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    Expert Advice Wanted - Domain Name Change


    I was once completely ignorant to SEO. In my ignorance, I hired a black hat "SEO expert" prior to the Panda Penguin update. Once Google rolled out these changes, my site got destroyed because of the 30-40k bad backlinks built over 3 months.

    We had a manual action taken against us for impact links. This is far from the most severe Google manual action, but it was an action nonetheless. When this action was lifted through disavowing links and contacting webmasters, my site rankings actually went down further.

    In my search to recover from this situation, I have identified that the disavow tool is a "strong suggestion" and does not get rid of bad backlinks. My attempts to get these links manually removed by hundreds of webmasters has been futile, at best.

    Researching more, I've learned that changing domain names and doing a 301 redirect for the entire site could help with our issues. However, I really don't want to change my domain name. It's perfect for our business. Additionally, there is plenty of good quality links to the site as well.

    Without progress in the SERPs, I am facing the end of my business because of the actions of this one bad SEO guy. It just seems wrong there isn't a better way to take corrective action than to change the domain name.

    Suggestions?
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  3. SEO Since 97
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    If you insist on keeping the domain name...create a sub domain and move all your pages to the sub domain, and make all your old page go to a 404 (page not found) that will coral the bad links in one fail swoop. Then change any good links you have to the sub domain page and build a few good new ones.
    That should solve your problem.
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  5. rod@missionop.com
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    Add the website into a subdomain.

    Delete the old website.

    Go to Google WMT & remove urls

    Disallow Google to crawl the old website (usually the root folder) in robots.txt

    Now promote the new website.

    The first problem here you have to satisfied Google that you are acting with "good will" to honor its TOS.

    By presenting Google with 404 pages to the pages it distrusts is a bold move but it guarantees you understand TOS.

    You'll get an immediate revoke.

    Because You destroyed the untrusted pages you don't need to wait 60 days for results to reappear and because the new pages are not untrusted they should rank easily in a few days.

    That said, you have destroyed all links so now you want to go through and pick out the natural ones and email them to say "WE'VE MOVED! Can you edit your link to go here." For most websites that is an easier process than attempting to get 3rd party to freely removed their webspam.
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    Thank you very much for your input. This is definitely helpful.

    From what research I've gathered, I have 4 options.

    1) Keep domain and do an extensive clean up with the hope of 3-5 month recovery to previous rankings.
    2) Dump domain and 301 to a new domain. Extensive clean up with the hope of 3-5 month recovery so we don't get hit with penalties.
    3) Dump and 302 domain. Focus energy on new quality links and moving existing quality links to new domain. If the problems from the bad links start crawling back, change 302 to 404.
    4) Dump and 404 domain (or create landing page that asks users to go to new site, use nofollow). Focus energy on new quality links and moving existing quality links to new domain.

    Do any of these options seem more enticing?
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    301 a site that has 30-40k bad backlinks pointing at it, really ?.

    if you do you will be passing all the junk to your new site or at least you are in danger of letting google know its not really a new site its just changed domain names.
    Would need testing but I would have thought doing that will put your new site into jeopardy as well.

    If you are going the new site route I would even changing hosting so that no connection is made, the last thing I would do is advertise to google "I am over here now, catch me if you can"
    I would maybe put a graphic banner (no alt tags, no links) on the page informing users of your new site and 404 every other page. If your dumping it I would really dump it.

    If your going for the recovery route then you will need help, hire someone off here who do this for a living, they will be able to advise you the best route to go and do a lot of the work for you.
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  11. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Chedders
    301 a site that has 30-40k bad backlinks pointing at it, really ?.

    if you do you will be passing all the junk to your new site or at least you are in danger of letting google know its not really a new site its just changed domain names.
    [FONT=Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, serif][COLOR=#333333]Would need testing but I would have thought doing that will put your new site into jeopardy
    So you're saying I can I danger my competitors that way?

    I really can't see Google given 1 domain or the other immunity if it doesn't give all.

    Test this first if you are offering advice about it.
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    I was quite careful in saying it would need testing and I would like to add I have not run any tests its just my opinion, but if I had a site that I was thinking of scrapping and starting again I personally would want a clean slate and not have any links to the old site. Its a drastic step scrapping a site to recover so if someone is going down that route then it should really be start again fresh, clean and make sure every backlink is a good one.

    I do agree though, if all the bad stuff was past on 100% to the new site it would be easy to take out the competition, just create a dummy website, create 1,000's of crap automated backlinks and then 301 it over to the competition, Boom they are gone. Its not that easy to take a site out. But I cant believe it would not have some negative effect.

    Not advice just my opinion.
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  15. rod@missionop.com
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    My point here... no one really wants expert (or not) opinions unless they asked exclusively "I only want untested opinions".

    A 301 WILL NOT SPREAD MAYHAM to other domains... those that test nothing assume everything.
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    I bow to your superior knowledge on the topic
    However a simple your wrong chedders without the sarcasm would have nice
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  19. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Chedders
    I bow to your superior knowledge on the topic
    However a simple your wrong chedders without the sarcasm would have nice
    Being nice affords the "we'll agree to disagree" mentality and also costs those that want a correct answer to waste time & money on ridiculous assumptions. If it was your money & your time... you'd be pissed that someone "just trying to help you with an uneducated opinion" cause you to back-peddle.

    Being fathomed, while somewhat unpleasant at the time makes you better than you were, so just suck it up.
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    Sorry iskatestoked I wont comment further, Looks like fathon is the sole expert in this field and has all the answers. Take his advice and I wish you the best of luck.
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  23. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Chedders
    Sorry iskatestoked I wont comment further, Looks like fathon is the sole expert in this field and has all the answers. Take his advice and I wish you the best of luck.
    Hardly consider myself an expert on anything with the exception of getting under your skin. I seem to be an expert at that.

    For the recorder though you suggested you only had an unqualified & untested opinion. My expertise isn't a factor in that.
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  25. SEO Since 97
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    So the end result of this drawn out fiasco is using a 301 won't pass the junk that originally got you in the mess in the first place. But using a 301 will not tell google your serious about their TOS, and that your just trying another tactic.... despite havoc not following a 301 to a new domain or sub domain is only masking the issue and google can see through it. It's just not the best move in the 1-4 options stated way back up the thread.
    Now back to the OP's question:
    1) Keep domain and do an extensive clean up with the hope of 3-5 month recovery to previous rankings.
    2) Dump domain and 301 to a new domain. Extensive clean up with the hope of 3-5 month recovery so we don't get hit with penalties.
    3) Dump and 302 domain. Focus energy on new quality links and moving existing quality links to new domain. If the problems from the bad links start crawling back, change 302 to 404.
    4) Dump and 404 domain (or create landing page that asks users to go to new site, use nofollow). Focus energy on new quality links and moving existing quality links to new domain.

    Do any of these options seem more enticing?
    The answer is #4 with what was stated above that original question.
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  27. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    So the end result of this drawn out fiasco is using a 301 won't pass the junk that originally got you in the mess in the first place. But using a 301 will not tell google your serious about their TOS, and that your just trying another tactic.... despite havoc not following a 301 to a new domain or sub domain is only masking the issue and google can see through it. It's just not the best move in the 1-4 options stated way back up the thread.
    Now back to the OP's question:

    The answer is #4 with what was stated above that original question.
    Well with a new domain there is nothing Google needs to understand as a manual will never be passed to the new domain.... It never violated TOS so you "are serious about TOS" and there is nothing to see through.

    The number question that needs an answer is "what is the brand value of the original domain?"

    If nothing then the answer to the other question is easy.
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  29. SEO Since 97
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    ok...now your confusing me.
    A 301 WILL NOT SPREAD MAYHAM to other domains
    Well with a new domain there is nothing Google needs to understand as a manual will never be passed to the new domain
    If a 301 won't cause any havoc on a new domain, why wouldn't one want to 301 their existing penalized site pages from their tainted domain to their new one?
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