Blacklist in Google search results can kill your site
April 18, 2008
Just how powerful is Google in delivering traffic to a website?
Very powerful, no doubt — and car insurance comparison site GoCompare.com learned this the hard way.
Back in January 2008, GoCompare.com ranked #1 in the Google search results for the competitive keywords “car insurance“. In fact, during the first 4 weeks of 2008, 15% of the total traffic to the site was delivered by the search engine through those keywords.
But before January ended, Google discovered that the website engaged in “irregular linking activity” and decided to slap GoCompare.com with a penalty. From its enviable #1 ranking, the website dropped to page 7 of the search results listing.
The ensuing impact proved detrimental. Traffic from Google severely declined and during the week ending February 9, GoCompare.com received only 2.31% of all search term traffic from the keywords “car insurance”.
The graph below from online metrics company Hitwise details the impact of the blacklist. Notice the sharp decline of traffic right after Google penalized the website.
Traffic to GoCompare.com from the search term “car insurance” before and after the Google blacklist
Worse, its two competitors are now battling for the top spot of the search results and both are currently enjoying the traffic that previously went to GoCompare.com. The site now spends a lot of money for paid clicks to get more traffic and is just hoping it can someday regain the top spot again.
The impact of traffic from Google search results were noted before by some Filipino bloggers. Dexter previously wrote about the increased traffic to his site (and increased income!) due to the prime position of his blog in the keywords “Manny vs Barrera fight result”. Marhgil panicked when his traffic dropped after Google supposedly moved his blog posts away from the first page of the results. Fortunately, that was just a glitch and the traffic went back to normal after a few days.
Lesson of the day: make sure you don’t piss Google off because if they penalized and blacklisted you in the search results, that can mean the end for your site.
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