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Should I Give Up Trying To Change Domain Name?
Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:28 AM
A couple weeks after the switch, my Google traffic plummeted (I lost about 80 percent) and the site has not shown any signs of recovery. What's more, Google reports only a small fraction of the incoming links that were pointing to the old domain.
Maybe I'm getting impatient, but I'm thinking about giving up the whole idea and just revert everything back to the original domain.
Is this a good idea? A really bad idea?
Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:25 PM
The timescale for reverting back after this type of exercise is indeterminate.
A week yes and a month most probably but "about two months" I am not sure, but I reckon somebody here can give you an informed opinion on that.
Posted 31 October 2011 - 02:21 PM
For example, did you buy an expired domain? If so, you should file a reconsideration request with Google to let them know about the change.
Did you use Webmaster Tools to notify Google of a change in address at all? If not, that may help.
Have you checked and rechecked to make sure your new site is properly crawlable? That includes things like:
- Updating all links to point to the new domain
- Updating all XML sitemaps to point to the new domain
- Updating robots.txt
Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:15 PM
Yeah...everything is squeaky clean with the domain change. I followed Google's guidelines -- like submiting a change of address, submiting a new xml sitemap, setting up the 301 permanent redirect, etc. Plus, I've gone through the site using tools like Link Sleuth to make sure all links are functioning, and I've also been working on optimizing images and consolidating stylesheets to improve page load speeds. There's nothing left to do, really.
Last month (in a moment of panic) I submitted a request for reconsideration. I've since learned this was probably not the best thing to do -- due to the fact that I wasn't necessarily banned (I was still in the index), Google had just filtered me back several pages from where I was. But Google did reply with a message saying that I'm not meeting their "quality" guidelines, and I should fix the problems and resubmit (of course they don't tell you what the problems are).
So at this point, I'm assuming whatever quality guidelines I may have been violating two months ago have since been cleaned up. I guess I'm just wondering if reverting back to the old domain would speed up the recovery.
Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:35 PM
Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:48 PM
The new site was (is) identical to the old -- structure, design, pages all the same. Only thing that changed was the domain name itself.
Oh...and by the way...I don't think I was doing anything questionable with the old site that would raise any serious red flags with Google (I don't know enough about black-hat techniques to use them even if I wanted to). So it seems kind of harsh that I would lose that much traffic just from a domain name change.
Posted 31 October 2011 - 07:29 PM
Simply changing domains won't get you past Google's guidelines.
Posted 31 October 2011 - 08:02 PM
Yeah...I think that's possible. For example, after going through the site with a fine-tooth comb, I did find some outdated items that I wasn't using anymore -- like a php redirect script for an old email signup form. As far as link swapping goes, I never really got involved in the heavy linking schemes. I had a dozen or so reciprocal links -- all with similar niche sites.
I have on occasion been hit with what seems like "link bombing" --- but nothing more than 200 links from the same site. From what I've read about the subject, that shouldn't really cause me any problems.
Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:32 PM
Your gut inclination when you review the Webmaster Guidelines may be to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You will more likely resolve the issue by being hard on yourself and NOT assuming that Google is tolerating what you think is tolerable.
Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:45 PM
Well, that's an interesting point. Some webmasters have told me to be very clear about the difference between losing traffic from a "manual penalty" vs losing traffic from a simple change in the Google algorithm. For example, if my site comes up with the search "site: mydomain" -- some people are telling me this means my site has NOT been "penalized" really, but rather it's simply losing traffic from whatever new filters Google has in place. They've also told me that in these non-penalty cases, I would be better off to NOT submit a request for reconsideration, as the system will eventually sort things out automatically.
However, if we really are talking about a manual penalty, maybe things will NOT work themselves out automatically until such time I submit another request for consideration?
Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:57 PM
Pay attention to what GOOGLE told you. Per your post above: "...Google did reply with a message saying that I'm not meeting their 'quality' guidelines, and I should fix the problems and resubmit (of course they don't tell you what the problems are)."
That sounds like a manual penalty to me. It won't go away if you do nothing. You have to figure out what it is that violates their quality guidelines, fix that, and then file a reconsideration request.
Posted 02 November 2011 - 09:51 AM
Thanks, Michael. I think the site is in good shape at this point (I've spent the last month cleaning it up), so I'll go ahead and submit the reconsideration request. I don't think I have much to lose, really. My stats show no sign of recovery, and Google traffic is continuing to drop.
Posted 01 December 2011 - 10:29 AM
I am experiencing basically the same thing now. It has been a very frustrating experience.
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