For anyone new to search engine optimisation techniques, it’s easy to fall foul of Google’s strict quality guidelines, if you are not aware of them. The purpose of these guidelines is to maintain the quality of information available on the Internet and prevent spam. Many website owners use search engine optimisation companies to improve their chances of their website being ranked highly in Google’s search results. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to do this successfully.
Including keywords in your content, which can be picked up by the terms that users are searching with, is one method for raising a website’s profile. Creating (or earning!) backlinks to your website is another key element. However, if the page is overloaded with keywords so that it becomes uninformative or you create low quality “spammy” backlinks to your website, then Google may disapprove by eliminating the site from its search results. Google takes action against sites that violate their guidelines, so it is worth familiarising yourself with them to understand what is acceptable.
If your website has intentionally or unintentionally been penalised by Google, there is an option to make a reconsideration request to Google for the penalty to be revoked. Firstly, you should check your Google Webmaster Tools account to see if you have a manual penalty. If you have not had a manual penalty you will not need to file a reconsideration request as your issues will likely be related to Googles algorithm (You should still make sure it conforms to Google Guidelines). Secondly if you have had a message within GWT such as an “Unnatural link warning”, you need to take steps to ensure your website is improved to conform to the guidelines before submitting a reconsideration request. You should check and edit the quality of the web content for overuse of keywords and repair or remove any low quality back links for example, that do not conform to the guidelines. Google provides the Disavow Links Tool for resolving bad links but Google also expects you to take and then demonstrate your “exhaustive” efforts to clean up your act. Only when your website has been thoroughly improved should you file a reconsideration request.
Reconsideration request process
When you make a reconsideration request, it is crucial to include documentation to support your request. Your goal is to convince the Google representative (yes, a real person will make the decision) who reviews the request that your site is cleaner and better than before, and reassure them that it won’t repeatedly violate Google’s guidelines. Provide as much information as possible to explain how your practices have changed. This will increase your chances of Google accepting your request.
Bare in mind not every reconsideration request is accepted. If yours isn’t don’t be disheartened: take your time and look further and deeper into your website and try again once you’ve attempted to improve things. Don’t spam the reconsideration request tool though – you may find Google stops listening.