Way to go, Matt! 😀
Although he said that it could take a while, it looks like the changes Matt mentioned he started the ball rolling on, that DazzlinDonna posted about back on Dec 3rd, “Admission of Guilt Will No Longer Be Required For Google Reconsideration Request“, have indeed gone through. For the most part, that is.
There were 2 items Matt had asked to be changed. The first was to have removed the need to admit that you did something wrong in order to submit a reinclusion request (keeping it in there meant that it left no room for there to be a Google error, and people who honestly didn’t think they did anything wrong would have to admit to it anyways). The second change he asked for was to remove from the official Google Webmaster Guidelines the bit about how people hiring SEO firms or individuals should “insist on a full and unconditional money-back guarantee.”
The second change has been fully completed. The old wording:
“For your own safety, you should insist on a full and unconditional money-back guarantee. Don’t be afraid to request a refund if you’re unsatisfied for any reason, or if your SEO’s actions cause your domain to be removed from a search engine’s index.” – before
How it reads now:
“Don’t be afraid to request a refund if you’re unsatisfied with your SEO’s performance.” – after
Very nicely toned down from the whole “BEWARE OF SEO’S! DANGER!” message it used to have. 😀 I actually agreed with the bit that a firm should indeed be accountable if they perform changes that cause you to be deindexed… but the problem with enforcing that is you would need to be able to prove what exactly caused the loss of rankings/indexed pages, and to do that you would need Google to be willing to actually confirm some sort of causal relationship. Since there’s no way in hell that will happen, it’s probably best that they did just remove that bit as well.
The first change Matt promised us technically did happen, just not all the way. His exact statement:
“I dropped an email to someone at Google to request that we remove the text ‘I believe this site has violated Google’s quality guidelines in the past.’ from the checkbox in the reconsideration request form” – Matt Cutts
Which they did in fact do. The problem is that they left the remaining two bullet points worded so you still are left with the feeling that you indeed must have been naughty in the first place. Now what we see when we go there:
If something “no longer” does something, that inherently means that it “once did”. Close, though. I personally think that the following language would be much better:
By submitting this form, I acknowledge that:
- I have read and understand Google’s quality guidelines.
- This site does not currently violate Google’s quality guidelines.
- I agree to abide by Google’s quality guidelines in the future as well.
As far as I can tell, something like that should in fact cover all of the bases.