We have an online comparison website and have been competing with affiliates in the same industry for many years.
I would describe this particular website as high quality in comparison to other affiliates in our market.
Our website is creative, interactive, social and engages the user. The website has had a five figure investment in the design aspect alone.
Back in 2010 we got our first penalty which we now understand to be a manual action (buying links). After sending several reconsideration requests we had no luck and each time got the same response from Google -
"Site violates Google's quality guidelines"
But not to worry! five months later our website automatically pops out and regains it's rankings.
As Matt Cutts states himself in this video "When are penalties lifted?" "Most manual penalties are timed-out"
But the 2012 comes around and we get a double hit - Not only do we receive another Manual penalty in January 2012, later on April 24th we are hit by the infamous algorithmic penguin penalty.
We send in a few more reconsideration requests and get the standard -
"Site violates Google's quality guidelines - We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines. "
At this point around about May 2012 we start a massive link removal process. We had a total of 1,100 domains pointing to our domain. Mostly directories, blog-rolls and low quality sites.
Over a period of 3-months we manage to remove 70% over 750 domain's pointing to our site, spending many hours contacting websites.
We were unable to remove the remaining links due to them being on PHP script directories who have no contact information or simply do not respond to emails, letters, phone-calls we sent. But wait....
rumor in the SEO world is that Google will follow Bing and create a tool for webmasters to Disavow links in order to fight off negative SEO. So we sit patiently twiddling our thumbs. October 16th
- It arrives! [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk
We said to ourselves, we just want a clean slate. With have participated in "Spammy" SEO in the past and it's extremely difficult to identify every remaining link pointing to our website that Google may consider spam.
So we fire up our backlink tool and webmaster link data and fill up a simple text file with EVERY domain pointing to our website.
So to be clear, we removed 70% (750 domains) by contacting webmasters over a 3-month period and then on October 16th uploaded a text file with the remaining 30% (350 domains)to Google's new Disavow feature. We then sent in a reconsider request explaining every I've stated above. October 16th:
Create A Text File with %100 of domains pointing to our site. October 18th:
File A Reconsideration request: November 12th:
We get a response*
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.mysite.co.uk/,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider http://www.mysite.co.uk for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
We've reviewed your site and we still see links to your site that violate our quality guidelines.
You're kidding right?... How can we have a manual penalty for 11-months not have it revoked when 100% of our links have been removed or disavowed. I thought manual penalties were "timed-out" as Matt Cutts states in this video - [youtube.com
Well that's my story guys. Maybe Google are not being completely truthful with us.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:52 pm (utc) on Nov 13, 2012]
[edit reason] Disabled auto-link to make sample url display [/edit]