I am working with someone who had a bunch of related websites that were all using the same Google Analytics code and interlinking. These sites are now no longer using the same account except for one that is the site they want to rank for now (site A). This site has been nailed by lots of Pandas and we have been working hard to fix everything to get some kind of recovery. It has been in slow death spiral especially since the beginning of 2014, but was also hit by Pandas in 2013 as well.
I realize that the setup they had made it obvious to Google that they were trying to manipulate their rankings by interlinking a bunch of owned sites.
Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that they have another site (site B) in the exact same vertical as the one site I mentioned above that retains the GA info (site A). And the Whois info shows they are owned by the same entity. It took me 2 seconds to find this, so I'm sure Google can see it easily as well.
I'm pretty sure Google doesn't want people to have more than one site in the exact same space selling the exact same stuff.
So my question is this: If they get rid of site B altogether or at the very least changed the Whois info or gave it a private registration, will that help site A recover if site A was being negatively affected by this association?
I ask this because I am wondering if Google somehow 'tags' sites that have done this kind of stuff in the past (interlinking owned sites to manipulate the link graph, owning more than one site in the same space, etc.), making it all but impossible to ever recover.