Update November 4th, 2007: Hey everyone, the official Google documentation on how to file a reconsideration request is here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35843 and we now refer to it as a “reconsideration request.” Why? Well, not every spam penalty results in removal from Google’s index, so “reconsideration” is more accurate than “reinclusion.” I’ll leave the rest of the post up because much of the info below is still useful.
Hmm. Everybody wants to hear about SEO-ish stuff instead of gadgets. I’ll still subject you to pure geekery now and then, but let’s tackle how to do a reinclusion request.
First off, what’s a reinclusion request and why would you want to do one? If you’ve been experimenting with SEO, or you employ as SEO company that might be doing things outside Google’s guidelines, and your site has taken a precipitous drop recently, you may have a spam penalty. A reinclusion request asks Google to remove any potential spam penalty.
Now where should you send a reinclusion request? This has changed in the last few months from an email address to a web form. The best location to go is http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py . You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” and then select “Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in ranking.” Click Continue, and on the page that shows up, make sure to type “Reinclusion Request” in the Subject: line of the resulting form. Upper- or lower-case doesn’t matter, but make sure you use the words “reinclusion request” in the subject line so it gets routed to the right place. (See the newer instructions at the top of this post.)
Now we come to the heart of things: what goes into a reinclusion request. Fundamentally, Google wants to know two things: 1) that any spam on the site is gone or fixed, and 2) that it’s not going to happen again. I’d recommend giving a short explanation of what happened from your perspective: what actions may have led to any penalties and any corrective action that you’ve taken to prevent any spam in the future. If you employed an SEO company, it indicates good faith if you tell us specifics about the SEO firm and what they did–it assists us in evaluating reinclusion requests. Note that SEO and mostly-affiliate sites may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reincluded; such sites should be quite familiar with Google’s quality guidelines.
Okay, so you found the hidden text that your webmaster put on your front page, you removed it, and you sent your reinclusion request off to Google. How long do you have to wait now? That depends on when Google reviews the request and on the type of spam penalty you have. In the days of monthly index updates it could take 6-8 weeks for a site to be reincluded after a site was approved, and the severest spam penalties can take that long to clear out after an approval. For less severe stuff like hidden text, it may only take 2-3 weeks, depending on when someone looks at the request and if the request is approved.
There’s an interesting thread started by stuntdubl here. I’d add the following things to that thread:
- Don’t bother mentioning that you spend money on AdWords or you’re an AdSense publisher. The person who will look at your reinclusion request doesn’t care if you have a business relationship with Google. Remember, we need to know 1) that the spam has been corrected or removed and 2) that it isn’t going to happen again.
- I would request reinclusion for one domain at a time. It looks bad if you had 20+ sites all thrown out at once, and you send a reinclusion request for 20 domains in one email.
That’s what I can think of right now. For the 1-2 people who have asked about their sites in comments–that’s the right procedure to follow. Hope that helps.