Are you wondering why Google de-indexed your WordPress site?
Search engines are a major source of traffic for most websites on the internet. That means that getting de-indexed from Google can take away most of your traffic.
In this article, we will show you why your WordPress site got de-indexed from Google and what you can do to fix it.
Why Does Google Remove a Website From Its Index?
The Google Search Index is like a huge library of information from all the websites that have been visited, analyzed, and stored by Google. When someone looks for content on Google, the index helps them quickly find and show the most relevant web pages.
If your site has been removed or de-indexed by Google, then it won’t show up on the search results pages anymore. This means that you won’t be able to get traffic to your website from Google.
There are many reasons that Google will remove a site from its search index, such as:
Legal issues such as copyright violations
Low-quality content that contains spam or has been scraped from other websites
Too many keywords designed to influence search engines rather than help users
A suspicious number of links to or from your website
Links or redirects that mislead users
Showing different content to users and search engines, including excluding some web pages from your sitemap
Malware, or links to websites that contain malware
Violations of Google’s policies or guidelines
Removing sites with serious issues like these can ensure the quality and reliability of search results pages and the safety of users.
So, if your website has been de-indexed, the first thing you should do is review its content. If your site has content that is illegal or harmful, then Google will not include it in the search results. You will need to make sure that you understand Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines).
There are also less serious issues that will result in Google penalizing your site by ranking it lower rather than removing it from the index altogether. You can learn how to fix these issues in our guide on how to recover from a Google search penalty.
Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the reasons that may cause Google to de-index a WordPress site. You can use the links below to jump to the section you are interested in:
1. Check Search Engine Visibility Settings in WordPress
WordPress comes with an option to hide your site from search engines. The purpose of this setting is to allow site owners to work on their websites without getting search traffic.
It is possible that you or some other user with administrator access on your website may have accidentally enabled this option.
Simply log in to the admin area of your WordPress website and go to Settings » Reading page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and there, you will find the ‘Search engine visibility’ option.
Make sure that the box next to the ‘Search engine visibility’ option is unchecked. If it is checked, then you need to uncheck it and click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.
2. Check Your Site With Google Search Console
Google allows website owners to see how Google sees their websites with Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). If you haven’t already added your WordPress site to Google Search Console, then you can do it now.
After logging in to your Google Search Console account, you need to scroll down to the ‘Security & Manual Actions’ section. Once there, you should click on the ‘Manual actions’ menu item.
You may see one or more issues listed.
These issues can include spam, unnatural links, sneaky redirects, hidden text, keyword stuffing, content with little or no added value, policy violations, and more.
You will need to carefully fix each issue and then click the ‘Request Review’ button. We’ll talk more about requesting a review in the last section of this guide.
Next, you should click on the ‘Security issues’ menu item to check for further problems.
Like the ‘Manual actions’ section, if there are any security issues, then they will be listed and explained. The most common WordPress security issue is a website affected by malware and trojans. We show you how to check for these in the next section.
Once you fix the issues, you can click the ‘Request Review’ button. More on that below.
3. Check Your Site for Malicious Code
One of the most common reasons that a site gets de-indexed is malware distribution. If a WordPress site gets hacked, then the hackers may install a script that can install malicious software on users’ browsers.
People visiting your website will see a safe browsing warning in browsers like Google Chrome.
Cleaning a hacked WordPress site has multiple steps, such as locating the infected files, cleaning them, or replacing them.
That’s why we recommend using a security plugin or tool to stop hackers from breaking into your site. At WPBeginner, we use Cloudflare, but you can also check out our list of the best WordPress security plugins.
For those of you who want to do it on your own, you can take a look at our beginner’s guide to fixing a hacked WordPress site.
4. Reach Out to Google
After going through all the steps mentioned above, you will need to reach out to Google and ask them to reconsider your website for inclusion in their index.
First, make sure that your website follows Google’s webmaster quality guidelines and that you have thoroughly checked your content.
Once you are certain that your website is clean and safe, you can click the ‘Request Review’ button in Google Search Console.
Here are a few things you should include when submitting the reconsideration request:
It will help if you explain in detail that you understand the best practices described in Google Search Essentials. You can demonstrate this by sharing links to answers you found in Google forums, YouTube videos, and other documentation.
Next, you should also demonstrate that you’ve done everything that you can to fix the issues you found listed in Google Search Console. You can provide evidence, such as a list of the links or malware you removed, including screenshots.
Finally, you should reassure Google that you won’t make the same mistakes again and that your site’s content is there to genuinely help users, not just to gain an SEO advantage. Let them know that you understand and will follow their guidelines.
After you submit the consideration request, you will need to wait for Google to review it. This may take days or even months, depending on the severity of the issues you were penalized for,
You can learn more in our ultimate guide to Google Search Console.
We hope this article helped you learn why your WordPress site got de-indexed from Google and how you can fix it. You may also want to see our guide on how to speed up WordPress performance and our expert pick of the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools.
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