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Every process on the net is a logical journey, including the Google blacklist – even when it’s done in error. Nothing kills profits like losing your web traffic; so here’s all you need to know about blacklists, how to avoid them, and – if your site is branded with a red warning banner – how to get off them. Malicious domains are identified by major search engines, security providers, and browser manufacturers via web crawlers, (spiders and bots), which run on algorithms, and look for elements that don’t belong.
What is Google’s Blacklist?Death-sentence? Curse? Nightmare? A blacklist is a registry of blocked domains, email addresses, and IP addresses. Operators build reputation systems to manage domains that may automatically install malware/viruses to machines. Domain blacklists are the curated results of these systems. When your domain is put on one of these lists: users aren’t able to access your site directly, the site is removed from search engine indexes, and servers block email from your domain.
Who Owns Blacklists?Blacklists can be published publicly or kept private and require a query process. The white whale of public blacklists is put out by Spamhuas whose security ranges from checking hyperlinks embedded in emails, to detecting newly registered domains. Of the private lists, Google’s is arguably the most influential but others like the Barracuda Intent List will target spam URLs specifically through hyperlinks embedded in spam.
How Does Google Blacklist Sites?Each blacklist has its own criteria for including a domain – all centered around user security. There are the obvious malicious reasons like:
- Phishing scams
- Automatic downloads without notification
- Information scraping
- Poor site security
- Outdated plugins & libraries
- Plagiarism or duplicated content
- Poor site mapping that inhibits crawlers
- Third-Party add-ons (may expose your site to potential attacks without your awareness)
Black Hat SEOSEO is playing a much bigger role in blacklisting as content is becoming an invisibility cloak for embedded keywords and hidden text. Some over-ambitious organizations use Black Hat SEO techniques to try to elevate their search ranking. When Google discovers sites using techniques like these, they remove them from search engine results entirely. These are some favored Black Hat methods:
- Copy content from other sites
- Google crawlers duplicate content and flag the site for a penalty
- Buy links to your website
- Overpopulating site with spam ads and affiliate links
- Hidden links and text;
- Grayed out content containing keywords, hidden text in scripts, etc. aren’t sophisticated enough to hide from the ever-evolving crawlers.
- Low quality content with excessive use of keywords
- Be careful with content mills – outsourcing risks plagiarism which google penalizes as unnecessary duplication.
Will You Know if You’ve Been Blacklisted?A sharp dive in site traffic is a sure sign you may have been blacklisted but you are not always directly notified; or the notifications, (which can be subtle or easily missed), are sent via a console; as Google does via webmaster tools. Uptime.com accounts include a domain blacklist check that scans over 100 of the most popular blacklists each day. If the check is down, you’ll receive an alert with details. The same check is a part of our Monitor Entire Site scan (free to all users) which will also check:
- Mail Server
- Web Server
Clean up Your Site for ReviewEach blacklist has its own removal process but before you submit your domain for review make sure you’ve fixed the elements responsible for getting you blacklisted in the first place. Start simply. Confirm your site securities are updated and functioning. Run an SSL Check to verify your certificate is not expired. Remove any viruses. Confirm your site has not been compromised, check your third-party add-ons and ad links for integrity.
- Install vetted extensions from web Stores
- Check the permissions required by the extensions
- Limit the number of extensions & add-ons you use
- Don’t purchase email lists
- Ask your subscribers to add your email address to their contacts
- Keep your contacts updated, offer recipients the opportunity to unsubscribe
Removal ResourcesIf it’s too late for avoidance, Google blacklist removal is possible but it can be tedious. Each blacklist has its own removal process and you may find yourself on more than one. Here are some resources to manually request your site be removed from a blacklist:
Google Blacklist RemovalGetting your site removed from Google’s blacklist requires a little more effort. The best way to resolve problems with your site is to login to the Google Search Console. Click on the Manual Actions menu on the left, and correct all the issues noted. Once everything is fixed, go back to the same section and request a review. After the review is completed and no problems are found, your site will no longer on Google’s blacklist.
Going ForwardOnce you’ve gotten your site removed from a blacklist you will go through a period of closer scrutiny so put your best foot forward and establish healthy routines; regular monitoring, a consistent content-posting/email schedule, and up-to-date security will all build trust and an improved user experience.
Whether you're a big business, brand, or freelancer – you cannot afford to ignore the potential of social media. Cumulative