Why Google May Have Just Deindexed Your Website (and how to keep it from happening)

Protect your website from being deindexed by the Google algorithm.

This month, Google began rolling out another core update to its all-powerful search algorithm. Their noble aim is to improve the quality and relevance of search results for you and me. But this update can also have unintended consequences that can range from significant shifts in search rankings to deindexing of their sites.

Let’s look closer at the fallout for your website from Google’s latest core update, and actions you can take to keep your site in good graces with the Google algorithm.

Why would Google deindex your website?

Low-quality content

With every search query, Google wants to serve users the most relevant and informative content possible (ongoing development at Mountain View strives to make the algorithm ever more discerning of search intent). With the March 2024 update, Google has become even more adept at identifying thin, duplicate, and otherwise low-value content and penalizing websites that host it.

AI-generated content

As a writer who can remember using 5 1/4″ floppy disks, the content-creation potential of LLM generative AI tools like Copilot and ChatGPT has fascinated me (albeit sometimes grudgingly). As I write this, ChatGPT is approaching its 1 1/2 birthday and the genie is well out of the bottle. Brands are using AI to generate content at scale, and who can blame them?

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But the new Google core update places a greater premium on RESPONSIBLE use of AI tools to generate RELEVANT content. The algorithm is now better at sorting AI-generated content from high-quality, human-generated content — and giving the latter the edge in search.

Manipulative tactics

Google’s algorithm has always taken a dim view of keyword stuffing, link buying, and cloaking — spammy tactics intended to pump up search rankings. As a result, such manipulation has proven to yield diminishing returns. The new core update comes down even harder on it, wielding the deindexing hammer against the worst offenders.

Violation of Google Search Essentials

Google Search Essentials (formerly known as Google Webmaster Guidelines) is the reference source for best practices around website creation and maintenance — the dos as well as the don’ts. The updated algorithm combs through websites in search of violations such as link schemes (also called “link spam”) and malware hosting, and assesses appropriate penalties.

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How to keep your website from being deindexed

Quality, quality, quality

Always ask: “Will people derive relevant value from this content?” and “Does this content align with our brand’s mission?” Yes, AI tools can generate content at scale BUT it takes investment in human-created content (or human intervention in AI-generated content) to answer both of these questions with a resounding “YES.”

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Stick to Google Search Essentials.

Couldn’t be more simple: Follow the rules — Google spells them all out for you.

Audit your site on the reg.

To stay ahead of the algorithm, carve out time at regular intervals to review your site for the thin or duplicative content that can draw penalties. Also seek out flaws like broken links and technical SEO issues, which have always counted against website ranking scores.

Monitor algorithm updates.

Forewarned is forearmed, as ye olde adage saith. Make it a habit to stay informed as Google updates its algorithm, and develop an understanding of each update’s impact on your site. I’m a fan of Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land as reliable sources for this information, not to mention the context and commentary they provide.

In Conclusion

At StitchDX we have the good fortune of building and maintaining websites and deploying digital marketing strategies for brands that fiercely guard their brand integrity and care deeply about publishing quality content. While winning at SEO is a long game, all brands should follow the guidance I’ve laid out to ensure the Google algorithm doesn’t make short work of the search progress they’ve made to date.