Manual Actions Verses Algorithm Filters
Google has different manual actions they take, depending on the over-aggressive means used by Webmasters trying to manipulating the search results.
Google tend to handle 'good websites' with one bad factor differently from over-aggressive, unethical websites.
A site that practices SEO malpractice or unethical over aggressive search engine techniques commonly used by 'black hat' SEO's might be totally removed from the Google index, while a website with fewer violations may be demoted.
When the Webspam Team steps in and takes manual Webspam action a different scenario plays out in comparison to an algorithm filter, this would result in a manual penalty whereby a Google employee takes manual spam action against the website. In this instance, you would receive a message in Webmaster Tools (now known as Google Search Console) notifying you. Reconsideration requests only apply to manual Webspam penalties and not algorithm filters.
Its extremely important you understand the difference between an algorithm filter and a manual penalty. Reason been, with manual penalties, you receive a message from Google giving you a direction of 'fix', when caught out in an algorithm update your website simply vanishes from the search results.
Website recovery from a manual penalty would only occur after submitting a reconsideration request. Once the website has been cleaned a Google employee will lift the penalty and adjust the sites rankings according to there findings.
But on occasions, manual penalties do expire. John Muller posted the following in the Google Product Forum
'While manual actions will expire at some point, I would strongly not recommend sweeping them under the carpet and hoping that they go away on their own – at least if you’re interested in having your site be optimally represented in our search results. Even when a manual action expires (which might take quite some time), if the reason for the original manual action is still relevant, it’s always possible that the manual action is returned later on. In my opinion, if you’re aware of issues that are negatively affecting your site’s performance in search, and if its performance there is important to you, then resolving those issues is often a good use of time'
Cyber SEO specializes in website recovery, whether algorithm filters or manual penalties. That said and done. If while working a site the manual penalty expires we will still request payment for work performed. As John states:
'if the reason for the original manual action is still relevant, it's always possible that the manual action is returned later on…… then resolving those issues is often a good use of time'
In other words, it is wise to clean-up the issue that originally negatively affected the site and not to assume its gone and won't come back.