Confirmed: Google Position 6 Penalty Being Reversed

Jan 29, 2008 • 6:50 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

We now have official confirmation that the Google position 6 penalty is now being reversed.

Sebastian commented to let me know that Matt Cutts of Google has confirmed at Sphinn that whatever was causing quality sites to be moved down to the 6th position in the Google search results, is now being reversed. Matt said:

When Barry asked me about "position 6" in late December, I said that I didn't know of anything that would cause that. But about a week or so after that, my attention was brought to something that could exhibit that behavior. We're in the process of changing the behavior; I think the change is live at some datacenters already and will be live at most data centers in the next few weeks.

In general if you think a site might have a penalty (perhaps from past behavior) and you think the site is clean presently, you can do a reconsideration request in our webmaster console to ask Google to take another look at the site.

I just love it when the SEO community's communication helps Google notice these things and make changes based on our feedback. I should really go back and document each and every time Google has made changes based on SEO community feedback.

In any event, if you were impacted by this penalty - you don't have to do anything, as I thought. Just wait it out and Google should take care of the issue on their side.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Sphinn.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: January 28, 2008


Michael Martinez

01/29/2008 06:15 pm

Well, when you first reported on this topic I was skeptical and it appears that my skepticism was misplaced this time. But I'm glad to see it was neither intentional nor permanent by design. I won't say it was a "good call" on anyone's part, but obviously the weight of consensus helped the facts come to light. Sharing the consensus was the right thing to do despite the skeptics' resistance to the idea.

Barry Schwartz

01/29/2008 06:52 pm

Love you Mike. :)

Carsten Cumbrowski

01/29/2008 09:20 pm

It's now the second or third time that I hear Matt saying "Oh yeah, we fixed it, it should be fine by X, if not, use the re inclusion request form" The form seems to be the medium of choice for Google where webmasters can submit to, if they got penalized for one reason or another and also rightfully or not. I would suggest to change the wording of the form a little bit. I copied and pasted it into my comment below. Why would somebody submit a form like this, if your site got penalized in error, without you doing anything wrong, unethical or anything that violates the Google webmaster guidelines? Can that form submission later be used against the webmaster.. "Hey, our records show that you did admit on mm/dd/yyyy that there was something not alright with your site and that you brought it in order again, after we penalized you." I hope I am not the only one who hates to acknowledge that I did something wrong, without actually doing it. "Hey, sign this waiver and just note in the comment box down below that you actually want to complain about an error we have made, we will sort it out, trust us." Okay, here comes the form text..... By submitting this form, I acknowledge that: 1. This site no longer violates Google's quality guidelines. 2. I have read and agree to abide by Google's quality guidelines. Tell us more about what happened: what actions might have led to any penalties, and what corrective actions have been taken. If you used a search engine optimization (SEO) company, please note that. Describing the SEO firm and their actions is a helpful indication of good faith that may assist in evaluation of reconsideration requests. If you recently acquired this domain and think it may have violated the guidelines before you owned it, let us know that below. In general, sites that directly profit from traffic (e.g. search engine optimizers, affiliate programs, etc.) may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reconsidered.

Michael Martinez

01/29/2008 10:06 pm

"By submitting this form, I acknowledge that: 1. This site no longer violates Google's quality guidelines. 2. I have read and agree to abide by Google's quality guidelines." That doesn't work for me. Having never filed a reinclusion request, I hope I never have to. But if I did find myself confronting that kind of language, I'd just 301 redirect the old domain to something new rather than sign my name to something like that.

Sam I Am

01/29/2008 10:21 pm

I'm with you Carsten. I've filled it in a few times to make sure their manual reviewers weren't having one on the job.... but never broken any of G's guidelines and don't really feel the text applies at all. Maybe there should be a point 3. 3. As far as I know Google has fixed the mistakes in its algo as confirmed by MC on random seo blog here. I realize it will take a long time for G to sort this out algorythmically and give me my ranking back so I'm using this kickstart option. Then again, that might get abused by 'spammers' like Dazzlin Donna, right? :)

Lea de Groot

01/30/2008 01:01 am

or a simple rewording: 1. This site does not violate Google's quality guidelines. Particularly if Matt is now actually telling people to submit a reinclusion request when Google blew it. (I hadn't noticed him doing that before)

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