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Google has a memory - even for long expired sites

     
5:08 pm on Jul 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

I had a website off for about a year ( I let the domain name expire and the website was totally gone ).

I decided to buy the domain name back (which was available) put the website back online and within seconds it ranked 1 st again ( which was my previous ranking, same PR and everything the same.

Has anyone experienced that before ?
It seems that google had everything in its memory :-)
6:32 pm on July 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yes. Their updates are not as diligent and all-knowing as some believe. I'm still getting 404s reported in Webmaster Tools for pages that were moved over a year ago. In that time the site has been moved from a Windows server in Australia to an Apache server in the USA where it was running Wordpress back to another Windows server in Australia. Three different networks, three different data centers and 3 different scripting languages.
6:47 pm on July 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Why wouldn't it still rank? Assuming it's the same site, same WHOIS, has the same backlinks and any competitors have not produced something 'better'.
7:00 pm on July 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is one of the reasons to be cautious when purchasing an expired domain - it's past sins can haunt you as well as its assets. The answer to the "past sins" part is to verify a Webmaster Tools account and message Google from there that you are a new owner and would like to start with a clean slate. Yes, you lose the assets too, but if you have purchased a legacy penalty, it's better to start over.
8:03 pm on July 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Good answer Tedster

I've also experienced sites with pages that no longer exist getting pinged a year or more later. One has a new CMS with a horrible rewrite in htaccess that accepts anything, Google is hitting looking for an old page there. Page Rank is still good too. The "page" ranks as well.
8:26 pm on July 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I work with a site that changed all of its million urls to a new format in 2000. Twelve years later, Googlebot still crawls a batch of the old format urls upon occasion (and they all stil 301 redirct properly).
3:34 am on July 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I picked up a domain and tested some things with it before dropping it again, 6 years ago. I picked it up again 3 months later when I noticed it had PR3 assigned to it(back when PR seemingly mattered). I built a solid informational site on it and it's still ranking well today.

I think many people have a similar experience and as Tedster pointed out... the bad sticks with a domain too.
8:26 pm on July 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for all your replies. The only thing that i noticed which is bizzard is that the description doesn't appear anymore on google... Maybe it is a matter of time... until google crawls the site again.
8:49 pm on July 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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At SMX London in May, Pierre Far confirmed that URLs returning '410 Gone' are assigned a lower crawl priority than those returning '404 Not Found' and that all such URLs are recrawled on an occasional basis essentially forever. He also said that a surprisingly large number of URLs returning '410 Gone' do eventually start serving real content again some time later; often months or even years later. This is one reason why Google "never forgets a URL".