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Thread: Penalties are Sticking With Domain Names

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    Penalties are Sticking With Domain Names

    The following article points out a new problem with Google and their penalty vendetta.

    Buyer Beware Situation When Registering Domain Names

    I ran into a similar problem with a site that a friend gave me a little over a year ago. It was a WordPress site with a couple of pages of original content. We built a new theme and wrote 25 pages of new, unique content. Each article was 400 to 500 words in length. The site did get indexed by Google, but no matter what we did (all 100% white hat techniques), the site never showed up in Google search results. That was the first time I had ever seen that happen for a good site. Most sites get at least some Google traffic. The market niche was competitive, but not excessively so.

    The point is that Google appears to be assigning penalties to domain names that do not get removed when the domain is dropped. Given that probably millions of domain names were abandoned by spammers after Google's attacks, there are lots of domains available that could be the kiss of death for Google traffic. Keyword rich domains are much more likely to be penalized because those are the names spammers focused on for years.

    We never filed a reinclusion request because we are trying to avoid using anything related to Google. I suspect the site could have been saved with a reinclusion request. After a year we abandoned the site and moved the content to other sites that are getting Google traffic.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    iowadawg's Avatar
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    Ouch...
    But that should make domain buyers think twice before buying or bidding on a domain.
    Now if sedo, bodis, godaddy, flippa, etal put a notice up leading to google, bet the domain sales would drop like a rock!

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    Hi,

    I know they talk about the The WayBack Machine but they don't tell you how to find out if the site has a google penalty before you buy a name.

    I don't even know how to check that

    Sami
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    Wayback machine is just to check if the domain had a site of some kind on it.
    And probably help you decide if it was bad stuff or good stuff.

    Right now, hard to find out if a domain is banned by google.
    Only way to check, and it is not that accurate, is to search google for the domain.

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    It'd be easy to erase your past sins by "selling" to one's other identity, or into their wife or child's name. I know a guy at DP whose sites are in all kinds of names on multiple continents... but he can be tracked by his ad IDs or analytics IDs. Giving a fresh history to a change of ownership would be meaningless in the case of the people most likely to offend.

    We do need to figure out a way to accurately gauge the damage prior owners have done before buying a used domain though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sami4u View Post
    Hi,

    I know they talk about the The WayBack Machine but they don't tell you how to find out if the site has a google penalty before you buy a name.

    I don't even know how to check that

    Sami
    Quote Originally Posted by robjones View Post
    ...
    We do need to figure out a way to accurately gauge the damage prior owners have done before buying a used domain though.
    The easiest way is to use an Adsense Sandbox, enter the domain name and see if Google ads show up - or not. They usually work even for unregistered (or dropped) domains so you can check before buying. DP has one and here's a couple of others:
    Check Google Adsense Sandbox
    Google AdSense Sandbox - Preview Tool for Google Ads
    If I can't be a good example, I'll just have to be a terrible warning...

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    The sandbox tools might be useful in some situations, UncleP, but it did not indicate a problem with the domain we had trouble with. It showed the ads and gave it a green checkmark. I even tried the tools with a site that I know is heavily penalized due to the client's use of a crappy link builder. That site got numerous warnings in Webmaster Tools. It also passed.

    Google did index the site and it picked up PageRank, so it was not banned. It was, however, prevented from ranking. We have been working with SEO since the 1990s and found no indication of any penalty, other than the fact that the site would not show up in the top 500 results for any keyword search.

    None of those sandbox tools are actually Google tools. Even the one calling themselves Google Adsense Sandbox that infringes on their trademark is not owned by Google.

    Other than using the Wayback Machine to see if a spammy site used the domain in the past, I have not yet found a way to verify penalties. Google is obviously not resetting penalties when the domain is dropped. The site mentioned in the article I cited was hit with just about every egregious penalty except poor quality link building. The only indicator that the author mentioned is a rejection by AdWords, which is similar to the way the sandbox tools are supposed to work.

    Me thinks the trick to avoiding tainted domains is to avoid registering keyword-rich domains, which were highly favored by spammers.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Once the domain had a bad record from Google it is not easily track by the buyers when the domain is for sale and for bidding. What will be the precautions for the buyers to avoid this kind of websites?

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