Search Engine Land was misidentified by Google’s system as being hacked and was removed from Google’s search results early Friday morning. Google has resolved the issue and Search Engine Land should return to the Google index shortly.
What happened? A Google spokesperson said: “This was a case where our system misidentified the site as being hacked.”
Since it was very early in the morning and I personally do not have access to Google Search Console for Search Engine Land, I was unable to find out the cause of the issue. In its response, Google told us, “[A] message informing the site owner that we believed the site was hacked would have been made available within Search Console, as well as an option to request a review. … However, as we discovered the error before a review request was made, we reversed the action.”
The normal process would be that someone with verified access to Google Search Console would see the hacked message and request a review. Then Google would return the site to Google’s index if there is not hack. In this case, Google spotted the misclassification before the review was requested and processed the reversal sooner.
The hack notices in Search Console. Here are screenshots of the hack notifications sent to us via Google Search Console:
The good news. A Google spokesperson told us “the site should return to the index soon.” Our tech team on the West Coast is going to wake up to a good story.
Why you should care? This highlights why having access to Google Search Console is so important. Without that, in many cases, many would continue to speculate why the site was not indexed in Google. And they might spend countless hours trying to debug a technical SEO issue or off-page site issue that was not there. Now we know it was a Google error, where they misclassified the site with a hacking issue and Google reversed the classification.