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Here is my experience with a recent 301 redirect:
--Popular travel niche website approx 4 years old.
--Actively covering all topics related to my niche but we also sell entire vacationsÖ think of this site as being a vortal covering everything and anything dealing with this niche including up-to-date news, weather, unique articles, forums, interactive tools for planning a vacation and a bunch more all of which are free.
--Very little link trading with the bulk of links coming in naturally
--Very little outbound linking
--Clean HTML (for the most part)
--Listed in DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, Zeal and Google Directory
--Was a PR 4 with about 50 inbound links
--Index count was 6,080
--Was in the top 10 results pretty solid even through Bourbon and other various updates
The 301 bomb (website suicide), applied a domain wide 301 redirect via IIS to a domain that is 18 months old. E.G. olddomain.com/widgets --> newdomain.com/widgets
I have seen some people post ďwhy would you do this?Ē Ö this isnít a valid question in my opinion because there are lots of very good reasons to do so.
--301 was put in place roughly 80 days ago
--After approx 5 days the site was nowhere to be found in the SERPís
--Sent a request to help@ and was told the site was not banned or penalized
--Started the long waiting process
--Quasay non existent update Gilligan started
--Old domain was stripped of PR across all DCís
--New domain still has no PR on any DCís
--BLís update to 138 on most DCís
--Google Directory updated showing the new domain as a PR 6 and at the top of my niche
--site:oldsite.com would reveal the new domain
--index count is fluxing between 10,300 and 10,900
--PR begins to return to the old domain!
--alas, no where in the SERPís even after going 50 pages deep.
Sounds like classic sandbox in my opinion but I think a better name would be ďGilliganís IslandĒ because most of us in 301 club feel stranded on a deserted island with no hope of rescue but occasionally there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
I also want to point out that until you have been through an experience like this itís not helping anyone to call people in this situation whiners, or something inflammatory because we are simply trying to figure out how to make a some what smooth transition and to avoid the sandbox.
Well, if you are still reading you are probably in this position now but if you are thinking about doing a 301 redirect, do so understanding that you will loss rank for at least several weeks.
Here some alternatives that have been discussed
1)Meta refresh to new domain Ė bad, could get a dupe content filter
3)302 redirect Ė is not permanent and is also very spammy looking
4)404 all old pages Ė donít know how this would work
5)Build a new site which simply wasnít an option for me because I have a lot of unique content that would take weeks to regenerate without having any duplication
Another way to look at this was put best by jd01
New Domain with 301 from old site = New Site
New Domain with no redirect from old site = New Site
New Domain with meta refresh from old site = New Site
New Domain and old domain with old content = New Site & Dup Content
IOW New Domain = New Site
Don't change if you don't have to - the, for lack of a better term, sandbox is in play.
Being that GoogleGuy is the closest thing we have to a direct contact (for most of us anyway) I would greatly appreciate his feedback.
Google is not #1 anymore.. as in they do not bother to keep their index up-to-date!
Why would u expect them to fix the 301 issue?
It took them Nine Months to update the DMOZ directory, I think some of it still has lats years time stamp on.
This is crazy!
It feels like moving that site has brought on the fury of sandbox and duplicate penalties on it. I can live through it for a few months, I just hope this supplemental results page mess gets cleaned up one of these days, it's rather absurd those old pages beat so many real pages in the SERP. Yahoo! and MSN never gave me any problems with moving my site. I mean, if it's all a pissing contest to get as many indexed pages in their database for marketing reasons, that's the kind of behavior we expect from old-school companies, but Google was supposed to be over the sleazy tactics. I wished it was at least for a different reason, like maybe collateral damage from spam prevention. But my site is 100% white hat, very standard compliant using structural tags like HTML is supposed to be. I'm still waiting, working on the content reguraly, improving features for the few visitors I still get. It's rather discouraging though.
PS: The new address was also inclued in the DMOZ directories around may-june, so that may be a factor with the sandbox (acquiring too many links too fast with all those directory clones out there).
If you 'turn on' a new domain that is redirected to from an existing domain, it would be easy to game the system by buying a new domain, putting up content, and then 301ing it to another new domain.
I would guess there is some type of issue with transferring all information associated with the old domain to the new domain it is redirected to.
It seems like a simple problem -- I moved my site, figure it out, duh!
From a statistical history and tracking pov, it is much more difficult.
Just some thoughts:
If you transfer history information, what happens when the old domain comes back online, either bought by another party or the redirect is removed?
Do the stats stay with the original domain or are they transferred to the new domain?
If they stay with the original, then is the new domain that was redirected to removed?
If they are transferred to the new domain, is the old domain then deleted of history?
How do you track the two to see if the original domain is still redirecting, and what do you do if it is not any longer?
What if only part of the domain is redirected? Which site gets the history?
Answer: Much simpler and significantly less chance of user manipulation to start the historical data over at the time of any major changes in location, focus, theme, or ownership.
Your theory makes complete sense to me...
Sure wish I had known that before I did a 301.
But, why are some reporting success with 301's and others are completely banished?
A system where a webmaster could pay for a manual review would be nice, if you have nothing to hide, the 301 was legit and nothing else has changed a webmaster would eagerly pay for a manual review.
So what you are saying then jd01 is that using a 301 redirect is starting over?
Basically, yes... those are only a few question that would have to be addressed when trying to associate history via a redirect -- I could easily come up with 50 and with some time, who knows how many...
When you get into the association of history, making the system so it is not easily gamable is exceedingly difficult.
Imagine, if you associate history with the new location...
Say I have a 500 page established site:
If I transfer part of my established site (50 pages) to a new domain and the history goes with those pages, I now have a new domain with history, and can easily add to that domain using the established histroy as a base, so my page will be indexed faster, rank better, and have the power of the established site behind them... What if I did that 10 time? Now I have 10 established sites...
What if I transferred the entire site, and the history went with, while waiting for the transfer to take effect (usually a couple of weeks), I rewrite the text on the old site (cannot be accessed) to avoid duplication, and when the new site starts to rank, pull the redirect down... unless all history is deleted, now I have 2 established sites...
There are an enormous number of issues that transferring history brings up, so the best answer is to not do it.
My guess is that using the "we moved" approach would still land the new site in the sandbox.
That would be my guess as well -- but one client who came to us had success with this very naive approach about a year ago, back at the very beginning of Google's "aging algorithm". Because it worked for them (moving to a brand ne domain name) I wasn't going to mess with their success.
I'm thinking that part of the 301 problem comes from Google working against manipulation attempts, and not just looking for "aged" domains. Google's handlinh of 301s is certainly a complexity, rather than a simplicity like Yahoo's relatively straightforward approach.
Because I did see one successful use of a non-301 approach using a simple link and 404 pages last year (the old domain went completely offline within 2 months), it does make me wonder. Maybe the more technical we get, the more we look like we're attempting "search engine persuasion."
(usually a couple of weeks)
I wouldn't have started this thread if it was only a couple of weeks unless your definition of a couple is 7,8,9 or more!
Question for those that came out of 301 if any even care to read this thread (might be tramatic for them :0) ... what, if anything changed before you got back into the SERP's... I'm wondering if PR has to be completely removed from the old domain before anything moves or if the index page count needs to be stable or more links or moon dances or anything... through me a bone here!
I've noticed that a check for backlinks on both the new domain and the old domain returns the same set of links. This is notable because checking for backlinks on the old domain returns new links to the new domain. Based on this it seems pretty clear that Google has associated the two URLs in both directions (not only old to new, but also new to old).
This makes me wonder what would happen if I turned off the 301 redirect. Would Google still associate those URL's in the same manner? If so, for how long? And more importantly, if Google were to break it's association between the two, would that have an adverse impact on the new domain?
I'm almost tempted to turn off the 301 redirect, write a bunch of new content and host it at the old address, and link each page to the new domain. On the other hand, there's always the chance that I could make things worse than I already have.
(usually a couple of weeks)
Should have been more clear: I meant until the original site is spidered and G *knows* of the redirect, *not* the time for the results of those redirects to populate through the results or for the new domain to be included. IMO the population and new-domain in the results, will be a couple4 at the very least.
33 DC's report 10,100 indexed
6 DC's report 10,200 indexed
PR is still on the old domain in 2 DC's - still had PR on about 8 yesterday.
These numbers are very different from yesterday so if my theory that everything has to stabilize before you get back into the SERP's is correct I could see some change in SERP's soon.
If you don't avoid the sandbox, then Google is doing things right... within the context of their own goals.
It should be obvious that a 301 shouldn't make a new domain avoid the sandbox. Whether the sandbox is stupid is another issue, but I'm surprised anyone would think a 301 would magically keep a new site out of the sandbox. Google engineers certainly have thought to prevent such an obvious tactic.
What's interesting is that we are only in the club for our home page. Other pages in our site get some play on page 1 sometimes. Problably just when I check.
I sent 20+ emails to google and got the same response as does everyone. I fixed all of the 301s, but it's been months and we are nowhere. I just searched for our main keywords, Children's Boutique and I went to page 20 and didn't find us. After the first couple of pages it's just pure junk too. What a joke.
I hope MSN can grow and capture the Google marketshare. Bill Gates has the money and I hope they have the vision to execute. Once Google has some real competition from MSN, maybe they will try and get their SERPS more relevant!
INstead of commenting on when the next update will or won't be, how about commenting on something like this?
That, would at least be something useful. Yahoo, and MSN both handle 301 correctly, Google simply puts sites in the garbage that 301, yet transfers rankings and pr with a meta refresh?
Like hello? what tha! As if a meta refresh is not more liekly to be the tool of a spammer.
I think what ever they might want or logically thing makes sense, they can't do it.
Wouldn't you think that they would be sharp enough to discern high quality, official-type websites and not subject them to the sandbox?
Wouldn't you think they were good enough to pick and choose rather than use blanket, unflinching policies?
This problem described exists and fits exactly in with how Google is *choosing* to handle things in a blanket way.
If they have this silly sandbox, then clearly they should not offer any benefit to 301s to new domains. That follows. The 301 thing is a branch. The root of the problem of course is the broad, simplistic application of the sandbox.