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I made a bunch of changes to my site at the start of June and by the 20th, I was hit with some kind of penalty and seen a huge hit in traffic from Google (-80% in total).
The changes I made were varied and all aimed at cleaning up my site and to prevent PR bleeding. Anyway; I wasn't able to figure out why I'd been hit so I reverted back to the pre-penalty code and submitted a reconsideration request via GWT.
A few weeks later, I get the following...
We've processed your reconsideration request for http://mywebsite.tld/ August 17, 2009
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site: http:/mywebsite.tld/.
We've now reviewed your site. When we review a site, we check to see if it's in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. If we don't find any problems, we'll reconsider our indexing of your site. If your site still doesn't appear in our search results, check our Help Center for steps you can take.
Has anyone been in the same situation? If so, how long did it take for things to return to normal?
I so wish Google would provide a little more information to publishers with regards to penalties, although I appreciate this would also create other problems. I'm pretty sure that I somehow made a change that incorrectly triggered a penalty.
[edited by: tedster at 5:43 pm (utc) on Aug. 20, 2009]
[edit reason] de-link the urls [/edit]
In terms of specific times, it's going to depend on your particular website. 2-3 days, weeks or months is about as accurate as I could be confident about ;)
The filter I triggered, which put my entire site in the 40+ rankings, occured in March. So I'm hoping it will be lifted in September after approx. six months - I heard somewhere that forgiven sites are restored in monthly batches.
I hear your overall problem with the process. I can honestly say, that well, it's very discouraging. Maybe back in the day Google didn't need to be as considerate to webmasters when dishing out penalties. However, since they ultimately now hold the keys to the internet, they should be a bit more reasonable in terms of communications. They have improved though. Up until recently, you wouldn't get a "your website has been reviewed" message. You would sit and wait without knowing anything. So in some respect it's better now. On the cynical side, I think they may have added this new feature recently because they knew that they would be increasing penalties substantially in the coming months because of changes to algo etc. Perhaps they did it to be nice, but me thinks it was partially done because of increasing penalized sites.
BTW, if people notice their sites going up and down like a yo-yo, did you ever stop to think that it's because a lot of site are wiped off Google thanks to penalties? Just a thought. I'm sure there are a few smiling faces everytime their competitor gets hammered and thrown into jail.
I don't want to sound too pessimistic, but I get the impression that no-one looks at these requests anyway as the whole process is automated.
How frustrating! Grrrr.
I get the impression that no-one looks at these requests
Over the past two months I've been involved with more reconsideration requests than should have to be - but I never got that sense.
In this video: Tips on requesting reconsideration [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com], Rachel Searles and Brian White of Google's search quality team state explicitly that every request IS read. And in my experience, that seems to be the case.
My impression is your site needs to serve time before being let out by the reconsideration team. However, if you know exactly what the issue is, reversing this yourself is a much quicker process. My theory holds some merit I think since some penalties seem to be time related.