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“Google Death Penalty” Hits the Good-Will Website

Three days ago I got a Skype-chat message from a German friend:

“Morning Ludger, yesterday I wanted to go to your Good Will webseite – but I don’t find it anymore at Google. Are you just rearranging something?”

“No, not at all, I see the page totally normal – oops, I see that Google doesn’t show it anymore. I don’t know what to do, I’ll try to check it… ” And some minutes later:  “I really have no idea what to do. You only find just the URL good-will.ch, but no other hints. Google seems to block the site! I checked a big spam-filter page, the site is clean.”

A feverish search started. I went to Google Webmaster tools, reconfirmed my site, checked. Being just an “interested layman” in webmaster affairs, more questions popped up than answers. I did tests, contacted friends, the provider, read online articles … … … It slowly dawned to me that the “Google Death Penalty” had hit the Good-Will website. Silently, not knowing when – I didn’t do any “ego-googling” for a long time, so I didn’t know when Google had taken the site off their search index.

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Did the “Google Death Penalty” happen the 8th of February? (Graphic: Google Webmaster Tool, good-will.ch)

This means: No search of any topics relating to the Good-Will site is any longer shown in the search results (I still found some minor text hints on 4th and 12th sub-pages of Google’s search…). With all the topics where the site was best placed in the past, now there was  void. Other sites quoting texts of the site appeared, but never the original site… I became alarmed increasingly.

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Searching the site of the Circle of Good-Will – other pages appear, at the first place our Facebook page, at least. (Graphic: Google site search)

The next day I contacted a good friend with web know-how. Together we increased the search for possible causes till late in the night. No clear results. We didn’t find anything wrong with the technical part of the Good-Will website, Google was scrawling the site, reported that no malware was found… I asked my youngest son, who had built the site when he was 16, what could be the cause. He wanted to think it over.

Yesterday evening he came and told me that on the home page he had placed some text describing the site in the same colour than the background, so that search engines who don’t pay attention to the header texts are informed (since the home is just a distribution page for the language versions without further text). This, however, is forbidden by Google. Did they find it and therefore blocked the site? My son immediately removed the text.

In the night I wrote a reconsideration request to Google explaining them what could have been the reason and that I’m not aware of any other possible violation of their rules. There was a reply this morning that the

This morning I saw a reply in the webmaster-tools that they will check the request but that it might take a few weeks.

During that time the Good-Will website is probably in the “digital limbo”. And if they don’t tell what has been the reason for their “digital death sentence”, the pralaya could continue… Google writes: “If it’s been several weeks since you submitted your reconsideration request, and you haven’t seen any changes in your site’s performance, this probably means that your site is still in violation of the Webmaster Guidelines, or it simply is not ranking as well as you’d like.”

No, not ranking at all I definitely don’t like – meaning that all the people searching for the spiritual wisdom teachings on the site won’t find it for the time being.

Saturday 16 February 13, 12 am: A friend from Abu Dhabi just informed me that the site is on the index again yes, it is Thank you, Google.
Tuesday,  19 February 13: Google wrote in the account of webmaster-tools that they didn’t find anything objectionable when looking at the webspam and that there can be fluctuations in the ranking… All the hints they gave didn’t show what was the reason for stopping the ranking (it wasn’t only bad performance…) Now it’s back to normal.

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Blake_Dante_Hell_IV_Canto
William Blake: Dante’s Hell IV: Homer and the Ancient Poets in the First Circle of Hell (Limbo), from Wikipedia

P.S. During googling I found something about Digital Death: What to do with the digital data in case of someone’s physical death has been discusses at a Digital Death Day last year in London.

And then there is also the “Digital Beyond” (What happens to your Facebook-Account when you die?) – Archives of your online life… or Digital Immortals: Preserving Life Beyond Death… Copyright infringement in the digital afterlife: “Welcome to Life – The Singularity, ruined by lawyers” (YouTube)

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2 Responses to ““Google Death Penalty” Hits the Good-Will Website”

  1. Phani Mitra Says:

    Hi Ludger, My 2 cents: I am sure you would have figured by now that good-will.ch also was hit by Penguin and Panda updates from Google. There might be some back links and other issues that are shown as violations after the updates from Google. If you have not seen this already – http://blog.majesticseo.com/general/how-you-can-use-majesticseo-to-identify-toxic-links/ and http://www.majesticseo.com/ might be of help.

  2. Flowers on the Wayside Says:

    Thank you for your hint. I read the majesticseo article, registered and tried to test the good-will site, however it didn’t work (robot-txt is ok, but no access for their bot – doesn’t matter. I removed some links to registries, just in case. The frequency of page visits wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t check for long. No time for all this.

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