Well, I’ve been shamelessly promoting my new educational websites in previous posts and everything was going fine until today. I had a quick health check on two of my international websites – Learning How Germany and Learning How Italy, and to my surprise both of them have been delisted from Google.
Being a white hat SEO, I’ve never promoted unethical methods of optimisation and to tell the truth I haven’t really done much with the Italian and the German extentions of Learning How. Unfortunately, it seems Google decided it wasn’t fit for their index and hence removed them completely. From my last check, it had 2000 pages (each) indexed and were organic traffic from Google (and other search engines).
A friend has suggested that it may be a duplicate content penalty, due to it having the same content as the Australian and the Spanish Learning How Extensions. However, to my understanding, search engines index character strings, not meaning, hence different language content, even if its exactly the same in meaning, should not have duplicate content issues.
Another reason could be that Google is tightening their index by once again placing new websites into the sandbox (which I have not experienced for quite some time now) and it seems that my websites have been placed into the dreaded sandbox, not to return until a few months later. I seriuosly hope that is not the case as it would really screw up my plan for trafficking and overall international growth.
Regardless, I just felt the need to document this so that if you have also experienced this, you know that you are not alone. Also, check out www.webmasterworld.com for more information regarding SERPs updates as well as any Page Rank Updates.