Does the headline frighten you? Perhaps it’s the word “ghost”? What should scare you is this could happen without you ever knowing.

Almost 90% of a business’s new leads and sales online will come from a search engine directing a new buyer or client to their website. This is why it can be devastating for a small business when search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! suddenly stop visiting and indexing a website.

Look at it like a brick-and-mortar store. What is the language you always heard in marketing class as the fundamental 3’s to marketing? Does this sound familiar?

Location! Location! Location!

It’s true when a busy roadway or highway drives customers right to your front door, it’s really hard not to do business – there has to be a problem with your messaging or product if your store sits beside a busy highway and you get no sales. So, ruling out those 2 issues, what happens when your store is say in the middle of a cornfield in Kansas? How many sales would you expect from that store and why?

If you thought to yourself, “That poor business owner is going out of business”, you would be correct. Without access to a consumer pipeline, it’s just a fancy building with a lot of depreciating assets inside it. In other words, without moving products off the shelf that store bleeds money in operating costs and asset depreciation. Essentially the store goes nowhere very fast.

That last example is what a website that has been delisted or ghosted by search engines. If your site can’t be found, it’s essentially that brick-and-mortar store in the cornfields of Kansas (no offense to our brothers and sisters in Kansas – but your cornfields are legendary).

The first step, and not to sound like a famous institution here, is to realize you have a problem. You can identify this problem by simple website statistics. Being able to see your traffic to your website is invaluable in knowing if you’re in that cornfield or next to a busy highway (and somewhere in between).

The second step, and no I’ve never had a drinking problem, is getting help. Knowing your SEO experts can fix the issues that are delisting your website will likely make or break you. But one tip, never hires someone out of desperation. If you’re already delisted and ghosted, no one is going to fix that overnight so take your time and vet the firm you hire.

That last part is the most important part – in fact, there is no need in proceeding beyond this point if you get the wrong SEO firm because it is usually the wrong SEO firm that caused it. Blackhat SEO is a very real problem. Simply Google it. SEO firms employ these methods for one of two reasons: Inexperience, in that they don’t realize what they’re doing is wrong; and Profit, in that Blackhat SEO is far cheaper than Whitehat SEO, and achieves the same results, abet temporarily. Generally, you’ll know you have a problem with your SEO firm about 2-8 weeks past your bank’s “no charge-back” deadline (4 months or so).

There are some ways to spot Blackhat SEO as well. The most obvious is if it immediately starts getting you traffic. This is because they are using link spam and most of the traffic is garbage and likely bots looking for a web form or exploit on your site. The second would be unbalanced results between mobile and desktop iterations of your site. These are the top two, and both indicate a major problem that should have you reaching out to a real SEO firm that has the experience and know-how to undo the damage that has already been done.

The best option here is to avoid these SEO firms to begin with and never make your choice because of the price tag. Search engines are your lifelines online – much like a first aid kit in your house or vehicle; one would hope you invest well in things that are so life-saving.


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