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Add new content to a penalized domain or start over?

 9:09 pm on May 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a 14 year old domain that was affected by the very first round of Panda then last October hit with a -50 penalty.

So I believe the site has a content problem (Panda), the -50 could be related to that as well, or could be a backlinks penalty.

The penalized domain was part of a massive reciprocal link campaign beginning in 1998 and lasting maybe 7 years or more. All on topic reviewed links, but still... Anyway, that practice was stopped and all recip links were dumped several years ago.

If there is a backlink problem I don't think I can fix it. Everything possible to try and fix that was already done years ago.

I can fix the content problem by creating a new type of content which I have done with another site (on a different topic) and it worked with no link building.

I have added a lot of new content to the penalized domain already as well as a lot of general clean up but there has been no improvement.

So what would you do? Keep adding to the domain that has been Pandalized since feb 24 2011 and penalized since last October? Or start fresh?

Thank you!



 1:58 am on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Either one is possible - but the most important Panda factor is something you haven't mentioned: "shallow" content. Have you addressed that issue on your penalized site?


 4:43 am on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Stale or thin content as tedster alludes to is huge.

Use a tool to crawl your website and review all content pages. I use a custom too similar to Xenu.

-Rewrite the stale, thin content.
-Amalgamate your taxonomy so that each node (topic) represents one distinct topic in the taxonomy. 301 redirect other redundant duplicate type content to that primary topic piece.

In terms of backlinks, use the top there popular backlink tools and ensure there are not poor quality links. I would err on the side of trying to remove those rather than do a reinclusion if you have not received any messages in GWT.


 8:50 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

What are the top backlink tools?

The content problem is lots of repetition within the site plus similarity between the text on my site and the sites I link out to...probably. Plus the type of content before I started adding was mostly just links.


 11:53 am on May 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

What are the top backlink tools?

I am guessing seomajestic and open site explorer are two of them.


 5:37 pm on May 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Planet13, those will actually tell you if your backlinks are poor quality?


 9:37 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ahrefs is another one, though TBH I haven't heard a lot of positive things about them very recently. I think SEOMoz has their own tools too, not sure how they're getting their data though.


 6:48 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks jsherloc.


 8:33 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I added new content last week, and it was immediately sent supplemental while scrapers got first dibs for the #1 through #20 spots (searching snippets in quotes). Just lask week, WMPU added this article [wpmu.org] and snippets of text from it are already in the supplemental bin (this case was mentioned in another thread so the link was already approved). I wanted to present it here as an example. Try searching snippets in quotes. It's unfortunate that Google has imposed such a harsh penalty. I would personally hold off on adding entirely new content, but consider rewriting existing pages that are redundant (stuffing), shallow, stale, etc. to see if the next crawl/update (Penguin/Panda/Whatever) gives you a rebound.


 6:41 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks crobb305, yes adding new content has not helped me yet. I've already got everything noindexed that's waiting to be fixed up but I'm afraid it's going to take too long my family needs income right away even if it's just a little bit.

So will delete everything from the site except for the new content and see what happens. If I'm still penalized after 3 months or so, that means it's something off-site and I need to move to a new domain.

Can anyone tell me if that's right? Is that a plan?


 7:56 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

One of my sites got penalized on the 24th of April (Penguin), even if the traffic doubled almost a month before. I'm rewriting all the pages of the website. I noindex, nofollow them all and as soon i rewrite it, the page goes normal again. I have almost rewritten 25% of them (about 1300) but no changes so far. I wait for the next google/penguin/panda rerun to see what's happening. Like in your case, it might also be because of BL but i hope Google will reconsider its way of dealing BL in the next update in order not to be that easy to slap any site only by adding spammy links to it. If it won't work i will also start with a new domain. I'm considering 301 the pages of the old to the new domain without 301 the main domain. I hope that the values of the pages will be passed. I won't 301 the main domain since it might be a penalty because of bad links and i don't want to transfer the penalty also. What do you think about this idea ?


 9:05 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

jemois, I don't know, maybe not good. You rewrote 1300 in less than a month? I'm not sure if the quality could be that good for recreating pages that fast. Also, Penguin is mainly about links isn't it? If you got penguined you should remove the spammy inlinks not rewrite. If you move I wouldn't 301 anything from any domain that you expect is penalized for bad backlinks, but I would do a little more research on that just to be sure, I mean who am I to say? I can't get one silly site to rank but I hope it works out for you it's terrible isn't it? Now back to my problems...:)


 10:49 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I didn't rewrite them alone. I couldn't. Unfortunately we are not sure that Penguin is mainly about backlinks, it would be to easy, Google wouldn't penalize a site only for having bad links if the content is of high quality. Regarding the spammy links, as long as i didn't create them i'm not able to remove them. I fully removed interlinking of sites i own. That's the best i could do. There are simply to many links on to many domains linking to my website. As i said, i'll wait until the next rerun but no longer than 60 days after the site got penalized. After that, if there is no recovery, i will get a new domain.
In a video, Matt Cuts stated that you should do your best to get rid of the spammy links so, i guess that Google wants to see that you are really doing something to improve your site and its image and i think that improving the content is a good sign for them.


 12:05 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

update: by Penguin not being mainly about BL i mean that if you have quality content i don't think Google will penalize you, even if you get spammy links. Since high quality sites don't need spammy BL it might be that Google is actually hunting thin/low quality sites which are more likely trying to cheat in order to rank better. It the website score is low and there are many spammy BL it looks like spam to me also.


 12:50 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

That makes sense. Both improve the content and try to remove what links you can. Best of luck.

I saw no change with Penguin but then again my site was already so badly penalized...


 1:12 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

On their search quality highlights [insidesearch.blogspot.com...] , they mention that:
No freshness boost for low-quality content. [launch codename “NoRot”, project codename “Freshness”] We have modified a classifier we use to promote fresh content to exclude fresh content identified as particularly low-quality.


 1:44 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Back to adding content, a new post from wpmu.org regarding their penalization, which appears to be link related:


In that post, they demonstrate how an article that was released after they were slapped by Penguin was unable to rank, while lots of other sites that quoted (or scraped it, depending on your point of view), were ranking instead.


 1:52 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Start over with Bing, forget Goog for a few months.


 11:02 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

if a page/website is penalized and you rewrite it, is doesn't matter how high quality the new content is as long as the page is penalized. It simply won't rank well neither be treated as fresh content until the penalty is lifted. Its not a normal updated page, its a penalized one.

Mine was penalized heavy also, i lost 90% of the traffic, from ~10.000 visitors/day to 1000/day. I hope the work we do will have results. What further changes have you done to yours ?


 6:13 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Its not a normal updated page, its a penalized one.

Yes. My whole site is penalized so no new pages are ranking before page three.

I don't remember everything I've done, I removed all aff content, almost all affiliate links, deleted, merged, noindexed, rewrote, spell checked, checked out going links, reconsideration requested, checked for canonical issues, added a facebook page, and after all that and whatever else it's only gotten worse.

Besides just deleting the rest of the old content (which is sad because it's useful but it's redundant so won't rank I guess) I will also try to improve the look of the site and go over the incoming links carefully with some tools, if nothing happens after 90 days I will move it to a new domain.


 6:54 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)


you recieved a notification of Google in WMT about unnatural Backlinks?

how many reconsiderations requests you sent?


 10:12 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

No I never received a notification but I do have incoming links that look like spam and they make up a good percentage of my overall links plus all the recip links that I collected myself several years ago, so I suppose it's possibly part of my problem?

I sent one recon request back in December detailing the bad links that I found and some other little things that I fixed on my site. I received a standard reply with no additional information.


 10:25 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Besides just deleting the rest of the old content (which is sad because it's useful but it's redundant so won't rank I guess)...

Could you explain more about what you mean by "redundant"?


 12:00 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@proboscis if you see Google forums you will find that lots of webmaster did not recieve unnatural link message until they send 3 or 4 reconsiderations, some of them recieve the notification as first message... so seems that unnatural BL penalizations are reported by G...


 12:54 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have lists of resources for specific information, on a page with 30 or so resources I end up using the same words over and over again even though I make a point of trying not to, but there are only so many ways you can say one thing. Then the next page would be the same type of resources again but in a different category so even though the subject is different there will be a lot of similarity in the text. Plus the content is mostly links which I've gathered is no longer valuable/not what people want for the most part.

I see in my logs that it's being used in some schools but just for regular people searching I think they want something more exciting and fun.

Oh really martinacastro? So I will send another.


 1:52 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

proboscis you made changes/improvements since the last reconsideration in december?

If yes and you are sure that your site ins penalized (none text strings in top 40), you must consider sending a new reconsideration.



 3:13 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Okay, I'll do that martinacastro. Thanks!


 3:52 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Good luck, and we wait your news ;-)

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