Google Auction Site Penalty - Seriously?

Jul 11, 2012 • 8:07 am | comments (29) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Auction PenaltyI've heard dozens, maybe hundreds, of different types of Google penalties, much of them are completely false - clearly typical Google myths.

Here is a new one to add to the pile of Google penalty myths.

A WebmasterWorld thread has a old time SEO who is getting out of the SEO game. He is selling off his internet properties, his web sites.

One of his sites he listed for auction on one of those web site auction web sites. Shortly after listing the site up for auction, the site dropped for its major keyword phrase in Google. A keyword it ranked top in Google for years and years.

He explained:

I posted this particular site up for auction and listed the fact it was #1 on Google for it's main term as an incentive to buy.

48 hours after listing it, it lost it's #1 spot. After 3 years and surviving every Panda and Penguin.

He asked, "I know we laugh at co-incidences here and see plenty of paranoia. But could listing your site for sale affect rankings?"

Seems to me to be a really sad coincidence - really sad.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for auctioneer

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07/11/2012 12:46 pm

What did you expect from the SEO guy, especially old timer, especially from WW ? SEO by WW is a religion, you need myths to attract new believers. Anyway, "It's all Google's fault" ... )

Scott McKirahan

07/11/2012 02:08 pm

Here I thought you were going to offer some sort of evidence that it was not true. I've wondered this myself, since seeing a website I was selling plummet from #1, where it had been for years, within days of being listed on an auction website. It very well could be a coincidence but, as happens a lot here, the content of the article does not match the setup.


07/11/2012 02:38 pm

You're creating myths without evidences, just pure speculations ... " I've wondered this myself" - is the most used SEO evidence. In this particular case, it's obvious that these two facts can't be related. But one can believe )


07/11/2012 02:38 pm

I believe its true. I tried and search Google for many of the sites on the auction block and never seem to find them ranking.


07/11/2012 02:40 pm

And why do you expect these sites to be ranked well ??

Donna Fontenot

07/11/2012 02:45 pm

If true, then it must be a recent change. I sold most of my sites via auction a few months ago, and rankings weren't hurt.

David H. McGuire

07/11/2012 03:31 pm

Where did you sell them Donna?

josh bachynski

07/11/2012 03:40 pm

Someone could have negative SEOed him, if his site was weak or just above board...


07/11/2012 05:29 pm

Why so complicated ?What about his site was just nod good enough to rank high ? He is going out of business. Would he, if his site would be good ?

Joe Youngblood

07/11/2012 06:05 pm

I see websites that claim rankings all the time in Auctions that suddenly don't have them. Some show screenshots of their rankings in SEOMoz or other tools. I doubt Google penalizes them, it's likely an issue of stopping to take care of the site, adding fresh content, etc... A buyer should not be scared by a small drop in those rankings, as it shows a sign the site can recover quickly with some TLC SEO. However a major drop might correlate to another update / penalty (Penguin, Panda, etc..) and should be cause for alarm to the buyer.


07/11/2012 06:51 pm

Then why are they selling a site that isn't ranking well. You make more money selling the site if you are able to PROVE that the site is ranking well. If Im looking to buy a site, I am looking to see if the site is ranking. But there could be many other reasons as well.

Kevin Gerding

07/11/2012 08:11 pm

I call this the "Gloating Penalty" as it happened to one of my sites a couple years back. It's not the fact that you are selling the site on an auction website, but that you publicly state your good ranks in Google. Whether unfair or not, the site never sold and the penalty still exists to this day (homepage only). The lesson learned here is to never broadcast the success of your hard work, even if it is white hat.


07/11/2012 08:50 pm

LOL )) Good point, but you have to own the website ranking well to make more money. And if don't own such site, you have to sell the shit you own, hoping the buyer will be not smart enough to check carefully. Anyway this has nothing to do with Google's algo )


07/11/2012 09:57 pm

You can't be serious saying that )) Otherwise, why do you still deal with googlers, because according to you they are just idiots. Could you please explain, why are you dealing with idiots (according to you) ?? Ban Google and be idiots free )

not anti seo

07/12/2012 06:14 am

He said he was selling multiple sites, and reported that one dropped in rank. Seems that is the answer right there. If the postulation was correct, they'd all drop. In fact, go to flippa, find an auction that claims a specific rank. Check that rank.

Nick Pateman

07/12/2012 08:02 am

Do people really consider this to be possible? What on Earth would be the logic behind Google penalising sites that were being sold? I think what we're seeing here is a coincidence and nothing more. Websites bounce around the rankings a lot; of course we're only going to remember the times it went bouncing when we were trying to sell!


07/12/2012 01:47 pm

Everything and anything that happens to domains nowdays they come up with conspiracy theories about Google dropping them....if your site is crappy and does not offer useful info then you dont deserve to be ranked at all.


07/12/2012 04:54 pm

Wow! If someone sells a business then it must be no good? That's quite a leap! Tons of people sell successful websites because they need immediate cash for other investments. Sure, in the long run they would make more money with a website than if they sold it for one to one and a half year's worth of profits. They might make far more money by taking that money and investing it in something even more lucrative, though.


07/15/2012 07:11 am

It is common knowledge that when you list a site publicly at flippa Google hits your site. It is also common knowledge that you don't buy a site with public whois info cause when all that data changes along with the nameservers and IP address that Google 'resets' the site as if it was brand new.


07/15/2012 07:13 am

Actually there is plenty of logic behind it. Many buyers are purchasing sites in online marketplaces to setup backlink networks. Again has no one here ever dealt with selling and purchasing domains on flippa? This is common knowledge ppl!


07/15/2012 07:15 am

@Anti-SEO clearly you have no experience in this area cause this is NOT a myth. This has been common knowledge for years now.

Christopher Skyi

07/24/2012 10:46 am

It seems to me the first thing one would do is go into Google (and Bing's) webmaster tools to see if anything could suddenly be going on that would cause rankings to drop, e.g., the robots.txt file got screwed up and blocked the search engines, something like that. Short of the site suddenly becoming massively search engine UN-friendly (or the site coincidentally got hit with a penalty most likely having to do w/bad links), there's no obvious reason for a lost of rankings just because the site is up for sale. Something must have happened to suddenly change the site in some way. Google (and Bing's) webmaster tools is the place to start looking to find out what happened.

Nick Pateman

07/26/2012 07:54 pm

Google is smart, but it's not that smart. You're giving old G too much credit! But I'll admit, I hadn't thought of Flippa.

Oli Goldsmith

07/28/2012 01:23 am

could it be something as stupid as tons of people quickly checking out the site quickly and increasing bounce rates? i mean of course it "could" there are no friggin answers - i wish i were more on the 'accepting paranoia as a reasonable answer' to most all of these types of things.... but with the mayhem of this year i admit to being exceptionally cynical about big g and for SURE wouldnt put frankly anything past them... if you spend time researching books and quotes of the company long term vision, it really isnt about organic search anyway really

Oli Goldsmith

07/28/2012 01:25 am

agreed 100% - which is why most places some 'guy' i know :) prefers to purchase his aged domains from private providers and places that dont index whats for sale

Oli Goldsmith

07/28/2012 01:29 am

exactly why i curse myself every time i give in to even making comments on such threads as this.... if you have something working good shut up about it is always best - paranoid or not it logically makes sense to NOT talk about your sites if you are doing anything that works with them... yes im being cynical but hell, why not... most of my sites are doing just fine ... i treat it as a numbers game nowadays... never ever rely on one (or ten) sites

Oli Goldsmith

07/28/2012 01:32 am

actually totally not true ... not if you do it right and actually do proper research into the trust and authority of a domain (not just look at pr) if a site has a ton of good links (ie. hundreds of wikipedia and top notch ones), you will absolutely be able to hang onto most if not all the benefit of that ...

Oli Goldsmith

07/28/2012 01:33 am

and yes i have plenty of my own personal experience to back up this (but probably will be here reporting my new paranoia when it stops working next week ;) lol

Nicholas C

01/25/2013 12:03 pm

it is much more likely that the person selling the website had low PR, low quality backlinks, or a bad website SEO strategy. Someone probably then saw the site, started researching it, and decided... hey... you know what? I don't really have to buy this one i can outrank it easily.

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