8 Reasons Facebook Blocked Your Website URL
There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering your website URL has been blocked on Facebook for violating community standards, especially when you have no idea what standards you’ve supposedly broken. Many businesses do an enormous amount of marketing via Facebook and Instagram advertising, so the longer your website URL is blocked, the more money your business loses.
Since Facebook also owns Instagram, you’ll soon realize that your URL is blocked on that platform as well. When Facebook blocks your website URL, you’ll notice that you aren’t able to run any social ads, comment, or post anything until you’ve removed your URL from all locations on these social platforms.
Getting blocked is a major inconvenience to anyone who uses these two platforms for marketing and branding purposes. If you’re an author, these are likely two primary ways you build your audience and drive traffic to your online bookstore, blog, or author site.
As a digital marketer and web designer, I’ve run into this issue twice so far—once with a national eCommerce brand, and then with a small business site I built myself. I’ll admit that I was both perplexed and irritated because it caused our social media ads to shut down for a little over a month, resulting in a significant revenue loss.
Over the next three articles, I’ll show you how to unblock your website URL from Facebook. Before I get too deep into the nitty-gritty of this issue, I’ll designate this article to unpacking the many reasons Facebook might have blocked you in the first place. After all, we can’t permanently fix anything if we don’t know the root cause of the problem, right?
Through my misfortune, I’ve discovered the eight reasons Facebook might block your website URL, and this is that list.
1) You actually did violate Facebook’s community standards.
Okay, this is the simplest of reasons that Facebook might have blocked your website URL. After all, every social platform has a set list of rules designed to protect its users. If you’ve violated any of these standards, you’ll get blocked immediately—big surprise.
Facebook prides itself on providing a safe environment that also promotes expression. That said, the organization knows that the internet creates many opportunities for abuse. There are sick people in the world, and it’s common sense that an online community has some guidelines for users.
“The consequences for violating our Community Standards vary depending on the severity of the violation and the person’s history on the platform,” says Facebook. Some violators may get a warning for first offenses, while others might get blocked right away or have their profiles deleted.
Here are some basic rules to keep in mind on Facebook:
- Violence and criminal behavior
- Safety (self-harm, child harm, human exploitation, privacy, etc.)
- Objectionable content (hate speech, sexual solicitations, graphic images)
- Integrity and authenticity (spam, fake accounts, fake news)
- Respecting intellectual property (copyright infringement)
- Content-related requests (requests to remove user’s content)
If you need more details about any of these areas of the community standards, please see Facebook’s official list on their website.
2) Someone reported your page or profile.
If your website URL suddenly became blocked from Facebook, it’s possible that another user reported your page. I’ve seen this happen with a marketing client of mine who owns a beauty salon. Someone she knew didn’t like the fact that she had quickly become successful in her area, so they kept reporting her Instagram account for invalid reasons. This caused Facebook to temporarily block her business Instagram account for days at a time until they were able to “investigate” the complaint.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure if someone has reported your account because Facebook won’t tell you if that’s the case. However, if you can’t find any other feasible reason why your URL is blocked, then you might be the victim of a ticked off customer or troll.
If you suspect this is your situation, don’t worry. You can unblock your URL from Facebook when it’s blocked in error. I’ll show you how to do this in a later article.
3) Your terrible backlink and brand awareness strategy looks like spam.
This is essentially touching back on Facebook’s community standards section 4, but I’m going to reiterate it here because some people confuse spam as a marketing strategy far too often. I’ve had many people reach out to me for help with unblocking their website URL, and I always tell them that I can do it as long as they didn’t violate community standards.
As I ask questions to uncover the cause of the block, they end up revealing how the block happened. They tell me the block occurred shortly after they spent a few hours inserting their website link into various Facebook pages, groups, and comment sections. In their minds, they’re building brand awareness and backlinking to their website for traffic, but that’s the opposite of what’s happening.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term backlink, it has to do with how many times your website URL appears on other major websites. The more times your page appears on authoritative websites, the higher your search ranking for that URL. However, attempting to insert your link in every conceivable place on Facebook is actually detrimental to your brand and SEO.
Google doesn’t consider link building on Facebook and similar platforms as dofollow links (ones that directly affect your search rank). While these links don’t hurt you in the battle for search rank, they don’t operate the same way as other backlinks do. It’s always a great idea to get your fans sharing your website across social platforms, but they should do so willingly and organically.
Posting your website in random comment sections and on pages and groups where someone didn’t ask for it is SPAM. It’s beyond irritating to see companies clamoring for traffic and desperately linking multiple times in comment feeds. When I see this, it looks pathetic to me, and puts a bad taste in my mouth about that company. It’s an unprofessional practice you should never use as part of your marketing strategy on social media. If someone reported you for doing this, I don’t blame them!
How do you keep people from reporting your website on Facebook?
- Don’t share links to your website on pages it’s not allowed
- Don’t share links to your website in comments unless asked
- Don’t share links to your website in groups unless warranted
4) Your site looks illegitimate or fraudulent.
Facebook makes the safety of its community a priority, so if they catch even a small whiff of something that seems sketchy, you’ll find yourself blocked. I’ve seen this scenario happen a lot more frequently because more people are taking their website design and marketing into their own hands.
While I applaud those who have taken the initiative in making their dreams a reality, creating your website and handling your marketing is not always a good idea. If you don’t do it correctly, you could cause some pretty severe issues down the road to your online presence and brand.
If your website looks cheap and unprofessional, that’s a red flag to Facebook. I blame this on the dropshipping craze. Everyone wants to make a quick buck without doing any work, so they’ve created bad websites and sell cheap products at a marked up rate. While there isn’t anything wrong with the dropshipping model per se—this is what retailers do all the time—poor quality will nail you every time.
No matter the kind of website or business you have, do everything you can to ensure it looks professional. Avoid cheap WordPress templates, and don’t hire your 17-year-old nephew to design it for you if he doesn’t have quality work to show for it. These days, there are tons of website-builders available that let you drag and drop design elements into a nearly custom, finished product. Most website builders run at extremely affordable rates. There’s no excuse for lousy quality with today’s technology.
If you sell products in an online store, I recommend that you hire a professional product photographer to help you take quality images. Bad product photos with poor lighting, cluttered backgrounds, or weak photoshopping can cause Facebook to block your store website. Even on a budget, you can hire talented photographers via local photography groups on Facebook, or run a local ad on any number of freelance sites. Think outside the box when developing your brand’s aesthetic. A little extra planning will save you a lot of frustration later.
Finally, if you sell products online, don’t be disingenuous and don’t sell cheap products. Make your company policies present and available to your customers and clients. If you don’t offer returns, then say that clearly on your website. Be forthright and accurate about your estimated shipping times, and if you break a promise, make it up to your customers. Consider adding a FAQS page to your website to set client expectations.
If you’re running a dropshipping business, don’t sell cheap products with a high risk of return. Be wary of electronics, foreign clothing that varies in US sizes, or items that might put you at risk for liability. Think of all the negative possibilities that could happen after someone purchases a product and plan for it.
If you’ve put in the effort to create a positive and safe place for your visitors, Facebook won’t let your page stay blocked even if someone reports it. Plus, you’ll set yourself up for a business people trust and love.
5) Your site is not secure with an SSL certificate in place.
Google recently made some changes to their algorithm that’s meant to protect its users from dangerous websites. Facebook has also aligned with Google’s safety requirements by considering the security of websites and whether they’re allowed on Facebook.
If you aren’t using an SSL certificate—the https that appears before the URL—then you’re leaving your users vulnerable to having their information stolen. Remember Facebook’s commitment to users’ safety? I estimate that Facebook will stop allowing URLs that don’t have security certificates within the next five years, so you may as well buy one.
You can purchase an SSL certificate by contacting your host, and they can help you activate it. The SSL is often no more than $50 to $80, and it encrypts your website user’s information while they navigate your site, purchase items, or contact you. Take this extra step to protect your users.
6) One of your plugins has been compromised.
In the case of my national eCommerce client whose URL got blocked for over a month, we knew right away what caused the problem. We had installed a 301 redirection plugin that was meant as a shortcut to direct our site traffic away from dead pages. Unfortunately, our shortcut ended up being a nightmare when a troll compromised the plugin and had all our traffic redirected from our main website URL and to theirs instead!
Facebook flagged our website for violating community standards almost immediately. While we were able to remove the plugin and fix the issue within 24 hours, it took us a long time to figure out how to get our URL unblocked because, let’s be honest, Facebook’s support often feels like a black hole.
The moral of this story? Be careful about what plugins you install on your website. Make sure you check reviews and verify that the plugin is updated with your current version of WordPress. Also, compare plugins with others. Some plugins have far more reviews and installations than others, so use caution. Don’t install a plugin that hasn’t been updated for extended periods or tested with your current version of WordPress.
7) Your website’s backend is not optimized for Google indexing.
There’s much more to setting up a website than the design. If Facebook blocked your URL from the platform, it might have something to do with the backend of your site. Without making this too complicated, there are some aspects of your website that must be set up for search engines to understand your site.
Facebook is less likely to block your website if you’ve done the basics:
- Set up your website’s XML sitemap.
- Created meta descriptions for all pages
- Added alt text descriptions to all images
Doing these three simple things on the backend of your website will help both Facebook and Google’s algorithms crawl and understand your website. Even better, these three things are critical factors involved with your search ranking.
8) Your site is linking out to a blocked website.
Usually, I’d say that you shouldn’t blame your problems on someone else, but sometimes you’re just guilty by association. The same way one of my clients had their URL blocked because it linked to a scammy website, that can also happen to you.
I’ve had several bloggers message me about their blocked URL only to find out that one of their articles linked to another site that Facebook’s algorithm didn’t like. It’s a pain in the neck to have to run monthly or quarterly checks on the sites you’re linking to, but it’s a must if you want to protect your site’s reputation and credibility on Facebook.
What links will Facebook flag?
- Sites that violate community standards
- Websites that have had a maintenance page on for longer than 30 days
- Links to HTTP 404 error pages
If you link out to other websites as a means of credibility for articles or blogs, I recommend running an occasional scan on your website to make sure there aren’t any errors. A fantastic tool to use for this would be the Online Broken Link Checker. This excellent free tool allows you to insert your website URL, and it will scan your entire site for you, notifying you of every URL on your site that has a dead link.
Trying to figure out why Facebook blocked your URL is a challenging and frustrating process, but I hope this list of possibilities has helped you narrow down the list. Now that you’ve pinpointed the problem, do the required research to fix the issue.
Once you’ve fixed the issue causing your Facebook block, it’s time to begin the process of unblocking your URL. Even after you’ve fixed the problems, your URL won’t automatically unblock itself. Instead, you’ll have to petition Facebook to complete this process, but doing so takes a bit more than a simple contact form.
Stay tuned for the next article, where I’ll show you exactly how to get your URL unblocked on Facebook and keep it that way.