When a website’s rankings drop, a webmaster will scramble to understand why their site dropped in rankings and where the spam issues occurred so that they can quickly fix the issue. In many cases a webmaster will not even realize something is wrong with his/her site until the site was hit by one of the algorithm changes. Fortunately, Google will give webmasters the chance to fix his/her site and then submit what is called a reconsideration request.

A reconsideration request is something that a webmaster can fill out to inform Google that the issues on the website have been fixed. You can find the request form in Google Webmaster Tools and then fill out the questions asked and write your statement. The request should only take a few minutes to fill out, and Google will notify you when they have received the request.

When to Fill Out a Reconsideration Request

According to the search quality team at Google, not everyone should fill out a reconsideration request. Below are three instances where a reconsideration request is appropriate:

  • If you know you’ve violated one of the guidelines, then clean up your site and let them know you’ve cleaned the site up through a reconsideration request.
  • If Google has notified you that something was wrong. For example, if you’ve been hacked and Google let’s you know, clean it up and then file for reconsideration.
  • If you see a loss of search traffic and ranking and you know this to be spam issue, should again clean up your site and then let them know through the reconsideration form.

Many sites are too quick to fill out a reconsideration request form. It is important that you really work to fix your site before filling out a form. In other words, make it count!

Tips from Google: How to File a Proper Reconsideration Request

Making sure that your reconsideration request really counts comes down to following a few simple rules and tips that Google asks webmasters keep in mind:

  • Detail – Be as detailed as possible when filling our your form. You wan to make sure you clearly state what specific spam issue/violation you had with your site and then what steps you took to fix the problem. If you aren’t sure what was wrong with your site then you likely still have not fixed the problem, so it’s important to take all of the measures you can to determine the problem. For example, make sure someone out there hasn’t hacked into your site or that your SEO team knows what they are doing.
  • Read the Guidelines – Google hates nothing more than receiving a request from someone who clearly does not understand what Google wants in the first place. Reading the Webmaster Quality Guidelines provided by Google could potentially answer the questions of many webmasters, so it’s important to check this out first before you run to the reconsideration request form.
  • Technical Issue – Many webmasters have a technical issue that they mistake as an effect from Panda or Penguin. Make sure you don’t just have a technical issue before sending in a request form.
  • Submit One Form – If you submit a reconsideration request, Google will receive it. Sending multiple requests is seen as spamming Google, so just be patient. Submit one request and trust that it will get looked over and you will be notified in a few days.

Following these simple tips will help ensure that your request is taken seriously and you will get the answer that you deserve. Yes, you read that correctly—Google will send you an answer about the status of your site after the request has been received.

What Happens After You Submit a Reconsideration Request

Once you send in your proper request, Google will do a variety of things with that request:

  • When there was a manual spam action on your site, Google will have an actual human from web-spam team to look at that request.
  • Google will be able to see what the manual spam action was that was placed on your site in past, which will help them determine if you’ve fixed the problem.
  • Google will be able to see what you wrote in your request.
  • Google will check out site and use tools to evaluate the quality of your website. In general, a Google representative will simply be looking to see if site is still violating guidelines or if it is spam free.

Google has also made some changes as to what happens when they are finished evaluating your site and reading your request. In the past, Google wouldn’t do anything or have any contact with a webmaster, and then they decided to send you a message letting you know that they received your request but never actually let you know what happened to the site. Now Google explains that they are working to actually send you a message letting you know if they were able to fix your site or why you are still in violation.