If you happen to be amongst the many that have been hit with an unnatural links notice, it’s highly likely that you have experienced a range of emotions when thinking about the recovery process. Many of us initially start off in a state of denial trying to kid ourselves about creating a clean back-link profile that includes a mass amount of directory links and comment spam. We soon relax and simply accept the long-winded arduous task ahead of us.

Assuming you have carried out the required work, the penalty will only be lifted if you submit a successful reconsideration request. There is nothing more frustrating than receiving the dreaded message of rejection after waiting in anticipation for weeks on end.

A reconsideration request can be rejected for a number of reasons. This could be due to unnatural links that remain within the back link profile or simply down to the lack of evidence provided. Here are some common reasons as to why your reconsideration request may have been rejected.

A lack of effort demonstrated in the link removal process

Sometimes Disavowing a domain just isn’t enough. Google’s web spam team want to see that you have actually made the effort to remove the ‘bad’ links. In order to do this effectively there are a couple of steps that can be taken.

1. Use Login Credentials
If you have previously built naughty links through a large quantity of business directories or article directories, simply log in and delete the listing or the link. Make sure you keep a record of this for proof. If for any particular reason you were unable to log in, make Google aware of this. You could always compile a list of screen shots that could be included in a Google Doc presenting the evidence of your attempt.

2. Contact the Webmaster
If you are unable to use log in credentials to remove a link, you can always contact the webmaster/site owner. Look for an email address or a contact form to use. If you can’t find any contact details then you could always try to identify a email address by using the Whois domain and IP look up tool.

If that fails you can even go to the length of trying to contact the site owner via social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Once again make sure you have a few examples to use as evidence with the use of screen shots that can be inserted into a Google Doc.

If you have a high volume of site owners to contact, you could always consider using an outreach tool in order to scrape as much contact information as possible.

Your Disavow list is not formatted properly

There have been many cases where people have submitted a disavow list just before submitting their reconsideration only to discover that there submission was declined due to unnatural links that had already been submitted to their Disavow list.

Reconsideration request message

If your Disavow file is not properly formatted, the reconsideration request is likely to be unsuccessful due to the fact that the offending links will still be actively pointing towards your site.

Google have kindly made this process as little easier with the introduction of error messages if the Disavow file you uploaded had errors. They are even kind enough to notify you of location of the error within the .txt file.

When submitting your Disavow file, make sure that you have Disavowed the offending sites on a domain level and not just the URL of the links location.


Your Google Docs are not accessible

It is extremely important that you provide Google with proof of your efforts. If you are one of the unlucky few who have had to go through the long winded process of link removal, you know how tedious and tiring this process can be. Without proof of work you have pretty much wasted your time.

I have spoken to many people who have been in what can be only be described as a heartrending scenario. Months of work unaccounted for simply due to the fact that you did not change 1 simple setting. Google only have a limited number of automated responses, so if they are unable to access any of the work you have put together, it’s highly unlikely that you will hear about it.

Make sure that you allow the document to be shared!

To do this, simply click on the share button:
share button for Google DocsThen change the settings from:
Private access - Google Doc

Public - Google Docs

As previously mentioned, Google Docs is a fantastic way to provide proof of your efforts.

You can provide screen shots of communication. You can also provide a spreadsheet of all the webmasters you attempted to reach out to with a status of how whether a link has successfully been removed, the amount of times you have contacted a site owner or even if they requested payment for the removal of the link.

Google Doc - Link Status

Repeat the Process

The entire link removal procedure before the reconsideration request can be an extensive and time consuming process.

During this time, it would be wise to monitor you back link profile in order to identify any ‘new’ links that may appear. This could be a delayed link from previous link building tactics or even negative SEO. Link removal can take months and this is more than enough time for new links to appear which will also be taken into consideration by Google.

In order to avoid being caught out by fresh links, I would strongly advise you schedule a couple of dates to download all the inbound links again including the day before the reconsideration request is submitted. That way, you can ensure that you are on top off all recently built links.

So why have Google made this process so laborious and demanding?

My belief is that they want to ensure that we learn from our mistakes. Make sure your reconsideration request is filled with evidence to support your efforts. If this is not done, all of your hard work may simply go to waste.