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Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next!

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Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next! kadavy 3/2/14 3:35 PM
TL:DR;
  • I have submitted a reconsideration request twice for my site, http://t.co/9IBPx07Xl8, and it has been rejected twice, with no explanation other than the “unnatural links” penalty in my Manual Actions section.
  • I did minor link-building efforts about 6 years ago (a few forum profiles, a couple link exchanges), but within the last year bought some links as well. All of those links have been removed or disavowed. Obviously, I won’t be doing that again, as stated in my reconsideration requests.
  • The only bad links that are left are unauthorized spammy links that have popped up since the reconsideration request. They keep appearing, so there's no way to fight them before a reconsideration request is read.
  • I really have no idea what to do at this point!

The full story, I think this is best told by simply pasting in my latest reconsideration request:
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Dear Google Webspam team,
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our reconsideration request.

On December 15, 2013, a site that I manage, http://t.co/9IBPx07Xl8, was given an unnatural links penalty. We invested a great deal of our resources to removing and disavowing any unnatural links, and submitted a reconsideration request on January 24, 2014. On February 6, 2014, that reconsideration request was denied, citing violation of “Google’s quality guidelines.”

Since an “unnatural links” warning persisted under the “Manual Actions” section of Webmaster Tools – and because we’re confident we meet or exceed Google’s quality guidelines in all other categories, we made the assumption that the violation still involved unnatural links.

However, aside from a few new unauthorized links that had surfaced since submitting our reconsideration request, the link profile from Webmaster Tools appeared clean.

We looked for more sources of backlinks, and found many more using Open Site Explorer.

One of the links is from a link exchange that was agreed to in 2009. Another link was from a contractor who we briefly hired off of oDesk in 2007.

These attempts at link-building to improve rankings were omitted from the previous request because they weren’t in the backlink profile provided by Webmaster Tools, which we thought was comprehensive. They were so long ago that we thought they had disappeared. This is the only focused linkbuiling efforts we’ve employed, aside from the recent ones mentioned in the previous reconsideration request.

The rest of the links are either natural, unauthorized, or irrelevant because they are nofollow links.

We have analyzed all 363 links in our back link profile, requested takedowns of any spammy or linkbuilding links, and disavowed any links from sites who didn’t honor our takedown requests, or did not have contact information available.



We believe this covers all unnatural links that we have pointing to our site as of this date, however, we expect that there will continue to be new ones beyond which we have no control. There appears to be nefarious scripts out there that are putting our links on sites without our authorization. Obviously, since these links have cost us several thousands of dollars in business, we wouldn’t be employing them!

We hope this satisfies your Webmaster guidelines. As stated before, please do not hesitate to email me at [email address] or call me on my phone at [phone number].

If the actions we’ve taken are not enough to accept our reconsideration request, we kindly ask that you please provide at least one specific piece of advice as to why. We were completely stumped as to why our previous efforts were denied, until a colleague told us about Open Site Explorer, and we discovered more links.

Thanks again for reading our request.

Best,
vangolfer

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I would greatly appreciate any insight or help on this!
Re: Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next! Lysis 3/2/14 4:08 PM
Those blog posts you have as natural links say that they sell links or are part of a blog advertising network. I'm a part of a blog ad network, so I know how they work. They need to be nofollowed ore removed.
Re: Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next! kadavy 3/2/14 5:00 PM
Thanks so much for looking, and for the reply, Lysis! Can you be specific as to which ones? There are over 30 links labeled natural, we have never purchased links from any of these sites, and things such as the coverage on Jezebel.com are definitely natural.

I looked at cupidslibrary, and noticed this note: "Please note that when following some outgoing links on this website and making a purchase, we receive a financial compensation from the provider. We use this income to improve our site and add additional reviews and features."

That's simply not the case for these links, and there's nothing on my site to "make a purchase" of anyway. You think Google is penalizing me for this link?
Re: Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next! Lysis 3/2/14 5:08 PM
I looked at the first few domains. They have advertising pages or show that they sell links (or get compensated). You should probably ask them to nofollow them. Even links you bought on blogs should be nofollowed.

TBH, they look like purchased links, so I would ask that they nofollow them.
Re: Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next! Cheerful Charlie 3/2/14 5:27 PM
Those first few links on your list, did you keep them, or did you disavow them? If you kept them, that's bad.

Any link placed by you, or someone that worked for you, has to be removed, nofollowed or as a last resort disavowed.

Even ones that look like they may have been placed by you or someone that you paid.

You need to be ruthless, any that seem iffy need to be junked.

Here are some links to help you

Guide to reconsideration requests https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/webmasters/MgN9csBf1vs/rPopP1GKY0kJ
Google disavow file https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en
My Google Manual Spam Action Experience https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/webmasters/9bwxZPQTJv0/bAX0aAo5rQkJ



Re: Reconsideration request denied twice with no explanation. Don't know what to do next! kadavy 3/2/14 5:43 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to look Cheerful Charlie!

This is one thing I'm realizing: the ones that show status of "Contacted" have all actually been "Disavowed," though if you look in the "Site Contacts" tab, you can see that I noted that the links hadn't been removed.

Basically, everything that has been "Contacted" has actually been Disavowed, because nobody responded.

I wonder if the reconsideration team was confused by the "Contacted" status, which should really say "Disavowed."

So, definitely, every link that I had anything to do with has been removed or disavowed. Still, I suppose there are a few that I could request removal for, even if they actually are natural.