How To Write a Reconsideration Request For Google

Jan 9th, 2014

This content was updated in January 2024.

For site owners, being hit with a penalty from Google can be a dreaded nightmare. Over the years, Google has released many core updates to its systems, improving the way content is presented in search results. Some of these updates reward sites that are doing everything right, whereas others punish those who haven’t been following quality guidelines.

Important to note: Drops in rankings seen off the back of recent core updates usually aren’t to do with a penalty. You can find out if you have been given a penalty in Google Search Console (GSC).

If you’ve received such a penalty, it could be as a result of a number of things – thin content, for example, or spammy links. It could even be a combination of poor habits. Whatever the case, the message in GSC should let you know why you’ve been penalised. It doesn’t matter whether it was something you were unaware you were doing, or something a third party implemented without your consent. A penalty is a penalty – but there is a light at the end of the tunnel which comes in the form of the reconsideration request.

What is a reconsideration request?

When Google imposes penalties, also known as manual actions, on a site, it does so with the intention of encouraging you and other site owners to improve. That means that a penalty is not necessarily for life – although it’s probably not just for Christmas, either.

If you’ve received a penalty, you should work to rectify whatever the problem was. Once you’ve done that, you have the opportunity to contact Google, show them your hard work and ask them to remove the penalty now that you’ve cleaned up your act. You do this by submitting a reconsideration request.

Unfortunately, nothing in life is guaranteed. Submitting a reconsideration request doesn’t mean that your penalty will be automatically lifted – but it does prompt Google to review your case. This means that if you are successful in overturning the penalty, it might take less time than it would if you simply waited for Google to notice your hard work without flagging it to them.

How to do a reconsideration request

In GSC, the message that lets you know your site has received a manual action will sit alongside the button you press to submit your reconsideration request. However, this shouldn’t be done lightly. The more requests and rejections you get through, the longer it will take to resolve the issue, so make sure you’ve fixed all the problems before you submit a request.

It also pays to make sure you’ve included all the right information within your request. Below are a few things you can do to get your penalty removed.

1. Fix all the issues on your site

In order to get the penalty removed, you’ll need to make sure you’re no longer doing whatever it was that you were punished for, as well as retroactively correcting previous violations. Google will show you a sample of URLs that are affected, but it’s up to you to scour your whole site and make sure they’re all up to scratch.

 2. Supply information about the founders

Something that has become increasingly important to Google over recent years is helpful content, underpinned by E-E-A-T guidelines. What this means is that it can only be a good thing to prove you and your business’s expertise within your industry or niche, and a great way to do this is to highlight your professional qualifications and experience.

While supplying a link to your LinkedIn profile is one way of doing this, we recommend typing out the information within your request as well. This way, the details are there even if the link breaks or is missed for whatever reason.

We’re not saying that you’ll automatically have a better chance of getting your manual action overturned if you can demonstrate your expertise, but it can’t hurt – particularly if the issue was related to content quality.

3. Describe how your site adds value

Even if you are highly qualified within your field and have plenty of experience, the chances are your site is one of many that fulfil that criteria. Explaining what sets your site apart from competitors may help to persuade Google that it’s your content that should be ranking, not theirs. Of course, you must also have content and pages that inherently deserve to rank to back up your claims.

4. Detail your efforts to improve your site

This is the most important section of your reconsideration request, and it should also be the most detailed. The whole point of the request is to show Google that you’ve changed your ways and are fully compliant with up-to-date guidelines, so you need to provide the evidence.

Here, you should go into detail about everything you’ve done to rectify the issues that got you the manual action in the first place. While it might seem like overkill to list every URL you’ve worked on and what you’ve done, this can help to illustrate to Google that you’ve really put in the work to resolve the issue. Remember, don’t just list the URLs you’ve made amends to, but also what those amends were. Google wants to know you’ve learned your lesson, so tell them what you’ve changed and what you’ll do going forward. For example, you might detail your method for removing spammy links if that was the initial problem.

Notably, if you’ve hired an SEO consultant or agency to help you remove the manual action, this is the perfect place to let Google know that. This will show you’re working on the problem. Contact details may also be helpful here so that Google can check the agency or consultant is real and not just something you’ve made up to make it look as though you’ve worked on the issues.

Finally, if you have any data from Google Analytics or other tools which supports your case, it may help to include that as well. If you need extra room to detail your penalty-removing efforts, add a link to a Google Doc or Google Sheet within your request and fill it in with all your supplementary information.

How long does a Google reconsideration request take?

Although you’re probably very eager to hear back from Google on whether or not your reconsideration request was successful, it’s worth remembering that it can take anything from a few days to a few weeks to get a reply.

No news isn’t necessarily good news, but it doesn’t mean you’ve been forgotten about either. Whatever the outcome of your reconsideration request, you will receive a message to let you know. This will come to your GSC account just like the manual action did, and you should also receive an email to the address associated with the account. Don’t resubmit your request until you hear either way, as it won’t speed things up.

The wording of reconsideration request replies can sometimes be a little confusing – but don’t worry. If you’re at all uncertain about whether your request was accepted or denied, just go back into your GSC account to the place where your manual action used to be. If the penalty has been lifted, it will no longer show.

Remember, the removal of the manual action doesn’t always mean instant recovery from the effects on your traffic and visibility. Sometimes it can be quick, whereas other times it can take weeks or months. But so long as the manual action has been removed from GSC, you can assure yourself that your site is on the road to recovery.

Getting rid of a Google penalty isn’t quick, but it’s well worth doing. Until the manual action is lifted, your site will continue to be impacted in those key metrics we mentioned, which can have a detrimental effect on your site’s conversion rates and ultimately your revenue. Taking the time to prepare your reconsideration request as described above and get it right the first time can help to get your site back on track as soon as possible.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin Youtube