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Will a 301 domain redirect pass a manual penalty?

10:34 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have to manage the rationalization of a network of penalized sites. The sites are not banned but rather all have a -50 ranking penalty which was applied because they were near (but not exact) duplicates with signs they were owned by the same organization (same adsense and affiliate accounts). We plan on retaining only a single domain and either parking or redirecting the remainder. All sites, including the one we will retain currently have the penalty applied. Of the remainder, 3 or 4 have significant link equity with links from trusted, respected sites. My quandary is: should I simply abandon the link equity from the penalized domains and work on building up the one we are retaining, redirect the best 3 or 4 domains to the one we are retaining (incrementally), or rebuild the ones with good link equity as content only sites, get the penalties lifted, then redirect them. I'd appreciate any opinions on the risk/reward of redirecting the better domains to the one that will remain as the single site we run.
10:02 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

If there was ANY difference between the sites you're eliminating, I would create a section on the new site with its own subdirectory for each of the sites being eliminated, move the content there and redirect the site being closed down to the root of the respective subdirectory rather than the route of the site.

Done it before, seems to work fine as long as you are fixing the problems that led to penalty in the first place, eg: do not redirect questionable pages or pages with large amount of questionable links to them. In other words, salvage only things worth salvaging: the homepage, the content and the pages that already had good links to them.

If they were banned outright, you'd have to do your best to try a reconsideration request and "convert", as it were, the outright ban into "just" a penalty, then setup the redirects. Takes months, unfortunately, and may not even be worth for some or even most of the sites - your judgment call.
10:21 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

1script thanks for the feedback. The sites were basically the same except for different boilerplate content. There's really no content worth saving, just link equity I'd like to use if I can do it without endangering the single site that will remain. The links are by and large good links to all of the sites. It's not the incoming links that are spammy, it's just that the sites are very similar and have no real valuable content. The one that remains will have good content, added value for users, etc. I just hate to shut down the sites that are penalized and write off the link equity, though that may be what it comes to: Just park those domains, keep the best one as a live site, add yet more content and value, then apply for the penalty to be removed.
10:51 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I would identify the individual pages that had good links to them and made an effort to create good enough new and relevant content for the new pages, then setup redirect from those well-linked old pages. If the old content is not worth saving, maybe the links would make it worth your while to create new content. If you simply park the domain, pretty much any value it might have had in links of otherwise, is gone.
11:13 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

that's true, although, I have done some testing and it appears as though you may be able to recover link equity from a parked/expired domain by relaunching a site on that domain which is similar to the previous site. You can't simply buy the domain and redirect. You need to actually relaunch with a very similar theme and content.

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