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Case Study: Google De Indexed Search Engine Land (by accident)

Written by Jack Taylor: Digital account manager.
· 4 minute read

Your site, business, shop relies on traffic from Google’s Search Engine so what happens when one day, out of nowhere your site disappears from the Search Results.

This happened to one of the biggest blog/news sites in our sector, the aptly named SearchEngineLand.

Obviously with a company named SearchEngineLand you wouldn’t expect them to get hit with a penalty, and they weren’t. The site was mistakenly listed by Google for deindex because the ‘system misidentified the site as being hacked’. Google reported that the fault was noticed early yet the site didn’t return to the listings until later that evening.  

Google stated that while this can happen, it is incredibly rare.

Googles SERPs

So what happened to the traffic to the site?

With next to no traffic coming from Google organically, (somewhere between 75 and 85% of all Organic Search is done through Google) what happened to the other channels?

Against the benchmark figures: Bing traffic increased by 15%, Referral increased by 90% and Social increase by over 300%.


What to do if this happens to you?

As stated at the start of this post, it is likely that your site is used to generate income, so what can you do if this happens to you?

As most will know, contacting Google regarding individual sites is nigh on impossible, so you will have to use other channels.

Twitter is an easy way to get in touch, there are a number of accounts you should already be following that you could tweet to Search Liaison and John Mueller.

Search Liaison

Use Google’s Webmaster Support forums, there are many Google employees on these forums who can highlight issues and ‘escalate’.

Don’t place all your faith in one channel, whether that be putting time and effort in Socials, Referral or a plan that you can put into place if something were to happen.


As Search Engine Land found, their tweets appeared in the results page allowing people to still find the site (via Twitter).