Google Reconsideration Requests Documentation Adds Step-By-Step Instructions, Examples & More

Feb 4, 2015 • 8:37 am | comments (3) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster ToolsGoogle announced quietly on Google+ that they've revamped the reconsideration request documentation in the Google Webmaster help center, to make it easier for those to understand and use.

They have added step-by-step instructions on how to submit a reconsideration request, they explained the process of what happens before, during and after the reconsideration request, they explain what they are looking for from you in your reconsideration request and discuss some examples of common issues that arise when a reconsideration request may be rejected or fail.

Here is the step-by-step process they documented:

  1. Sign into your Webmaster Tools account.
  2. Verify all versions of your site to ensure you have complete and accurate data.
  3. Visit the Manual Actions section to see if Google has taken any actions on your site.
  4. Fix issues on your site as described by the manual action.
  5. Review Security Issues in Webmaster Tools for other possible issues with your site.
  6. Click on 'Request a review' to ask Google to reconsider your site.

Here is the process:

  1. You receive a manual action notification and fix the issues mentioned. 
  2. You document your reconsideration request (see documentation tips below).
  3. You address any additional issues (see common mistakes below).
  4. You submit the reconsideration request in Webmaster Tools.
  5. You receive an acknowledgement from Google (it may take a few days for your request to be processed).
  6. Your request is either rejected or approved. 
This is what they expect from a good reconsideration request:
  1. Explains the exact quality issue on your site.
  2. Describes the steps you’ve taken to fix the issue.
  3. Documents the outcome of your efforts. 
They even have a section for cleaning up your links:
  • Manipulation of backlinks: Provide a list of links you have taken action on. You should make good-faith effort to remove backlinks before using the disavow tool. It can also be helpful to document the effort involved in removing those links. Simply disavowing all backlinks without attempting to remove them might lead to rejection of your request.
  • Selling links on your site: Provide examples of pages where you added nofollow attributes to the violating links or removed the links altogether. When you receive examples of violating links, make sure you extrapolate that information to fix similar links on your site.
  • Thin or scraped content: Provide examples of bad content you removed and good content that you added. 
  • Purchased domain: If you recently purchased a domain that you think has violated our guidelines before you owned it, use the reconsideration request form to let us know that you recently acquired the site and that it now adheres to the guidelines.
Then they go into common issues with using the disavow file tool, not properly cleaning up your hacked content and sites they do not accept for reconsideration requests from blank sites, parked domains or sites that do not load.

This improved documentation is actually very solid but I suspect webmasters will chew it up and find a ton of things to spit back out at Google. They have already started to do so on Google+.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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