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Moving a tricky Penguin case to a fresh domain?

 6:08 pm on Jun 12, 2014 (gmt 0)


The story begins like this: "a guy subscribes for a $10-a-month software that builds him automated directory links, gets hit by Penguin, phones up his SEO-friend and begs for help"

So, I'm looking at my friend's site and 100% of his link profile is directory links. His traffic keeps dwindling with every Penguin refresh, but here's the funny bit, he still makes living out of his site because despite the horrible links, Google has taken no more than 30% of his pre-Penguin traffic.

I made two suggestions:

1. Write new content and product descriptions, build a new site and let the old one bring in the sales while you build up this new white-hat site;

2. Do it properly: remove/disavow and start acquiring natural links (my least favourite option in this case because 100% of his links are junk)

Both suggestions were declined because he hasn't got time/money and I haven't got any spare time to help him.

301-ing the Penguined site to a fresh site would only work for a few months before the penalty catches up with the new site.

So the only viable option would be to 302 the old into the new site? But wait, we can't do that because all of his traffic comes from Google. There is no referral or affiliate traffic whatsoever.

The moment we take the old site down, his rankings will disappear and so will his income.

Am I missing something? Is there another way out of this mess? What do you think?

P.S. You'd be surprised if you saw the highly competitive niche in which he maintains Top5 positions with what is one of the worst black-hat sites I've ever seen :/ And he's not one of those clever chaps frequenting the BHW forum. In fact, he only recently found out what the abbreviation "SEO" stand for :)



 6:42 pm on Jun 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Your 1 & 2 look like viable options, moving won't fix it. You've given some helpful advice. There are a lot of sites in the same situation and you can look through the topics in this forum to maybe find hints on how to convince your friend to take the time to clean up the old strategy fallout. Maybe try a search for the term "disavow" here and get some tips to start with.

Disavowing without any records to show efforts won't be very helpful from what I have seen discussed. Webmaster World offers some free tools [freetools.webmasterworld.com...] (link at the top of the page) to help sort through it all but it is a process that isn't as easy as creating the junk links.


 7:05 pm on Jun 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

I seen it follow the 302 also.. I did the 301 and it killed my new site which was an older domain that wasnt hit..


 9:51 pm on Jun 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Disavowing without any records to show efforts won't be very helpful from what I have seen discussed.

Sorry, if my first post has been a bit misleading. I didn't mention that he hasn't received a manual penalty notice, so in his case doing a disavow without showing efforts of removing the links would actually be sufficient.

We're talking about algo penalty only. I've done several successful disavows but in order to be successful, the disavowed links should be replenished with natural ones.


 12:33 am on Jun 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

You're right, I read that into it because of the penguin hit mention, sorry. Of course an algo hit isn't the same and imho it would be smart to disavow before any manual action.

There are some good ideas for "New" link building over in the Link Development Forum: [webmasterworld.com...]

Robert Charlton

 8:05 am on Jun 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

adder - since there's been no notice of manual penalty given, for now I'd mainly go with #1 (and see note below about option #2)...

1. Write new content and product descriptions, build a new site and let the old one bring in the sales while you build up this new white-hat site

Add the new content with the hope of attracting some natural traffic and inbound links before the old site tanks.

There's probably only a thin line between automated directory links and out and out spam... but be happy that the directory links are only seen as low quality, not as a coordinated attempt to deceive, which is probably the distinction that Google makes.

I would drop any ideas about redirecting. It's at best a shell game that only proves to Google you're trying to evade the core issues.

Regarding your option #2, of doing some disavow before your friend gets a notice... if there are any directory listings that suggest spammy intent (eg, coordinated keyword anchor text), you might want to try disavowing those while treading water with the links that are "horrible" but not sneaky, if that's a distinction that can be made.

One of our best threads on clues to distinction between Penguin and stages of manual action, btw, turns out to be one that you started, just a week or so short of two years ago, but you might want to reread it for inspiration in times of stress ;)

Possible Clue to the Penguin Update - in a backlink profile
June 22, 2012
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4468388.htm [webmasterworld.com]

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