This Blog Doesn’t Exist

I remember reading this somewhere once upon a time – and now I feel the truth of this on a very personal level:

If your website doesn’t show up in a Google search, it might as well not exist.

About a year ago I was thrilled to see my blog had climbed to the top result in Google when searching for Mark Wagner (with no quotes or other terms necessary)… this is particularly cool for two reasons: I work in educational technology so I want to be easily Google-able, and there are just a truck load of Mark Wagner’s out there!

This made it very easy to locate my own blog posts – and for folks who were in my workshops to reconnect with me. Now, though, that seems to have all changed… this blog is entirely gone from Google results!

You can still find some mentions of me (and this blog) on other sites… but the blog itself is gone. If I search for the title of the blog or the URL, the top hit is my old blogger blog, which points here in its final post. If I do a site specific search on Google using the site: operator (by typing “site:edtechlife.com” or any variation on this), I get… absolutely nothing! I tried a few specific searches like “site:edtechlife MMORPG” that were sure to turn up some of my posts – and nothing!

What happened?

What did I do?

And how can I fix it?

Did I link back to myself too many times from my workshop wikis? Did I in someway displease the Google Gods with my content? (This seems doubly ironic given my relatively new role coordinating the Google Teacher Academy.) I’ve put some effort into finding a course of action for fixing this, but haven’t been very successful. Simply put… I need the help of my network.

Can anyone help or point me in the right direction?

UPDATE: It took until today (Tuesday 07/08/08) for this to be rectified, but this blog exists again. It seems I’ve lost the top spot to the baseball player, who’s made it to a starting position in the big leagues. I’ll have to work on that. ;)

Meanwhile, thank you to everyone who helped out in the comments below.

4 Responses to “This Blog Doesn’t Exist”

  1. Chris Craft Says:

    Hi Mark!

    Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters

    and you can check on the index status of your blog. It’s possible that you accidentally got expunged from google’s servers. Also make sure there’s no rogue robots.txt file that denies google access. Perhaps a plugin gone awry?

    If you’re not using google analytics (there’s a plugin for WP called Google Analyticator or some such spelling) you ought to be. It seems to help the spiders crawl my site more often, although there’s lots less on mine than yours.

    Another note, I still use the old standby meta tags with some info to make sure it’s available. Seems to help.

    Hope this helps you regain ranking.

    Chris

  2. Anthony Showalter Says:

    The best way to tell what’s going on with Google is to use their webmaster tools at: http://www.google.com/webmaster/. After a short verification process, you’ll be able to do some basic diagnostics about how often Google crawls you, what it sees, who links to you, etc. It will also warn you about anything you may have unintentionally done that’s penalizing your search ranking.

    This tool also allows you to submit an XML sitemap that I’ve found substantially increases search traffic. Here’s a wordpress plugin that generates a map for you: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

  3. Mark Wagner Says:

    Thanks, Chris and Anthony. That’s exactly what I needed. I signed up for a Google Webmasters account, verified it, and then saw that I had a message explaining that this site was removed due to “hidden text” – spam links to be exact. I’ve removed all instances of this I could find (and changed my blog password for good measure), and I’ve submitted for reconsideration. Here’s Google’s response:

    “Thank you for your reconsideration request. Your site will be evaluated to determine if it meets our webmaster guidelines. This process can take some time.”

    I’m crossing my fingers that my earlier ranking is restored…

  4. Cathy Nelson Says:

    So glad to see that there are smart readers to help, AND one is from my own SC! I googled Cathy Nelson, and hit the top! W00T–I guess. There were only almost 3.5 million hits, and apparently my name is very common too. Now let’s try Catherine Nelson to see what happens; oh well it doesn’t seem I’m a blip on that radar anywhere near the top. Sigh.