Google reveals reconsideration request challenges

At Jungle Media, we know that as a webmaster if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a penalty notice from Google’s Web Spam team, it can often be a tricky and confusing process when it comes to addressing the problem, fixing it and ensuring that your actions have been acknowledged. It’s not just an issue for small to medium size businesses either, with the BBC finding itself on the receiving end of an ‘unnatural link’ warning back in March this year relating to just one of its millions of pages of content, tantamount to a needle in a haystack search to locate and correct the problem. 

In order to address the issue and draw Google’s attention to your situation, whether that’s a successful resolution or a request for additional support, you’ll need to submit a Reconsideration Request. However, Google revealed in a new video posted on YouTube last week in a response to a question from a UK based webmaster, that they receive 5,000 reconsideration requests each week – a huge volume, given that the Spam team’s primary function is to focus on returning the highest quality of search results and not engaging with webmasters. So, if you’ve ever felt frustrated at the time it takes for Google to respond to a reconsideration request, this would probably explain why.

Google assures users that they review each and every reconsideration request they receive, leading to an estimated 400,000 manual messages being issued in January 2013 alone. They also admit that they don’t yet have a solution as to how to engage en masse with the vast universe of webmasters needing one-on-one support, and while webmaster videos may reach thousands of people with solutions to common problems, that’s still no substitute for individuals needing tailored help. The fact that the standard reconsideration request reply doesn’t have a free text entry box means that it’s difficult for Google to expand on generic guidance with tailored advice, even if they did have the man-hours available to do so.

Another problem to add into the mix for Google is the number of false reconsideration requests they receive and yet which still divert attention. This is something they looked to address in August with the launch of the Manual Actions viewer, accessible from the “Search Traffic” tab within Webmaster Tools. Google claim it should now be far easier for the small number of sites that are affected to go about identifying the problem, while those who aren’t affected will see the message “no manual webspam actions found” and shouldn’t feel the need to lodge a reconsideration request.

While Google stated in this recent video of theirs that they will be looking to make improvements to the quality and detail of the information they respond to reconsideration requests with, the problem for them is fundamentally one of resourcing. With every step taken to divert greater attention to engaging with webmasters, it only serves to undermine their spam fighting ability.

As a leading SEO agency in Manchester, at Jungle Media we believe strongly in the power of what we’re able to do for our clients to increase their search rankings, but we’re also equally aware of the potential pitfalls of getting on the wrong side of Google’s spam team, inadvertent though it may be. And with Google shedding light on the challenges of dealing with issues once they arise, the best thing to do is to make sure those issues don’t arise in the first place, by using expert guidance in order to benefit from Google’s search algorithms, without falling foul of them. Which is where Jungle Media comes in, providing Manchester local based businesses with expert SEO support.

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