The Road to a Successful Reconsideration Request

A reconsideration request is so much more than a politely written letter to Google telling them why your site should be re-included into the search engine rankings. It’s the culmination of hours of analysis, emailing and auditing to make sure your site is free from quality guideline infringements.

Often we see a range of different penalties here at Marketing Signals, from page specific, to full site exclusions and everything in-between. Our expertise and experience in this field has shown us just how far you have to go to get penalties lifted. Below we have created a checklist for you to make sure you are doing everything possible to lift the penalty.

Understanding the penalty

Firstly, you need to make sure you know what the penalty is, why it’s happened and where it’s happened. Penalties are not always clear cut and you may not receive a message in Webmaster Tools telling you exactly what has gone on. In most cases the only penalties that are sent to you are manual actions, which involve either the whole website or a family of pages.

Before you dive into auditing, make sure you know what has caused the penalty. Have a range of similar keywords fallen off the face of the earth? Is the whole site affected and you have to clear everything? Understanding this can help you focus in on exactly what you need to achieve to lift the penalty.

Auditing your link profile

When you are suffering from a penalty and your clients or your business is losing money, you need to make sure you are ruthless when it comes to your audit.

More often than not webmasters will just remove any spammy directories or scraping sites then put in a reconsideration request and hope for the best. THIS DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH. When your site is under a penalty, the gig is up, Google has identified your site as manipulating links and search results and because of that you need to build again from the foundations.

With this in mind, if your whole site is penalised, get rid of all links that use any anchor text that isn’t brand. That sounds like a huge regression in all the work you may have done through your link building campaign, but if you don’t think like this, the penalty will not be lifted. If the penalty has just hit a particular range of keywords, remove all anchor text that uses those keywords.

Important: Make sure any links Google mention in their correspondence are included in your auditing. Often Google will include a list of example links that are contributing to the penalty, so make sure you include them or else you will go round in circles.

Contact the site webmasters to remove the links

Once you have audited your profile, do not just disavow everything and tell Google that’s what you have done. You need to proactively contact all the sites you can from your list and request they remove the link. More often than not you will receive nothing back, but this is about building evidence of your work to remove the links that you can include in the reconsideration request. Make sure you don’t just send one mass email out and then forget about it, work hard to get these links removed naturally, it will look better if you are able to get a good chunk of them removed without the disavow file.

Write your reconsideration request

Once you have exhausted the natural link removal option, then you can start writing your reconsideration request. Below I have given several bullet points to help you quickly understand what needs to go into a reconsideration request that will be accepted.

  • Show remorse – make sure you say how sorry you are, how this will never happen again and how you will make sure guidelines are followed in the future. If another company or SEO was responsible, make sure you make that clear.
  • Be as detailed as possible – Your evidence of pro-active removal is vital, so make sure you put in as much detail as possible. Tell Google exactly how many bad links you identified, how many you removed naturally, how many webmasters did not reply and how many sites you have included in the disavow. As well as this make sure you add comments to your disavow explaining why the site is in there; e.g. No reply after 3 attempts, the webmaster wanted £30 to remove the link etc… This information is vital and the more detail you can put in the better chance you will have your request accepted.
  • Accept that what happened was wrong and explain how you will avoid this from happening in the future – Much like you would to your parents, or your teachers in school, make sure you tell Google how you will avoid these things happening in the future and how you will stay on the straight and narrow, they love that stuff!

It’s extremely important that you put as much effort and detail into both the auditing and the reconsideration request if you want your site to be included in the results again at the first attempt. So often we see lazy webmasters put half the effort in and wonder why it’s taking several attempts to get any movement.

If you take the time and follow these steps on your first attempt, you can make sure you site doesn’t stay in the dark for too long.

Is your site currently under a Google penalty that you cannot lift? Contact us today on 0161 928 8799 and let us help you!

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