It is a situation that unfortunately can suddenly happen: Google labels a site as spam and, despite any correctional intervention on the problem, it takes a long time to “clean up” the domain image and get back to acquire visibility. In the latest video of #AskGoogleWebmasters, Google’s John Mueller gives us guidance on this aspect, advising us what strategy to follow in these cases.

What to do to clean up a spam site

As usual in this series, the discussion starts from a user question – in this case, @elmodhaniar – who submits his problem to the Senior Webmaster trends analyst and tells him to have a domain long ago identified among spam sites by Google. Despite the correcting work operated on the problem and the use of the Google Search Console to request reconsideration, the site continues to be labeled as spam and therefore the user no longer knows what to do. da parte di Google.

Google’s manual actions and spam penalties

John Mueller then begins to describe the situation and, in particular, to remind us how Google’s penalty and manual actions system works, meaning the process of reporting site’s pages of a site that a Google reviewer perceives as not complying with the quality standards for webmasters. The aim of these manual actions is to curb attempts to manipulate the search index and result in a worsening of the ranking of pages or sites in the search results, or in the worst cases in a total omission from the search results.

Using Google forum to ask for advice

From a practical point of view, the Googler advises anyone who has a site identified as spam to immediately visit the Webmaster Help Forums to acquire inputs from other users in the same situation or with more experience, because here “you will find people who have seen a lot of websites with spam manual actions problems and you will get suggestions on aspects to improve or correct on your site”.

Ask other users for help

In order to get effective assistance, Mueller stresses the need to enter all information related to the offending site, and then explain the original problem and fully describe the actions taken to clean it up. Most of all, John recommends “not to hide anything related to your site: everyone makes mistakes sooner or later, and it’s normal,” so you have to be honest because only by doing so other people on the forum can really be supportive.

Sometimes, the suggestions you receive from the forum are not easy to put into practice, especially “if you spend a lot of time focusing only on that single site”, but for this exact reason to have external opinions (and people who work on multiple sites and have different experiences) can be important to improve your work.

Submitring a reconsideration request in Search Console

Right after receiving your feedbacks and having applied corrections to the site, making “significant changes to clean things up”, it is time to use the Google Search Console to send a reconsideration request, reporting all of the changes made and possibly also adding a link to the forum thread to provide more context.

Reconsideration times

These reconsideration requests are manually reviewed and evaluated by Google’s anti spam team , and therefore you need to be clear in the directions provided without adding unnecessary details (which has the only purpose to “overload information” on Google’s reviewers). These examinations can take several days or a week and during the process you will receive information about the status of the request via email. Before sending a new request you have to wait for the final decision for the active request and, of course, correct the highlighted issues (not yet completely resolved according to Google) before trying again the path.

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