• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Google Reconsideration Request Replies; a history

Posted by on in Forensic SEO
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 4508
  • 0 Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Originally I had wrote a post that covered both the history of the messages and a collection of replies to various reconsideration requests. It became quite evident that it was going to be a bit much for a single post, so this is part II of the series.

You can find Part I here;

Again, the goal here is really about keeping a running record of the various messages and replies from Google. Over time we can learn from them and hopefully help some folks when they get the urge to freak out.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Google-recon-replies.jpg

Unnatural Links Reconsideration Replies

This is the big daddy (pun intended) of all the known manual actions, so let's start there. One of the earlier one's I have in the collection is pre-2012 and reads;

Dear site owner or webmaster of [XXXXX],

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider [prospect's site] for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines. We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to comply with our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have additional questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

Them we started seeing some actual examples.... these generally would look like this;

Hello, thank you for your request.

We've reviewed your site and we believe that some or all of your pages still violate our quality guidelines, which can be found here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769#3 .

These guidelines outline illicit practices which may lead Google to take action on a site in order to keep webspam out of search results. In addition to this email, you may also receive a notification in Webmaster Tools regarding the outcome of your reconsideration request.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes. Here are a couple of articles describing these techniques:

Buying links to pass PageRank; http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66736

Link schemes; http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356

To illustrate how these articles could apply to you, here are examples of pages that contain inorganic links to your site:

(I have removed the LINKs, details on them below)

Link One

  • Directory site; Homepage TBPR5 – Indexation; 48k
  • Domain Backlinks; 12000
  • Actual page; indexed - TBPR0

Link Two

  • Directory site; Homepage TBPR8 – Indexation; 14k
  • Domain Backlinks; 3560
  • Actual page; indexed – TBPR0

To find more links to your site, you can download a list in Webmaster Tools by doing the following:

  1. Click on your site at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
  2. Click on 'Your site on the web' and then 'Links to your site.'
  3. Under 'Who links the most,' click 'More.'
  4. At the top of the page, click on 'Download more sample links.'

Please correct or remove all content that is outside our quality guidelines. You might consider reaching out to the webmasters of the sites with the inorganic links on them. For advice on how to go about contacting them, read http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=9109 .

Once you have updated your site, reply to this email noting the specific changes you made. Only after there has been a significant decrease in unnatural linking will we consider reviewing your reconsideration request again. If there are still links that you could not remove, we will look for an explanation of why you were unable to do so.

If you'd like more specific advice for your site, consider posting in our Webmaster Help Forum, where a community of webmasters may be able to help you. You can post to the Forum by visiting the following link:

Sincerely, The Google Search Quality Team

 

This was a telling part of the evolution and really the first time we'd seen actual example links. It should be noted that most of the sites highlighted in these, are indeed indexed and do have toolbar PageRank. So, don't go by those when cleaning up.

Another interesting part was the advice on cleaning things up. They advise using the links in Google Webmaster Tools, but they might not even be in there, according to this recent post from Barry Schwartz. – So be careful there as well.

The next step in the evolution we started to see these;

Thank you for your request.

We have received your updates and completed our investigation into your site's backlinks. At this time we are still seeing a significant number of inorganic links to this site and have taken action to prevent them from artificially inflating your site's ranking. Please note that we try to be granular in our actions as we focus on the inorganic links to your site, preserving organic recommendations.

Below you can find examples of back links that still violate our guidelines,

(I have removed the LINKs, details on them below)

Link One

  • Directory site; Homepage TBPR0 – Indexation 2400
  • Backlinks; 560
  • Actual page; indexed - TBPR0


Link Two

  • Crap site (blog?); Homepage TBPR3 – Indexation 720k
  • Backlinks; 27300
  • Actual page; not indexed TBPR0


Link Three

  • Directory; Homepage TBPR2 – Indexation 1530
  • Backlinks; 2590
  • Actual page; indexed - TBPR0

Link Four

  • Directory; Homepage TBPR3 – Indexation 25k
  • Backlinks; 515
  • Actual page; not indexed - TBPR1

Link Five

  • Directory; Homepage TBPR0 – Indexation 361k
  • Backlinks; 172
  • Actual page; not indexed – TBPR0

At this time, we have determined that no further actions are required on our end. We will need to see more progress on the removal of the inorganic links before any actions on those links are revoked.

Regardless of who created the links, in order to protect the quality of our search results, we have taken action to reduce the trust of inorganic links to your site. Webspam techniques such as link schemes attempt to trick our systems into ranking sites higher than they should, which can affect our ability to provide high-quality search results to our users. We take these webspam violations seriously.

In the meantime, we recommend that you continue to work on cleaning up the inorganic links to your site. As a reminder, if you'd like more specific advice for your site, consider posting in our Webmaster Help Forum, where a community of webmasters may be able to help you. You can post to the Forum by visiting the following link:

Sincerely, The Google Search Quality Team

Again, we're seeing some examples and the addition of, “Regardless of who created the links” and “we have taken action to reduce the trust of inorganic links to your site”. Also notable, was the removal of the advice to go through the list of links in webmaster tools.

Anyone noticing that they don't seem to like directories? Lol. Anyway, be sure to see our post on the updated link schemes page, there's some more telling link types in there as well.

General follow up responses

We have also documented a few of the various follow-up replies that Google has sent. These can include;

"Thank you for your request and all of the follow up analysis. We've reviewed your case again, and unfortunately there are still many inorganic links pointing to the site. For example:..."

Or

"Thank you for your follow up email and all of the information provided. The documentation you provided was very helpful in processing and understanding this case.

After re-evaluating your site's backlinks we are able to partially revoke a manual action. There are still inorganic links pointing to your site that we have taken action on. Once you've been able to make further progress in getting these links removed, feel free to reply to this email with the details of your clean-up effort" (source)

I have a working theory that the more times you have to try and get back in the good books, the more at risk you are of having some form of trust scoring go against the domain. Try and get it right the first time and avoid responses such as these.

 

On-site Web Spam

Ok sure, we're all used to seeing the unnatural links stuff, but there's more to it right? You read the first post in the series yea? Of course ya did. So let's take a look at some of the responses not related to the dreaded UL messages.

Dear site owner or webmaster of XXXXX,

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider XXXX for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

We've reviewed your site and we believe that some or all of your pages still violate our quality guidelines.

In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, pages from XXXX may not appear or may not rank as highly in Google's search results, or may otherwise be considered to be less trustworthy than sites which follow the quality guidelines.

If you wish to be reconsidered again, please correct or remove all pages that are outside our quality guidelines. When such changes have been made, please visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reconsideration?hl=en and resubmit your site for reconsideration.

If you have additional questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

My favourite part is the 'less trustworthy' bits as I am somewhat convinced there is a trust score element that plays into the dampening of a site under a manual spam action. The problem we used to have is that we really wouldn't have known if this was a 'thin content' or a 'pure spam' action. Fortunately with Google's new tool, this should be more apparent and the replies become more meaningful.

I really haven't seen a lot of other on-site responses, so if you know of any, please do track me down and share. I'll add them to the post.

Manual Action Revoked

And of course, the reply EVERYONE wants to see; you've been released from hell!! I would love to get a few more of these. If you have one, let me know.

Dear site ownder or webmaster of XXXXXXX

We recieved a request from a site owner to reconsider XXXX. for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

Previously the web spam 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 it's ranking without a manual action by the web spam 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 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 troubles in our search results, please see this article for help diagnosing the issue.

thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of our search results.

Sincerely, Google search quality team.

YAY!!! That's the one we all would love to see right?

 

No Manual Actions on the site

And of course there's the response when there's no actions being taken against the site. Some of these we've seen include;

Dear site owner or webmaster of XXXX,

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider XXX for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team.

Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. 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 you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search.

If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team"

Does this mean you're in the clear? Not entirely. You may have been hit by another algorithmic dampening such as the Google Penguin or Panda algorithms. Be sure to do a complete forensic work up to ensure that there aren't other issues in play.

So what's the point?

As I mentioned a few times along the way, I really just wanted to start documenting the various messages and responses we've seen from Google. I hope to eventually have a good repository that we can refer to to better understand what is needed to get the site in question out of the penalty box (eh).

I can't stress enough that one should never get mypoic over what is actually happening. We've seen many instances where the manual action wasn't the only thing affecting a site. Nothing takes the place of proper due-diligence.

If you have an example we've not noted, please do get in touch and let me know so I can add it. Thanks.

Until next time; play safe.

Added August 08 2014; I finally started to formally offer forensic SEO services. If you need help, feel free to get in touch.

Hi my name is Dave and I, am an algo-holic


I am an avid search geek that spends most of his time reading about and playing with search engines. My main passion has always been about the technical side of things from a strong perspective rooted in IR and related technologies.


Also hook up via

Comments

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Thursday, 21 September 2017

Search

Follow Us

Recent Comments

#logicbombs
Steve
That's kinda what I was starting to think Frank... that the effects they were seeing are somewhat QD...
Clicks can have a very temporal impact on rankings - at least 18 months ago - recently it does not s...
Frank Watson
I'm still listening to the podcast. I'm adding schema to PDP pages to keep Google Merchant Center p...
Anne Haynes
I listened to the disavow file podcast today. Even without automated bad link tools, you can still s...
Anne Haynes
Go to top