Google Webmaster Central Office Hours take place several times a month.

On June 17, 2015 a question came up about why some sites appear to recover faster from a manual penalty than others.

The question was in reference to who incurred a penalty but within a week managed to escape out of it.

(Transcript courteousy of Jennifer Slegg from SEMPost)


To watch the video, click below.

Note: the video should start at the relevant part of the Office Hours Hangout, around the 24 minute mark.


John Mueller (from Google Switzerland) suprisingly went into some considerable detail in his answer.

– The question:

“Does Google take in consideration the size of a company/site when processing responses for Manual Actions? Both RapGenius and Thumbtack penalties were processed/recovered very fast (with days not weeks). However, smaller sites sit for weeks/months.”


– John Mueller’s reply:

“Sometimes there are situations where when the web spam team looks at it, they’re like well this is a fantastic job, they really did a complete cleanup of the issues here, maybe they even wrote some magic tools to kind of fix these issues on a broader scale, and these are the situations where the web spam team well this is a fantastic clean up job and says we need to revoke this manual action because it is not relevant anymore.

And some of these sites when I look into them, because people complain about them so I try to double check what’s actually happening here, they really do a fantastic job of cleaning these things up.

So that’s not always the case that I say it’s a well known site so it gets processed faster but it’s really a case of what you submit with the reconsideration request.

A lot of the reconsideration requests when I look at them, they are really low quality, they are almost like hey Google I fixed my issue but they don’t give us any information about what they did, and those are the kind of reconsideration requests that tend to go back and forth a couple of times.

Or where the web spam team says well, let’s look at it in a week or so and see what actually changed because we don’t have any information about what actually happened here.

So that’s the kind of thing where it just takes a lot longer to be reprocessed.

But if you can send us a reconsideration request that is really to the point, where you tell us exactly what you’ve been doing, you give us information showing you’ve completely cleaned up this issue then that’s something that really helps us process these things faster.

We don’t have to pass them on to other teams to kind of discuss, we don’t have to wait to see how things are processed with regards to web search.

We can really look at that and say well this is clean, this is really well done, and we can take that into account and take that as a sign that we need to remove that manual action.

That is something where I think if you have great people submitting the reconsideration requests who really do a fantastic job of cleaning these things up, sometimes you can get these processed a little bit faster.

And sometimes we have a backlog that kind of applies across the board to all websites, where maybe where maybe the manual actions team has a lot to do on their plate at the moment and kind of has to process them a little bit slower.

If you are seeing things that are really taking a lot longer than maybe a week or two, then that’s something you can also bring up to us and we can double check with the team to see what’s happening here, is it getting stuck unnaturally because maybe it fell between the cracks or something like that- or maybe there is something we can do to speed things up.”


If you’re signed up to Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll receive a notification if your website has been hit with a manual penalty.

In summary:

1. Be completely transparent with the action that you’ve taken to fix your issues before you submit a reconsideration request to Google’s web spam team.

2. If you’ve been waiting longer than 2 weeks to receive a response to your reconsideration request then get in touch with Google again through their Webmaster Tools.