Google To Give More Info On Penalty Reconsideration

google penalty - Google re-inclusion requestGoogle has announced that they will be giving a little more information to webmasters when a website is penalized, or at least when a website tries to do something about being penalized.  The change isn’t hugely transparent, but it’s a step in the right direction.

If you have ever faced a penalty from Google, manual or automated, you’ve experienced the frustration that Google can bring.  When Google penalizes you, the effects can be catastrophic.   Businesses have shut down, churches ministries are hurt, and ministries have lost funding.

Google isn’t the easiest company to talk to, either.  Thankfully, several years ago they added a page where you could ask them to review your site and reconsider the penalty.   You not only didn’t know what they ended up doing, but you didn’t even know if they got your request.  A few years later they decided they would let you know if they received your request (for most companies, that’s something you do from the get go).  But you still didn’t know if they ever did anything.  Now, after a few more years, Google has taken another step.

So, what has Google done?

They may let you know if they were able to revoke the penalty if they were manually penalizing you or may let you know if your site is still in violation.  If your site was penalized by an automated action, they may even let you know that.

So, where does that leave us?

It’s still a guessing game.
Google still doesn’t let you know what the problem is, just that they think there’s a problem.  So, it could be spam, hacking, coding problems, webmaster guideline violations, or anything else.  You have to figure out what they think the problem is and try to fix it to what you think they would want.  If you submit your request and they say your site still has a problem, they you get to take another guess.

Google isn’t necessarily notifying webmasters of problems.
For the most part, you still have to notice there is a problem in the first place.  Unless the site poses a threat to visitors and Google puts up a “this site is a threat” message, you won’t hear it from them.  This is yet another reason to be monitoring your rankings and traffic so you can know as soon as possible if Google is penalizing you.

Did you notice the “mays”?
One of the things that caught my attention is that throughout Google’s announcement, they kept using the word, “may”, not “will”.  Maybe this is just something their legal dept insisted on because they didn’t want to get sued if they ever didn’t do it, but it doesn’t instill confidence that this will be what they always do for webmasters.

My Take
I think this is a good step, but quite frankly, until they start notifying webmasters of issues and actually specifying what the issue is (or at least what type of issue it is) I won’t be impressed.   This could all be done easily and automatically through Google Webmaster Tools.

Photo by hectorir

What do you think?

Do you think this change is helpful?

Do you think Google does enough to help webmasters resolve Google-related issues?

4 Responses to “Google To Give More Info On Penalty Reconsideration”

  1. I have Been seeing this fretuae more and more recently on individual sites. However it does seem to get the most attention on the Google Search Results Page, maybe because the other sites have the more popular social sharing options like the Tweet and Like button . But like you mentioned it is still new and will probably continue to grow and become more popular with time. It should be interesting to see how the +1 fretuae will affect Search Engine Optimization and Google’s Ranking Algorithm.

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