Assuming it is a penalty, which it may not be, it's going to be up to a review employee to see if he/she a) approves of the changes and b)trusts you won't do it again, ever, before a penalty is lifted. It's also possible that the penalty was automatic and will remove itself in x amount of time (1 year, 2 years and 5 years etc).
Be patient. I'd wait 30 days for a sign of life and if none happens, and you get no response, I'd submit a follow up mentioning the original request. Make it clear you want to work with them and make sure your sites are worthy in the first place. Take the time to work on them if they were of low value relative to the competition. Google isn't your enemy here, if the sites are of great value they WILL be re-indexed in time unless you continually do things you shouldn't. You can tell that has happened when ALL your sites go down at once and not just the site in question.
I've seen the best of the best not be 100% sure why a -50 has been applied . And again to some in different circumstances the situation is more obvious.
How do you know you have a penalty ? And how can you be sure that what you have done to reverse it is satifactory ?
Thanks for the responses guys.
"How do you know you have a penalty?"
My site, which was originally top-10 for many internal pages and No.1 for the home page for its designated keyword, now bounces between 40-60, without ever going above 40.
With regards to the changes I've made, I can't be sure if they'll help. (sorry, didn't phrase my intial post very well) The drop in rankings happened two years ago and I have since made changes here and there which I thought might be causing the problem but to no avail.
I've tried to be patient but I'm beginning to lose confidence in the domain name.
What have you been doing for link development and general promotion since the drop happened?
Admittedly, I've done close to nothing with regards link development and promotion. All of my changes have been on-site.
I was concerned that it fell into the thin affiliate/doorway bracket: It only promoted one merchant.
So I've spent the last year and a half adding what I think is useful content (about 600 words per page). I've also turned it into a comparison-type site by adding more merchants relating to its niche, in addition to the affiliate link.
The fact that there's only one merchant isn't what makes a site "thin". Rather it's the fact that the site doesn't offer enough that's not available on other sites. Commonly this happens when many sites use content that's supplied through a merchant's feed, and they use it "as-is".
So you're right on target to be adding value through strong additional content. If the actual problem is being too thin, that's the way to go.
A good way to test if a site is thin is to remove all of the affiliate content/links. If there's not enough left on every page to have value on it's own it's too thin. Copied content, feeds, content that has been partially re-written, PLR etc does NOT count as content in many cases.
Thanks guys. At one time I was rewriting the descriptions of the 'products' from the merchant's site and using them on mine. In hindsight not good! They've since been removed.
I don't really think there's much more I can do with the site. It seems to have SOME value now.
I keep thinking: 301 redirect, 301 redirect, abandon the domain! :) I'll give it a couple of months and then maybe I'll have to take more drastic action?
Just an update. I notice GWT is showing 1,459 links to my homepage from a directory site's query results pages. I've looked at the results pages but none of them contain a link to my site.
I remember that I did submit my site to the said directory a while back but it has been removed following my removal request. Just wondering why GWT shows inbounds that don't exist any more and if they may have something to do with loss of rankings.