What text to use for a reconsideration request

When a site is under a manual penalty from Google for a link issue there is a defined workflow you have to go through in order to get the penalty lifted.

The final stage of this process is to file a reconsideration request with the Google web spam team asking that they remove the penalty and this is the often the most confusing and frightening part of the whole process for many people.

Here at LinkRisk we have been at the forefront of helping people out of penalties since Google started asking for reconsideration requests via WMT and so far we have helped thousands of people run profiles and clean up their links.

In this post we would like to give some general guidelines for how to approach your reconsideration request based on our experience and seeing what has worked for them.

How do I submit a reconsideration request?

You make sure your logged into your Google Webmaster Tools account and hop over to this page – alternatively you can access the link via the manual actions page within Webmaster Tools


How long should my reconsideration request be?

You should remember that this document will eventually be read by a human being at Google so its best to make the text short enough to read but long enough to make your points. We suggest people approach it in the same way they would if they were doing a resume or CV. Two pages in length is enough and you can always link out to shared Google Docs for further information should you need to.

What should I include in my reconsideration request?

Google see a LOT of reconsideration requests and they are pretty good at spotting when someone hasn’t really changed their ways so what we suggest you include is:

  • Explain that you have a penalty and that you understand what that penalty is.
  • Explain that you understand what you did (Tell them completely honestly what you’ve done) and in many cases highlight if it was an external SEO company that is no longer used. We are not huge fans of naming the company involved and we don’t see evidence to suggest that this is necessary.
  • Explain what you have done to rectify the situation and provide evidence of that work. Here you can link to a Google doc of the domains contacted for removals, the email text used and even give access to the webmail account used to do the removals request. (make sure that the Google Doc is shared in the correct way so that anyone with the link can view)
  • Make a clear commitment that you have changed and explain how you have achieved this including details of any structural or staff changes and any change in policies towards suppliers.

Do I need to include masses of evidence in the submission?

The way we work is to gather all of our data in one Google doc (A spreadsheet) with details of the domains identified as unnatural, when they were contacted and any responses you got from that outreach (we do NOT advise simply using disavow, you should always try to get the links removed – even Google directly advise this)

We also give access details for the webmail account used for the outreach so the Google staff member can see the actual emailing effort.

We don’t usually suggest that people include screenshots of completed contact forms.

How long will all this take?

Thats a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. Typically the process can take anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks and the variability is probably down to the volume of work that the Google team has to do at any point. It usually takes longer in the 4-6 weeks following a Penguin algorithm update.


Paul Madden

About Paul Madden

Paul looks after sales, marketing and heads up client services for Kerboo Paul is a well known face in UK SEO and has been making a living through his various businesses online for well over a decade. Paul speaks on a regular basis both in the UK, Europe and the USA and is known for his ability to scale businesses and remain on the forefront of where the industry is heading.

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