Are You Giving Google The Reconsideration Information They Want?

by Alex Graves
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency
See Dave Speak SMX London

Following the countless updates and warning messages that Google have sent out over the past 12 months, there have been a large number of website owners that have found themselves being placed under penalisation for actions that Google believe have violated their guidelines, resulting in the need to begin a large analysis and rework of their website, from anything to do with the way that they are displaying content to how they have acquired links, followed by the need to submit a Google re-inclusion request.

A reconsideration request is an electronic version of a plea being made by the website owner to Google, designed to give you the chance to admit to your sins and prove to them that you have seen the error of your ways, a virtual begging platform if you like.

We have seen first-hand that convincing Google that you have cleaned up your site is not the easiest of tasks, but the clarity of what Google expect you to declare within your request has never really been publicised, until now.

A newly uploaded Webmaster Tools video which features Google Web Spam leader Matt Cutts has now opened the mystery up following a question that was submitted to him by Benson Senator from Pittsburgh, PA.

Senator asked "Could you give details on what should be included in a proper reconsideration request?"

Cutts then goes on to address the question in this video, however we thought that we would give you a breakdown of what Google want to see, so that if you need it breaking down a little more than how Cutts does within the video, we are there to lend a hand.

What details do you need to give to Google when you make your reconsideration request?

In the video, Cutts lists a number of things that Google would like to see included within your request and points out that the main reason that you are submitting the request is to show Google that not only have you understood that the actions were taken against your site but also that you have worked to rectify the issues that have been highlighted and that they won't happen again.

From the video we have been able to take five clear points that you need to think about when building your reconsideration request for submission and we strongly advise that you look to offer information that addresses each before entering the processing queue, otherwise you could be in for a timely wait only to find out that you haven't done enough.

  • Tell Google that you have understood that they have seen something that they believe to have violated their guidelines and tell them that you have now stopped doing whatever the issue may be, such as cloaking, spamming or link buying.
  • Assure Google that the infringement won't happen again and mean it, they know that there will be website owners out there that will be looking to recover from their penalty and will resume their old habits, breaking the guidelines again as soon as they are seeing their site recovering, so you need to be sure that you are convincing in your explanation.
  • Cutts said in the video that you should ensure that all of the information within your reconsideration request creates a "clear and compelling case", which basically boils down to the fact that they want you to prove that you have realised that you have been doing wrong and show them why it won't happen again.
  • Give Google as much detail about the infringement as possible, handing over any information about the networks of sites that you might have used if you were caught link buying or explain fully about any actions that have been completed for you by third parties. In the video, Matt Cutts says that you should look to give information on any SEO services that you might have had completed, this is not mandatory and obviously we would advise against it, but the choice is yours as to the decision to name them or not. Cutts points out that he was speaking with a larger business that admitted that the violation was as a result of in-house processes and he was clearly impressed that the business were now putting new training in place to prevent the issues happening again.
  • Provide any further information that can't be explained on the reconsideration form by linking to a Google Docs or Google Spreadsheet, which would allow you to include proofs of emails sent to owners of sites that you have bought links on as well as giving you the chance to be able to show other evidence that the form simply won't allow, but make sure that you do this through Google owned properties as Cutts explains that the reviewers are cautious over the clicking of external links due to malware threats, that includes files on your own site!

If you have previously received a negative response from your request but feel that you have done all that has been outlined above, take time to revisit what you provided within your reconsideration request and ask yourself did you provide enough reason for Google to believe that you have seen the mistakes that you have made and provided enough evidence that you are now ‘enlightened' and won't violate their guidelines again.

You can listen to the information as told by Matt Cutts below:

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