patc - 12:47 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
After submitting rather a lot of requests since January 12th when my site seemingly suffered a huge penalty/filter, I today received a rather different response in my WMT which I'm guessing will be one of the improved communications that Matt Cutts indicated over the last month or two:
Dear site owner or webmaster of <site>,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider <site> for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team.
Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users.
If you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search.
If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
It's great to finally get an answer that my site's issues are algorithmic and not as a result of some nefarious spam report. So I give a thumbs up to the improved message rather than the innocous "We've processed your request" one.
Doesn't help the fact my site is suffering still, and having looked at my backlink profile I'm convinced spammers have successfully ruined my site's trust (so much bad/illegal sounding/irrelevant anchor text on literally thousands of domains). My lastest reinclusion request detailed the links which I obtained from Majetic SEO and described how I was countering them - complete with supporting documents. They never looked at the documents (checked my logs), so if this is what is killing me, how am I do raise the issue or at least highlight a possible shortfall in the algo to Google?
Either way, kudos to them for giving this little bit more information. I'll just have to plough away as usual to the site which now gets 10% of its previous G traffic.