|301 a penalized and removed domain. Value passed?|
Not sure if anyone would really know. Here's the situation.
Domain was penalized, eventually entirely removed from Google index. I would like to 301 this domain to a similar named domain. However, if Google has removed from index, then all the value and backlinks are not recognized by Google in the 301 domain redirection?
I was considering waiting to clear up the penalty first before doing a 301, but I'm not that patient any more. Is it the kiss of death to 301 a domain that is under a penalty?
I know Google says 301 to a new domain passes on those backlinks and pagerank. Well, what if I'm trying to do the right thing, but because of a penalty, all that juice isn't passed along?
It's obviously a big gamble without knowing one way or the other. Anyone heard any situations like this? I would 301 yesterday, but not if there is a risk of having no backlinks and pagerank passed along with the 301.
I appreciate any help in this issue. Thanks!
"Is it the kiss of death to 301 a domain that is under a penalty?"
If it was, you could 301 your domain to adobe.com and get them penalized.
I would imagine this has been tried and tested, it's something I have also wondered about so it would be nice to get some feedback on how effective this is..
Um, steveb you missed the point in a big way...
The kiss of death is, have a domain with value pre-penalty and 301 that same domain while it's still under the penalty. The kiss of death is if that asset is passing on no value because of the existing penalty. It would be a complete waste of the 301. A complete and utter loss. I do think, that as a consideration, Google could perhaps have a solid and firm stance on this.
It's either wait while guessing what's going to lift the penalty or 301 before the penalty is lifted and hope that Google looks past the fact your domain in no longer indexed and is essentially dead in the water. I mean, I'm going to continue waiting until I get a confirmation. It's not worth throwing away a domain that had value over an educated guess on this one.
Since you don't want to do anything based on an educated guess, let me give you an uneducated one: (Don't do anything based on it either... Sit back and think about it, then make your own best decision, because you're the one who has to live with the results.)
I would think quite a bit would have to do with the domain it's redirected to and what happens to the content on the original... SteveB is right you could not get Adobe penalized by redirecting to them, but IMO you might be able to take the penalty with you by 301ing to the exact same site on a new domain, otherwise anyone with a penalty would just redirect and be back in.
Think about what makes sense as far as how you would keep people from getting back in by redirecting to a new domain, while still keeping people from being able to just 301 anywhere and do damage to another website and IMO you'll probably get fairly close to G policy, because IMO (again) there's only a few things that make sense.
It's just a guess on my part though. I honestly do not have any experience with getting a banned domain back in or redirecting one or even working on one.
[edited by: jd01 at 1:44 am (utc) on Oct. 4, 2009]
When you think about it trying to 301 your way out of a penatly makes a bit of a joke out of it. Google locks you in a cell and then passes you the keys to let yourself out? Probably not...
I was advised by a Google employee to 301 redirect similar domains. However, the one missing aspect was whether that would pass along that promise of "backlinks and page rank" which is commonly sold as 301 benefits.
If you think about it though, it's not a matter of trying to 301 out of a penalty. Unless you get confirmation (which will never happen) from Google what your penalty is for, you will never know if the 301 is viewed by Google as being a sneaky way of trying to get out of a penalty, or is it a way of dealing with a penalty that you think was caused by duplicate sites. Confusing or what? If my 301 is done in an effort to resolve my penalty, how the hell would Google ever know that? It's a real silly circumstance to be in let me tell you.
Uh, thinking the penalty came from duplicate content was probably an important (huge, gigantic, paramount) tid bit of information to include when asking for good 'educated' input...
I'm not going to tell you what to do or give you advice, I'm going to ask questions and do my best to educate a little bit... Sorry if I may seem a bit harsh. (I might know a little more about this subject than I initially thought.)
|I would like to 301 this domain to a similar named domain. However, if Google has removed from index, then all the value and backlinks are not recognized by Google in the 301 domain redirection? |
What gives you this idea? Just because a page is not returned in the results does not mean it cannot, will not be, or is not, scored and evaluated in some manner... It could be the case, but a page containing a noindex tag still passes inbound link weight, which seems to indicate even pages you cannot find in the index are scored and evaluated at some regular interval (even if infrequently).
(A site is a collection of pages. The index is the results (SERPs). The index is NOT the entirety of the, for lack of a better term, GFS (database of pages). Just because you can't find your pages when you search doesn't mean Google does not have them and evaluate them on an ongoing basis. Google shows you the index (results) they don't just throw everything else away, which is made evident by the fact pages containing a 'noindex' tag still pass some extent of inbound link weight.)
|I was considering waiting to clear up the penalty first before doing a 301, but I'm not that patient any more. Is it the kiss of death to 301 a domain that is under a penalty? |
If you think the penalty was from duplicate content, how do you propose to clear it up prior to redirecting? By changing the content to another topic so all of your inbound links are no longer relevant? By putting a noindex tag on it, so Google knows to not include it in the results? By removing all content and pages? I'm not sure how you would propose to clear up a what you perceive to be a duplicate content penalty with the duplicate content still on the website... About all you can do is change the content to similar and hope it's not too similar and if you're going to basically create new content on the same topic(s) why would you put it on a non-ranking domain, rather than one which is currently ranking?
|I know Google says 301 to a new domain passes on those backlinks and pagerank. Well, what if I'm trying to do the right thing, but because of a penalty, all that juice isn't passed along? |
First, why would they lie? Second, the site doesn't rank anyway... What have you got to lose? 10% of the link weight possible being passed is more than zero which is where you are now, so what if it's at a lower percentage for some odd reason. What good are any of those links doing you right now?
|Anyone heard any situations like this? |
Yes. Try your favorite search engine:
duplicate content multiple domains 2009 site:webmasterworld.com/google/
duplicate content multiple domains 2008 site:webmasterworld.com/google/
duplicate content multiple domains 2007 site:webmasterworld.com/google/
(Before adding the year, I saw results (threads here) from as far back as 2001)
|I was advised by a Google employee to 301 redirect similar domains. |
Do you think they told you this to try and harm one of your websites? If your sites don't rank, someone else's do... It's not like they're cutting down to nine sites in the SERPs when your site is gone, so why would they give bad advice? It does them no benefit I can think of to actually give you bad advice and would they be inclined to give you any advice at all, as an Employee, if they did not *know* the advice was official (IOW: good)? (My wager is they could get fired if they gave 'bad' advice as a Google Representative.)
|However, the one missing aspect was whether that would pass along that promise of "backlinks and page rank" which is commonly sold as 301 benefits. |
As I stated previously:
What bit of good are all those backlinks and PageRank doing for you now?
BTW: When you do a proper 301 redirect AFAIK and to the best of my knowledge, the inbound links from the redirected resource (page) are 'transferred' to the page receiving the redirect, which is analogous to contacting each website linking to the resource (page) being redirected and asking them to change the link to the resource (page) receiving the redirect and having them actually do it. A 301 Redirect is Permanent... It basically says, 'The resource you requested at this location is no longer here. Do not request it from this location again. Here is the new location. You should request it there from now on.' It's like a 'moved next door' sign on the door of an office. Once you know where the new one is you don't go back to the old one. You may look at the door to see if the location has changed back, but you basically know you are going to the new location. (The last portion in SE terms means: the 301's need to stay in place, because G will 'drop by' again to make sure nothing has changed, but as long as the redirects are there, the transfer remains to the new location.)
This is the conclusion of my non-advice mini-rant.
I hope you get something out of it.
The question being asked apparently wasn't the question being asked, so who knows, but a couple things are sure, there is no definitive answer written in stone anywhere, and second, there is no magical way to make a useless domain suddenly useful via a trick.
So, you see canonicalization of www.example.com and example.com as a trick? They are treated as two separate websites for ranking purposes. Usually only one will be included in the index, and I personally don't see it as a trick to redirect the one not returned in the results to the other two years after launch when the one not returned in results has inbound links...
I also think canonicalization has been 'officially recommended', and IMO since www.example.com and example.com are treated as different websites, the same as example1.com and example2.com are, there is no 'trick' to redirecting one to the other when they are duplicates... You can think it's a trick if you want, but we'll have to agree to disagree there.
Thanks jd01. I will give your comments some real thought. I appreciate your time and advice on this. The advice that was given to me from the Google employee was certainly not meant as harmful to me, however, I'm overly cautious. I know they suggested this as a means to possibly clear up a penalty, however they didn't mention whether that penalized 301 domain will pass value onto my chosen domain.
I hear what you are saying about what's the risk since it's not ranking now anyways. This is true, however, a 301 isn't the only option. I can also just remove Google from crawling this site all together. That's a last resort really. It has value, and it has backlinks. These are valuable enough to not throw away on a 301 which doesn't give me that value passed onto the new domain.
I've made tough decisions on other sites, and simply 301 them, however, I'm now onto valuable domains. It's much harder to have say, a $100 bill and throwing it into the wash and hoping that the $100 bill still has the value. Make sense? Throwing it into the wash means it may come out as a blank piece of paper.
"So, you see canonicalization of www.example.com and example.com as a trick?"
Huh? What does that have to do with anything?
|"So, you see canonicalization of www.example.com and example.com as a trick?" |
Huh? What does that have to do with anything?
Do you really not understand my post?
I think I explained my view on the similarities fairly well to most readers.
A canonical 301 redirect within the same domain is not analogous to a 301 redirect to a different domain name - I think that veers a bit off topic.
There are a couple of questions and variables in this case - including whether the penalty was an on-page/on-site penalty or if it was based on the backlink profile. If the backlink profile is the culprit in this penalty, then a 301 might very well pass on the problem.
|A canonical 301 redirect within the same domain is not analogous to a 301 redirect to a different domain name - I think that veers a bit off topic. |
My main point was it's not a trick, and if backlinks are the issue (keeping in mind it may be a combination of the two), it's not (or not only) a duplicate content issue, it's a backlink issue (or backlink issue also), which is a different kettle of fish... What I was mainly trying to emphasize is when duplicate content across multiple domains is the issue (solely the issue), IMO redirecting is the best option, much as it would be to canonicalize two variations of the same domain (which are unlikely to have an 'essentially the same' backlink profile, as a site in IMO (x 2) is most likely to link to only one variation of the domain, rather than both variations).
Thanks for the clarification though, because it's a good distinction to draw and it's good for people to know they are not exactly the same, although if duplicate content is the issue, it will most likely IMO (x 3), achieve the desired result.
IMO (x 4) It's actually the opposite of a 'trick' if duplicate content is solely the issue... The duplicate domains would IMO (x 5) be the 'trick' to try and occupy more than one spot at the top of the results and the removal (or redirection) of the duplicate would be the IMO (x 6) best correction of the 'trick'.
ADDED: It should be noted: If the backlink profile is exactly or essentially the same, the redirection may not be necessary, because duplication of all backlinks to a single domain may not be desired or advised. (I probably gave a simple answer to what is at it's essence a very complicated issue, and answered based on the exact information provided...)
Back to the topic, if a domain is penalized, there is no magical way to pass its former value to a new domain, nor will you pass along the entire penalty either. The former value of the old domain no longer exists. It's like Confederate money. You can't trick, manipulate or force Google to look at it as real money.
The way to try and get value out of the old domain is to get the penalty lifted. Then, proceed however you want to use its value.
|The way to try and get value out of the old domain is to get the penalty lifted. |
This is one of the coolest things about the forums...
You get all kinds of differing opinions and have to make your own best decision.
steveb thinks you should get the penalty lifted first. Personally, if the backlink profile is not the same and it's solely a 'duplicate content' issue I would redirect and be done with it.
Here's why: IMO the links would do you more good pointing to the site that's actually ranking than the one they are currently pointing to. The other thing I might do is forget about the redirection and just send an e-mail to the sites linking in stating the penalized domain will become inactive as of 'some date in the future' the information they are linking to is now and will continue to be available @ the corresponding URL on the non-penalized domain. This alleviates all the questions about what is 'passed' and 'not passed' through a redirect. Then you can concentrate on more important things like creating new content for a non-penalized domain and generating new links there. As with any solution, there is probably some loss here, because the links lose their 'age' if they are changed to point to the non-penalized domain.
Like steveb says, there is no 'magic' solution...
You have a penalized domain and a limited number of solutions.
1.) Find the way to get the penalty lifted.
(IMO probably by changing the content to on-topic, but different. Which leads to another question if you do: Why would you redirect then?)
2.) Redirect the domain to the non-penalized domain.
3.) Get those with inbound links to edit them to the non-penalized domain and forget about the penalized one.
Get the penalty lifted is probably the most work, but might have the best results by Not redirecting.
With the other two there is probably some loss from what was to what you will receive from doing it and you're the only one who can determine where and how your time is best spent. Personally, I would not host two similar domains, unless they are automated and maintenance is a minimum, because to maximize two of them you have to do the same work twice... What I mean is if you want to keep both growing and successful you have to attract twice the links. Provide twice the information on the topic(s). Monitor and manage twice as much, where with one site, you can fully concentrate your efforts in one place. It's what I would do, because you IMO really lose opportunities by having two... With one a link attracted is a link attracted... With two a link attracted to one is a link which cannot be attracted to the other, because an essentially the same backlink profile can cause issues too. So, IMO you are limited in the links you can attract, and I think it does more harm than good to have to manage this type of situation, but it's completely and totally up to you and how you perceive the two working together and working for you. Personally, I would find a way to extract the greatest value I think I can from the penalized site and be done with it... I personally would not worry about getting the penalty lifted I would either redirect and be done with it, or get the inbound links changed and be done with it, but that's me and my management style and my opinion only.
steveb's management style / opinion is obviously different and might very well be better for you and your situation... I know what I would do based on my management style, risk tolerance and where I think my time would be best spent.
I guess the answer comes down to which would you rather lose:
1.) The age of the links by having them changed by site owners to point to the non-penalized domain.
2.) Some of the value of the links by passing them through a redirect.
3.) Your time necessary to un-duplicate the content and get the penalty lifted, so in the future you can either redirect or have two sites to manage.
In an effort to be overly clear on my meaning:
IMO: It's really a 'situation specific question' which involves the exact situation (including all factors which may be involved in the penalty), ROI, risk tolerance, future plans, management style, and a number of other factors, so there is not a 'one answer fits you' solution, except the answer you decide on for your specific situation when considering all the factors...
My apologies for posting 'off topic' if that's how my posts are viewed by the OP or others...
If someone would like to post the exact difference between link weight passed from a penalized domain v non-penalized domain via 301 I would love to see it.
Please include (via sticky if necessary) your exact case study with:
Control group of redirected sites.
Test group of redirected penalized sites.
The exact percentage of link weight passed by each penalized and non-penalized domain on a page by page basis.
Exactly how you perform your calculations when we don't even really know the exact cutoff for PR, except that it works in some sort of exponential way.
How you know the exact PR of the page(s) the inbound links were placed on at the time they were redirected to perform the calculations.
AS WELL AS
How you know the exact link weight passed through any link or redirect from a penalized or non-penalized domain.
How you know the exact PR of any given page receiving the redirect prior to the redirect being found and after the redirect is found and credited.
How you know there were no additional links whatsoever placed to either page in any way, including from 'spam sites' that would affect the study and determination of weight passed.
* It's really a nearly impossible question to answer, except based on pure speculation since we don't even know the exact current PR for any given page at any given point in time, except the point in time when PR is updated (and even then it's not exact and is out of date), then we would have to know exactly what links have been found, which redirects have been found and credited, etc. It's not something I expect someone to be able to provide and without a full-blown, documented study, all anyone can really provide is a 'situational, speculative guess'. Nothing more.
ADDED: I'm serious, maybe G has told us the answer to this question or generically stated 301's from penalized domains do not 'pass links' in the same manner as non-penalized domains and I missed something, so I'll learn a bit about the situation and be able to answer more directly in the future, but short of that, I don't see how anyone can definitively answer the question posted by the OP.
If you have some information, please share.