The Google webmaster reconsideration request revealed no manual Google penalty. Struck by Google Panda 25 on March 15 2013, and a super quick fall in site traffic since the past few weeks, we filed the second reconsideration request, many months after being hit by Panda 3.2 in January 2012, in an attempt to possibly find a cause to the falling traffic.
The reconsideration was mainly to inform about the blocked theme backlinks in the disavow file we found using the link detox tool, to inform the declining numbers of bad backlinks, no guest blogging and its cleanup, removal of spam comments, fixing thousands of broken links, reduce RSS feed scrapping, a super fast site, old hacking events, low ads, good content above the fold and basically to highlight that QOT was a high quality site with good content helping webmasters since 2004 and with a huge social media network and an amazing community of readers from all fields in the tech and webmaster niche.
No manual spam actions found
The webmaster team was quick to reply in 3 days only that there was no manual penalty on the site, and it was an algorithm issue. Here are some excerpts from the email.
We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site’s ranking in Google. There’s no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team.
As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users.
If you’ve experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site’s content, content management system, or server architecture.
They pointed to this help article for more support and site issues which was very useful. So there seems to be no sense in filing another reconsideration request, as it is not required.
That makes me look at more on the internal aspects of our site like webhosting issues, the server settings, csf-lfd blocks, robots.txt, htaccess issues or possible another hacking event. Another important aspect maybe the placement of single Adsense unit which we use on article pages (as Aseem Kishore pointed earlier), and the heavy ads above the fold layout penalty which came closely with Panda 3.2. Maybe the global WordPress attack started much before and someone again hacked into our site, which our hosting service is checking as I type this. Thanks for following QOT.