So, after being hit by penalty by Google, you’ve held your hands up and admitted your SEO sins, reaffirmed a commitment to be better behaved in future and stressed you’ll never engage in black hat techniques ever again. Yet the search engine gods are cruel and will not accept your apologies, even after the painstaking task of removing all the bad links you’ve accrued over the years.
If you’ve unsuccessfully sent reconsideration requests to Google in the past and your search rankings are still suffering, you’ll probably be wondering why you’ve been forsaken by the search engine. Here are seven of the most common reasons for failed reconsideration requests – which will hopefully help you submit a successful request next time around.
Single Source Link Data
Google have repeatedly stressed the importance of submitting link data from numerous trusted sources and not just Google’s own Webmaster Tools. Other tools which Google will accept link data from include:
The more comprehensive the submitted data, the greater the chance of reconsideration success.
Holes in the History
It is important to include as much relevant information as possible, not just information from the time of the penalty. Sieve through the history of the website and all related SEO campaigns to find the information which can shine a light on why the penalty was incurred – helping Google’s reconsideration team understand the process in greater clarity. Additionally, an in-depth detailing of your site’s history demonstrates your commitment to resolving the penalty.
If you have worked on an SEO campaign for years, carefully building links relevant to the best marketing practices of the times – it can be galling to suddenly remove all these links and undo all your previous work. Trying to trick Google by leaving in some of the links you’ve built over the years can compromise your attempt to file a successful reconsideration request. Be thorough and remorseless when removing the links – never letting emotions or pride get in the way of a full, sufficient job.
Dig deeper buddy.
A Reluctance to Dirty Hands
There are a number of link-detection tools available to help you find bad and historical links. However, it is inadvisable to rely solely on an automated program discovering all the bad SEO tactics you have implemented in the past. This makes it important that you also get your hands dirty and manually search for old backlinks – man and machine working in perfect harmony towards a successful reconsideration request.
This could be you and your new robot friend resolving penalties together.
Sole Focus on Disavowing
Disavowing problem links which are proving tricky to remove can support the reconsideration request, but should never be used in lieu of proactive removal processes. Google won’t look kindly upon a half-hearted ‘disavowal first’ approach to working your way out of a penalty. Only ever use disavowals as a last resort when it’s proving impossible/difficult to encourage webmasters to remove backlinks to your website.
Poor communication with webmasters or Google can compromise the success of a reconsideration request. Simply communicating via one medium will not convince Google you are committed to working your way out of the penalty. Try as many lines of communication with the webmaster as possible including all available email addresses, phone contact and written communication. Only after exhausting all available options, should you admit defeat and move to disavow the link.
Similarly, poor communication with Google will not convince the reconsideration team that you and your website are worthy of a reprieve. Ensure all requests are clearly stated and communicated.
Simple Human Error
Before submitting a reconsideration request, ensure all attachments, links and written correspondence is clear, concise and simple to understand. Many requests are rejected due to broken links in the request, files which don’t open and confusing dialogue.
Reconsideration requests can be rejected purely on the grounds of poor grammar in the correspondence. So always get a few members of the team to spell check and proof read the request before submission – otherwise all the hard work may have been in vain.
If this all sounds like the minefield, the SEO team at Banc Media can help clean up bad backlinks and resolve penalties. Visit the Banc Media homepage, or give us a ring on 0845 459 0558 to find out how we can help you.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Dawn Huczek, Steve Jurveston, jmawork