Should You Keep a Penalized Domain or Move On?

If you’re reading this article, then you are probably very familiar with being “Pandalized” or “Penguinized” by Google. If not, then might I suggest you continue reading should you ever be threatened. Unlike the two previously mentioned animals, having a penalized domain and knowing what to do with it might not necessarily be a black and white answer.

Troubled Bald Man

What Happened?

If you do have a penalized domain, the first step you need to start with is to figure out what happened and the next step is to make sure you understand what will happen when you start over.

Whatever the penalty may be, and it can be a number of things, you will want to get your team to immediately see what they can do first, see what it is and take care of it, and secondly, get the penalty removed. There are websites and articles that can better explain what the penalties are and what each manual penalty means, so if you’re still left wondering what happened, that may be your first place to start. Know this, your search engine rankings have probably decreased considerably and you want to get those back up to where they were.

There are other ways, such as even hiring professionals to help you get rid of those penalties, that you may want to consider as well before ditching your site altogether and starting anew.

What to Look For

One of the things that could happen when starting a new domain site is that if you continue to post and redirect URLs from your old domain to your new domain, the penalty may follow you over as well. Basically, what this means is don’t plan on making a huge copy and paste of your old domain onto the new site.

You may have also assessed your website to ensure that all of your on-page factors were not the cause, but again, a copy and paste of your old site to a new site may give you more trouble than you had to start with.

Some may also consider moving to a new domain name a way to “trick” the various search engines in thinking you’re a different company. There are a lot of experts who have weighted in on this issue by stating that may be a horrible idea.

What Do You Do?

If you are absolutely set on starting over with a new domain, you should also know that you will have to start over creating entirely new content, etc. as well. Google’s indexes of your previous site may pick up on the copy of pastes of your last site and, as stated before, the penalty will follow you over.

Troubleshooting concept.You may want to just do whatever you can to get your old site back on the up and up by following Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you can’t do that, just know that you will have a lot of work to do in creating the new domain. Also, switching to a new domain without looking to see if you can fix the old domain will have you lose your pre-penalty rankings. It may be a simple fix, so don’t be afraid to look into what you can do to improve your status.

There are a few factors that could weigh in on whether or not you should fix and stay or abandon and move:

1 – The number of spammy back links you have. You might have bought into some idea of buying into a million back links, but that decision just bit you back. Depending on the amount you have, your website may not have it so easy.

2 – If you don’t have those back links and you think your site was quality and may not necessarily be the problem, moving your website to another domain, could cause more problems and land you with a duplicate content penalty.

There are some benefits to getting a new domain, however. If your previous site has just not been the luckiest with fixes, etc., this may the time to start over and move on. It definitely will not be the easiest time, but it could prove to be the most advantageous. Google Webmaster Matt Cutts explains that it may be the best to “start fresh.


The best advice is to do everything you can to remove any penalties from your domain and continue to build that link up. It may not be easy, but neither is completely starting over.

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