• http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Damn, Google knows where everyone is! I agree with John. It’s better to kill the site and start from scratch if you have that many penalties coming your way. The signals will still be there in your site’s mainframe.

    It’s actually kind of creepy knowing you can’t escape from Google, though. Can’t this be considered an invasion of privacy in some ways?

  • https://www.wisdek.ca/google-business-photos Anna Curlat-Rozenberg

    I would say it is better to do your best to actually recover from Google penalty, not taking any shortcuts, and go through disavow process. Otherwise you will be caught!

  • Christine

    Why Google has to penalize the site B at every cost ? if it is not violating the rules ?,,, These Google guys are always confusing , if you speak to 100 on a single topic, you will get 100 different responses..

  • http://www.portent.com/ Travis Brown

    Moving to a new domain is not always a shortcut. Sometimes, it’s all that a person can afford to do. There are businesses that cannot afford to do the link removal process.

  • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

    Well, that sure seems to mean you definitely DO NOT want to set that site up on your same Google account. Why make things easy on them? I guess you better set up a new Gmail address for WMT and GA for the new site.

  • http://www.rivmedia.co.uk/ Adam H

    Its bound to be based on the ability to detect duplicate content, i.e the same content with the same date stamps showing up in 2 locations, funnily enough one disappears and the other one appears. Its not going to be hard to put 2 and 2 together is it.

    Having said that, im sure it would depend on the penalty, if its a low quality backlink penalty i cant see any reason why google would then punish a moved site ( with out a 301 ) which in theory has no backlinks. If it was a case of re-penalising a site with poor content then obviously thats another matter and well deserved to be punished yet again.

  • http://myblogguest.com/blog/ Ann Smarty

    Am I the only one who thinks that’s just nuts? :)

  • Jacob Maslow

    If you have multiple sites, you are likely to have certain fingerprints on your site. Well beyond the same IP, Domain info or analytics tags.

    Google needs this capability to deal with people that keep developing throw away sites in order to get affiliate revenue.

    Additionally, google typically kills your site if you did more than just bought a couple of links. They are entitled to keep an eye on you. They arent just handing out lifetime bans.

  • Durant Imboden

    Stands to reason. To paraphrase the National Rifle Association, “Sites don’t spam, people do.”

  • Jacob Maslow

    This is getting overblown. If you go a bit further to 31 minutes in, John explicitly states that Google doesnt trust these signals enough to automatically apply penalties to a new site.

    If it is a large site and you make an exact copy that is something else. That means the site was moved and google will often pick that up as a site redirect. Sometimes sites are moved without a redirect being done. If you dont have access to the original domain anymore and restoring to a new domain (foreign government or court seized your domain, you didnt renew or just not proficient enough).

  • http://dinomadic.com David Dino Maiolo

    It seems it would take a lot of work to make a new site unrecognizable enough to avoid the same penalties as the old site. It reminds me of those guys I used to know in the military who would work harder at getting out of work than just doing the right work in the first place.

  • http://www.clickfire.com/ Emory Rowland

    If this is true then Google should state plainly in the guidelines that using content after a penalty is forbidden.

  • Liam Fisher

    Correct me if I’m missing something here, but isn’t the point of a penalty to negate any positive impact a site might be getting from spammy tactics and to stop site owners from doing it?

    If that’s the case, how can you justify passing a penalty to a site that is gaining no benefit from spam, and might not be engaging in spammy tactics at all, just because it bears resemblance to a site that did something bad in the past?

  • Charlie

    I think there’s a difference in understanding here. One is whether or not Google will follow the “site” in terms of design, brand, structure etc. and the other is whether it will recognise the poor content, bad backlink profile and other shady dealings that earned the site it’s penalty in the first place. I don’t think it’s following the brand and the”site”…surely this is purely against people uprooting the bad content and bad practices and just dropping them on another domain?…in which case, of course Google will chase it down..

  • http://retrieverwebsolutions.co.uk/ Joshua Seymour

    Nope, but then again Google is pretty nuts for all the things its done thus far… So most likely this has a good amount of truth in it

  • http://www.linkaudit.co.uk The Link Auditors

    I have seen this issue with many of my clients. I am always hearing that they have been hit with a Google penalty, so they have tried re-directing or transferring to a new domain, and other attempts, and Google have still found them out. I can only stress to them that when hit by a penalty, they must get the harmful links removed. I suggest using The Link Auditors’ online tools to detect the backlinks causing the problems and get them removed. This is the best, and most effective way to get out of a Google penalty.

  • Dean Rowe

    well said, couldn’t agree more

  • http://www.dbsitsoftware.com.au/ Mike Lowry

    Yes Google provides the search for user and have thousands of algorithm to find out the spam / duplicate or similar sites, so better to build a new design, content and URL structure and promote the new site according to Guidelines.

  • Gordon Campbell

    As well as recognising that you have transferred a whole site across, I’ve found compelling evidence to suggest that Google can link two seemingly unrelated sites(if you have been involved in a site move) even if they contain vastly different content.

  • http://myblogguest.com/blog/ Ann Smarty

    I do believe it’s true in part. I just think it spreads that Fear that the community is pretty much tired of… “OH MY GOD THEY WILL FIND ME EVERYWHERE!!!” They just need to stop :) We are scared enough :)

  • Pat Grady

    Exactly what I was thinking! Not a popular opinion at times, but my experience says you are exactly right. A few reform their behavior, but only a few – most don’t change completely, but shift so little as to be insignificant. Old habits die hard.

  • http://www.andykuiper.com/ Andy Kuiper – SEO Analyst

    re: Penguin, would be nice to know expected ‘recovery’ times if proper procedure is followed: ie. requesting all ‘bad’ backlinks be removed, Disavowing whatever remains, building new links: same domain/same site content & new domain/same content. Based on John’s points, we know have an idea of the possible times for the bad links to be expunged, and new links found… but that’s about it. Thanks Barry, for asking John some awesome questions… you was clearly paying attention to the details :-)

  • http://www.andykuiper.com/ Andy Kuiper – SEO Analyst

    “Google doesn’t trust these signals enough to automatically apply penalties to a new site” —> IF the site is potentially re-branding, or is composed of primarily ‘new/different’ content… that’s what I got from what he said after his first bombshell :-)

  • http://pestcontrolseo.wordpress.com/ Thos003

    Move domain.. move site… move IP… there are a lot of variables in there to account for. What exactly works or doesn’t is probably found in the details of those variables. I know moving a good site to a new domain doesn’t always work… even with the redirects.

  • Gary Lee

    With a Penalty dating back to the summer of 2012 still in place despite a revoke 10 months ago and a confirmation from John Mueller himself that the site is still being penelised due to a pending refresh, the whole process is a total joke. The industry I am in has seen vast quantities of businesses opening up multiple sites to avoid such future situations. So the whole process yet again is an utter failure and creates even more spam. When it takes this long to recover the process only helps demote long standing businesses with a strong credibility and good business standing who made some stupid SEO mistakes/tactics that many others have done and helps promote churn and burn sites or businesses with little credibility as they are able to rank higher and newer businesses that have had penalties are able to recover much faster as confirmed by Google as well.

  • Gary Lee

    It has been confirmed by John that the recovery times are over 1 year in many cases.

  • Gary Lee

    “low quality backlink penalty i cant see any reason why google would then punish a moved site”
    Because they are simply trying to run away from the problem and leave all the MESS behind.

  • http://www.rivmedia.co.uk/ Adam H

    And you think Google have that moral high ground to continue a vendetta based on a “mess”, sounds like speculation at its best.
    You’d think a defunked domain no longer being used is better than a website still in the index with a ton of poor links pointing to it because of non responsive webmasters and a poor marketers.

    Google may want people to fall inline with their terms but they are not out to ruin peoples lives intentionally, starting again may well leave something like a black mark above your head or “bad credit” if you like but i doubt that would be anymore more than an extra beady eye looking down on you to make sure your doing things properly this time around.

    Punishment because of “running away” just isnt logical but if there is solid proof of it happening under those exact conditions then ill happily bow to being corrected.

  • Thomas Wong

    If you have bad content being flagged (by Panda), no doubt it would still be penalised wherever you move the site.
    It would be unreasonable for Google to forward positive or negative link equity to a website if it made reasonable efforts to be differentiated from the old site. Be that a new domain? A new server? A new G account? URL rewrites? Is it even possible to know without trial and error?
    If your website truly focuses on visitor experience offering something unique without over optimising or using borderline tactics, that is the type of site that people and Google want to see. Do the right things, just do more of it than your competitors :)

  • http://www.CheesyCorporateLingo.com/ Patrick Reinhart

    We just moved a site that was penalized and the site is currently performing better than the previous one with little changes to the layout. With that said, we did re-write all of the copy and purged a great deal of useless, duplicative content, so there was a major overhaul done from that aspect.

    I can see Google doing this, or at least saying they are doing this, in a way to stop people from just putting up crappy site after crappy site, but in my opinion, this is a little over the top.

  • sharithurow

    I’m making the same comment that I made in Eric Ward’s excellent article, When The Best Move Is To Kill The Site.

    Sometimes, we just have to balance the amount of time and effort (and EXPENSE) it will take to start over vs. the time and effort (and EXPENSE) it will take to fix.

    The truth often stares people in the face and they just don’t want to accept it: sometimes it is just better to start over.

    I recently had that conversation with a client whose developers (many technical people honestly, sincerely believe they have information architecture skills but do not) did a terrible job with the site architecture.

    I recommended that they fix the architecture. If they fixed the architecture, the downstream effect would be that they wouldn’t have all of this extra work to do all of the time. The more they put it off? The more work they would have to do after they fixed the architecture.

    I emphasized the word “expense” merely because businesses seem to respond to that word more than others. (Not all of the time, of course.)

    Google does pick up when a site is re-architected, re-labeled, and just plain optimized properly. Larger sites take a longer time to pick up than the others purely because of the size and recalculations involved. In the long run, it is usually worth it to start over.

    My 2 cents.

  • http://www.buscoafiliados.com Javier Buckenmeyer

    Actually if it does match the files it could pass the penalty because it repoints the links to the new files. I don’t know if this is the case on a moved domain but it is the case when changing filenames on the same domain, Google repoints bad links to the new filename.

  • http://hjacob.com/blog/ Hendrik

    If the “penalty” is content/design/structure based, the same algo will catch it again – no matter whats the domain name.