Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Subscribe to HRA Now!

 



Are you a Google Analytics enthusiast?

Share and download Custom Google Analytics Reports, dashboards and advanced segments--for FREE! 

 



 

 www.CustomReportSharing.com 

From the folks who brought you High Rankings!



Photo
- - - - -

Should I Give Up Trying To Change Domain Name?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 keyon

keyon

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:28 AM

About two months ago I decided to change four letters in my domain name. Everything else about the site stayed exactly the same. I followed all the proper procedures -- like setting up the redirect in htaccess, changing inbound links (when possible), and building new links to the new url.

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?

Thanks

#2 piskie

piskie

    HR 7

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,098 posts
  • Location:Cornwall

Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:25 PM

In my opinion, you are seeing the exact results that can be expected when messing with Domain Names.
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.

#3 Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez

    HR 10

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,127 posts
  • Location:Georgia

Posted 31 October 2011 - 02:21 PM

I would first try to determine if there is a technical issue with the new domain.

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



#4 keyon

keyon

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:15 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Oct 31 2011, 12:21 PM) View Post
I would first try to determine if there is a technical issue with the new domain.


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.

#5 Jill

Jill

    Recovering SEO

  • Admin
  • 32,963 posts

Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:35 PM

Did you redesign the site as well? Or just switch domain names?

#6 keyon

keyon

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:48 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Oct 31 2011, 04:35 PM) View Post
Did you redesign the site as well? Or just switch domain names?


Hi, Jill....
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.

#7 Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez

    HR 10

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,127 posts
  • Location:Georgia

Posted 31 October 2011 - 07:29 PM

It sounds like you may either have some link swapping pages or perhaps some obscured content that Google is objecting to. It's hard to figure out what they don't like but those are two very common issues.

Simply changing domains won't get you past Google's guidelines.

#8 keyon

keyon

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 31 October 2011 - 08:02 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Oct 31 2011, 05:29 PM) View Post
It sounds like you may either have some link swapping pages or perhaps some obscured content that Google is objecting to.


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.


#9 Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez

    HR 10

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,127 posts
  • Location:Georgia

Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:32 PM

Google is really prissy about some aspects of its guidelines. It sounds like you have incurred a manual penalty. That means you are probably doing something that Google considers to be unacceptable.

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.



#10 keyon

keyon

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:45 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Nov 1 2011, 10:32 AM) View Post
It sounds like you have incurred a manual penalty.


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?

#11 Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez

    HR 10

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,127 posts
  • Location:Georgia

Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:57 PM

QUOTE(keyon @ Nov 1 2011, 02:45 PM) View Post
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?


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.

#12 keyon

keyon

    HR 2

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 02 November 2011 - 09:51 AM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Nov 1 2011, 03:57 PM) View Post
That sounds like a manual penalty to me. It won't go away if you do nothing.


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.

#13 mrchris

mrchris

    HR 1

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 01 December 2011 - 10:29 AM

QUOTE(keyon @ Nov 2 2011, 09:51 AM) View Post
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.


I am experiencing basically the same thing now. It has been a very frustrating experience.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

SPAM FREE FORUM!
 
If you are just registering to spam,
don't bother. You will be wasting your
time as your spam will never see the
light of day!