Building a brand is tough and takes time. When the website that built your brand is penalized by Google, the most logical action is to drop the website but hold on to the brand. It is easier to imagine but hard to do when you knew that doing SEO for a new website can be far more challenging and will require extra effort to build an authority again. Here’s an actual case, we have encountered with our new client.
Background of the case:
Our new client with his previous site received a manual penalty from Google. However, such domain already built a brand in the niche his business belongs, so, he drop the website and created a new domain. To guide his customers, he directed the old site to his new domain. It will be easier for them to simply key in the old site but will be redirected to the new and non-penalized domain.
Should there be any problem with that?
The Effect: Yes that case can truly create a big problem. We have conducted a site analysis and we discovered that the new domain is affected by the recent Penguin Update (Penguin 2.1 or Penguin 5). The culprits of the penalty are the old or redirected site backlinks.
Why redirecting penalized site to non-penalized site is bad?
In a post by Barry Schwartz entitled Can You Redirect A Google Penalty?, he emphasized that it is simply logical not to redirect a penalized site to a non-penalized site since you are going to send negative signals to the new and clean site. More so, he also started the discussion what if you are going to redirect a penalized site to competitor’s site? What will Google do about it?
That’s a big question questioning SEO ethics. But that would really pose a problem to the sites of the competitor because you can’t see all the links redirected to your site. It is proven through Schwartz’ another article posted with the title Google Said Webmaster Tools Links Is Enough But It Is Not! . He showed there a case where unnatural links pointing to a website was not found in the Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) links to your site. So, Google isn’t a good help here. What will you do then? Indeed a big question for website owners.
To answer the sub head question, our client has been informed about reasons why it is a bad habit to redirect penalized site to a non penalized one despite valid reasons. In a blog entitled , using 301 redirect can transfer the penalty to the new site. More so, such penalty will remain even if you have already removed the redirects. Therefore, it is better not to try redirecting penalized old site to the clean site.
In this case, we believe we have manifested our goal of embracing the client’s business as ours. We have understood their point that brand recognition is hard to achieve especially if you are new in the business competition. We have honored their request and we come up of the best possible action plan considering their perspectives.
The Best Action Plan:
Although it is truly better not to redirect the penalized site to non-penalized site since it will truly lead to penalty just like what we are sharing to you. Since we also get the client’s reason for redirection and we his point that the old site has been already registered in the mind of their loyal consumers , therefore the best thing that we can do is helping them in cleaning the old site.
- Using OpensiteExplorer and its GWT links, we identified the unnatural links.
- We send link removal requests to the webmasters.
- If no response from the webmasters, we the disavow tool to tell Google not to count the unnatural links on his site.
- Continue promoting its brand through social media and quality content marketing.
And soon, I will update you in whatever will be the effect this case. As a webmaster also I respect his point therefore we need to take this kind of action plan.
Thoughts? Please share it below.