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The logistics of moving domain to 'shed' bad links



8:38 am on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Say you have a website which has been penalised not for its content but for what Google sees as 'unnatural links' pointing to it. You've gone your best to clean things up but the problem is just too overwhelming and it might make sense to start with a clean slate.

Assuming the content itself is excellent and it's only the link profile that is problematic can you shift this content onto a new domain?

Google has an article about moving an entire site from their index which suggests you should robot the content and then use the URL removal tool in WMT to remove the site. Having done this, what happens when this content appears on a new domain? What if there is a lot of content (say a few hundred pages) and some of it dates back a couple of years?


4:16 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I haven't heard of any actual experience in this area - but if I had a lot invested in top-notch content, I might well try it out.

It might be harder to get a new domain to rank as well as the old did. After all, the old one was getting rankings via backlinks that will no longer count. However, if the content is excellent and useful, then I'd expect that disciplined and non-spammy content marketing would get significant traffic and rankings over time.


4:49 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

That is how I was thinking about it, too. I understand that it is like starting again at the bottom of the ladder but the way I see it you could climb higher on that ladder in the long term without any sort of penalty in the way. If anybody has had experience of this please do share.


5:36 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I did the same thing with one domain. The original site was acquired in March; it had great rankings and great content but the previous owners relied heavily on a blog network that was de-indexed, and other spammy links.

The site DID have about 120 links from good domains vs several thousands of bad ones. So right away I made the decision to move the content over to a new domain (without redirects).

Then instead of trying remove links, I contacted those 120 GOOD sites and asked them to update their broken URLs. That had about 75% success rate. It is much easier to get good links updated than it is to get bad links removed.


6:31 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

That is very interesting klark0.

I just wonder what would happen if I moved the content all in one go. Then suddenly Google would be indexing hundreds of pages with comments and everything. What if some of this content is dated before the domain itself? Or am I overthinking this. Does Google not really care about when content is dated (bar the QDF stuff)?


7:44 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMO and experience, they don't care either way.


10:48 am on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

klak0, how did you phase it? was it a sudden move, upload content on new domain and next week get all links updated?

how did it turn out at the end? did traffic significantly increase?

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