If you’re a website owner, there is a strong possibility you have heard the dreaded word: “deindexed”. It’s one of the keywords every website owner dreads but that also happens to be one of the more commonly encountered terms in the SEO world. This blog post will explain what “deindexed” means and how to recover your website.

Deindexing is, in essence, the act of removing a website or URL from the index of searchable websites. When it happens, it means that your website will no longer appear in the search results, making it difficult for users to find. It’s an issue that can happen to any website, and the most important thing to know is that, although it can be frustrating, it is actually fairly easy to recover from.

Quick Insight into Key Points

Deindexing is an action taken by search engines in which they remove a web page or website from their index. This means the page will no longer appear in search engine results, and users will not be able to access the page.

What is Deindexing?

Deindexing is the process of a search engine removing certain pages or websites from its index, rendering them inaccessible to users. When a page or website becomes deindexed, it no longer appears in relevant search results, thus negatively impacting the visibility of said page or website. This can drastically reduce the amount of organic traffic and potential leads and sales.

There is debate between webmasters on the legitimacy of deindexing as both proactive and reactive tactics. Proponents of proactive deindexing argue that it is necessary in order to control which pages appear in search engine results, ensuring that outdated content or irrelevant benchmarks are removed from such listings. Opponents, however, suggest that this strategy is dangerous as it can have unintentional consequences and does not provide a comprehensive strategy for monitoring online performance.

Despite this debate, deindexing remains an important part of any comprehensive SEO strategy and requires careful consideration when enacting to ensure maximum online performance and limit the chances of damaging one’s website’s reputation and ranking. In the following section we will discuss what causes a website to be deindexed.

  • According to a 2020 study, nearly half of all websites are not indexed in major search engines.
  • The most common reason for website deindexing is the presence of spam links or malware.
  • The percentage of websites indexed in major search engines has declined from 90% to roughly 50% over the past five years.

What Causes a Website to be Deindexed?

One of the most concerning issues that website administrators and webmasters face is the possibility that their website could be deindexed. Deindexing occurs when there is an issue with a website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) practises, which can have serious effects on visibility and reputation. While it’s impossible to know for certain why any particular website has been deindexed, there are several possible causes that may explain why a website has been removed from search engine results pages (SERPs).

A common cause for deindexing is the presence of duplicate content. Search engines weigh relevancy heavily, and duplicate content is considered to be of low quality in terms of SEO. As such, having too much duplicate content on a page can lead to a diminished appeal and lower ranking among SERPs if left unchecked.

At times, websites can also be deindexed if they contain malicious code or links leading to invalid destinations or otherwise undesirable sites. In these cases, deindexing is usually done to protect visitors and other websites from potential hazards or sources of spam links.

Also of concern are sites that are indexed but not regularly updated; search engines take heed of what’s known as “Googlebot Freshness” when deciding how to rank pages, meaning that those sites which are constantly refreshed with new content tend to rank higher than those which remain stagnant for too long. Having old or outdated content can lead to a site being deemed irrelevant and subsequently being deindexed by search engines due to dwindling interest and relevance.

Finally, it’s possible for inexperienced SEO professionals or website owners who do not understand SEO principles to make mistakes that end up resulting in accidental deindexing of their sites. Making ill-advised changes without fully understanding their consequences can lead to unfortunate outcomes which put the future of the website at risk.

Reversing a site’s deindexing requires significant effort, expertise, and experience; the exact steps necessary for recovery depend on the reason why the site was initially deindexed in the first place. As such, prevention through proper maintenance is far more beneficial than attempting to repair damage done after the fact.

The best approach that webmasters can take towards avoiding problems with indexing is therefore vigilance: staying informed about algorithm updates, monitoring the quality and relevance of the site content, making sure all links are valid and free of malware, and striving to keep your pages fresh with the latest information will help keep your website safe from accidental deindexing while allowing it to maintain its visibility among SERPs.

With this understanding in mind, we now turn our attention to exploring how algorithm updates may influence website visibility—the topic of our next section.

Algorithm Updates

Algorithm updates can have a drastic impact on a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). For example, if Google adjusts the algorithm to penalise websites that contain certain types of content or links, any website with those could be deindexed. On the flip side, certain algorithm updates are intended to improve the SERP rankings of sites that meet certain criteria. Whether it is advantageous or not, algorithm updates can cause a site’s visibility to fluctuate dramatically.

When it comes to recovering a website that has been deindexed due to an algorithm update, it all depends on why the site was deindexed in the first place. If the content or links were deemed to be in violation of Google’s algorithms and policies, then the site owner must bring their website back into compliance with those rules before it can be restored. To do this effectively may require taking significant steps such as auditing all content and links for compliance, cleaning up any potential backlinks issues that could exist, and following all SEO best practises.

On the other hand, if the website was deindexed due to a tweak or adjustment within an algorithm update that was intended to benefit certain types of webpages or user searches, then all that is necessary is waiting for the new changes to take effect so that search engine crawlers will be able to find and index your site again.

Regardless of whether it’s beneficial or negative, dealing with an algorithm update requires an understanding of how search robots work and what types of content or links Google prefers. Of course, having clean backlinks and quality content is always important for websites in general — regardless if an algorithm update occurs — and so these elements should not be ignored when trying to recover from an algorithm update deindexation.

Now let’s take a look at how poor quality content or links can play a role in getting your site deindexed.

Poor Quality Content or Links

Poor quality content, links, or both can be cause for deindexing a website. Poor quality content often means that the content does not provide readers with accurate and helpful information. Additionally, it can mean that the content is plagiarised from other sources or is not relevant to the subject of the website. Poor quality links could also be caused by an inability to verify the source of backlinks, or if there are too many low-quality links pointing back to the website.

It is important to make sure any content on a website is high-quality and original so as not to get deindexed. Submitting unique, helpful and accurate content can add value to a website and build trust in the eyes of readers and search engines alike. As far as links go, while reputable sources may yield more credibility than less reputable sources, all legitimate backlinks offer some benefit when it comes to search engine rankings.

In either case, poor quality content and/or links can impact a website’s visibility and ultimately lead to deindexing. As such, it is important to monitor both aspects of a website’s performance in order to ensure that organic searches continue unabated. The next step is identifying which type of issue may have led to the deindexing in the first place.

Identifying the underlying cause of deindexed sites can be challenging but necessary for taking action towards recovery. In the following section we will discuss strategies for doing just that.

Identifying Deindexing Issues

When it comes to identifying deindexing issues, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on a website’s content, structure, and other potential issues, the process of determining why a site has been deindexed—or if it has been at all—can be very different. With that in mind, there are various approaches webmasters can take to ascertain if their website is experiencing deindexing.

One approach involves examining a website’s server logs. Armed with the right tools and knowledge, webmasters can analyse these logs to identify any changes or anomalies in crawling or indexing activity that may have caused the site to be deindexed. They should be looking out for changes in crawl rate, dropped traffic sources and heading tags. By doing this they can gain insight into what might have caused the deindexing issue in the first place. Additionally server logs can help identify which code and configuration of pages are preventing them from being indexed by search engines.

Another approach would be to use specialist tools such as Google Search Console (GSC) or Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT). These tools provide information about a website’s visibility in search engines and can help identify problems with crawling, indexing and ranking. Using GSC or BWT webmasters can monitor how well their website appears in results for specific key terms; this will help them identify if an issue such as deindexing has occurred as rankings for specific queries will drop immediately.

However, some webmasters feel that relying on both server log analysis and specialist tools such as GSC or BWT may not be reliable enough to accurately determine if the site has been taken out of search engine indices. They argue that while these tools can provide useful data points which can point towards a potential issue, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why a website has been removed from the index without full access to algorithms used by search engines.

It is therefore important for webmasters to carefully consider all options when trying to determine if their website is affected by deindexing issues before taking corrective action. Now that we have explored ways of identifying deindexing issues, let’s examine how website visibility can be further evaluated in order to understand its impact upon SEO efforts.

Examining Website Visibility

When a website has been deindexed, an owner needs to understand the visibility of their website and how they can attempt to recover it. Examining website visibility helps webmasters to determine why their site was deindexed by search engines in the first place.

The primary reason for a website being deindexed from a search engine is often unclear. Typically, it is helpful for website owners to do some detective work. This involves checking analytics records as well as manual reviews of content, pages and images either on the web server or in their cached versions on other websites.

A second factor in assessing website visibility is looking into whether manual action or an algorithmic penalty has been taken against the website. With manual action penalties, the site may have been penalised by Google due to issues such as thin content, cloaking or spammy links. Algorithmic penalties are typically due to abnormal spikes or dips in keyword ranking that do not reflect well with overall SEO performance. If neither issue is present, then examining site speed, mobile responsiveness and other technical SEO factors can help pinpoint what may have caused the deindexing.

Another step in evaluating website visibility is monitoring backlinks and where they lead to. It is important for webmasters to check any backlinks pointing away from their sites in order to ensure there are no irrelevant or broken links leading people off-site which could contribute to a decrease in overall rankings from search engines.

After examining website visibility and potential culprits for why it has been deindexed, webmasters should look into strategies for recovering from this punishment. The next section will discuss strategies for recovering from deindexing, including how to create an effective recovery plan when faced with this situation.

Strategies for Recovering From Deindexing

Recovering from deindexing can take various forms, depending on the reason your site was deindexed and the resources you have to correct the issue. The best strategy is to promptly figure out why a website has been deindexed in order to address the issue and prevent it from happening again.

One option for recovery is reaching out directly to the search engine and asking for a review of your website. Many major search engines offer processes where users can report issues with their website being indexed incorrectly or deindexed. These policies may offer some recourse if your site was deindexed due to an error.

For content-related issues, such as blacklisting or algorithmic penalties, it may be necessary to update content to meet current quality standards, particularly if outdated practises have been used in the past, before making a request for a reevaluation by the search engine. This can involve things like rewriting certain pages so they are more in line with guidelines and removing links that don’t comply with them. However, always be sure to check if any changes made still align with company goals; increasing visibility in one area may come at the cost of decreasing visibility in another.

New webmasters who weren’t previously aware of SEO practise often assume that deleting low-quality content on their site will help rankings. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t work: SEO requires an ongoing effort so that good pieces rise above bad ones, rather than only relying on getting rid of what isn’t working. It’s also important to keep in mind that recovery from deindexing can take a long time, as webpages must go through multiple recrawls and re-evaluations over several weeks for changes to become visible again.

Overall, recovering from deindexing requires careful decision making, taking into account best practises as well as company goals when making changes or requesting a review from a search engine. After addressing any potential issues related to blacklisting or algorithmic penalties, revisiting SEO techniques is key to ensuring lasting success. In the next section we’ll discuss reviewing search engine optimisation techniques in depth.

Reviewing Search Engine Optimisation Techniques

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a set of techniques used to increase a website’s visibility in search engine rankings. Common techniques include optimising content, creating backlinks, and increasing page loading speed. By reviewing and understanding how these techniques impact the searchability of a website, businesses can better ascertain whether their SEO practises are leading to elevated rankings or deindexing of their site.

When optimising content for SEO, businesses should ensure that the information provided on their website is current, relevant, and original. Duplicate content should be avoided as this can decrease ranking and cause sites to become deindexed. Additionally, all content should feature relevant keywords for the intended audience without over-stuffing pages with those words. Finally, businesses should update webpages regularly to ensure customers have access to all current information.

Backlinks are another important SEO technique. Links from other sources lend credibility to a website, helping it climb higher in search engine rankings. However, companies should be cautious when placing links as they will not be beneficial if they lead users to spam or ads. This practise can actually take away from the site’s credibility and reputation, leading to potential deindexing.

The loading speed of a webpage also plays an important role in its ranking. Google gives precedence to pagesthat load quicker than two seconds; otherwise they get moved down the search result list. Companies can analyse the loading speed of their webpages through tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix which identify issues that may slow down loading times and need addressing.

In general it’s best for companies to monitor their SEO methods regularly and make adjustments as needed based on a variety of data points such as organic traffic numbers from analytics software or keyword-specific performance metrics from plugins like Yoast SEO or SEMrush. Through consolidation of this data companies will be able to better determine whether their SEO efforts are resulting in increased rankings or deindexing of their site.

No matter the mix of techniques employed, review and analysis of those tactics is necessary for proper upkeep and optimisation of a website’s searchability and ranking position in the SERPs (search engine result pages). Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of SEO methods let us move onto our conclusion which discusses ways we can recover a website after it has been deindexed.


Dealing with a deindexed website can be a stressful and daunting experience, one that may have far-reaching consequences if not addressed correctly. It is therefore essential to take the time to understand the cause of the deindexing, as well as ensuring that all efforts are taken in order to recover the site effectively. In most cases, it is quite easy to recover a deindexed website if the right steps are taken, such as complying with Google’s guidelines and submitting a reconsideration request if necessary. However, depending on the severity of the issues or violations, it might require more time or effort to get your website reinstated in Google’s index. In these cases, an experienced SEO consultant or agency should be contacted for assistance and guidance.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that Google won’t really consider reactivating websites that violate their guidelines and technical requirements. As such, they argue that spending too much time and effort on attempting to recover your website from being deindexed may prove to be futile. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that Google has been known to forgive websites in certain cases; however this does depend on the specific issue at hand. Therefore, before giving up on recovering your deindexed site it makes sense to employ a professional SEO consultant and make use of their training and expertise prior to making a final decision.

Most Common Questions

What impact does deindexing have on SEO?

Deindexing can have a huge negative impact on SEO. In some cases, it can cause the website to no longer appear in search engine results and even the removal of content from Google’s index altogether. This can result in a drastic reduction in organic traffic to the website, making it difficult to make money through online advertising or even find relevant information. Furthermore, if the issue is not addressed promptly and correctly, it could also lead to a decrease in link authority and Page Rank as other sites may choose to disassociate with your website. Additionally, deindexing can lead to a decrease in backlinks which are essential for driving targeted leads and potential customers.

How do search engines determine which pages to deindex?

Search engines use a variety of factors when determining which pages to deindex. These factors include the quality of the content on the page, the number of other pages linking to it, whether or not it contains malicious code, and any user complaints made about it. Quality is especially important when it comes to determine whether a page should be deindexed – search engines may decide to remove pages that don’t contain unique or valuable content, or those created primarily for SEO purposes. The presence of any type of malicious code can also prompt search engine algorithms to instantly deindex a page, as they prioritise web users’ security over all else. Finally, if enough users report that they consider a certain page suspicious or irrelevant, the search engine may deindex it in order to provide a better user experience.

How do I avoid deindexing in the future?

Avoiding deindexing in the future is a matter of practising good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) habits. To make sure your website does not get deindexed, you should regularly check to make sure all of your content is optimised for search engine visibility. This includes ensuring that all HTML tags are properly labelled and optimised, such as utilising header tags for titles and subtitles, including meta descriptions with each page, and properly labelling images with alt-text. Additionally, be mindful of keyword stuffing; avoid overusing targeted keywords in order to achieve higher rankings on SERPs (search engine result pages). Lastly, link building—or garnering links from other websites which ultimately direct traffic to yours—can also help ensure your website remains visible in search engine results. Follow these steps and you’ll be much less likely to have your website deindexed by search engines.

Is there a way to restore a deindexed website?

Yes, there is a way to restore a deindexed website. The key to successful recovery lies in understanding why your site was deindexed in the first place. To do this, you can review your website’s search engine ranking history and look for any changes that may have triggered the deindexing. Once you have identified the cause of the deindexing, you can then take appropriate steps to fix it.

This might involve improving and optimising your website’s content, updating your web address, or resolving technical issues. It’s also important to keep your backlinks up-to-date and check for any malicious links that could be hurting your ranking. Finally, resubmit your site to search engines once all of these issues are resolved – this should help restore your website’s visibility on searches.

How do I know if my website has been deindexed?

The first step to determine if your website has been deindexed is to perform a manual check. Head to the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and enter relevant queries that you think someone might use to find your site. If you do not see your website in the search results, there’s a good chance it has been deindexed. There are also free tools available online that can help you track the visibility of your website and identify whether it has been removed from the search engine result pages. It’s important to keep in mind that search engine indexing is not an instant process, so even if your website has been removed before, it may take some time for it to show up again in the index results. To help speed up the process and make sure that your website appears in the index again, consider taking proactive measures such as optimising your content for better visibility, submitting an XML sitemap to the search engine, and actively monitoring your ranking performance.

Last Updated on April 15, 2024

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at info@matt-jackson.com