How to Write a Comprehensive Reconsideration Request

There’s a lot of debate on the web about what information you need to include in a reconsideration request, so we thought we’d put together a fairly short guide on how to best format your reconsideration request. We’ve also written another guide previously on writing reconsideration requests which can be found on the Advanced Web Ranking blog here.

The important thing to remember when writing your reconsideration request is that a physical person at Google will also be reading it. It’s not an automated system, so you should make sure that the facts you include are all correct, and that you’re confident that you’re within Google’s guidelines. Remember that reconsideration requests are only required for Manual penalties.

Let’s start by taking a look at one of Matt Cutts webmaster videos regarding the contents of a reconsideration request:

In the above video, there are a couple of key points that Matt Cutts makes:

  • Tell Google that you’ve stopped any previous work you were doing (paid links, spam directories etc)
  • Point out that you will not be carrying out this type of work in the future (step into Google’s shoes).
  • Keep all of your data within the reconsideration request (Google will not open files from external domains)

Looking at the Google webmaster forums, there are a few other bits of information Google like to see:

“My general recommendation for reconsideration requests would be to make sure that you’re really submitting the right & relevant information there, so that it’s clear to those processing the request what steps you’ve taken to resolve this issue: linking to the doc you mentioned is great, linking to a forum discussion is great, providing more context in the message directly is also very useful. In this case, that’s not necessary anymore, but for others, it’s probably worth keeping this in mind.” John Muller, Google Webmaster Forums.

Before you submit a reconsideration request, make sure you’ve read Googles webmaster guidelines to ensure that you’re fully compliant – – The last thing you want to do is submit a request when you’ve missed something obvious and wait to find out you’ve failed for something you could have avoided.

We’ve written a short ‘boilerplate’ template on what you should say when submitting a reconsideration request. We wouldn’t recommend copying and pasting the template below, as each request should be completely unique and tailored to your company. The main things to remember when submitting a reconsideration request are to be honest, be polite and make sure you’ve documented all of your work. We’ve also made a link removal template to help you keep on top of your links / outreach!


“Dear Google Webspam Team,

Firstly, thank you for reading our reconsideration request. We were hit with an penalty on the {date of penalty} for unnatural links pointing to our website.

Previously we {provide a little information about work you carried out, or work that a previous SEO agency carried out. Include the names of any agencies you’ve worked with and be completely transparent if you’ve carried out any blackhat techniques}. We apologise for the inconvenience we have caused and have worked very hard to resolve the issue.

We have gathered backlink data from the following sources:

{Include a list of websites where you’ve gathered data from}.

We then located contact details for each of the webmasters and contacted any webmasters who’s links were in violation of your Google webmaster guidelines. All of the work has been documented in the following Google Docs document:

{Link to Google Docs sheet}

{Our company} was founded in {date of creation}. We {a little bit of information about your company}.

We apologise for the inconvenience we have caused and now realise that the work {we/our previous SEO company} carried out was against your webmaster guidelines. We are dedicated to becoming compliant with your webmaster guidelines and are confident that we have removed all of the poor quality links.

Any links that we were unable to remove have been added to a disavow file which was submitted to Google recently. We will also be checking our links regularly to make sure that we remain compliant.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

{Company Name}, {Title}”


Don’t be disheartened if you don’t have your penalty revoked first time, but make sure that in your second reconsideration request, you talk about how you’ve correct the issues that have been rectified since. It’s quite common for penalties to be downgraded from Sitewide to Partial penalties after your first attempt, so we’d recommend following up by referencing your previous request. For example:


“Dear Google Webspam Team,

Firstly, thank you for reviewing our last reconsideration request and pointing out a few links which are still in violation of your guidelines. Our intention has always been to clear up this issue in full, so we have taken steps to become fully compliant with your webmaster guidelines.

All of our work has been documented in the following spreadsheet for you to see at the following URL:

{Link to Google Docs sheet}

Since our last reconsideration request, we have gathered all of the links in our profile again, removed all of the duplicates and manually gone through each link to see if it violates your quality guidelines. We then waited for webmasters to respond and carried the same process out again to make sure no new links have been detected.

{Insert a section about any issues you’ve spotted / additional links found / new sources you’ve used etc}

In our previous reconsideration requests, {insert a brief summary of details such as previous companies you’ve worked with, tactics you were involved in and things you will avoid in the future}.

We will ensure that we stay within Google’s Webmaster guidelines moving and apologise for all the inconvenience we have caused.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

{Your Name} ,{Title}.”


The above secondary reconsideration request is only an example and should be tailored to your exact requirements. It’s important to be honest, point out all of the changes you’ve made and document all of your work properly.

If you’d like to discuss a penalty situation with us, please view our Google Penalty Recovery services. We’ll be happy to discuss your requirements and put together a proposal to help have the penalty lifted!