The reconsideration request is a very important part of your response to any Google Webmaster Tools message concerning a manual penalty, and it needs to be handled in the proper manner. You will want to document any action you’ve taken when responding to a GWT message in hopes for a Google penalty reconsideration request. Keep in mind that a Google reconsideration request is only intended for manual penalties like the unnatural link penalty.
Do not submit a Google unnatural links reconsideration request until you have taken as many actions and attempts possible to remove the unnatural links. Although it’s very tempting to submit the request as soon as you noticed your site took a hit, but this will be waste of time and it can actually hinder your efforts and lower your chances.
Three key elements of a Google unnatural link reconsideration request:
Explain that you’ve done an excellent job of understanding Google’s best practices on submitting an appropriate reconsideration request.
Prove that you have done everything in your power to remove the unnatural links, including examples of removal requests, emails with follow ups, screenshots, and a detailed list of the links that have already been removed.
An update that all of your sites current promotional activities are within Google’s quality guidelines and best practices.
Here are a few more tips to help you write a good reconsideration request template.
Prepare your site for Google Reconsideration Request
If you have received a manual penalty, it’s time to take some sort of action. If it was an unnatural link penalty you received, then you will need to identify those unnatural links, take steps towards removing them, and then disavow the ones you can’t manually remove.
The main thing to do is to make your best effort to make your website more inline with Google’s quality guidelines before filing your request for reconsideration.
Show Google that you should be reconsidered
Show Google proof that you have spent weeks or months trying to remove links, because it’s easy to say that you’ve been doing this but it’s better to show proof of this. It’s been said by Matt Cutts that creating a Google Doc of these actions is best because Google employees won’t open an external file due to the risk of catching malware.
It’s crucial to be as thorough when documenting this process and any other emails sent or received, and a great idea is to take screen captures of contact forms being filled out. Not supplying enough credible evidence could have your Google reconsideration request denied.
Make it Clear You’re Now Committed to Following the Rules
In most cases, if you can prove your efforts at mitigating your site of those unwanted and unnatural links, then this is considered a sign of good faith.
Google Reconsideration Request Example
Here’s an example of a reconsideration request template that has worked well for me in the past:
Dear Google Webspam team member,
Thank you for taking the time to read our request. Our site was recently given a penalty for unnatural links. In reviewing our links, we now see that we have tried to manipulate the search results by using links containing anchor text from syndicated articles. We also purchased links from [company name]. Although these actions were taken by our SEO Company, [insert name], we take full responsibility for their work. We no longer employ this company.
We have worked hard over the last few months to remove as many of these links as possible. We have contacted webmasters using their email address available on the site, their whois address and also via contact forms where available. This spreadsheet shows all of our links and what efforts we have taken for removal:
[link to Google Spreadsheet. IMPORTANT – Make sure you change the privacy settings on the Google Doc so that anyone with the link can see it]
This document shows the original source code of each of the emails that we have sent to webmasters:
And this document shows screenshots of contact forms that we have filled out.
We have submitted a disavow.txt file to ask Google to disavow the unnatural links that we were unable to remove.
Thank you again for reading this request. We have worked hard to resolve the quality issues on our site and are completely committed to following the Quality Guidelines from this point on.
Google Reconsideration Request Success
If everything goes to plan and your reconsideration request is approved, you should see something similar to the following example message.
Reconsideration request for http://www.example.com/: Manual spam action revoked
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.example.com,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider http://www.abc.com/ for compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Previously the webspam team had taken manual action on your site because we believed it violated our quality guidelines. After reviewing your reconsideration request, we have revoked this manual action. It may take some time before our indexing and ranking systems are updated to reflect the new status of your site.
Of course, there may be other issues with your site that could affect its ranking without a manual action by the webspam team. Google’s computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users. If your site continues to have trouble in our search results, please see this article for help with diagnosing the issue.
Thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of our search results.
Google Search Quality Team
How Long will it take to be reconsidered by Google?
Once you have filed your reconsideration request, it then gets read by a webspam team member. In the following video, Matt Cutts explains that if you are having a manual action taken on your site then yes, your request will actually be read by a human being.
Typically a the response time in most cases has been anywhere from 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks, and in some rare cases up to 2 months.