This 5 Blogging Tips to Survive Being De-Indexed, Locked Out, Shadow Banned and Other Unfortunate Bumps in the Road post includes affiliate links. When I find a great product or service, I like to share it with my readers. Sometimes I use affiliate links so I can earn a commission for my recommendations. Thank you for your support!
5 Blogging Tips to Survive Being De-Indexed, Locked Out, Shadow Banned and Other Unfortunate Bumps in the Road
Here’s a hard truth about being a blogger…there are going to be bumps in the road.
When I got into food blogging, I thought: this is wonderful! I am my own boss. I will work hard and receive my reward.
And, that’s mostly true. As I’ve said before, if I had to pick one key ingredient to starting a successful blog, it would be persistence. Being a blogger is a lot of hard work. And so much of it is within your control. You can control what you say and how. Your brand colors and images are under your control. You can control your pace and your timing. And it does feel wonderful, especially if you’re coming from the corporate world (or even if you’re a stay-at-home-parent) — the idea that you have control is very empowering.
The Good News and the Bad News (and Why You Might Need These 5 Blogging Tips)
But – as you’ll learn – you do need Google…Pinterest…Instagram…YouTube. You need them to drive traffic to your blog; to help you gain followers and to communicate with those followers. You simply cannot do it without them. Like it or not, they are the gatekeepers and they are behemoths.
As you’ll find out, this is both advantageous and problematic – that you need them so desperately and that they are so large. It’s advantageous because someone else is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Do you even remember what life was like before Google?
The downside though, is that many of the decisions that these companies will make about you won’t be made by a human that you can explain yourself to. Sooner or later you will — I promise — get caught in a filter or algorithm of some kind and be identified as a spammer or a fraud.
And it will hurt.
Personally — because you’re putting yourself out there and you’re a good person who just wants to share your passion with the world.
It will also hurt financially. When the traffic to your blog falls off, ad and affiliate revenue will drop, sponsors will notice, and your class sign-ups will diminish.
Not me, you’re thinking. I’m a rules follower.
Me too. I’m a rules follower too. And it happens. It just does.
How These Bad Things Happen…
Just recently, I got caught in a Pinterest spam filter and my traffic plummeted. Like, off a cliff, plummeted. My organic traffic dropped 85% in the course of two weeks. And, I’m not alone. This has happened to plenty of other bloggers that I know not to be spammers or frauds, but hard-working, rules-following business owners. Sometimes it’s just pure, bad luck.
I have fellow food blogger friends who have been temporarily suspended from Instagram and blackballed from Google. And they’re good people. I know them and I’ve never felt spammed by them.
And, don’t even get me started on Google Adsense. They love to disable accounts for invalid traffic attacks that they will neither clearly define nor help resolve.
And this, my fellow bloggers, is where that persistence will serve you well. You have to dig in and persevere.
My 5 Blogging Tips to Survive Being De-Indexed, Locked Out & Shadow Banned:
While I don’t have the magic formula to get you out of your situation (I am, at present, regularly appealing to Pinterest with evidence that I’ve been a law-abiding account owner for a while), I do have some advice to get you through these dark days.
Take a Step Back.
Temporary suspensions and lock-ups are just that – temporary. They don’t have to be the end of you or your blog. I used to panic (PANIC!) every time something that was out of my control happened. Then I weathered a few storms and realized that this too shall pass. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t roll up your sleeves and get busy pleading your case but take a deep breath first.
Solve One Problem at a Time
I like to channel my inner Mark Watney when bad things happen to my blog. Don’t know him? I guess you haven’t watched The Martian a hundred times. That guy got abandoned on Mars (and you think your problems are big). You know how he got home? He solved one problem, then the next and kept solving problems until he was able to get home via some very complicated space maneuvering.
Aside from strongly recommending the movie, my point is that you can’t tackle everything at once. You have to formulate a plan and then take it one step at a time.
Be a Pest. But a Nice Pest.
Trust me, there are no bells going off at Instagram that your account has been unfairly suspended. You need to reach out to them and plead your case. And then follow up. And follow up again. The same is true with Pinterest, YouTube, etc. But not Google Adsense. They consider helping you understand what you’re doing wrong to be teaching you how to be a scammer. And there’s no help button anyway.
Focus on Another Project.
Instead of refreshing your Pinterest page or checking your Instagram account every 10 minutes to see if the problem has been fixed, focus on something else on your to-do list. If you’re like me, there is plenty on it. For example, I’m using my Pinterest de-indexing to take some photography classes. Then, when I came back online, I will be ready with lots of great, fresh new pins.
Plenty of bloggers have been where you are. There are Facebook groups and forums to see if there are solutions to your problems. You might also learn what got you into trouble in the first place. You can’t always think of other bloggers as competition. They are resources for you, as you can be resources for them (remember that when one of your fellow bloggers gets tossed in the Insta-slammer).
And that, dear blogger, wraps it up — my 5 Blogging Tips to Survive Being De-Indexed, Locked Out & Shadow Banned. If you’re in the thick of it right now, please know that I feel for you. It’s not fun, but it will be okay.
About Herbivore’s Kitchen
Herbivore’s Kitchen is my plant-based food blog. I am a vegan home chef, aspiring food photographer and how-to-be-a-better-food-blogger junkie. You’ll mostly find creative and tasty vegan recipes and detailed deep dives into vegan ingredients (check out my Vegucation section) on my blog. I love knowing as much as I can about the food that I make. I’m also really into running a food blog as a business, so I’ve also got a section of my blog titled: Confessions of a Food Blogger where I get into the nitty gritty on how to build, manage, market and monetize a food blog.