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December 4, 2006

Google vs. Delisted Sites

Wesley Elsberry runs a site that has been hacked recently. The spammy links inserted in his site triggered Google's filters and his site has been delisted. As Wesley didn't know about the hacking, the absence of his site from Google's index came as a surprise.

Matt Cutts explains in his long post how Google tried to alert him and even indicated the problems detected by GoogleBot.

Ultimately, each site owner is responsible for making sure that their site isn't spammy. If you pick a bad search engine optimizer (SEO) and they make a ton of spammy doorway pages on your domain, Google still needs to take action. Hacked sites are no different: lots of spammy/hacked sites will try to install malware on users’ computers. If your site is hacked and turns spammy, Google may need to remove your site, but we will also try to alert you via our webmaster console and even by emailing you to let you know what happened. To the best of my knowledge, no other search engine confirms any penalties to sites, nor do they email site owners.

The discussion is interesting and can teach you a thing or two about Google's guidelines and what happens when something goes wrong, even if it wasn't your fault. I think this is an excellent exercise of communication from a company that has been accused of having too many secrets.


  1. How exactly does one protect a website from something like this?

  2. Yes I agree on the whole, I think google is does not have to display a hacked site to anyone, even if the site owner is against it.
    That picture fetish guys did say the smae a long time ago.

    Thank you for sharing this story with me !

  3. What bothers me is was listed ranking #2 for Sports community website, then the next time i checked, It wasn't listed at all.. How could this have happened. I don't even know how this happened.

  4. The things that gets me ticked is that I was relay chatting to Google Support representative about Google add words. As i wanted to carefully spend my contribution to sportkin.ccom. The young Chap was nice and polite, However Once I had Submitted my keywords, Surprisingly enough I found ORKUT to have posted Addwords for the words " Sports community" above the sponsored link that i had placed. THANKS google.. You certainly like to show your power! Its different if Orkut was a sports community website, however Its not.. Sportkin iS!