Google Reconsideration Requests are still something that is up for somewhat of a debate in the SEO community. Google doesn’t necessarily give us a lot of direction when it comes to submitting a reconsideration request, so there is lots of room for interpretation. Before you move forward with any of the steps below, you are going to want to be sure that your site is in compliance with Google’s Quality Guidelines.

If you have received a manual penalty and received a manual penalty through your webmaster tools account, you are going to need to take physical action to improve your links. This is most likely because you have either participated in paid links, comment spam or other unnatural link building tactics. Before you can submit your request, you are going to need to remove your bad backlinks and prove to Google that you have made a substantial effort to clean up your link profile as well as prepare your disavow.txt file. If you are not sure how to do this, you can learn how on our resource page outlining how to remove bad links on your site.

Do You Need to File A Reconsideration Request?

Not everyone will need to file a reconsideration request. In order to find out if you need to fill out a reconsideration request, you are going to first need to check if you got a message in Google Webmaster Tools. To make things extremely confusing, Google has been known to send out link warnings to people wither randomly and may not require any action on your behalf. Here is an example of what that message looks like:

Webmaster Tools Warning Message

Some things to note about the above message that tells you it is not the one that requires any action:

There is no caution sign in the subject line
If you do not see a drastic drop in traffic
You don’t have any low quality links that you know of linking to you

However, if you get a message that looks like the following, you do need to file a reconsideration request:

Webmaster Tools Link WarningIf you got the message above, you will notice the following:

A yellow caution sign
A drastic drop in traffic to your site or rankings
You will probably notice low quality links pointing to your site

How To File A Reconsideration Request

You are going to have to prove to Google that you have really been doing the best that you can in order to clean up your SEO. You won’t have a 100% success rate removing all of your links, but Google just wants to know that you have done your best and that you are being sincere. The most important part about this process is to have physical proof. It is one thing to say that you contacted 2,000 webmasters in your email, but that isn’t going to be sufficient. You are going to want to keep track of your work in a Google Doc that will have everything documented and will be believable to a Google Employee. Once you have everything documented and even conversations with site owners as proof, you can get ready to write your reconsideration email.

Before we start begging to a Google Employee, let’s take some of the following into consideration about what we want to include. Matt Cutts gives us a brief overview in this video below that can give us a foundation for our reconsideration request:

As explained in the video, the primary thing that you will want to convey is that not only have you stopped doing things that are against the quality guidelines, but that you have done as much as possible to reverse your past actions. Here are some items that Matt suggests that we include:

  • Details of sites that you contacted and include emails as proof
  • Details about any link networks that were used
  • Information about a SEO company that was used
  • Changes that were made to assure that the behavior doesn’t happen again
  • Links to Google docs since Google Employees will be hesitant to visit unknown links
  • As much detail or information as possible in the reconsideration request as possible

It is a tough thing to do, but basically Google is asking us to admit that we have made a mistake and that we are doing our best to resolve our actions. Unfortunately, this is a fantastic opportunity to pawn this off on your SEO company if you had one and note that they participated in aggressive link building tactics that got you in your position and you were unaware of the link building that was going on. When you write your reconsideration email, you are going to want to be sure that you have a pleasant tone and that you aren’t coming across as rude or angry. Keep in mind that the person reading your email is an employee and if you are disrespectful in your email, they might not be as willing to help you. Taking all of this into account, you are ready to write your email. Here is an example email to help get you going:

Google Reconsideration Request Example

Dear Google Webspam Team Member,
Thank you for your help and reviewing our request. Recently, our site was given a manual penalty for having unnatural links. When we received the penalty, we contacted our SEO company (insert name of company) and asked for a full list of tactics that were being used. As it turns out, they were purchasing paid links as well as creating comment spam with links to our site. We were unaware of the tactics that were going on and as a result, have left the company.

We have been working diligently to remove as many of the links that were created on our behalf and have taken full responsibility. Over the last couple of months, we have been in contact with various webmasters that own the sites that our links were placed on. The following Google Doc outlines the communication that we had with all of the site owners that we were able to reach. For any of the sites that we were unable to get in contact with, we have submitted a disavow.txt file to hopefully disavow the links that we were unable to remove.

(Link to Google Doc with website URL, Names, Emails and communication.)

We have worked really hard to ensure that we are in compliance with the Google Webmaster Guidelines and are committed to makings sure that our marketing efforts in the future are always in compliance with the Guidelines. An internal process has also been put in place to make sure that this does not happen again.

Sincerely,

(Name)

Once you submit the request, it has been known to take a little bit of time for your request to be reviewed and responded to. If your site did not receive a manual action, then you will receive an automated response that no spam was found on your site. If you did receive a manual action, you usually will receive a response in about two to three weeks. Some webmasters though have reported it taking up to about six weeks in some cases.