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Whether or not to lie to Google in reconsideration request



11:56 pm on Aug 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Good evening guys,

I have a client who were hit by Penguin v1.

I've worked with them on and off for a number of years and trust that they'd be open and honest with me.

They contacted me as their traffic had been abruptly cut in half, from 80,000 uniques a day to 40,000. A quick look at their analytics suggested very strongly, that it was Penguin v1. Their traffic dramatically dropped the day Penguin was released.

Looking at their link profile, I quickly found a number of problem links, around 900 highly targeted links, mainly from directories. There were only a total of 6 keyword variations and each one was as I said, highly targeted.

The company are adamant that they have no idea how the links were placed. During my time in working with them, we'd never purchased a link, all SEO work was either onsite optimisation or increasing their brand awareness.

Could this have been a pre-emptive strike from a competitor? The evidence suggests, that these were all auto submitted. The same keywords, descriptions and most of them in random, unrelated categories. Several of the webmasters have also given me email addresses that were used to place the links, they were all different and seemingly auto generated. No 2 email addresses were the same.

What's surprised me is, that these guys are the absolute authority in a massively profitable niche. Their link profile is otherwise strong, they are naturally linked to from big publications to smaller blogs, discussed in forums etc.

It's certainly worrying that such damage could be done, using some auto submit software and it's definitely opened my eyes, as to just how vulnerable websites are to negative SEO.

I've contacted each website involved a total of 3 times and have documented the entire process and marked links that have been removed etc.

If the process doesn't remove enough links, to undo the effects, then I want my client to submit a reconsideration request.

What I want to know, is whether or not my client should be honest. My concern is that if they're honest and say they didn't place the links, it will go against them. Google must hear that story 1,000 times a day.

But then again, they shouldn't have to accept responsibility for something they didn't do. And as they've gone to great lengths to get the links removed, I feel they've done all they can.

Any advice, thoughts or opinions would be great.

Thanks a lot.


5:57 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Isn't Penguin an algorithmic penalty? Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought Google only considers reconsideration requests for manual penalties.


9:29 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Aristotle, yes, you're right. It's an algorithmic penalty.

However as their BS algorithm is so clearly open to abuse, it's more than reasonable to submit a reconsideration request, after a website has done all in its power to clean up Googles mess.

If they send an automated message, informing the client it wasn't a manual panealty, then they're even bigger idiots than I already suspect.

The more I think about it, the more important I think it is, to be adamant my client wasn't involved in any way with these links, yet has gone to great lengths to remove them.

Sending 900 emails manually, 3 times, has been a bitch.


10:15 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

A google re-inclusion request is like confession to a catholic,

Of course you lie, admit only the stuff you think they already know


10:23 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Reconsideration request did us no good after Penguin 1.0. We spent 7 weeks cleaning up the site, the link profile and many other factors, the site has never gained its popularity back.

Edit: The reply we got (6 days after submit) stated that there were no manual actions against the site.


11:51 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I suspect they will send the same.

Fortunately many of the links have been removed, more are being removed daily. It maybe enough to fix the issue. Failing that a reconsideration request, failing that they will have to embark on a link building campaign, to help neutralise the bad links. i.e build links to the pages that were targeted, with brand, click here etc anchor text.


11:52 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The reply we got (6 days after submit) stated that there were no manual actions against the site.

If the site really has a Penguin demotion (and only that), then response is what you will get. And then at least you know there is no penalty and your analysis pegging it as a Penguin problem has been correct.

I agree with you, there's no reason to expect any site to remove a link they didn't have any involvement in placing. Google may or may not be tangled up at present, but falsifying what your client says won't help sort things out any better.


6:01 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If your client is being honest then they might not be the only ones reporting that story. I vote to be honest.


9:53 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In my experience reconsideration requests are automated, there isnt even a check for a minimum length of 'confession' you can either put 'reconsider me' or paragraphs full of text the outcome will be the same as 99.9% of the time the check against the original manual penalty is automated. After all once they have put a manual penalty against you they know what rule you are breaking so why wouldnt the removal be automated - they know exactly what to look for with an algo. The 'confession' is just used to develop further serps or spam detection algos.


3:15 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I would tell Google the truth, and pretty much like you've told it here.
You might emphasize that you believe these people would just 'fess up to you if they'd done this, and that you're appealing for reinclusion because taking down the links is NOT something your client has any control over.

I'd be curious to hear if you see any recovery after asking for reinclusion. When I asked for it, I honestly told them I hadn't been doing SEO, was never very good at it, and that a couple of SEO pros had looked over it for me and also couldn't see anything "spammy". I also outlined a few things I was doing to improve the site (all on-page). I got the no manual action email in response, but no recovery.


1:57 am on Aug 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you have an algorithmic penalty, then the reconsideration request can't help you.

What makes you think it was a Penguin penalty?


2:45 am on Aug 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

They got 80,000 daily uniques on just 900 links, and those are from directories (i.e. useless)? Are you sure you're looking for the culprit in the right place? There's no amount of directory links that can get you 80,000 daily uniques and I would think if they were not involved in the original ranking, they did not lead to the penalty either.

What were the actual strong links that got them such nice traffic? How were they acquired? That's what I would be looking for.


6:42 pm on Aug 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Hang on a minute, you're completely misreading what I've said.

The 900 links were from the sabotage. All directory links. I didn't mention how many links my client has.

The 'bad' links are obvious. 150 links to a page all with the anchor text "widgets". They stand out like a store thumb.

The good links are from massive publications, which were acquired from being the best source of information in the niche.

The day of Penguin v1 traffic took a massive hit and continued to decline to 50%. It's definitely a penguin issue.

But this shows just how easy it is, to destroy a sites ranking. People underplay just how easy it is.


6:15 pm on Aug 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

IMO, Penguin was a recalculation of PageRank with the basis now being relevant content between linking and linked pages. Base PR seems to be ignored.

SERPs were dropped with the amount depending on anchor text used on non-relevant pages.

Panda's link removal caused massive drops just by removing the spammy linking sites. One of my sites selling software went from 800+ visits a day to around 100.
This site was building links on a 99.99% organic basis.
(Users were building tutorials on using the graphic filters.)

Pre-Panda I was gaining 3500 organic links a month.
Post-Panda I am down to 2400 after everything settled in.
During Panda I dropped to about 350 a month.

I have worked/ am working with a few clients trying to restore their SERPs but it looks like if you got hammered in the SERPs, you best start over with a new domain.
Nothing seems to work, even for primary phrases.



6:16 pm on Aug 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@ realmaverick,
Did your SERPs drop or just your traffic?

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