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Google Penalties And Nuked Domains
Bob Sakayama
2009-11-28 21:09:30
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Most Popular Penalties
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Link Obfuscation Necessary On New Sites
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2009-11-01 21:46:56
By: Bob Sakayama
2009-11-28 21:09:30
There's a new role for forensics in the web environment - determining the risk of failure of a newly purchased domain, and the need for pre-purchase forensic examination is there whether the domain was pre-owned or not.

Because of our penalty work, we are aware of the numerous kinds of rank loss issues that businesses experience. They are all disaster stories, but some are compelling because of a unique circumstance - the domain was just purchased. We consider any site purchased within the year of the suppression to qualify for this class of penalty. We have also seen sites that have been taken down quickly by inappropriate behavior of the new owners, but in this case we're only discussing penalties where the purchaser is an innocent.

Too many times, the previous owner ran a successful black hat strategy just prior to sale, inflating the rank value while undermining future performance. No one can prevent this from happening, and as in all purchases, caveat emptor.

In that spirit, one of the relatively new services we provide to businesses that buy websites and domains is a pre-purchase analysis of the domain in question. While it's obvious that you need to check out any business you buy, perhaps especially an internet business, it may not be as obvious that you can just as easily get screwed by simply buying an available domain, without a background check.

I did just that in 2006. I purchased a domain that was listed as "available" in the domain search tool, and started development on a sophisticated data driven listings site. Note that does not rank for "go-vacation-rentals". Site has easily $100,000 worth of dev costs alone. When I first discovered the site wasn't ranking, I thought we triggered a penalty during dev work - we had a lot of indexed redundancy.

But 3 years of changes later the site is still penalized. By elimination, we are now confident that the site's suppression is triggered by outside forces, probably links, that we never posted. Supporting this, we can see inbound links in Webmaster Tools from the previous owner's other sites. On the last reconsideration request, I posted only the homepage without any links to content, so it's just a one page site with no links. I also pleaded with Google to simply be informed if the site was harmed by the previous owner, so we could stop paying for renewals in the hope of extricating it from rank hell. Of course we only get automated messages telling us the site has been reviewed, and the penalty persists.

This disaster resulted in a new awareness that has saved clients from repeating this mistake. I'm putting up a permanent post on the main site on this topic and will include any relevant comments or experiences. If you have any experiences with newly purchased domains that were later found to have been nuked, please comment.

Blog_id: 10 | Posted: 2009-11-28 21:09:30 | Views (8,954) | Comments (2)  
Comment By: dirtsgood
re: Google Penalties And Nuked Domains
(posted 2009-11-28 22:33:22)

Assuming you're using and the Wayback Machine for these forensics, plus linkdomain: searches in Yahoo to see if backlinks exist. And whois for legacy ownership records. Anything else?

Response By Bob Sakayama
in response to thread started by
(posted 2009-12-01 22:39:13)

There's a lot more you can do in just the public search. Not going to give away all our secrets here, but one very simple and obvious thing you left out: use ALL the search engines.

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