I've recently noticed that an entire site I manage had been set to
noindex for about 3 weeks. This has caused the entire site to be completely dropped from Google's index (searching "
site:" and then the domain name renders 0 results).
What occurred was a redesign of the site was launched, the staging site had been set to
noindex (in WordPress). WordPress does this through adding a meta
noindex tag to all pages as well as through robots.txt. During the launch, in an apparent confusion by the team, the staging site was set to be indexed instead of the production site. This has also caused the staging site to be indexed in the 3 weeks since.
What I've done so far:
- Set the production site to be indexed again
- Submitted the production site to be indexed by Google through Webmaster Tools
- Submitted a sitemap through Webmaster Tools for the production site (hadn't been done yet, should have)
- Submitted a reconsideration request through webmaster tools for the production site, explaining what happened (not sure if I should have done this, question below)
- Submitted a removal request for the staging site through webmaster tools
Here are my questions:
Should I have submitted a reconsideration request? I have a theory (maybe more of a fear, don't have anything to back it up) that possibly Google will wait until they review the request to re-index the site, even though it never violated their guidelines. I would think this will take much longer than waiting for it to be re-indexed. I did this in frantic action after discovering the problem but then had this thought afterwards.
Secondly, because it was a redesign of the site being launched there were 301 redirects set up from old pages to new. When the site is eventually re-indexed, will Google look for those old pages again and follow the 301s, or would it have already written off those pages as gone?
I've read some things saying that when this happens, normally sites regain their previous ranking, but I have a feeling in this case it may be a bit different as maybe the opportunity for Google properly follow the new 301s is now gone?