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If you’re reading this blog post, I guess that means you’ve found yourself in the ol’ Google penalty box. And because there’s no clear answer on how long Google penalty recovery takes, you might be thinking it could be faster to start from scratch with a new domain.
But think about it this way—if trying to game Google got you in trouble in the first place, how well do you think trying to run away from a penalty is going to work?
If You Wanted a New Domain…
In normal non-penalty situations, say in the case of rebranding, if you wanted a new domain, you would mostly likely use a site migration tool (most likely through your hosting service) and set up redirects.
It’s completely possible this way to move to a new domain and keep your rankings as long as everything is forwarded correctly without disrupting your filenames and causing a bunch of 404 errors.
In these situations, you want to change domains while still letting people who already knew about your website (including the search engines) where they can find you.
But in the case of a Google penalty, you really don’t want the search engines to know where they can find you. By getting a new domain, you’re basically trying to trick them into thinking you’re a completely different company—one that would never go against Google’s Quality Guidelines.
So that absolutely rules out the idea of redirects. Check out what Barry Schwartz has to say about it:
“Should you redirect a site that has a Google penalty to a site that does not have a penalty?
“I get this question all the time from webmasters. They have a bunch of sites, some of those sites got hit by either an algorithmic or manual penalty. They don’t want to lose everything, so they ask if they should 301 redirect the penalized domain to the unpenalized domain.
“My answer is almost always, don’t do it. Don’t send the negative link signals from your penalized domain to your unpenalized domain.”
What If I Don’t Redirect?
It’s pretty logical that you wouldn’t want to send redirect signals to Google from a penalized site to a new site.
But what if you don’t redirect?
Here’s where things get tricky.
If you make an exact replica of your old, penalized site (same site design, same content, etc.) and slap it up on a new domain, you’re probably not going to fool Google.
Barry for the win again on this insight, where he writes that, “In a recent Google Webmaster Hangout, hosted by Google’s John Mueller, John said that even if you move your penalized site to a new domain name and don’t redirect the penalized site, Google may still find it and pass along the bad signals.”
Plus, if you were penalized for keyword stuffing, content scraping, or over-optimization, Google will pick up on these things a second time around when it re-crawls your new domain. This is really only a feasible method if you have a lot of spammy links pointed at your old domain—but even then it’s risky and time consuming, for sure.
If you really want to start fresh, it’s probably going to take rebuilding your site and all new content to convince Google not to transfer the penalty to that new domain. Is it faster to try to fix the old domain or become born again on a new domain? Since Google penalty recovery is such a new game, there are many differing opinions in the SEO industry on whether or not killing your penalized website is the best move. Time will truly be the best indicator as penalty recovery success stories become more abundant.
A Word of Warning
There’s really no such thing as a low cost SEO service. Google has eliminated all of the spammy, quick fix methods for getting ranked in the search engines.
And even if whatever your low cost, black hat SEO service is doing is working for your site right now, you should factor in the cost of building a new site with all new content on an all new demand as well as the cost of the potential damage to your brand.
For SEO services that won’t get you penalized or for penalty recovery services, fill out the form below.
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About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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