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Abandoning a penalised site and moving to a new domain

Suggestions for abandoning a penalised site and moving the to a new domain

3:52 am on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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joined:Oct 1, 2004
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Hi folks,

I have a bit of a problem and could do with some advice.

Some time ago an SEO expert did some optimisation [using dubious SEO techniques] on one of my sites which previously had a healthy amount of traffic and it subsequently got a very high amount of traffic for a short period. However it got penalised and since then it has lost all its Google traffic.

OK serves me right. I have learned my lesson and wont go down that road again. But the site in question has thousands of pages of original content which a lot of people used to find very useful. I would like to get this back out there.

I have thought long and hard about what to do and have read numerous threads suggesting I may have to wait a year or more after requesting a re-inclusion and it may never get reincluded.

And as I now have a much better domain name for this site anyway, I have decided to abandon the old site's domain and move most of the content over to the new domain name. I will then ask people who link to the old site to change their links to the new one instead.

However for a time the old site will still be getting traffic as it ranks fairly well in other search engines. What is the best way to get visitors who go to the old site to know about the new one? Ideally it would be nice to link to the new site on the old one, but is there any risk of the penalty getting carried over to the new domain? If so how about if I link using javascript or some other mechanism? Or should I be ultracautious and just display a GIF telling them to go to the new domain without linking to it, hoping that they can be bothered to type it into their browser.

To avoid a duplicate content penalty, I thought I might remove all the content to be moved from the old site, so it wont appear on both sites at the same time. As I will still get visitors expecting to find the content on the old site, I could set up a custom 404 page which tells visitors to go to the new site, perhaps with a javascript link. Is this a good idea or might it jeopardise the new site somehow?

I've got a lot of useful content here which people would appreciate if they could find it! I have no interest in using any dubious SEO techniques any more and want to play things by the book, but I want to avoid being punished twice for the one crime!

Has anyone else had any experience of moving to a new domain from a penalised one? Any thoughts or suggestions would be very appreciated.

12:02 am on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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joined:June 29, 2005
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Dont expect much success asking people that link to your old site to change their links to your new site.
2:45 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Arthur, I assume you removed the questionable SEO tactics? If not, then I'd remove them. It could be just a matter of time before your site just may pop up again without any other doing. Check your logs and see if the SE bots (googlebot) is still visiting. If they are, then it could happen on its own. If they are not visiting, then submit to G regularly again, and any other SE's that dumped you.

As for linking to the old site, someone just started a thread on JS links and G, so I'd watch that thread to see if G can indeed follow JS links, or if it can't. Then your course of action would depend upon that. If it's found that G CAN follow and crawl JS links, then I would just make a text non-link of the new domain on the old pages for a while and tell visitors to just "copy and paste" the text of the URL into their address bar. Don't do the <a href= thing, just type the new domain or URL on the webpage so it's not clickable, therefore not followable by an SE. Unless, an SE bot CAN follow just plain text for a URL, then that may be a problem. (Anyone know if a bot can follow text only URL's?) If it's determined that they can, then I would instead put on the pages www.MyDomain[space].com so the bots can't follow it, then of course tell visitors to remove the space.

As for the dupe content, I wouldn't worry with that at first. If you remove it from the old site, then the SE's are not going to see the content, only the meta tags which of course could hurt the SERP's. If it's feasible, I'd try and change the content a little bit so the sites would not be total duplicates. One way to look at it is if G isn't indexing the site and is STILL penalizing it after removing the bad SEO and months have passed, that it isn't going to care about the content on the old site to compare it to the new site. Since the old site is still doing well in other SE's, you don't want to jeopardize that.


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