been deemed low-quality by Google, hidden links on your pages and any paid strategies/link buying that Google recognizes.
You may need to perform a full link audit to find out if there are issues (if you haven’t engaged in link buying or other questionable link building behavior, that is).
There are dozens of potential reasons why one or more of your pages have been removed from Google’s index, but these are the most common examples. Before proceeding any further, verify that you are not being impacted by any of these issues, as it may save you a lot of time and investigation to start here first.