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Moving on from Penguin - 301 domain question
Jez123




msg:4513721
 10:50 am on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a brand.co.uk domain that redirects to my brand.net main site just in case my UK visitors type it in by mistake.

My .net had been badly affected by Penguin and it's time to move on or sink I think.

My question is: If I use the brand.co.uk domain that has been redirected to brand.net with new content on it, will the domain be tainted by the fact that it has been associated to a penguinised domain?

 

klark0




msg:4513772
 1:55 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, with the same links incoming the domain is gonna be hit by Penguin again.

Back in July, I switched from .com to .org for one site in order to recover without waiting for the refresh. I also removed all the links that I suspected were the cause of the Penguin-hit. The site regained all its rankings, even after the October refresh.

Jez123




msg:4513788
 2:09 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Klark0, the .co.uk domain should not have any links at all unless by accident. All links should be going to the penguin hit .net site

My question is, is the .co.uk domain going to be tainted by its associaton with the .net one if I separate them and use the .co.uk domain as the new site?

phranque




msg:4513822
 3:10 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

i would think the common ownership would be a strong enough association.
google is a domain registrar so they have access to all this information.

however the domain move as you described will essentially work like a massive link disavowal - the good and the bad.

you should also consider the effect of switching from a gTLD to a ccTLD.

Jez123




msg:4513864
 5:16 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)


i would think the common ownership would be a strong enough association.
google is a domain registrar so they have access to all this information.

however the domain move as you described will essentially work like a massive link disavowal - the good and the bad.

you should also consider the effect of switching from a gTLD to a ccTLD.


Sorry, I don't understand your answer.

Are you saying that the domain will be tainted by its association?

Yes, but not really as I will leave the old domain in place and essentially start afresh on the ex redirected domain. The old domain will catch all my repeat customers and I can watch it to see if it ever gets relkeased from Penguin.

Switching from a gTLD will be OK as most of my business comes from the UK anyway.

phranque




msg:4513869
 5:39 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

as most of my business comes from the UK

most as in "over 50%" or as in "nearly all"?

have you set your geotargeting in GWT?

Jez123




msg:4514740
 5:35 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi phranque, nearly all. Due to the nature of my business it's expensive to send my stuff abroad as it's very heavy, so to save myself time in explaining this I set my geotargeting to UK only. I get a trickle of orders for overseas, usually by people tempted by the craftsmanship or the specific area that the materials are sourced from.

So, to recap: Is un 301 ing (and using for new site) my UK tld from my penguin hit .net tld ?

phranque




msg:4514975
 10:14 am on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

assuming none of your penguin-related issues were passed through the .co.uk redirect and your new content passes muster i think you should be better off than before, at least in uk serps.

Jez123




msg:4514978
 10:28 am on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I only bought the domain at the beginning of the year so it's not even been associated with the other domain for all that long. I would hope that it's not affected. I guess I just need to try it and see. If it is affected I suppose I would know fairly fast and take it offline and put the content on a new domain and try again.

phranque




msg:4514995
 11:30 am on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

i'm also thinking you might want to "ungeotarget" your ccTLD in GWT unless there are significant differences in the content.

smithaa02




msg:4515028
 1:47 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've read all sorts of stories on the web as far as 301'ing and penguin goes...

Some have experienced incredible recoveries...some haven't... For those that do bounce up...it's quite common that a couple weeks later their new 301'ed website bounces back down (as if Penguin takes a while to latch on to the change).

Some have tried 301'ing to a new domain...leaving the 301 for a month, then axing the old doman and 301. That doesn't seem to work and most tank.

Some claim that if you 301 while you change whois and hosting servers you can make it look like it has a new owner and that works. I doubt it.

So tough call...I guess if you are really desperate you could try it, but I wouldn't in your shoes.

My vote would be to audit your links, use a third party link removal service to remove the bad ones and to diavow the links they can't get. I have done this and experienced very good and climbing (although not complete) results for one of my penguin hit domains.

That or start over with a brand new domain...it's actually easier than before to rank with newer domains because so much competition has been cleaned up out with the google updates, and google doesn't value domain/page age like it used to.

I wonder if creating a new site and linking prominently to it from the penguin hit site to get it's juice would work...could be risky and you would want to wait a bit before you link to it. Google hates artificial link velocity and links to hatchling sites.

Jez123




msg:4515031
 1:56 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Smithaa02, however, I am not sure if you fully got the idea of what I want to do.

I am not 301ing to try to recover, merely freeing up the brand domain that redirects and accidental type in traffic to the main domain. So, hopefully, for all intents and purposes, the domain is new and clean. Just separating it from the penguin hit domain.

projectmanuk




msg:4515050
 2:27 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

We have tested ourselves that 301 a penguin hit domain to a new one will pass on the blame. I know this is NOT what you have asked.

At most Penguin is applied to a site, not to a person (owner). So what if Google knows you own both, even God would give you a second chance to start over?

smithaa02




msg:4515073
 3:04 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the confusion Jez...My personal vote then is if you do want to keep the old domain for branding but not SEO, then I would not redirect but rather keep it as is and put a 'we have moved graphic' that people can click on. People have definitely been hit by 301'ing polluted domains to new ones. If you turn the old page into a portal to your new...maybe obfuscate it with javascript link, js redirect or flash or even nofollow the link to keep google off your back. Just seem like 301'ing is too dangerous.

A option might be a 302. Google says these are ok for advertisers because they don't pass page juice...might be worth it to research to see what happened for penguin hit sites 302'ing to new domains.

Jez123




msg:4515076
 3:17 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

even God would give you a second chance to start over?


Yeah, but we are talking about google here :) God didn't float himself on the stock market. Unless I missed that in the bible? :-)

arikgub




msg:4515185
 8:10 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

God didn't float himself on the stock market.


:):)

I bet he would have a more successful IPO than FB

RedCardinal




msg:4515301
 4:57 am on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fairly sure that JohnMu mentioned in a hangout that redirecting to a new domain would only work short term and that the algo would eventually catch up with the new domain.

This goes back a good few months, but if you spend time viewing some of the Webmaster Hangouts you can find some useful information from John's input.

Robert Charlton




msg:4515451
 9:39 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

My .net had been badly affected by Penguin and it's time to move on or sink I think.

Jez, I agree with phranque that the move from the brand.net to the brand.co.uk should be seen as a "massive link disavowal". I believe that the move should work in the case of Penguin, assuming that...

a) all your problems were link-related (with no spammy onsite techniques)...
b) there had been no additional promotion of brand.co.uk (ie, links built to it and redirected to the .net).
c) the new links you build are not artificial.

For reasons I'll mention in a moment, I don't think that Google would hold the previous association against you, but Google will be watching carefully how you build your new backlinks.

I'm assuming in this scenario that your old brand.net domain might become a placeholder, advising of the change, with a manual nofollow link taking traffic to the .co.uk. Any other kind of traffic redirection, even perhaps a meta refresh, I assume, might be seen as a "sneaky redirect".

Several questions I would start pondering, as you would in effect be starting over with zero inbound link juice....

Is your content now good enough to earn freely given editorial links? Do you have a customer base and customer loyalty? If so, then to that degree, the "brand" of brand.net has some aspects of a genuine brand. Can you make use of that? To do so might require creating some buzz online about the brand name change, perhaps to build new inbounds, get people talking about your new site. Your .net placeholder should be a really good page advising of the change.

Does the .net have any editorial links from trusted sources that you could get to switch over to the .co.uk? This is not the same as going back to the usual suspects (ie, to the kinds of links that got you into trouble in the first place). Avoid any chance of carrying over some of the tainted legacy. Make sure that your new links are clean, and that you don't build them unnaturally. A temptation will be to build them too fast.

As far as Google's view as a registrar, I don't think they're eager to create a vast wasteland of derelict domains. That would be bad for the health of the web, and they know it.

In another current thread here, buckworks notes some comments she heard Matt Cutts make about Google's view of domain health and of moving ahead rather than looking back....

Matt said that they try to evaluate a site based on what it is now rather than what it might have been in the past.

To a degree, it makes me wonder whether your domain change is necessary, but it might make sense.

Several comments in that thread relate to your concerns here. The big difference, I think, is that you're trying to maintain brand identity (at least the good parts of it), whereas on the other thread, brand identity would have to be changed. See...

Is buying a previously owned domain name still dangerous?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4515322.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Another option for you, as I suggest with that domain purchase, might be heavy use of the disavow tool. That's not something I'd recommend for most sites unless they know what they're doing and very carefully evaluate what they're disavowing.

Changing domains is an equally big move, albeit in a way it does seem clearer.

Robert Charlton




msg:4515584
 10:25 am on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another option for you, as I suggest with that domain purchase, might be heavy use of the disavow tool.

PS: Just rethought this with regard to the domain purchase, since that would be a pre-emptive use of the tool, not a use in reaction to an algorithmic Penguin penalty. That's not what the tool is intended for.

Conceivably, the tool might be useful in your case, since I gather you do have a Penguin algorithmic demotion.

Jez123




msg:4518317
 1:03 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your replies Robert.

I was actually thinking of just shelving the affected brand.net and starting afresh with the brand.co.uk not redirecting anything to brand.co.uk. The traffic that hits brand.net will still be able to contact me or order on site. That way I can see if any recovery happens on brand.net and cross the bridge of which to keep and which to ditch if it ever happens.

Is there any reason not to do it like that?

Robert Charlton




msg:4518400
 6:46 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was actually thinking of just shelving the affected brand.net and starting afresh with the brand.co.uk not redirecting anything to brand.co.uk.

Does "afresh" include new content? If so, I believe that what I said previously and am requoting below would apply... though I should add that I've not done this....

I believe that the move should work in the case of Penguin, assuming that...

a) all your problems were link-related (with no spammy onsite techniques)...
b) there had been no additional promotion of brand.co.uk (ie, links built to it and redirected to the .net).
c) the new links you build are not artificial.

If the content is the same or substantially similar, I don't know whether it would be considered duplicate. Google currently seems to be working on the basis of the highest authority wins.

If you're planning to keep current content, then you might want to consider disavowal on the .net first, assuming that it has some really good links (ie, freely given editorial links from good, relevant sites) worth preserving. In this case, I think I'd try keeping those and doing a massive disavowal on the .net for the rest. You'd have to give it some time, though, as disavowal of the old links could take a while to unwind.

PS: You could also try this disavowal on the .net while building a new, unconnected site on the .co.uk. It would be best for the content to be very different.

Jez123




msg:4518674
 9:03 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Robert,

The site will be completely new. New text and images. I am not going to write it so it should not even be similarly written. Links will be from new sources.

Robert Charlton




msg:4518678
 9:30 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Jez, if there has been no additional promotion of brand.co.uk (ie, links built to it and redirected to the .net), I'd go for it. People pull domains out of 301 deep freeze all the time and thaw them for re-use. Again, watch the new link building, particularly the rate of build. Use the Google Historical Links patent as bedtime reading.

Good luck, and please keep us posted. The vicarious thrill will keep us going. ;)

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