So your website has been de-listed or penalized by Google because you or your agency were not following white hat SEO best practices. You’re losing money; you don’t know why Google would do such a horrible thing to your website. The time has come to submit a reconsideration request to Google to explain your situation.
Below you will find the 7 step process we take when creating a reconsideration request for businesses who have come to us in a frenzy because something horrible has happened to their business. Only submit the reconsideration request after you take action to fix the issues with your site.
Step 1: Research, Research, Research
Google quality guidelines include violations such as cloaking, link schemes, hidden links or text, keyword stuffing, creating multiple domains or subdomains with the same content, creating pages that contain programs with malicious behavior, doorway pages, and duplicate content due to affiliate programs.
- The first step is to do a complete SEO audit of your website. This includes doing a complete technical, link, and content analysis to ensure the site does not violate any Google quality guidelines.
- Then, dig into your analytics data to find what day and time the drop happened, what pages or site sections were affected, and if it’s isolated to only Google, or if all search engines dropped.
- You should also check your referring keywords in Google Webmaster Tools to determine if someone has hacked your site and placed hidden text or links on your website – you will start to see off-topic keywords in the data.
Step 2: Tell Google Why Your Site Exists
This overview should include what you do, who you’re owned by, the purpose and overall mission of the website, and the goal of the website for a user.
Step 3: What Happened
This part of the reconsideration request is where you will utilize the research you had done and explain what happened. You will need to go into depth within this section, so I would suggest taking your time when doing the research, so you are able and paint a complete picture of the website as you see it.
Step 4: Be Honest – Google Has Heard Every Excuse In The Book
Growing up, we are taught that honesty is the best policy and that although it may hurt upfront, to tell the truth, in the long run, it will all work out for the best. This holds true for writing your reconsideration request as well. I feel comfortable in saying that 85-90% of the time, if you do your research, read over the webmaster quality guidelines, and think back to marketing programs you have done for the site over the last few months, you will be able to come up with a few things that might not have been pearly white. I would also say that you don’t need to get real granular with this to the point of writing a 2 page paper about every link or every change you made to the website. But I would recommend coming clean if you have taken part in anything that you feel violated the quality guidelines.
Step 5: Conclusion
You’ve explained the situation, confessed to any wrongdoings, fixed the issues you found during your research, and is now ready to conclude this reconsideration request.
If you are sure you’ve fixed everything, I would conclude the body of the reconsideration request by saying something like
We’ve gone over the Google Webmaster Guidelines and can’t find any violations. If there is still something that we are not seeing please let us know.
Step 6: Give it your John Hancock.
Sign your name, title, and website at the bottom. Don’t sign some fake name at the bottom of the reconsideration request or be deceptive – reconsideration requests require complete honesty and transparency.
Step 7: Make It Official
Go to the Google reconsideration request webpage and send it to Google.
In most cases, the only response you will receive from Google will something like:
We’ve received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site: yoursite.com
We’ll review the site. If we find that it’s no longer in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines, we’ll reconsider our indexing of the site. Please allow several weeks for the reconsideration request. We do review all requests, but unfortunately we can’t reply individually to each request.
You will probably also receive an email from them when they have reviewed your request, usually saying:
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site: yoursite.com.
We’ve now reviewed your site. When we review a site, we check to see if it’s in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. If we don’t find any problems, we’ll reconsider our indexing of your site. If your site still doesn’t appear in our search results, check our Help Center for steps you can take.
We have helped many websites through this process, so if you’d like us to review your reconsideration request and provide consulting through this difficult time, please let us know, and we will be glad to help you out.
If you don’t get a response, you might think you need to submit again ASAP or be wondering how long you have to wait to submit another reconsideration request? Google says to wait at least 2 weeks prior to submitting a second request for review.
Removing links takes time. Due to the large volume of requests we receive, and to give you a better chance of your next reconsideration request being successful, we won’t review another request from this site for a few weeks from now. We recommend that you take the necessary time to remove unnatural backlinks to your site, and then file another reconsideration request. – Google