Google has always made information available about reconsideration requests and penalties.  This information has now been updated to reflect new algorithmic updates as well as other search engine changes.


Google made it clear, that if your site has violated their Quality Guidelines , they may take measures to prevent spam in their search results.  Google really takes possession of their own search engine. I think a lot of people treat it like it is their public playground. Google makes it known that it is their search results and they may take action at any time.

They also made it clear that if you have received an algorithmic penalty that you should not file a reconsideration request.  They gave no further information on what to do if you’ve received an algorithmic penalty.

To keep it really simple, here is the difference between an algorithmic penalty and “manual action” or a manual penalty:

Manual penalty – you will receive a notice in Google Webmaster Tools

Algorithmic Penalty – no notice in Google Webmaster tools (only loss of rankings, traffic, de-indexation, etc)

Google gave very clear steps to take if you have received a manual penalty:

  1. Clean up as many links as you can.
  2. Disavow the rest
  3. Submit a reconsideration request

At that point Google will send you an automated message that they have received your request. At that point you will either get the penalty removed or it will stay in place.

If your reconsideration request is denied, that means your site still violates quality guidelines.  This basically means that you have more links to clean up, or that your site standards are not up to par with the Webmaster Guidelines.

If your reconsideration request is approved, it is now time to live a clean and sober life.  No more nonsense and treat Google’s guidelines like your bible.

Nofollow as a Solution

Google also stated that if you can’t get the link removed, it is OK to add the nofollow attribute to the hypertext reference.  There has been some confusion amongst some SEO’s about this in the past, but hopefully this information will spread and become better known by all over time.

As always, they included some great resources for reference:

Make sure to read the full release, as it does have some great information.