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Link Penalty Remediation (5/5)

File your Reconsideration Request

Back to: 4. Prepare and Send your Takedown Requests

Google Logo under a Magnifying Glass

Google Logo under a Magnifying GlassThere is an art to writing a successful reconsideration request. Make it too brief and you’re dismissed as not committed enough. Ramble on too long and Google’s manual action reviewers get bored or - worse - annoyed.

And because Google's Manual Action Review Process is 100% opaque, it takes a considerable amount of trial and error to arrive at a reliable Link Penalty Remediation process flow. Few people - if any - will be able to lift a manual link action on their first-ever attempt.

"Google is deliberately close-lipped about the reconsideration process, because the responsibility for fixing the situation is squarely on you, as the offender. You're supposed to study the webmaster guidelines and set things straight without any help from the search giant."

Experience Matters...

In 2014, one of Armament's team members was contacted by a major cloud services provider facing three separate manual actions for "Unnatural Inbound Links" to three of their websites. Having already tried cleaning up link profiles totalling almost six million and filed six unsuccessful Google reconsideration requests for each penalty instance, the company's stakeholders were desperate to get the manual action revoked.

Using the methods detailed in this strategy guide, our specialist lifted all three penalties simultaneously, on the first request.

A Reconsideration Request makes Four VERY Distinct Declarations:

  1. You understand completely why Google threw the Book at you
    It helps if you’re able to quote from the relevant section of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, about exactly what caused Google to level the Manual Action against your website in the first place.
     
  2. You have done your Very Best to Remedy the Situation
    Go into detail about the lengths you went to in order to correct the guideline infractions. If you’ve taken any measures to educate your inhouse personnel about Google’s webmaster guidelines, you should also mention this fact.
     
  3. You can Document your Remedial Actions in Detail
    Provide links to the Google Sheets you compiled earlier in the process.
     
    Pro-Tip: Be sure to change the share settings on your Google Sheets so they’re viewable by anyone with the link.
     
  4. You Assert that your online business has Turned a Corner and that you will not Reoffend
    As corny as it sounds, finish your reconsideration request with a brief statement letting the Google review team know that you’ll stay inline with the webmaster guidelines from now on.
     

Choose your Words Carefully

Choose your Words Carefully

Choose your Words CarefullyOne thing which your reconsideration request should under no circumstances include is any part which could be construed as bribery or coercion by the reviewers dealing with your case. Statements like “I’m going to send you cookies/whisky/money/whatever.” or ”If you don’t reinstate my site I’m going to do something I won’t regret later.” are strictly frowned upon by the review team, which hates bribes and intimidation, and prizes nothing more than its privacy.

And because the folks in the team want to remain anonymous, they will also ignore any link to documentation that is not part of the Google ecosystem, because they can't tell if they're being traced. Again, such links are at best ignored and at worst frowned upon.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

A Standard Reconsideration Request:

Dear Google Review Team

I would like to request that Google reconsiders its manual action against [Insert your URL], following [Insert time span] of hard work, analysis, and link removal.

BACKGROUND:

Optional - This Part is only applicable if an outside agency got you into your present predicament.

In [Insert Date and Company Name] contracted a [Insert where the agency is based] SEO agency called [Insert agency name] to promote our brand online. The agency advised us that [Insert whatever it was the agency told you was necessary].

If you got yourself into this mess, start your background as follows:

Starting in [Insert date] we engaged in an [Insert what it was you did - forum link drops, comment spam, junk articles, guest posting, etc. Be as detailed as necessary but don’t ramble] to promote our website in Google’s search rankings. These actions ultimately resulted in a manual action being issued against our domain by Google.

After studying Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, we now understand that our actions were in direct violation of [Cite the specific section your link building tactics violated, including a link to that section, so the team knows you’ve read the guidelines]. We have done our best to remedy the guideline infractions and to bring the sites’ standing back into harmony with Google’s Quality Guidelines.

ACTIONS TAKEN:

All link-building schemes ceased immediately as of [Insert date].Since then we have taken measures to remove as many low-quality and toxic backlinks to [Insert domain name].

While getting the site ready for this reconsideration request we have assessed [Insert number] of links found in Search Console and an external link tool, for their naturalness and relevance, and have endeavored to delete any link which could be considered an attempt to manipulate Google’s search algorithms. A schedule of link removal efforts can be found within the following Google Sheet:

[Insert link to Google Sheet]

Those links we have been unable to remove are now contained within a link disavow file, uploaded through the Search Console interface.

[Insert link to Google Sheet]

Steps have also been taken to educate our staff about common Google Webmaster Guideline infractions. These steps include studying Google’s documentation and videos, at:

[Insert 2 - 4 links to relevant videos and documentation]

Further, we are working to increase the site’s overall relevance and thus naturally attract high-quality links. During the past [Insert time frame] our company has undertaken major steps to address its past wrongdoings, and made every effort to clean up all unnatural external links to our website. We have also made a firm commitment to adhere to Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, and will no longer engage in any activity perceived as unethical by Google.

Thank you for your attention.

[Your Name]

That’s it. Be Patient.

YOU'RE DONE! Depending on how busy the reconsideration team is when you file your request, it can take up to a couple of weeks to get a response. And if you’ve done your job properly, that response will be an “All Clear”... eventually.

Good Luck.

But... Just in case you're NOT the luckiest person alive

Work Signs: Failure is Success in Progress

Work Signs: Failure is Success in ProgressYou will need to reexamine your site’s link profile for anything you may have been too lenient on. Link auditing is a subjective undertaking when you first start out. It takes a lot of experience to become fully versed in reliably detecting Google Guideline violations.

If you do need to prepare a second request, open a Gmail account and verify your takedown business email address so you send your takedown requests through Gmail, but with your company email address. Then, when you file your second reconsideration request, include the access credentials to this account with your documentation. This enables the review team to check the validity of your takedown email schedule "internally" without having to leave Google's systems and exposing themselves to being tracked.

The major drawback (for you) of using Gmail to send masses of link takedown requests, is that you have to send each individual takedown request email individually, without being able to use templates/mail-merge and only hit SEND once.

Once again, Good Luck.

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