A few days ago I did become aware that mozilla.org was hit with a notification about spam content on its website. But the message was so generic that the webmaster could not make any sense of where to find the offending content and how to remove it.
Well, count me in the camp of puzzled webmasters, that see huge drops in Google search featuring my main website, http:://plan-b-for-openoffice.org/. I used to get large numbers of visitors, but two waves of Panda and Penguin updates to Google’s algorithm did cut that stream by ~90%. Well nothing gave me any indication as to why Google search feels now basically unable to match people that search with my web-site. And I found it utterly frustrating to have to experiment based on speculation as to what Google dislikes on my website and what I could do to help my audience find me on Google.
However, the discussion about this "Mozilla" incident on http://searchengineland.com/ did gave me some new ideas how to find out.
[Google’s Jake] Hubert said that if people file a reconsideration request, they should “get a clear answer” about what’s wrong. There’s a bit of a Catch-22 there. How can you file a reconsideration request showing you’ve removed the bad stuff, if the only way you can get a clear answer about the bad stuff to remove is to file a reconsideration request?
The answer is that technically, you can request reconsideration without removing anything. The form doesn’t actually require you to remove bad stuff. That’s just the general advice you’ll often hear Google say, when it comes to making such a request. That’s also good advice if you do know what’s wrong.
But if you’re confused and need more advice, you can file the form asking for specifics about what needs to be removed. Then have patience. Officially, a response might take several weeks.
Well, technically this has been said in the context of a webmaster message triggered by manual penalties. I wonder if that also works with algorithmic penalties that are unknown. Stay tuned