“In January 2013, Google said it had taken manual action on 400,000 different websites and averaged about 5,000 reconsideration reports each week.”
From Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land
If you look through the forums, webmaster support on Google, and read blogs on the web, you’ll hear that the vast majority of these are declined. Why? Mostly because the reconsideration request didn’t have sufficient evidence, or wasn’t descriptive enough, or simply wasn’t what Google was looking for.
Download your backlinks
We use LinkDetox, which pulls from 23 data sources, but many webmasters claim that the more sources are used, the better chances of the reconsideration request succeeding.
Audit your Backlink Profile
This is the most time-consuming step, and can take days or weeks. Having downloaded all our backlinks, we then upload them to LinkDetox, which categorizes the backlinks and provides an amazing amount of data to be used when evaluating each link. Here’s a back link audit template that we use.
We then go through each and every one of the links to determine if they are toxic, suspicious, or healthy. Toxic links are the absolute worst of the links – obvious spam, malware, viruses, porn, super low quality spun content, etc. Then we look at all of the suspicious links and classify them in 3 levels – terrible, medium, not so bad. We are always prepared to file the reconsideration request 4 times – the first time with only the toxic links, if that doesn’t work, then we go through the process with suspicious/terrible, and so on and so forth.
To evaluate the quality of the links, we look at each site, look at their statistics (pagerank, domain age, domain authority, page authority, backlinks to the domain, backlinks to the page, social signals, etc), and eyeball the site. Some sites have amazing statistics but if you look at it you can tell it’s a site that was made for link building, and doesn’t have a real, passionate webmaster behind it. We are very critical when evaluating sites.
Once you’ve evaluated all of your backlinks, you should have a fully classified backlink profile with notes on which links should be removed, disavowed, their category, type, etc.
Start the Link Removal Process
At this point, we work with a team to try to eliminate as many links as possible. One team member searches for contact emails, form, or whois information for every links. Another person sounds out the link removal emails, while another sends out the link removal contact forms. This person takes a screenshot of every contact form submitted,and pastes it to a Google document, which then gets referenced in the audit spreadsheet. Similarly, we copy the source code of link removal emails, paste them on a document, and reference them on the audit spreadsheet.
Wait a week after you’ve sent out link removal requests, answering any responses, paying where you have to, and then check to see how many links were removed. We use Screaming Frog. Document how many links were removed.
Disavow Toxic Links
Toxic links that weren’t removed can now be disavowed. Make sure you use proper formatting when creating your disavow file.
Submit the Reconsideration Request
In the infographic we give you a simple template to follow. Feel free to add your own flair. The key is to GROVEL. Google made it clear in this video that they want you to prove to them that you deserve to get out of jail:
Be grateful, concise, and tell them you are now thoroughly acquainted with their guidelines and will never commit this transgression again.
Build Positive Signals!
Don’t end up in jail again by continuing with more of the same. Focus on content marketing combined with outreach to attract, not build, links, and watch your rankings soar.
If you need help with a reconsideration request, check out our Free Backlink Audits to get you started on the journey out of Google Jail.