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SEO and Best Way Closing Down Poorer Quality Site
coachm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 4:03 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a wordpress site I built as an experiment that I would deem as poor quality. it was an experiment, and didn't work.

I have a theory that not only has google moved away from doing things on a page level, up to the domain level, but that it also looks at the entire portfolio associated with a webmaster, so I've decided to kill off the site.

The question is, what's the best way to do it. For quicker results, should a somehow redirect the entire domain so that all pages return a 410 gone result? Or simply remove the content so it shows 403's?

Or is there some other way?

It garners virtually no traffic, but i would like to keep the data base and site design intact, but inaccessible to everyone.

Any ideas?

 

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 1:05 am on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

if you want to keep it available to you but not crawlers you could use HTTP Basic Authentication.
this would put the site behind a login and googlebot would see a 401 Unauthorized.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 1:47 am on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm interested in expanding this discussion to talk about multiple site closings, one new site, and getting old traffic to the new site without risk of passing possible negative signals as well.

Should I expand here or start another thread? Don't want to hijack.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 8:48 am on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have recently wiped out (deleted) four entire small sites of mine, they were affected EMDs. I did nothing more than close down the hosting account so nothing remains.

I believe the effect on other sites within that account will be zero but that's just a personal opinion. I transferred many of the deleted pages to my main site in another account with no attempt to hide the fact - same, titles, descriptions and content.

So far all is well though I will report back if anything changes

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 9:00 am on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@coachm
Don't want to go off on a tangent but I also have a feeling they look at the whole portfolio, so I too have been divesting myself of a number of lower quality sites.
I do remember looking at a thread some months ago and finding a link to an article about Google patents where they seemed to be defining "site" as pages, domains and groups of domains, but I can't find it now! Whether that definition means a portfolio I don't know.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 12:30 pm on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

divesting myself of a number of lower quality sites.


We have a series of 15-20 narrow-focus niche sites (-100 pages each) under a common parent market with varying degrees of success. We're getting ready to abandon the smaller sites (30-45 days from now), and we'll push some of that content onto one much-larger site with categories of indexed content. (for Branding purposes)

Ex: Old sites would be separate sites for: wheels, tires, fenders, bumpers, wipers, etc. New site would be: car parts. (car parts used only as an example)

None of the smaller sites are under any penalties or filters as far as we can tell, however, just due to the nature of the sites, there is a bit of overlap and we'll end up with small amounts of "similar" content if we 301 every page of old > new site. We've been slapped around by Google enough over the last 10+ years to be wary of transferring any future filtering we may not yet know about.

We're considering:

Method 1 - A simple 404 > header redirect on all pages, redirect 100% to the homepage and put up a "new site" message and nofollow link to the new site home page, to avoid any good or bad history following to the new site. (would using a deep link to the new-site category page be a bad thing?)

Method 2 - 301 the strongest pages of old sites to same page on new site, then 404 > redirect all others to the homepage with the new site message and nofollow link.


Wait 45-90 days and completely kill off the old sites.

What am I missing?

MH

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 12:41 pm on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a theory that not only has google moved away from doing things on a page level, up to the domain level, but that it also looks at the entire portfolio associated with a webmaster, so I've decided to kill off the site.


I had an interesting experience that supports that theory. I attempted to add adsense data to my analytics account but couldn't because the adsense data of an old site I no longer own was still assigned to that analytics account. Since I deleted that site from analytics a long time ago I had no way of unlinking the two and asked support for help.

Adsense unlinked the two and I thought that was that until I noticed another site I no longer own suddenly appeared in my GWT as a result of google interaction, it appeared as unverified. The new owner didn't verify it in Google and so GWT gave it back to my account, albeit in unverified mode which means I can't do anything with the data.

So, despite my deleting these sites from my accounts myself, Google still assigns them to me in both analytics and GWT. I'm not sure how you tell Google a site is no longer yours, they seem to hold onto that information in the background.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 9:37 pm on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

wow! - we spend so much time pandering to the Google God, it's a wonder that we have any time at all left to work on creating real quality content.

coachm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 5:25 am on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

wow! - we spend so much time pandering to the Google God, it's a wonder that we have any time at all left to work on creating real quality content.


True that. It seems so, but then again, after 10 years of profiting from search engine referrals, not surprising.

But I see it as the opposite. I've killed off various sites over the last 18 months, simply because I'm NOT going to continue to try to read Google's collective mind. I also believe it's an impossible task to figure all this out, because I believe not even google understands how any one site will fair until it goes through the meat grinding algo.

Sometimes it's time to NOT struggle with impossible tasks, and since some sites don't have a great track record of success, there's not any point in trying to figure it out.

coachm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 5:30 am on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

A simple 404 > header redirect on all pages, redirect 100% to the homepage and put up a "new site" message and nofollow link to the new site home page, to avoid any good or bad history following to the new site. (would using a deep link to the new-site category page be a bad thing?)


That initially sounded good to me, except that 404's can exist in google's database for..well, like forever, because it doesn't mean the page is gone, just not found. Goog doesn't know anything more so it continues to check, so the fastest way would be to do a 410 gone redirect, I think.

I suppose, now that I think about it, that a custom 410 redirect would work best, provided you give information on the 410 page, much as you were thinking you would do for the 404.

Unless I come across a good argument for using 301's I'd think I won't use that. I don't care, for this particular site, whether it passes link juice. It's kind of an outlier in terms of topic, so it has very little value to link it to my remaining sites.

coachm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 5:34 am on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't want to go off on a tangent but I also have a feeling they look at the whole portfolio, so I too have been divesting myself of a number of lower quality sites.


It's actual quite relevant, and a topic that deserves more attention, and it's at the heart of the issue. With a single domain, your good content will suffer in the SERPS if you have other low quality content on that site (or so it seems from info from goog). If they are now looking at domain "collections" in the same way, then a single poor quality domain could damage your best ones.

It's complete lunacy logic for google to become LESS fine grained this way, but it does account for why good content is harder to find. And obviously if google looks at all domains, then having a few experimental ones that might be of lower quality (I've done a few of those in the past) would be a bad thing.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 12:22 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Coachm - Thanks for the view on the closure. I completely neglected the 410 and it looks like it might the better way to go in order to get the pages out of the index quicker.

I had considered using 301 of every page to the homepage, but they really haven't moved, and I don't think it would be the right status. I may still use it on the strongest pages.

Thanks again.

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 2:10 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@coachman, I have been preaching this for a while. It is a personal/webmaster penalty. 410 is a better way since Google saves anything and everything about you.
Btw, to add to my paranoia I am also deleting my domains at the registrar.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 3:56 pm on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Coachm, there are "private wordpress" plugins that will make it so you can't see a Wordpress blog unless you're logged in.

Also, using this setup, you could move your experiment database to another domain of yours and install it as a private blog in a subfolder. I know of many sites that have private blogs for the site staff to communicate behind the scenes. I wouldn't think google would do anything but ignore it (you could also block access to that subfolder).

Then you could shut down the domain you think Google may be judging you for and still have your experiment.

coachm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 9:41 pm on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Coachm, there are "private wordpress" plugins that will make it so you can't see a Wordpress blog unless you're logged in.
.

Certainly an option, but I wonder what the headers would be for those not logged in? And whether doing this way would tell Google -- there is no site here any more, and how this would affect SEO on my remaining sites.

In terms of the database, etc, I could simply install it on my own computer and the private server I use for testing.

But, in case Google DOES look at the total webmaster profile, I'd like to make sure there's no additional damage. I'm pretty sure I'll do a custom 410 - gotta dig out the code to apply this to all possible wordpress urls on the domain.

Should be interesting. Once I do the 410 - I'm on the road so probably not until later monday. I will report back if anything interesting happens re: other sites.

coachm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4522939 posted 8:35 pm on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, since I'm back at my main haunt, I did the 410 on one site. I'll try to report back in a few weeks to see if anything happens with other domains.

Unfortunately, doing the 410 became a problem because I wanted to do a custom 410, but of all the status codes, my host doesn't allow built in customization of the 410. Also the 410 page has to be on the same domain, and because I was using wordpress on the domain, I couldn't figure out how to redirect the entire domain to the 410 and have it work properly.

I wanted to provide an explanation on the 410. Anyway, it's gone, baby.

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