Reconsideration Requests

What is a reconsideration request?

A reconsideration request is a request to have Google review your site after you fix problems identified in a manual action notification. To learn more about manual actions and reasons why your site might receive one, read our article on manual actions.

Submit a reconsideration request

Please follow the steps below to help you get started:

  1. Sign into your Webmaster Tools account.
  2. Verify all versions of your site to ensure you have complete and accurate data.
  3. Visit the Manual Actions section to see if Google has taken any actions on your site.
  4. Fix issues on your site as described by the manual action.
  5. Review Security Issues in Webmaster Tools for other possible issues with your site.
  6. Click on 'Request a review' to ask Google to reconsider your site.

The reconsideration process explained

The reconsideration process starts from the time you receive a manual action notice until the point Google determines whether or not you’ve addressed the problems identified in your site. The general process is as follows:

  1. You receive a manual action notification and fix the issues mentioned. 
  2. You document your reconsideration request (see documentation tips below).
  3. You address any additional issues (see common mistakes below).
  4. You submit the reconsideration request in Webmaster Tools.
  5. You receive an acknowledgement from Google (it may take a few days for your request to be processed).
  6. Your request is either rejected or approved. 

If your request is approved, the manual action will be removed from your site.

If your request is rejected, be sure to review 'Common reconsideration pitfalls' below before filing another reconsideration request.

Document your reconsideration request

Reconsideration requests are handled by real people, so good documentation helps the reviewer better understand the steps you’ve taken to address the manual action.

A good reconsideration request does three things:

  1. Explains the exact quality issue on your site.
  2. Describes the steps you’ve taken to fix the issue.
  3. Documents the outcome of your efforts. 

You can also link to documents that describe your clean-up efforts.  The following tips describe how to document actions for specific penalties.

  • Manipulation of backlinks: Provide a list of links you have taken action on. You should make good-faith effort to remove backlinks before using the disavow tool. It can also be helpful to document the effort involved in removing those links. Simply disavowing all backlinks without attempting to remove them might lead to rejection of your request.
  • Selling links on your site: Provide examples of pages where you added nofollow attributes to the violating links or removed the links altogether. When you receive examples of violating links, make sure you extrapolate that information to fix similar links on your site.
  • Thin or scraped content: Provide examples of bad content you removed and good content that you added. 
  • Purchased domain: If you recently purchased a domain that you think has violated our guidelines before you owned it, use the reconsideration request form to let us know that you recently acquired the site and that it now adheres to the guidelines.

Common reconsideration request pitfalls

These are some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen when webmasters file a reconsideration request. Review this list to make sure you don't make similar mistakes with your reconsideration request.

1. Not using disavow correctly

We often see the disavow tool used incorrectly so keep the following things in mind when using the tool:

  • If you can get a backlink removed, make a good-faith effort to remove the link first. Blindly adding all backlinks to the disavow file is not considered a good-faith effort, and will not be enough to make your reconsideration request successful.
  • For multiple links from the same domain to your site, use the ‘domain:’ operator in the disavow file for convenience.
  • Make sure you don't disavow organic links to your site.

2. Not using Fetch as Google while cleaning hacked content

We often see cloaked content when a site has been hacked, meaning that Google crawlers see different content than what’s being shown to you or your visitors.

One way to see whether or not your site has been exploited in this way is to use the Fetch as Google feature in Webmaster Tools to see the same content that Google crawlers see. We unfortunately have to reject many reconsideration requests because the underlying compromise of the website hasn’t been fixed, which means we still see spammy content when we crawl the page. Read more about Cloaking and sneaky redirects.

3. Submitting reconsideration requests for empty sites

In general, you should only submit your reconsideration request after the site has real content useful to people searching for it. The following are examples of sites that are not ready to be reconsidered:

  • Blank sites: Sites with many pages that have little to no content.
  • Parked domains: Domains that have no actual content but simply act as a placeholder.
  • Inaccessible sites due to errors such as server errors: Read our crawl errors article for more information.

Ensure you're not violating any of our quality guidelines before submitting a reconsideration request. If your reconsideration request is unsuccessful, spend time understanding the manual action and fixing the issues before submitting another reconsideration request. If you need help with your reconsideration request, post a question on our webmaster help forum.