"The Missing Link" is a Search Engine Watch exclusive reader-driven Q&A column with veteran content publicist Eric Ward. You can ask questions about all aspects of links and link building and Eric will provide his expert answers. Submit your questions here, or via SEW's Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ (use the hashtag #missinglink) accounts, and you may be featured in a future installment!
I received a spam notification for "unnatural links" from Google recently. Since then, I have been trying to identify and remove as many links as possible and have also used the disavow tool. I'm ready to submit a reconsideration request, but I'm not sure if I should do so yet. Is there a certain amount of time that I should wait before making a reconsideration request?
– Hanging on in Quiet Desperation
There is not set amount of time that you should wait before making a reconsideration request. However, since it can take time for links to be removed (and some never get removed) I think it's a good practice to wait about 30 days.
During those 30 days is when you should be actively trying to clean up your link profile. That said, there are instances where people have waited less than a week – the person in this article waited just six days.
More interesting to me is the comment about Google's manual penalties having an expiration date. This is true. Manual penalties do in fact expire.
Google has never gone on the record about how long it takes for manual penalties to expire, and Google's John Mueller strongly recommended that those who are hit with a manual penalty shouldn't wait for the penalty to expire. Instead, they should "work to resolve why they've been penalized in the first place and then submit a reconsideration request."
Here's John's quote:
If your site receives a notification of web-spam or manual action in Webmaster Tools, then that will be due to a web-spam review and manual action that has been taken. While manual actions will expire at some point, I would strongly not recommend sweeping them under the carpet and hoping that they go away on their own -- at least if you're interested in having your site be optimally represented in our search results. Even when a manual action expires (which might take quite some time), if the reason for the original manual action is still relevant, it's always possible that the manual action is returned later on. In my opinion, if you're aware of issues that are negatively affecting your site's performance in search, and if its performance there is important to you, then resolving those issues is often a good use of time.