We’ve seen something weird happen to a Penguin-affected site and wanted to know if anyone else had seen something similar?
This is a little tricky to explain (especially without using the real-life examples), so please bear with me. The client owns 2 sites:
Site A is their old/original site – not optimised at all.
Site B is their new site, about 1-2 years old now – which we’ve carried out link building on.
Site B was starting to rank well when Penguin came along and wiped out its rankings completely. What’s even stranger is now that the dusted is settled, Site A is now ranking for all the keywords (and in similar positions) in its place! The only way we can describe it is it’s like Site A has taken on and adopted all of Site B’s SEO benefit, even though no work has been done and they’re not directly connected.
When I say they’re not “directly connected,” I mean that the sites aren’t linking to one another, however:
- There are on-site similarities – after all, they’re by the same company, and although they’re not duplicates, CopyScape still seems to think there are some similarities, which might be a problem (and could even be Panda issue, not Penguin).
- They are both linked to from another site, a ‘corporate group’ style site.
- They’re probably located on the same server.
- They have different IP addresses but they’re on the same C-block (i.e. the first 3 numbers of the IP address for each site match one another).
- There was also a redirect issue at one point recently. Although we asked them to sort out the canonical issues on both sites, they hadn’t sorted it out, and in fact, at one point until recently, someone accidentally caused the non-www. version of Site A (the old site) to 301 redirect to the www. version of Site B. I believe the change was reversed just before Penguin struck, but it might’ve been a day or two afterwards and therefore still an issue when Penguin arrived.
Do you think one of the above issues – or a combination of them – is responsible for this unusual behaviour?
You often see Google changing the page it ranks for keyword to show a different page from the same domain, but can this happen across domains if Google sees them as the similar enough?