Key Interview Points
I am going to keep the key points summary short in today's interview. Tiffany's responses bring new clarity to the reconsideration request process. Here is what Matt Cutts Tweeted about the interview:
Read on and enjoy!
Eric Enge: Thanks for taking the time to address our questions!
Tiffany Oberoi: Sure! I know that reconsideration requests can be stressful. We want to do our best to clear up any misconceptions about the process.
Eric Enge: The reconsideration request process is an incredibly important tool for those whose sites have been impacted by a penalty.
Let's start by understanding a bit better the types of penalties. The most extreme penalty is a banning of a site from the index. I usually think of this as something you can recognize by search on the site brand name or domain name and not getting the site to show in the results, or where a site: query shows no results. If you can tell me, are there other types of manual penalties that may be assessed?
Tiffany Oberoi: We do have a few different manual actions that we can take, depending on the type of spam violation. We would tend to handle a good site with one bad element differently from egregious webspam. For example, a site with obvious blackhat techniques might be removed completely from our index, while a site with less severe violations of our quality guidelines might just be demoted. Instead of doing a brand name search, I'd suggest a site: query on the domain as a sure way to tell if the site is in our index. But remember that there can be many other reasons for a site not being indexed, so not showing up isn't an indication of a webspam issue.
Eric Enge: The other major type of penalty is an algorithmic penalty. The algorithms make some determination of a problem behavior and adjust the rankings in some fashion. Is that a reasonable short description?
We try to take an algorithmic approach to tackling spam whenever possible
Tiffany Oberoi: Spam algorithms are essentially computer programs that engineers have written to classify webspam. We try to take an algorithmic approach to tackling spam whenever possible because it's more scalable to let our computers scour the Internet, fighting spam for us! Our rankings can automatically adjust based on what the algorithms find, so we can also react to new spam faster.
And just to be clear, we don't really think of spam algorithms as “penalties” — Google's rankings are the result of many algorithms working together to deliver the most relevant results for a particular query and spam algorithms are just a part of that system. In general, when we talk about “penalties” or, more precisely, “manual spam actions”, we are referring to cases where our manual spam team stepped in and took action on a site.
Eric Enge: Do reconsideration requests have any value in the case of algorithmic penalties? Or are they only valid for manual penalties?