@ MarieHaynes / chms - can you cite your references if possible, with the time on the videos. I think if you dig deep and beyond, there are contradictions around the traps.
Really, there is a lot of confusion amongst webmasters, some very senior and respected, about exactly what to do if you have a manual action on your site. The confusion is coming from Google not being clear between spokespersons about the directives and the resulting interpretations webmasters are picking up on. It's resulting in a lot of misinformation and time lost with ineffective work.
Some top SEO folks I speak with say don't file an RR. But there's always a hint of doubt when they say it. How can you apply the machete with a cautious toe in the water.
The things we are hearing are from Googler's and some top commentators around the web:
- No need to file RR after disavow if no manual action
- "Ditto" above if the manual action is targeted only
- File RR if you want, it can't hurt and it might help if you want to come clean on all the links Google might have missed and you don't care about.
- File RR if you want, and you might get hurt by the reviewer
- Only file if a manual penalty exists
- Only disavow based on the links in WMT
- Only file RR if you are 100% sure about clean links only
- Don't bother to clean all of your questionable links; it's OK to leave some
- The machete ... maybe apply it and loose everything, or steadily take down the links by rinse and repeat actions which could take ages
- Then how long do folks have to wait to see the effects, some say on the next Penguin refresh, others say the effects will kick in earlier.
..... and so on ( don't ask me to cite them all, please). If Google is managing a transition to help get the message across, with webmasters responding positively, then the messages have really got to be plain and consistent, otherwise folks will loose confidence and go into hiding for another couple of years, and the web will loose the opportunity to build back with lot's of creative diversity en-masse. Google needs good content - it doesn't need polarization of brands and confusion amongst webmasters who are better suited to building rather than fixing, and taking up a good, fair, competitive challenge.
Clearly links were abused in the past. The whole thing was a nightmare to be in, and a nightmare to manage.
But it's way too sloppy communication on the back of a very aggressive Penguin 2.0 and 1.0 penalty application, which have made folks nervous, IMO.
That said, since April/May there have really been positive steps from Google, credit due where credit's earned. I'd like to encourage that. One more level of communication improvement would help. Everyone with good intentions deserves the best and the opportunity to be creative and build great sites. Some encouragement on the other side of the equation would also go a long way to restore that vibrancy.