If you’re reading this it’s likely you have suffered a Google manual penalty and are looking to fix it. I have some experience in this having suffered, and recovered from, such a penalty myself (you can read about it in my anatomy of a Google penalty). I’m guessing you’ve tried to fix some of the issues that caused the penalty and if so, here’s how to submit a Google reconsideration request.
Step 1 – Set up Google Search Console Account
In order to submit a reconsideration request to Google you’ll need to set up a Google Search Console account.
The Search Console gives you access to a whole bunch of useful tools to understand the health and performance of your website. You’ll find information about any problems on your site (including penalty details) as well as the keywords your site ranks for and in what position in Google’s search results.
Assuming you already have a Search Console account, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Step 2 – Fix The Issues Causing Your Manual Penalty
Check your Google Search Console Manual Actions report (you’ll need to select your domain).
Additionally, you can find the Manual Actions report from the Search Console navigation panel on the left-hand side of the page. You’ll see a section headed “Security & Manual Actions”.
If you drop open this tab, you’ll see the options “Manual actions” and “Security issues” (as per the image above) and click the Manual actions link
Both methods will take you to a page looking similar to this (depending upon the penalty you have):
The Manual actions view shows you the reason (or reasons) why you have a penalty and gives you examples. It doesn’t necessarily show you every single instance where the penalty occurs. However it provides you with a sample.
The reason you have a penalty could be any (or a combination) of the following:
- User-generated spam
- Spammy free host
- Structured data issue
- Unnatural links to your site
- Unnatural links from your site
- Thin content with little or no added value
- Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects
- Pure spam
- Cloaked images
- Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing
- AMP content mismatch
- Sneaky mobile redirects
You can read in more detail about what each of these are here: Google SEO Penalties
You must fix every instance of the issues that got you a penalty before submitting a request or Google will likely uphold it.
If you don’t fix them all you’ll have to go through the reconsideration process again. This is important because it means the penalty will remain on your pages (or domain) longer, suppressing your pages in the results until they’re fixed.
When you’re satisfied you’ve fixed the issues triggering the manual action, click the “REQUEST REVIEW” button to move into the actual reconsideration process.
Step 3 – Submitting the Google Reconsideration Request
At this point you’ll have to submit what Google determines to be a “good request”.
Google is explicit about what a good request is and tells us it must do three things:
- Explain the exact quality issue on your site.
- Describe the steps you’ve taken to fix the issue.
- Document the outcome of your efforts.
This is great since we know exactly what’s Google expects.
Google expects you to upload a text file (.txt) containing the details of your reconsideration request.
You should open up a text file and provide these details in the following way.
- Explain that you understand why you received the penalty and that you now realize it’s a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines… you mightn’t have realized before!
- Apologize and explain that you were given bad advice or that you didn’t understand that what you were doing was wrong.
- Describe in detail what you have done to fix the violation(s). This doesn’t mean you have to list every single URL, though you might provide a few examples. However you must provide specific information about the how and when of you implemented the fixes.
- Advise Google that you won’t violate their guidelines again and what processes you’ve put in place to make sure you don’t.
- Check and double check the information in your reconsideration text file to make sure it’s clear and without errors.
- Save the file!
When you are certain that you’ve fixed the violations and have saved a plain text file with your reconsideration details you’re ready..
Upload the file to the reconsideration request and submit it.
How Long Does a Reconsideration Request Take to Review?
Google advises it’ll take anything up to two weeks to review a reconsideration request.
In many cases the review period can be much shorter than this, but Google provides no guarantee on this… and why should they?
Google will send you a confirmation email that lets you know they have your request. They’ll send another when the review is complete.
You should not submit any further requests during this time and until you have confirmation your request has been reviewed.
Google Reconsideration Decisions
When your manual penalty has been reviewed you will receive either:
- Adjustment / Partial Revocation
If Google rejects it you’ll have to check your Manual Actions report again to see what the problems are and fix the ones listed. After and submit another reconsideration request.
If there has been an adjustment or partial revocation you’ll need to do the same thing. Check to see what the problem are in the manual actions report, fix and resubmit again.
If the reconsideration request is approved the penalty will be lifted from your site and you’ll see a friendly green tick in your manual actions report!
Google Reconsideration Summary
- You can submit a reconsideration request to Google for any manual penalty imposed in your site… however you must have a Google Search Console account to do so.
- Check the reasons why you have a manual penalty in the Search Console under the Manual Actions section.
- Fix the issues listed in the Manual Actions report.
- Submit a text file containing the details of your reconsideration request.
- Wait to hear from Google before submitting any other request for reconsideration.
That’s it for now.
If you’ve had a Google manual penalty and managed to get it revoked, please drop a comment and share your experiences.
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