Google: You Can't Redirect A Penalty To An Existing Site But Maybe To A Site Move

Feb 17, 2015 • 8:44 am | comments (18) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

traffic conesWe've covered the topic of penalty redirection several times in these three different stories - at least. But it was brought back up again in the Friday Google+ hangout and I was going to skip it, but the WebmasterWorld folks caught wind of it and I decided to dig deeper into what was discussed.

So, Robb, the one where Google can't answer his question, asked about what to do. John from Google has told him time and time again that it is best he start a new site since there is way too much to clean up. But he asked about redirecting users from the existing domain (the domain customers know) to the new one and John said not to.

So Robb asked, if he was not the nicest of people (he is a nice person), and he would take his toxic domain and 301 it to his main competitor, would it take them down?

John responded immediately, "no."

Robb asked, but why would it take down my new site?

John gave a long winded answer, but basically explained Google does a good job determining the difference between a site move versus redirecting a domain to an existing site. I think that is the key distinction here.

Here is what John said followed by the video:

We’ve seen this kind of situation a lot in the past where people have a penalty or something like that and they will try to redirect that domain to some competitor or someone they don’t like. That is something our algorithms pick up on. So that is something where especially if we see that you’re trying to redirect something problematic to an existing running website then we’d kind of understand thats probably not meant in a way to kind of combine these web sites into one bigger website. But something crazy happening on the back. And somethings these are things that happen accidentally where, I don’t know - maybe, a domain name expires and they still have a manual action attached to it, and then someone at the registrar redirects them to a generic landing page. That is kinda of where they are not really trying to forward the PageRank or any signals there. They are essentially just trying to send the users to that other domain. And in cases like that, we really don’t forward anything.

We try to differential between situations where you’re moving to a new domain, from situations where someone is just redirecting to an existing domain. So if you’re like moving to a new domain and that’s something where maybe it makes sense to kind of forward all the signals that we collected over time to the new domain where we can.

If you are just redirecting from a different domain but not actually moving to that, then that is kind of a different situation.

Robb then asks about his situation and John said, in your situation, it is kind of hard to clean it all up, so create a separate site and do not redirect.

See the distinction here about redirecting penalties? I bet it isn't that simple but it does add some clarity.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Previous story: Google Tips On Fixing A Site That Was Hijacked
blog comments powered by Disqus