Now I know there is a divergence of opinion on whether such a contrivance actually exists, so to keep the discussion on that brief I'll just say that whatever you want to call it, there is obviously some process by which Google essentially drops your site from the rankings and there it will stay until they see fit to restore it. In fact they admit as much right on their own help pages, it's not really up for debate, Google emphatically proclaims it. To wit directly from Google's webmaster guidelines:
|Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the "Quality Guidelines," which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise penalized. If a site has been penalized, it may no longer show up in results on Google.com or on any of Google's partner sites.|
Anyhow, while my site was technically still in the index, it was nowhere to be found in the serps, even searching 300 pages deep it just wasn't anywhere. How did this happen? Well being a professional programmer I'm always tinkering with how things work on my websites. I wrote an application that will create random text and inject my keywords into it. Then I would take that text and paste it into a DIV tag on my web site which I used CSS to position out of user view.
Well, Google didn't like that much I guess, and one day I found that my traffic died off to absolutely nothing at all. When I checked with my usual queries my site was gone completely as I described above. Well, I knew I had stepped on it but didn't know how or why. So I did some web research and found some articles detailing how Google doesn't take too kindly to keyword stuffing into gibberish content. Evidently I'm not the first to try it.
So after reading their webmaster guidelines again and reading through their website resubmission process, I realized what I needed to do. Which turned out to be quite simple. I just removed the offending code. I didn't even submit it to Google for resubmission, though it was on my to-do list. Evidently their algorithm noticed the changes on the next crawl and restored my site to it's rightful, or well usual position. Number 3 for my main keyword.
Moral of the story, if you are thinking about trying these kinds of black hat techniques, don't do it! They will catch you, I don't care how smart you are, Google's engineers when they put their heads together will always be smarter.
But if you do fall into the BH pit anyway, all is not lost. You may escape simply by fixing whatever the problem is. If not, there is always resubmit. But in some cases, such as in mine, you don't even need to do that.